Summer/Winter Solstice And Sun/Mercury Superior Conjunction – A Time For Adjustments

On June 21st 2017 we have the Summer or Winter Solstice. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will enjoy the longest day of the year, aka the Summer solstice. People in the Southern Hemisphere will have shortest noontime shadow instead.

No matter where you live, astrologically 21st of June is one of the most important days of the year. The Sun is either at the highest point in the sky, or at the lowest. This marks some sort of culmination – a point of “no return”. The Sun cannot go any further than that.

Just as everything around us in the nature gets born, grows, dies, only to be born again, the Vernal solstice is a symbol of change, it is a reminder that we are all part of nature, a part of a higher evolutionary process.

Solstice

In Astrological cyclicity the Solstice acts like a square, it is similar to the first quarter Moon. The Spring Equinox is the New Moon, the two Solstices are the squares, and the Fall Equinox is the Full Moon.

At this time of the year, we are being asked to make the necessary adjustments to the plans we started at the time of the Spring Equinox. This square can bring some frictions, but will also give us great resources of energy to make change happen.

This is the time of empowerment, we are even more empowered than we were at the time of the Spring Equinox (which corresponds to the New Moon phase). The Equinox (the beginning of the astrological year) marked the beginning of a new cycle.

Even if back then we could “pick and choose” what we want to do in the upcoming cycle, and we could literally swim in an endless ocean of possibilities, still back then we were not necessarily very clear about what exactly we want to do.

By now, we know what we need to do. In the last 3 months we also learned what we need to stop doing, or what we need to start doing more. It is more and more clear what our purpose for this year’s cycle is.

Immediately after the Solstice, Mercury makes a superior conjunction to the Sun marking the peak of the current Mercury cycle, a time of manifestation for our “Mercurian” pursuits. Whatever you started at the beginning of the current Mercury cycle around April 20th will come to fruition now. Look which houses in your chart are ruled by Mercury for more clues on how this is going to affect you.

The Mercury Sun conjunction takes place at the very potent degree 0° Cancer – this is one of the four cardinal degrees, the most powerful degrees in the zodiac. Transits to 0° of Cardinal signs are the best times to take action and assert ourselves.

This is not a time to play small or hide in the house. Get out there, do what you know you need to do. Mercury will make you very articulate so make sure you speak up and tell the world your truth. Get out our your comfort one. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

If you have Gemini, Leo or Virgo ascendant you will feel especially empowered by this transit. Similar if you have planets or angles around 0° in Cancer. We will all get some exciting news of some sort, Mercury is the messenger of the Zodiac after all.

The New Moon on June 23rd will carry on the theme of this Vernal Solstice, so there is more to come this week, stay tuned!

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A New Mercury Cycle Begins – Time to Start a New Project

A very important Mercury Cycle is about to start on April 20th. The Mercury Cycle starts when Mercury retrograde meets with the Sun for an conjunction at 0° in Taurus, a very potent degree. The Mercury Cycle culminates when we have the superior conjunction of Sun and Mercury at 0° in Cancer, on June 21st.

If inferior conjunctions act like New Moons and are time for new beginnings, superior conjunctions are like Full Moons and mark culminations of whatever has been started at the time of the inferior conjunction. 0° Cancer is one of the 4 most important degrees in the Zodiac – the others are 0° Aries, 0° Libra and 0° Capricorn (yes, the Cardinal signs which mark the 4 axes of the chart, AC-DC and IC-MC).

To have both the beginning and the culmination of a planetary cycle at 0° is extremely rare and highly significant.

All of us will benefit from the New Mercury Cycle but you are especially in focus if you have:

  • Gemini or Virgo rising
  • Planets or angles around 0° Taurus or 0° Cancer
  • The Sun in Gemini or Virgo (especially for men) or the Moon in Gemini or Virgo (especially for women)

A Mercury cycle usually lasts for 120-130 days and begins with the inferior conjunction with the Sun. This phase marks the ending of a planet’s previous synodic cycle and the beginning of the next cycle. This phase, when a planet is still retrograde, but has already encountered the Self (Sun) is when we become conscious of the energy of the planet and we initiate a new cycle of growth.

Mercury cycle AB

Occurring in the middle of Mercury’s 3-weeks retrograde period, the inferior conjunction is similar to the New Moon and is a time to initiate projects and get organized.

The duration of the cycle (approx. 4 months) is ideal to kick-start and complete medium-term projects, especially projects that involve the qualities of Mercury: writing, teaching, structuring, organizing, traveling, commerce, or communication of any kind.

