Nodes Change Sign 2011
Astrology and Health
Rob Tillett has had a year off from writing these Retrograde Mercury commentaries. But now he's back with a vengeance! Mercury turns retrograde this month just as Jupiter enters Cancer, bringing a bumpy start to a year of bounty and blessings ahead.
At 13:09 UT (Universal Time) Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, Mercury the wise communicator — and universal trickster — turns retrograde at 23°06' Cancer in the sign of the Crab, sending appointments, communications, travel, mail and the www into a general snarlup! The retro period begins some days before the actual turning point (as Mercury slows) and lasts for three weeks or so, until July 20, 2013, when the Winged Messenger reaches his direct station. At this time he halts and begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac.
Everything finally straightens out on August 4th, as he passes the point where he first turned retrograde. Mercury normally turns retrograde three times a year, but the effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens (see box for Retrograde Periods in 2013).
A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. According to modern science, this traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth with relation to other planets in our solar system. It's a bit like travelling on the road watching another car beside you: when the other car slows down, or you speed up, it looks as though the other car is moving backwards. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way due to this cosmic shadow-play. Click here for some neat graphics and more on the science of retrograde planetary motion.
Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon. Although a powerful astrological influence, Mercury is quite a small planet that travels at a relatively fast speed through the zodiac. Despite being the closest planet in our solar system to the Sun, Mercury is not always in the same sign as the Sun. This time, however, Merc turns in Cancer while the Sun is in Cancer, but the solar orb moves into Leo on July 22nd (with Mercury still in Cancer). Mercury turns direct in Cancer on Jul 20th with the Sun still in Cancer, but Mercury remains in Cancer till August 8, with the Sun in Leo.
As a rule, the planets are more emphatic during their retrograde phases, marking periods of seemingly inevitable or fated events that relate to their spheres of influence. By fated events I mean those that circumstances thrust upon us, rather than matters we have consciously decided to implement or resolve. In particular, unresolved issues from the past tend to rear their heads and demand to be dealt with.
A retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, beginning when the planet begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac, and ending when it returns to the point where it first paused. However, during the cycle, a planet's energy is at its most powerful—and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance—when it is travelling slowly, and particularly when it makes a station: appearing motionless in the sky.
The direct station is the most powerful and can be used for maximum benefit. It is often thought of as the psychological peak of the retro phase, rather than the end, thanks to the shadow phase.
Many astrologers consider that the "Mercury Shadow" begins between two and three weeks before the actual retro station; so the shadow phase begins this time on June 10, when Mercury passes the point of direct station for the first time in this cycle (see the date for the beginning of each shadow period in the table). Weird things often start to happen then, but the really noticeable peculiarities begin when Mercury slows significantly, a few days before the retro station.
In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially those who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, consultants, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, salespeople, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves. Mercury also has an occult side, so healing, astrology and the transmission of spiritual knowledge are also in his area.
Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry.
It is not exactly wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is likely that such decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!
The key issue here is one of focus. Mercury's retro phase tends to bring unforeseen changes and blockages, but the aggravation and frustration that many of us experience during these periods is often due to our own inability to roll with the punches. Is this due to our ego-fixation?
Mercury retrograde, like any cosmic aspect, affects people differently, depending on where it hits their personal charts. Some people actually prosper under a retro Mercury, especially if Mercury is retrograde but otherwise well-aspected in their birth charts. It is also a time when matters begun under a previous retro period will come to fruition, or completion as the case may be. Firm decisions that have been previously made when Mercury is travelling normally through the zodiac may be implemented or finalised while Mercury is retrograde without too much worry, for experience shows that this can be done without undue problems arising.
When Mercury is retrograde, everyone's thinking is more introspective; we tend to think about issues and concerns that relate to the sign involved. With Mercury retrograde this time in tough-shelled but warm-hearted Cancer, people with this sign prominent in their charts will be especially prone to such introspection. Cancer is a Cardinal Sign, so the other Cardinals, Aries, Libra and Capricorn are also likely to experience considerable conflict between heart and head, along with a good dose of typical disruption.
Mercury turns retro at 23°06' Cancer on June 26th, with the Sun in Cancer and the Moon in Aquarius (a Saturn-ruled sign), not long after the Full Moon in Capricorn (another Saturn-ruled sign) on the 23rd. This is interesting because stern Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn and Aquarius, is currently retrograde in Scorpio, in tight trine aspect to the Sun, a rare combination.
