Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Mercury Retrograde in Leo


July 22, 2005 (with two charts)


Dear Earthlings and Other Space Critters:


This is a pretty big week for astrology; on Thursday, we had the second Capricorn Full Moon in a row, which is probably spilling over into the news and sending even the most calm people out howling at night.


Then we have the Sun going in to Leo on Friday, making an exact conjunction to Saturn and an opposition to Chiron; and we have Mercury going retrograde on the 23rd. With all the aspects and changes of the next few days, the world and our lives are likely to be particularly interesting, as we get our first taste of Saturn in Leo being activated by many aspects involving Leo.


When the astrology gets like this, keep your cool. Pay attention. It's like being on the highway when there are many on- and off-ramps clustered in the same place.


Meanwhile, I've written tons on Mercury retrograde. Here is a Google link to the 303 references I found (ridiculous, I know, but that's my job). There must be more about Mercury Rx in the archives of this column.


Today, for my 304th commentary, I will say this.


Mercury retrograde is normal. The reason this planet gets the "messenger of the gods" designation is because it shuttles around the sky like this three or four times a year. It's a cyclical process, and I look at the retrograde phases as a time to do a little less, slow down progress a bit, and attend to past business with more focus. This makes room for new ideas. The mind rests a little, and that's a really good thing.


Remember that every Mercury retrograde is different. Each time it happens, the cosmic pool balls are set up in completely different places all over the table. So it's a unique situation. However, there are few people who view this as a potentially constructive event, in part because there are not so many writers telling us that it is. Often, just a warning is sounded, which is a lopsided view.


We need to start writing and living some new myths about Mercury retrograde. The "don't sign, don't buy" stuff is getting boring. Yes, it's good advice, and make sure your systems are backed up. But I suggest we get creative and put this energy to work for us, and indulge the different viewpoints that it offers. One thing that people are famous for is getting stuck in a perspective. But the astrology changes and Mercury is one of the things that changes the most often and the most dramatically. Fortunately, this planet represents our modes of thought and communication.


Part of why Mercury retrograde is so challenging is because many people are not exactly what you would call flexible, and most are not devoted to creating -- creating whatever. And creating is what this retrograde phase seems to be about.


One way to look at Mercury retrograde is as a LOT of Mercury. The retrograde motion is the result of Mercury passing between the Earth and the Sun, so it's closer to us than normal. And then, at the closest, there is an exact alignment of the Sun, Mercury and the Earth. Two months later, with Mercury direct, there's another alignment, with Earth and Mercury on either side of the Sun. These two mercury-Sun conjunctions are the midpoints in the process; when Mercury conjoins the Sun about 10 days from now, that's midway through the retrograde. When Mercury conjoins the Sun two months from then, that's midway through the direct phase.


Let's look at the charts for Mercury retrograde, set for London. The first chart is for the "station retrograde" and the second is for the "station direct" about three weeks later.


This time around, we have Mercury going retrograde in Leo at the same time as Saturn has just entered Leo, and when the Sun has entered Leo. This is one of those cosmic coincidences, and it's also a lot of Leo. A planetary retrograde within a sign keeps that planet in that sign for an unusually long time, giving us a big does of the energy.


Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, the 11th and 2nd signs from Leo, respectively. Based on that fact, there seems to be some kind of reassessment of the value of resources, and of values (both 2nd house); of the value of ideas (Virgo 2nd); of friends, of aspirations, and of professional wages (all 11th house factors).


There is an influence guiding the generally outgoing nature of Leo inward.


Here is the chart for the station retrograde, set for London:


What do we notice? Look at the Sun-Saturn conjunction in the 1st house. It's those two bits in yellow on the left, right below the horizontal line. Notice the exact opposition to Chiron in Aquarius. Do you see how the Sun, Saturn and Chiron all have degrees beginning with 00? That means they are in an exact aspect that splits one degree.


We find Mercury, in green, a little anticlockwise to the right. Mercury is making a lot of aspects: it's opposing Neptune in Aquarius at the moment, for example. I get "questioning assumptions and illusions" as the interpretation, and we're likely to get a reminder of just how important the presence of Neptune in Aquarius really is. More than any other factor, I think this is the one that's anesthetizing people into stratospheric cluelessness.


However, we may be picking up on the more mysterious side of Neptune, as Mercury, Neptune, and the lunar nodes make what's sometimes called a "mystic rectangle" -- that is, an aspect found in the charts of people with psychic and healing gifts.


Note the late Aquarius Moon sextile Mars. That's an excellent balance of individuality and collective thinking, and the Aquarius Moon has a cool temperament that can apply that Mars energy with some awareness. Note also that the Moon is sitting quite close to the Mars-Pluto midpoint and is actually sextile both.


Venus is prominent, in early Virgo. Uranus in Pisces is trine the ascendant.


Next, here is the chart for where we end up three weeks later:


Looking at the two charts together, what stories do you see? What do you feel developing? Drop us a note if you would like.


Here are some of your questions for the week. And don't forget to check in over at Planet Waves, for our August update, much on Leo and lots of pictures of cats of every shape and size.