Mercury, the Roman God of commerce and travel was the counterpart of the Greek God Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. In Astrology, Mercury rules not only travel, commerce and communication, but also the processes of the mind.

Mercury, or the quicksilver, rules the Mutable signs Gemini and Virgo. Astrologically, we know relatively little about Mercury – the close proximity between Mercury and the Sun makes it difficult to observe and interpret. However, given the proximity to the Sun, we can say Mercury, even if stays invisible most of the time in the sky, is the most familiar energy to the Self.

The Mercury Cycle, just like all the planetary synodic cycles, is part of a continuous spiral of growth, with the retrograde marking the point when we shift from one state of “Mercury” to the next.

There are four Mercury “phases” in a Mercury cycle, determined by Mercury’s direction from the Sun (clockwise or counterclockwise) and whether its motion is direct or retrograde.

Phase I – Observe and Insight: The Phase I starts at Mercury’s inferior conjunction to the Sun and lasts until Mercury turns direct – April 20th 2017 – May 2nd 2017

In this phase Mercury has a strong will and a clear sense of purpose, thanks to the encounter with the Sun. This young Mercury is unimpressed with traditions – it is only interested in manifesting the Insight it got from the Sun. And although this intuitive impulse might not yet lead to clear answers, Mercury is willing to take his time to observe its immediate environment to envision new ways of action.

Phase II – Prototype and Test From Mercury direct until Mercury’s superior conjunction to the Sun – May 3rd 2017 – June 20th 2017

This phase starts when Mercury is stationary turning direct, and ends around 50 days later. A few days after Mercury turns direct, it reaches its furthest distance from the Sun, known as Mercury’s greatest western elongation. This phase symbolizes intensified mental activity seeking external expression. Mercury is at its highest speed now – that’s why our mind is most eager during this phase, and is capable of  intense learning. This is a good phase to start putting together a plan to fulfill the initiative started at the time of the inferior conjunction. This is also a good phase to test different elements of our plan to get immediate response from our environment, to see what it works and what it doesn’t.

Phase III – Build From Mercury’s superior conjunction until Mercury turns retrograde – June 21th until August 11th 2017

Mercury’s superior conjunction with the Sun marks a phase of culmination. Whatever has been started in phase I and “prototyped” and “tested” in phase II can now finally take shape and materialize. Mercury is getting now a “reality check” from the Sun, who acts like a “curator” and synthetizes the good bits and pieces that have been produced in the previous phases. The mind becomes now practical, analytical and objective. Now is the time to “go live” with your project.

Phase IV – Analyze From Mercury retrograde station until Mercury’s inferior conjunction to the Sun – August 12th 2017 until August 26th 2017

Mercury’s forth phase is contemplative, deeply introspective and seeks inner meaning. We now want to discover the reason, the meaning and the purpose behind everything, and we are unlikely to be satisfied with easy, superficial answers. The last phase is great to “analyze” what has been produced in the first three phases and see how the outcome can lead to an even better outcome, to be initiated in the nex cycle.

The sabian symbol for the Mercury Cycle starting April 20th is “A clear mountain stream”, signifying the pure, uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature.

This Mercury Cycle is especially significant not only because it occurs at highly potent degrees but also because Mercury spends an unusual amount of time around Uranus, due to its slow move around the direct station. Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury and this prolonged conjunction will catapult Mercury’s qualities. Any project that requires innovative thinking and creativity is highly favored. It is especially beneficial to start a project exactly when the cycle commences around April 20th at 0° Taurus.

The Mercury cycle lasts for almost 4 months. It is well known that the ideal timeline for a project is from 3 to 4 months. This is enough time to delve into a topic, do your research, test and build, and then analyze your outputs. Anything that goes beyond 4 months loses momentum or becomes the point.2 version of the previous project so you always want to keep your projects within this timeframe.

Take your time around 20th of April to focus on a project you want to undertake. Follow these 3 steps to identify your project and plan it according to the Mercury cycle:

1) Consider your current priorities in selecting the project you want to start. What are those things you know you need to do but you have been procrastinating? These projects should not require a long time horizon (e.g. if you want to do a master’s degree, completely change your career, get married or have kids then probably these are not the most appropriate undertakings for a Mercury cycle); similarly, these projects should require enough time so you don’t complete them in a few days only (e.g. write an article, finish a PowerPoint presentation or learn how to cook a new dish). You want to identify a project you could complete in 3 to 4 months.

