Mercury Retrograde and the Art and Science of Astrolocality


My first column in two months begins with another Mercury retrograde cascading down upon us, this time in the sign of Trickster-Traveler -Storyteller Gemini. As always, this is a time when travel delays are immanent, a time to back up our hard drives, a time NOT to sign contracts, attempt to repair vehicles, nor purchase any travel, communication, or computer devices. Also, amidst the pre-summer madness, we may feel scattered in a million directions with Mercury retrograde in its home sign of Gemini, and with Venus, the Goddess of all social affairs occupying the same sign, we may feel pulled to this potluck and that party and that festival. However, if we can direct our minds and energy towards reflection and contemplation, the next 3-4 weeks will be a very productive time for reading, writing, and applying an acute, comprehensive understanding of life's little, but significant synchronicities which propel our spiritual evolution.

UAC - Scenes from The Largest Astrology Conference Ever

My first day in Boulder, Colorado is the day the Sun transits my Ascendant by exact degree. That stellar vitality is radiating the point of first breath, the place of birth from which we ascend, the horizon, the Rising Sign. A cloak of new luminescence emanates from me now, just a week after my "Soular" Return. Each year at our birthday, the Sun returns to the same position as it was when you were born. Based on where you celebrate this special event, an astrologer can cast a special chart which profoundly, accurately describes the year ahead.

I was blessed to magnify my birthday at the largest astrology conference of all time in Denver, Colorado from May 15-20. Over 1000 astrologers of all levels from 44 countries attended. 18 sessions of 15 different tracks, including Mythic Astrology, Financial Astrology, Esoteric, Vedic, Predictive Techniques, World Events, and more kept everyone rushing from one download to the next. Only a group of astrologers could sit around a bar with their laptops all perked up, blissed out sipping cocktails sharing celestial wisdom from every tradition imagined. With long days of overflowing the brains and long nights lubricating the veins, one intoxicating moment flowed into the next. By the last day, everyone was pounding their coffees and lattes, long lines to get recordings of the talks, or last minute book-shopping. The scene reminded me of a festival like Burning Man on its last day, everyone trying to stay awake for one last astral explosion. The conference ended with a panel discussion of this year's election. All 8 astrologers gave their picks for presidential winner and explained how they arrived at their conclusions. But all 8 also emphasized that the birthtimes for all candidates were shady, which could drastically change things. There was also a consensus that this upcoming week's Mercury retrograde and this summer's eclipse could bring in a whole new layer to complicate things, including something with the current administration. The winner, though will he actually take office??, will likely be Barak Obama.

Astrolocality and the Dark Knight of the Soul

This conference, because of my birthday, the connections kindled, and my recent move to Colorado, shimmered with a very special significance. It seemed fitting that there were a number of talks on the Astrology of Conception, Fertility, Pregnancy, and Ancestral Lineage - all subjects I am very passionately interested in and which spoke to my own recent rebirthing from the Dark Night of the Soul. In many mystical traditions, this is the time of dying, the Mortificatio or Putrefactio of Alchemy, whence the Life Force of the Inner Sun is tested in its ability to endure the depths of the underworld. Astrologically, this kind of experience can be represented in many different ways, such as transits from the catalyzing transformer Pluto, the shamanic mentoring of Chiron, or the task-master disciplinarian Saturn. Whoever the planetary agent is, the Dark Night consistently appears the month before one's birthday as well as the month the Sun enters the twelfth house, the unconscious womb of the chart located right before the point of birth on the Ascendant. Because my Sun was in my twelfth house at birth, these events both happen simultaneously for me each year during the month of April.

I was on my way from Arizona to New Mexico to visit sacred sites in solitude and reverence, a positive way of expressing my Saturn transit and my twelfth house Dark Night transits of the Sun. But then it descended upon me - an illness of epic proportions that seeped deep into my core. I was fortunate to meet a few angels who let me crash at their homes in Albuquerque, as I suffered for two weeks in a smoky haze of exhaustion, phlegm, sleeplessness, and uncertainty as to when or if this phantom disease would have mercy on me.

Propped up on pillows with rolls of toilet paper as my best friends beside me, I barely had the strength left to press a few keys on my keyboard. As I attempted to polish up this Winter's musical odysseys, the overwhelming fatigue I felt forced me to observe the creative forces within me. The voices of pressure which shove into the cracks of my soul and say that i must do, that i must make, that i must push forward. Often our moon sign and aspects will unfold our stories of self-defeat and our reactive tendencies.

With a Moon in Virgo, the all-consuming critic complained that I wasn't accomplishing enough, that sickness was now going to delay creative fulfillment even longer, that I may not even make it to my next destination, that I was failing again....

Saturn and the Hermit's Lantern

Where do you go once you have buried the self in this vicious, circular vortex?

In a state of bathtub shivers one night, I realized that sickness is in fact a reminder of the fragility of life. It is a pathway which can open into unconditional acceptance of the present moment. This state of surrender to the mystery can then return us, if we allow it, to the simple gift of breath, and the awe of our infant innocence.

As this acceptance began to circulate through me, I began reflecting on the major illnesses of my life, the collapsed lungs, the metal rod in my leg, the stomach bacteria in India, etc...I realized that many of my great sicknesses appeared in the month just before my birthday, the Dark Night of the Soul, when the vitality of the Sun's life-force is weakened. This confirmed for me my intuition that the Solar Life-force is weakened during this time and extra care must be given to remain vital. I also contemplated my planetary transits and observed that Saturn was squaring my Ascendant, a point which always signifies the body. Saturn was delivering incredible challenges, constrictions, and limitations to the bodily vehicle of my spirit.

And then, an Astrolocality epiphany dawned upon me. When we relocate ourselves on the planet, our natal chart shifts and we are influenced by planets in different proportions. In Albuquerque, the planet Saturn appeared again, within one degree of my IC, the heart-root of the chart, a position which can greatly limit one's movement and bring incredible difficulties to all issues of survival. At this same moment, I remembered that in India, where I had been pummeled by a nasty bacterium, my Sun line had been emphasized. Because my Sun is squared by Saturn, I experienced there, the same sort of health problems which Saturn brought to New Mexico.

In a panic, I decided to return to Phoenix and move away from that Saturn line. Through deep prayer, I returned and within a few days, with plenty of rest, I recovered. Before leaving Arizona, I spent 4 solo days in Payson, Arizona and lived the other side of Saturn - Wisdom through Solitude. From the depths of illness, I invited the integrity of pure being to rebuild me my character in the mirror of nature. I honored the vulnerability of this precious bodily vessel by appreciating it to its fullest - stalking like jaguar upon massive boulders, dancing in staffplay with my shadow, scarring up arms and legs in glorious treeclimbing , and baptizing my self in the cold pools of the waterfall, where I shouted out my confirmation of Life and released what stories, regrets, and resentments no longer served me from the previous thirty years.

I share these tales with you to both honor and humble myself before the harsh, yet transformational power of Saturn, especially in its Return between 28 and 30. I also wish to promote the art and science of Astrolocality, a profound lens of revelation, and a invaluable gift of soul-preparation. What experiences do we want in our lives and which places will support our endeavors? Why have the places we lived or traveled to been colored by our specific experiences there?

Our personal, celestial map will guide us

I continue to feel blessed by the epiphanies which blossom from the heart of the celestial language. I look forward to sharing your own astro-synchronicities which may awaken and heal your soul.

Image by Toptechwriter.US courtesy of Creative Commons license.