As the week begins, Mercury is slowing down to station retrograde on Thursday, just a degree shy of Neptune in Pisces. Traffic moves slowly, whether it’s cars on the road, bytes on the Internet, or electrical impulses in your brain.
Then, slowing down can be a good thing.
In astrology, Neptune is the planet of sleep and dreams, and Mercury is the planet of communications, including communications between the conscious and the unconscious. One of the times when we can be aware of that connection is between wakefulness and sleep and vice versa – the hypnagoic and hypnopompic states of consciousness. Often, we get ideas, visions, and solutions to problems in that fleeting space between worlds. It’s not hard to understand how mythological Mercury (Greek Hermes) was the only god who could come and go freely in and out of the underworld – and swiftly, by virtue of his winged sandals.
We don’t always remember our dreams, but when we do, it’s often in that in-between place. That’s why it’s important to record dreams as soon as you wake up. Dreams can contain important symbols that help us understand what our unconscious is processing, and that knowledge can be powerful. When we’re awake, the conscious mind takes over, and most of us lose access to that power. With Mercury stationed so close to Neptune in his own sign of Pisces, the “signal” is stronger. The flip side is that it might be hard to stay awake during the day, and concentrating could be a real challenge. However, if you start to doze, you’re in that in-between state and have even more opportunities for creative ideas and visions to surface into your conscious mind. I’ve also experienced long-distance contact with friends in that space.
Mercury will be retrograde until February 28, the last day of the month, meaning that most of February will be slow going. It’s a good time for reviewing, revising, rewriting – anything that requires going back over something. Although he returns to Aquarius, Mercury stations direct the day before the New Moon in Pisces, so we might get messages similar to the kind that come up this week. The Messenger returns to Pisces on March 17 and conjoins Neptune on March 22.
On Monday, Ceres enters Scorpio, and she’ll be in a trine with Mercury on February 12 and a conjunction with the lunar North Node on February 11. She won’t quite reach a trine with Neptune before turning retrograde on February 27, and she’ll return to Libra in late March. In the meantime, it’s worth looking at what this could mean. I’m still observing the role of Ceres in mundane astrology, as I don’t think we’re sure yet what her influence might be. She has been prominent in charts for environmental disasters and events relating to the food supply, which is what we might expect, give the role of Ceres in classical mythology as a Mother Earth figure associated with crops and vegetation in general. As you may recall, Demeter, the Greek equivalent of Roman Ceres, lost her daughter Persephone to Hades/Pluto, who kept her in the underworld for several months out of the year. During that time, Demeter was so depressed that nothing grew.
In modern astrology, Pluto rules Scorpio, sign of death and regeneration. However, the goddess Ceres also was associated with cycles of death and rebirth, and so we might look for evidence that dwarf planet Ceres has something to do with cycles of nature and other cyclical occurrences, such as the birth, rise, and fall of civilizations. Although Ceres couldn’t go into the underworld to get her daughter – only Mercury could do that – she was the only deity who could negotiate with Pluto (essentially her son-in-law) to get what she wanted. That gives Ceres a special relationship with Scorpio. During the negotiation period, she was mad as hell. It’s typical for people coming out of depression and grief to get angry before they can heal. Anger, by the way, is the function of Mars, ancient ruler of Scorpio and co-ruler with Pluto in modern astrology. Educated people laugh at how our ancient ancestors thought disasters were the work of angry gods, but I contend that it wasn’t entirely superstition; they were just personifying invisible energies that otherwise defied description. Astrology is a way to “see” and measure these energies.
As for depression, it’s growing worldwide at an alarming rate. When you’re depressed, you can barely do what needs to be done in a day, with no time or energy left over to protest abuse of government power and other societal injustices. I believe this is one of the reasons that more people aren’t out in the streets protesting the never-ending giveaways to the rich and cuts for the poor and middle class – a repeating cycle, incidentally. I don’t know what it will take for people to start getting angry enough to take back their government. Shortages of food and water and sometimes cited as the trigger. Because we don’t know enough about how Ceres functions in mundane astrology, it’s hard to predict if and when this might happen. However, we’ll want to monitor her position in the charts.
Ceres will return to Scorpio in August and will remain there until October. However, it will be interesting to observe world events in February and March to look for correlations. This can be tricky, because there are so many planetary energies in play at any given time that it’s difficult to distinguish which might be the main signatures for an event. I’ll be watching for possible correlations to her conjunction with the lunar North Node on February 11, plus or minus a few days.
A couple of other interesting facts about dwarf planet Ceres: Recently she was discovered to have water. Scientists were caught off guard, as they didn’t expect the bodies in the asteroid belt to contain water. What they think they’ve found is what they would have expected of a comet. There also is some speculation that Ceres might have had different origins than the other asteroids and that she and Pluto might be more related than anyone thought.
Those are the only major astrological events this week, but we’re still within the influence period of a strong cardinal T-square as Jupiter moves toward an exact square with Uranus later this month. With Mercury’s turn retrograde, we might expect to see headlines that refer back to events and situations last August. One event that comes immediately to mind is the chemical attack in Syria on August 21. Supposed proof that the attack was launched by the troops of President Bashar al-Assad is now acknowledged to be less certain, and yet conservatives are still calling for a military strike. Talk about déjà vu.
Much love and courage to all,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.