2) For more guidance look in your natal chart to see in which house the Mercury cycle starts – for example if it starts in your 2nd house you want to start a project to generate a new source of income, if it falls in your 4th house you want to do home improvement, in your 6th house a diet and so on.

3) After you have identified your project – split it in 4 different phases according to the 4 phases of the Mercury cycle, as I described above. Try to stick to the timeline (e.g. around 2 weeks for the 1st and 4th phase, around 5 weeks for the 2nd and 3rd phases)

Mercury in Sagittarius

Let’s welcome Mercury in Sagittarius! Freedom of thought, vision, leadership, optimism – this is what Mercury in Sagittarius stands for.

Not so keen on details, Mercury in Sagittarius prefers to focus on the big picture. He likes to have the freedom to think for himself, and to focus on the topics that he likes, especially if that is:

  • An opinion that is different than yours
  • Fun
  • Philosophical

mercury-sagittarius

Forget about political correctness during the next few weeks. Mercury in Sagittarius, with his restless intellect, has a hard time with rules, limits and he could not care less about what other people think (of course, those people who don’t share HIS opinions). He won’t have the patience to deal with other people’s opinions – especially if he has heard them many times before – as he see them as a waste of time. Life is too big and there is always so much to think about.

But Mercury is Sagittarius is not narcissistic, nor naïve. With his broad viewpoints, he is able to put things together in a way that other people can’t see them.

Things to do during the Mercury in Sagittarius transit:

  • Focus on the full side of the glass – Mercury in Sagittarius is known for its contagious optimism
  • Do stand up comedy or any type of public speaking
  • Go ‘big picture’ – if Mercury in Gemini is about connecting things and ideas and thinking inside the box, Mercury in Sagittarius is about thinking outside the box. In Sagittarius, Mercury is Jupiter-like, so he likes to ‘go big’ in everything he does
  • Share your great ideas with others, while allowing them to draw their own conclusions and develop their own opinions. A good, honest debate will always lead to better outcomes
  • Travel – either with your mind, or literally, pick a destination and go and explore a different culture
  • Start learning a new language
  • Philosophize – this is the best time of the year to attempt to answer the big questions of life. “What does it all mean?”

Famous natives with Mercury in Sagittarius: Martin Luther, Marie Curie, Woody Allen, Jimi Hendrix, Voltaire.

Mercury conjunct Sun in Scorpio

We can’t read other people’s thoughts and feelings. Getting to know someone starts with exchanging information, but with time, this information trade “I tell you this, if you tell me that” transforms into a powerful bond. Our relationships become more than just the “exchange”, more than just a “trade”. With time, we have a “stake” in one another, we invest a part of ourselves into a part of the other.

sun-conjunct-mercury-scorpio

Scorpio rules the 8th house, the house of shared resources and intimacy. Building this “exchange” of intimacy takes time and trust. Mercury conjunct Sun in Scorpio  is here to teach us about the power of building a bond, a long term relationships by simply being there every day, by paying attention, by doing the small talk, ultimately, by slowly slowly developing empathy.

We are all empathetic to some degree, because as humans we evolved in social groups where empathy was an adaptive advantage. Mercury, the sign of the mind and of communication is conjunct Sun, the planet of the Self, in the sign of intimacy and long term relationships (Scorpio). Scorpio is a water sign, and beyond all proverbial Scoprio strength and mystery hides a watery, deeply intuitive and empathetic individual.

The transit of Mercury and Sun in Scorpio will give us insights into what empathy is and why it is important.

Things to do to develop your natural empathy:

  • Do something different – try something new, anything from trying a new dish, to watching a completely different genre of movie, to changing the place where you usually hang out. Simply try something new, even if it is random
  • Be open – examine your prejudice and preconceptions about the new thing you try or about the new person you are talking to
  • Listen – really listen to what the other has to say, and try to understand where they are coming from and what their needs are
  • Give in – make a commitment to simply give, without expecting anything in return

Mercury in Scorpio

Mercury enters Scorpio on the 24th of October and will stay here until 12th of November.

It is not easy to say what we really mean, especially when we talk about feelings. Even with the closest of friends, we have a natural defense mechanism to push people away, exactly in those moments when we feel most vulnerable. We hold a piece of ourselves back, and we are especially guarded when it comes to revealing a truth about ourselves, sometimes, ironically, even to ourselves.

rene-magritte-mercury-scorpio

Painting: Rene Magritte – La Reproduction interdite

Mercury in Scorpio gets us in touch the depth of our feelings and helps us deal with those sides of ourselves that we usually hide. Our awareness of the underlying motivations of our thoughts and perceptions is increased now.