Accept responsibilities and take a leading role. Initiate important projects that require long-term efforts, especially in real estate, business, building, or engineering. Seek favours from those in authority and those who are older, wiser, and have more experience. Allow others to benefit from your own seniority and experience; you will thus gain a distinct advantage.
The Sun is also trine to Neptune, which sets up a Grand Trine, quite a potent aspect. Others, especially superiors, will be impressed with your imagination, spirituality and sensitivity. Covert activities and handling highly confidential matters are favoured. Others are attracted to you – or you to them – by something that seems unattainable or mysterious. Follow your hunches and pay attention to your dreams. Allow yourself to become truly inspired spiritually and artistically.
It's remarkable that with Jupiter moving into Cancer, a trine also comes into play between Jupiter and Saturn. This trine culminates in mid July. The aspects between fortunate Jupiter and structured Saturn, the two Great Chronocrators (or Time Lords), always mark significant developments in the world. This one indicates a fortunate turn of events, perhaps rewards for your hard work, organization and careful planning. You may also find it easier to get organised now, ensuring your success in the future. Benefits may come because of your seniority or authority. Restrictions and responsibilities can be eased, perhaps even going off the radar.
Phew. Two Grand Trines! Sounds good, doesn't it? However, Grand Trines in the past have proven to be deceptive (especially when nebulous Neptune is involved), so no need for three cheers or to throw your hat in the air just yet. We have to look at the aspects to Mercury himself.
Mercury in Cancer normally awakens clear intellectual processes, bringing a good memory and a certain adaptability, but the retro phase tends to disturb our equilibrium. We are more sensitive to the feelings and ideas of others. Praise and flattery abound, yet we easily take offence. Imagination, creativity and artistic talents are stimulated, but it's difficult to separate thoughts from feelings. We are susceptible to absorbing the ideas and thoughts of others. People tend to be very moody. Watch for indigestion, gas and bloat due to emotional upset. Keep a lid on the urge to drink alcohol, or be prepared for unpleasant consequences.
The Moon rules Mercury in the figure, suggesting that the normally intellectual Mercury will be more emotional than usual in this phase. The Moon is in a stressful T-square with the Moon's nodal axis, showing that fate is sure to take a hand. Fortunately, the Moon is in a perfect trine (exact to the minute) with dynamic Mars, implying that the people will take action to preserve their families, homes and way of life. Financial markets should leap ahead; people will feel more optimistic and keen to do something about their situation. Note that although the trine is generally benefic, Mars is always a problem and prefers taking radical action to achieve his ends, no matter what the consequences.
You ideas may be at odds with other people's notions, so discuss and clarify. You find yourself out of synch with those who are trying to communicate with you, either because you are not in your usual location or following your normal schedule, or because they aren't.
Mercury turning away from Venus in the figure indicates that financial matters are not being helped by faulty information and misleading data. Precious metals have recently suffered a substantial correction, not to say crash, but my contacts in the industry advise that this is no more than a temporary blip.
The fundamentals of silver, gold, platinum and the rest are highly favoured as Jupiter, Lord of Fortune, moves into canny Cancer, the sign of his exaltation, applying to a beneficial aspect to Saturn. The post-crash price presents an excellent opportunity to purchase in view of another impending surge in precious metal prices, during the year that Jupiter remains in Cancer. Silver and gold are now even more significantly undervalued. [See my previous article on Mercury Retrograde March 2012]
"Unemployment has reached a new high in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank's target, showing the size of the challenge EU leaders are facing in their efforts to revive the bloc's sickly economy. Joblessness in the 17-nation currency area rose to 12.2 percent in April, Eurostat said on Friday, marking a new record since the EU's statistics office started collecting data on the countries in 1995."
Mercury in the 24th degree of Cancer is acting in terms of Venus, so money will be on everyone's mind. Money and fashion, that is... Venus has been applying to the conjunction with Mercury too, reaching it on Friday June 21, just before the turning point. Venus is streaking forward as Merc stumbles, so a repeat of this aspect is prevented until October 2014. This does still reinforce the financial transactional meaning of the phase, but suggests that inevitable obstacles will arise despite the rosy appearances.
Adriano Carelli in The 360 Degrees of the Zodiac declares that the degree in which Mercury turns is symbolised thus:
I wrote at length in a previous Mercury Retrograde article about the weaknesses and need for restructuring of the Eurozone and the US economy and political structure. Many of the important cosmic factors outlined in that article are still at work, shaking the foundations of the political and financial world as we have known it. This will remain a problem for quite a while into the future and it's well worth looking back over this material to see where we are heading.
