Updated: Apr 21
Hey star-gazers! How did you fare last week? I love hearing your transit stories, so make sure you drop your experiences with the astrology of last week below if you’re comfortable!
I, for one, have cut my fingers with sharp objects several times since Mars entered Gemini. It only dawned on me this week that I should have mentioned knives, cuts and our five little digits on each paw as legitimate Mars-in-Gemini signatures to watch out for. Consider this your belated PSA! Ready your Band-Aids!
***THIS WEEK MERCURY TURNS RETROGRADE!***
That’s the big astrological headliner — the little grey planet appearing to move backwards in the sky, so gird your social-media loins for lamentations of missed appointments, broken cell phones and exes that text out of the blue.
Here, however, we’re going to wax poetic on the gifts of Hermes as liminal figure and psychopomp, greeting us on the road of life — or, more specifically, at life’s crossroads.
Given the multi-faceted and complex nature of the little grey planet, it should come as no surprise that one of the major Tarot energies of this week is The Magician — the card of Mercury.
Although the stop-the-presses astrological news is always about Mercury changing direction, its inferior conjunction with the Sun really belongs above the fold. Occurring on September 23, the conjunction represents the beginning of Mercury’s new synodic cycle.
Big freaking deal, I know, since Mercury has a thrice-annual cycle, some of which aren’t especially memorable. Some years we pass through a Mercury retrograde relatively unscathed, while other years can be difficult and punctuated by frustrating events. The latter is the result of Mercury being activated in our charts in some way: Mercury as time lord, or a transit hitting a natal or progressed placement.
In preparing this week’s forecast, I got my hands on a copy of Karl Kerenyi’s Hermes, Guide of Souls, which, if you haven’t read it, should be essential reading for every astrocurious person. Kerenyi’s incisive examination of Mercury’s myriad significations as represented throughout classical antiquity proves that the Star of Hermes is about more than message and communications. In fact, we give the winged god short shrift by relegating him to tweets about missing our dental appointments.
Mercury and Our Soul’s Journey
Kerenyi writes that an ancient manifestation of Hermes parallels the Sun and the leading upward of the soul. Here, Mercury is our guardian and during his more pronounced appearance in our lives there can be an “influx and invasion from the underworld,” to borrow a phrase from Kerenyi. Maybe that’s why old ghosts come haunting in the form of people we haven’t seen for ages or past memories resurfacing?
During the last Mercury retrograde in Gemini, which is the sign on my natal ninth house, an old friend from grad school emailed me. I hadn’t spoken to him for over a decade, but with that communication came all the attendant memories, good and bad, of that time in my life and it seemed particularly apropos as I contemplated returning to school again full-time.
If we look back to September of 2009, Mercury did a similar elemental cross-over to this current retrograde period, where it went from Libra back into Virgo.
The timing, at least for me personally, resurfaced some themes from back then, including questions around the plotline of my life.
If you have any time to reminisce this week, think back to the autumn of 2009. Are there any themes or do-overs available to you now that could connect you back to that previous period of your life?
Getting back to Hermes, I also want to highlight his role as psychopomp, the so-called “soul-carrier” that guides us between being and non-being, between darkness and light, and, as Kerenyi writes, “guides souls out of his realm — the world of paths and roads…In his official capacity as mediator between the worlds of night and day, spirits and men, and (standing before the temple) between the world of Gods and mankind, he is called Proopylaios (“before the gate”) and Pylaios (“before or at the gate”).” We can therefore see his liminal rulership in action, and, in a way, as our time travel companion between past, present, and potential future.
We can also think of Mercury-Hermes in another of his incarnations: the divinized, wise possessor of knowledge and teacher of magical principles sent to the worldly realm to enable the transmission of vital knowledge.
If we consider that the conjunction is the only major astrological aspect that Mercury can form with the Sun, then we get an interesting perspective on how integral Mercury is in terms of our life path and soul direction.
Mercury’s heliacal phase is often the most important delineation factor in interpreting Mercury’s significations, even for the ancients. In Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, we see that Mercury in the solstitial signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) produces inquisitive and inventive natives, the bicorporeal (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) produces natives ‘prone to change their minds’ and the solid (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) persistent and intelligent people, but also hard and inflexible.
If we think about Mercury’s motion now, dipping from a solstitial to a bi-corporeal sign, we have another layer of potential dimension for this particular retrograde: we’re being asked to change our minds, to consider something differently, and to be inventive with the way we reflect on some aspect of our lives.