Mercury is a personal planet, together with Venus and Mars, so it has to do with how we relate to the others and with our interpersonal relationships in general.

Be aware that if you are not totally honest  with yourself about your motives and feelings when communicating with others, your unconscious or hidden agendas can harm the others even when that was not your intention. However, if you approach your interactions with honesty, the Mercury in Scorpio transit can bring a great opportunity to dramatically improve your relationships.

Things to do during this transit

  • Dig deep to understand what really drives you in your relationships with others – why do you reach out for contact, why do you need to be understood and appreciated? What are you afraid of? What makes you tick?
  • Reflect on the concept of honesty. Why is being untruthful, even exaggerating or omitting to mention something, so harmful?
  • Do some research and investigation on some controversial topic – what you will find might change your perspective completely on that specific topic
  • Read a crime or mystery book
  • Check out the concept of “radical honesty”. The idea behind is to always tell the truth, no matter what. Check out the internet, you will find plenty of resources
  • Reflect on the implications of telling the truth – can you tell the truth and be kind in the same time? We all know that telling the truth is the right thing, be we should strive to do it with compassion
  • Have an honest conversation with your partner or with an close friend or relative. Don’t make excuses, try to lower your defenses and let your imperfections be seen

Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries

Our thoughts, ideas and opinions will be a little bit “different”, if not unusual!, and our mind will shine brighter during this transit. Both Mercury and Uranus rule the intellect, with Uranus being the higher octave of Mercury. Uranus transforms the logical processes of Mercury into sudden shifts of awareness. Together, the two will look at mundane things from innovative, highly interesting perspectives.

mercury-libra-opposition-uranus

Image: Michael Cheval – Swing of Love

Speaking our mind, not matter what, will become more important than ever. The Mercury / Uranus aspect is found in the natal charts of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, James Madison and other epic figures that have set the foundations of what we call now “freedom of speech”.

Mercury in opposition with Uranus will also manifest in some sort of “rebelling” on a mental level. We can get easily distracted and disconnected from activities that bore us, and let our mind instead take off to some more interesting places. And because Mercury is in Libra, these places will tend to be beautiful and have plenty of socializing opportunities.

Things to do during this transit:

  • Question anything that society says is “the way it is”. Or, how Buddha puts it: “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Doubt everything, find your own light 😉
  • Write a blog / conduct a research / communicate about an idea that no one has explored before. Research studies such as “Couples who drink more red wine stay together longer and partners are less likely to develop dementia “ or “How chicken feathers can be used to determine the speed of a tornado” were probably conducted during a Mercury /Uranus transit 😉
  • If single, check some internet dating websites – Mercury is in the sign of partnerships and Uranus can make anything possible 😉

 

Mercury enters Libra on the 7th of October

Mercury will transit the cardinal Air sign of Libra for about three weeks until October 25th when he moves into Scorpio.

During this transit, we’re more diplomatic and find it easier to see another’s point of view. Libra transits always draw awareness on the areas of our life where balance is needed. Are we too judgmental or on contrary too accommodating?  Are we so stubborn that we cannot accept other people’s viewpoints, or too wishy washy, going back and forth and never seeming to make up our mind? Whatever it is, Mercury in Libra will help us identify the imbalance, and direct us towards those areas we need to adjust in order to create more balance in our life.

7-libra-mercury

Another characteristic of this transit is that our ideas, our communication – in any form – will become more artistic. Music  and painting are beautiful mediums of communication – and Mercury in Libra a has a strong desire for harmony and aesthetics. He loves fine music, poetry,  a good art gallery or performing arts.

Last and not least, Mercury in Libra will sharpen our negotiation skills. If the answer to the question “what is in for me” does not satisfy us, we are more likely than usual to take action (Libra is a Cardinal sign after all) and do something about it: discuss, fight and make up with our spouse, get things straight with our business partner, ask the boss for a promotion. The good news for the spouse, business partner or the boss is that Libra in Mercury will also make us reflect on “what is in for the other”. The magic of negotiation happens when we truly understand our needs, we truly understand the other’s needs, and then we agree on what is the proper ratio of “give and take” to have happy and healthy relationships.