The phase of transformation now underway is by no means complete, however, as we see today in the two neighbouring troublespots in the Middle East, Syria and Turkey. I have addressed the Syrian problem in previous articles discussing the chart of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, but the planets are not in his favour as Merc turns amid a swarm of Celestials in his 12th house of secrets and sorrows. The Moon is right on his natal Chiron, so some healing may come about, but with Saturn in the figure tightly square his natal Part of Fortune, it does not look so good for him and his cause. The Moon is inconjunct his Sun, adding to the pressure.
The Moon in the figure is tightly square the Moon of the Assad revolution (13 Nov 1970). The nodes are attacking this chart's Sun, Saturn, Moon, Jupiter, and Venus, so it does not look as good for the regime as it did a couple of years ago. The regime's mainly Sunni opponents are ruled by Venus in this chart, and the node in the figure is right on top of this planet, suggesting a massive transformation and karmic payout. Mercury turns on the regime's 9th house cusp, so promised aid from abroad may not eventuate, at least not immediately, or in the form that the country's leaders expect. So military equipment from Russia may be delayed, and the assistance from allied Shiite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon will probably show no clear outcome until after the opposition of Mars and Saturn in late July, when the retro phase is drawing to a close.
Turkey, the most powerful nation in the Middle East, has also been experiencing major social upheavals. Although Muslim and largely Sunni, Turkey has a resolutely secular military, so despite the uprising of the population against the conservative ruling party, religious issues are not likely to take centre-stage. However, the Syrian government is mainly drawn from a minority sect called the Alawites, who are similar in outlook to the Shiite branch of Islam, traditional (and now active) enemies of the Sunnis. The Russians and the Iranians are concerned that a Sunni victory in Syria will lead to pogroms of the minority religions (including Jews, Druses and Christians, as well as Shiites, Alawites and Sufis). The Sunni powers in Turkey may also demand action against these minorities.
Jupiter moves into Cancer only hours before Mercury turns. This provides an underlying optimism and urge to expand. With Venus, the Sun and Mercury also in the sign of the Crab, the financial outlook is generally bullish for the year ahead. Venus (money) is conjunct Wall Street's natal Part of Fortune in Cancer; the Sun in the figure is in a lucky aspect to Wall Street's well-placed natal Venus in Taurus reciprocated by a sextile from Venus in the figure to the Street's natal Sun, while Mercury turns in a tight sextile with natal Mercury, showing that although there's a very confident push, overconfidence and misunderstood communication will cause many ups and downs of fortune during this phase. Mars in the figure is tightly square Wall Street's natal Mars, while positively aspecting the Street's Moon and Jupiter, so the urge to throw caution to the wind will be very strong.
Stern Saturn is retrograde opposing Europe's natal Moon. It is right on Europe's natal Neptune, and with transiting Neptune in trine to this point, this places a lot of pressure on the European Union, because under the Grand Trines mentioned earlier the authorities will be arrogantly overconfident. The population will be suffering and unwilling to put up with more pain.
An unfortunate sense of negativity emerges during this period. The atmosphere feels devoid of nurture – an absence of nourishment, bad feeling and lack of optimism. Emotional deprivation and loss at this time is karmically linked to the past. As a result of past neglect or abuse, Europe's close relationships are seriously threatened, or even severed. Responsibilities and burdens may be overwhelming, especially for the suffering public. Whatever is gained will only come at an extremely high price; a price they may come to regret paying. And with transiting Pluto right on the European Sun, the problem of ego-dominance, self-deception and the need to be right at all costs is potentially overwhelming. Saturn and the Moon govern the public and the common people. Transiting Mars (aggression; violence) opposes natal Saturn, so war, or civil unrest, is not out of the question. At the same time, unexpected luck and benefits are there and if their leaders are wise, they will make the most of a difficult situation and not allow themselves to get too cocky.
Mercury remains retrograde in Cancer until Jul 20, 2013, and the shadow phase lasts until August 4. Mercury finds his direct station in the 14th degree of the Crab, conjunct the fixed star Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the night sky. This star is ambitious, proud and emotional. It brings fame, emboldens leadership and endows wealth. However, it also stimulates fires, drought, and danger through impetuosity. Sirius was worshipped in many cultures; its heliacal rising signalled the peak of summer, the annual flooding of the Nile and the beginning of the ancient Egyptian calendar.
This is the end of the article. Click here to read Mercury Retrograde: Above the Hype and Beyond the Spin.