In the Medieval book of astral magic known as Picatrix, the author defines magic as “any act someone performs in which the spirit and all the senses are engaged throughout the whole process and through which miracles are produced to the extent that the senses are driven to their contemplation and wonder.” He states that “everything in this world obeys the celestial forms,” and, as such, “the root of magic is the motion of the planets.”
This suggests that an understanding of the cosmic rhythms — appreciating the planetary movements and the geometrical relationships they form with each other — can support positive manifestations in our lives.
And, of course, Mercury’s peculiar egg-shaped orbit forms a kind of lemniscate or infinity sign from its winding around Sol, back and forth, within no more than 28 degrees in any direction away from the solar body — our essence, spirit, ego self and life path, constantly changing. To understand the movement of the planets and to effect magic in our lives is to understand symbol and metaphor.
The Magician is therefore a card of potency — knowledge acquired through dedicated study and disciplined, constructive, directed thought. The Magician, pointing his wand up toward the heavens while his free hand points to the ground, is said to represent the oft-paraphrased quote from the Hermetic text, the Emerald Tablet: “As above, so below.” Harking back to Picatrix, this card may be calling us to amplify our intentions, prayers and positive affirmations with unwavering faith in Divine Timing.
So, this Mercury retrograde, what do you need to shift? What thought patterns do you need to change? Hermes is your companion, he’s at the gate — at a threshold between a part of yourself that was and is becoming new again — how will you embrace this new leg of your journey?
The other card that I’ve selected for this week is the Eight of Cups — the Lord of Abandoned Success.
I know that it’s a heavy card for this week — potentially heavier than the transits themselves — but it’s a card in which the figure is seeking higher ground, embarking on a quest and abandoning creature comforts. The steep and rocky road depicted on the card reminds us all that the path to finding who we are meant to be isn’t an easy one.
With so many planets retrograde in the sky right now, or turning retrograde soon, we’re all likely at a crossroad in our lives — the size varying in magnitude for everyone.
The astrology of 2020 and 2021 — especially that Saturn-Uranus square which we continued to feel into this year — presented us with constraints and limitations. We might have felt an overwhelming desire to break free, but our circumstances — and the circumstances in the world, frankly — didn’t allow it.
As Saturn leaves Aquarius in the first quarter of next year, we’ll have an opportunity to imagine what our lives might be like without the restrictive influence of the Saturn-Uranus square. Instead, Saturn and Uranus will slip into a sign-based sextile.
A sextile is of the nature of Venus and can be about desire, pleasure, harmony, but also prosperity and hope. Though Saturn won’t have the easiest time in watery Pisces, it will nevertheless ease the constraints we might have felt over the past two years. The balance of this year is exciting because, if you play your astrological cards right, you’ll be using the alignments in the heavens to recalibrate and to plan for the journey ahead.
With that, let’s get to the day-by-day.
SEPTEMBER 5: VENUS ENTERS VIRGO
This is technically the sign of Venus’ depression, though it has some dignity by triplicity, term and face. Venus in Virgo, as well as Mercury in Libra, despite not forming a Ptolemaic aspect, could be considered in each other’s generosity, so Venus is therefore receiving some support — though she’s perhaps not as strong as she could be. (For a quick primer on mutual reception, check out my post from earlier this year.)
I’d say slightly better days for relationship matters, friendships and topics that Venus rules in your chart could actually occur the following week when Venus is in her own terms and therefore able to execute matters in our lives in the style that she’s most accustomed to — harmoniously, diplomatically and with great grace.
Given that she’ll also be within varying proximity of a square to Mars, it could also make Venus more focused, strategic and results-oriented since Venus can occasionally be too laissez-faire. This said, the square could also augment the potential for disagreements, challenges in seeing the bigger picture and impatience in getting what we want.
Venus also begins her ingress with a trine from the Moon in Capricorn; though brief, it could have us feeling like there’s hard work to be done in some of our relationships this month. The trine could also bring in an expansive opportunity for an important relationship in our lives to blossom and flourish with a little discipline and no-nonsense practicality.
SEPTEMBER 8: SUN TRINES NORTH NODE AND URANUS
I like this signature for yet another Jupiterian burst of expansive possibility, leading to something unexpected and potentially fated in our lives. Last month Venus trined the North Node and Uranus offering a rare opportunity to clear up some relationship karma; now, the Sun, taking over this position, potentially allows us a similar opportunity as it relates to our current path.
Trines are often viewed in modern astrology as positive, flowing aspects, where we don’t have to try particularly hard at something. With Uranus in the mix, we could be offered up some unexpected opportunity, potentially from our past, since Uranus is retrograde.
Given the aspect is occurring between grounded, intentional and practical earth signs, it can also carry various monetary and business significations which could make for a career-related transit. Maybe it manifests as an opportunity to earn more money, or, taking the amplifying signature of the North Node into account, maybe it’s a promotion for some of us? We’ll just have to watch the astrology of the week play out.
Ultimately, I like this aspect for a potential glow-up. It’s a signature of ideas and inspiration that expand our horizons and augment some aspect of our solar life path. The Sun, in practical, analytical, and organized Virgo might know exactly what to do with whatever burst of inspiration it receives. It’s well-grounded in Virgo, and with Mercury making its movement backwards, I’d say that it’s a good time to file these ideas away — write them down and wait for Mercury’s direct movement to take immediate, inspired action.
SEPTEMBER 9: MERCURY TURNS RETROGRADE
Very late in the day, Mercury is stationing retrograde. If you missed last week’s forecast where we covered off potential themes for all rising signs, then make sure you revisit that blog post or check out the video version.
Since we’ve covered the significations of this transit extensively, the only addition I want to make is the position of Mercury in relation to the asteroid Sisyphus.
Now, I don’t often work with asteroids, but, I do have a small roster of space rocks that I occasionally like to check in on and Sisyphus is one of them, since I love the myth.
This is an asteroid of potential do-overs and of perseverance. That Mercury is stationing retrograde within a wide orb of sextile to Sisyphus strikes me as a particularly potent addition to this signature.
Both Mercury and Sisphus are in active signs, so this is going to have to be something you have to go after, despite Mercury sometimes dropping things into our laps. And, with Mercury moving back from Libra to Virgo, you’re going to have to be pretty strategic, practical and committed to concretizing your ideas if you’re going to make it happen. So, don’t squander this opportunity, Magicians!
SEPTEMBER 10: FULL MOON IN PISCES
The Full Moon of this cycle, occurring in the sign of Pisces, is in orb of the North Node and Uranus conjunction with the Sun still in that active trine and the Moon in a brief sextile to it.
Since the Moon is separating from Mars and untouched by Saturn, I do think this Moon is decent for any meditations, affirmations or personal rituals that you may want to carry out associated with emotional release, overthinking and negative thought patterns. The wide conjunction to retrograde Neptune could underscore our need to break free from false illusions and to emphasize an internal, more meditative approach to our spiritual pursuits.
I would probably time my activities to hit 6:00 AM EDT to make sure that you’re getting the Moon exactly in the heart of the Sun since that will be at its most powerful. Just note that the ruler of this Full Moon is in aversion and retrograde, so this might not be an especially potent Full Moon, but one where I would nevertheless feel comfortable working to release outdated thoughts or stagnant energies.
Lastly, by the close of this week, the sun will be approaching Hygeia by sextile. This asteroid is configured to retrograde Uranus by opposition. It will perfect early next week, but I think it worthwhile flagging now that the opposition could bring unexpected health matters and an opportunity for preventative actions.
Later this year, the Capricorn New Moon in December will exactly conjunct Hygeia. Given that she presides over preventative medicine archetypally and that the Sun is in Virgo currently, you might contemplate whether this signature is ripe for you personally to undertake some renovation of your health, diet and exercise regime.
I know I’ve been thinking about this a lot myself, not least because of the state of our healthcare system here in Canada right now, but also because Saturn in Pisces could stir up chronic and/or hard-to-diagnose ailments, so, in short, don’t put off beneficial actions in this area your life, especially if you know it needs an overhaul. And, with Mercury ruling Virgo retrograde currently, it could be a good time to revisit this aspect of our lives even if Virgo doesn’t correspond with our sixth houses natally.
*DISCLAIMER: All astrological forecasts are for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. Any decisions that you might make as a result of reading this or any other astrological blog entry are YOURS ALONE and the creator of this blog will not be held responsible! For any legal issues, see a lawyer; for medical ones, consult a physician. None of the information in this blog constitutes actionable advice from a licensed professional. Once again, this forecast is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!