Tag Archives: Mercury retrograde

Weekly Forecast June 9: Neptune Retrograde, Full Moon in Sagittarius

Crossing. © Pat Paquette, 2014.

Crossing. © Pat Paquette, 2014.

I’m B-A-A-A-A-a-a-a-ck.

Actually, I’m not entirely back. Even though I moved only a few miles from my former home, it feels as though I’ve been sent through the teleporter, and all the pieces haven’t reassembled yet on the other side. And with Mercury retrograde, there’s a transporter accident waiting to happen.

Moving with Mercury retrograde has been quite educational. Or maybe I should say, “reaffirming.” I’ve experienced most of the classic manifestations, including mix-ups and delays. I’d planned to be done by June 2, but it took until yesterday Continue reading

Weekly Forecast May 26: New Moon in Gemini, Venus Enters Taurus

Begonias.  © Pat Paquette.

Begonias. © Pat Paquette.

This past week has been weird, almost like a Mercury retrograde period, but with more irritation.

Since Friday, Mercury has been in the “shadow” period before his next retrograde begins on June 7. Sometimes we experience the manifestations of the retrograde during the run-up. Many of you have noted that in the past. I think that will be all the more true this time, with Mars just coming out of retrograde and moving back toward a T-square with Uranus and Pluto. Both Mercury and Mars are moving very slowly (what it looks like from here on Earth), with corresponding events such as delays in transportation, missed and confused communications, errors in telephone and online orders, and so forth. Continue reading

Weekly Forecast February 17: Sun Enters Pisces, North Node Enters Libra

Detail of the zodiac window in the Chartres Cathedral. Image credit: Vassil, Wikipedia.

Detail of the zodiac window in the Chartres Cathedral. Image credit: Vassil, Wikipedia.

This week brings a couple of significant shifts, with the Sun moving from scientific Aquarius to mystical Pisces. Also, the lunar North Node leaves Scorpio, where it has been since late August 2012, and moves into Libra.

All the signs of the zodiac have a “positive” side and a “negative” side (from the human perspective), but none is as polarized as Pisces. Yet, it is also the sign of unity consciousness, where duality dissolves and the illusion of separateness disappears.

I like to point out that Pisces isn’t the Fish, but the Fishes. There are two of them, tied together and swimming in opposite directions – well, at least that’s the traditional explanation. Continue reading

Weekly Forecast February 10: Sun Square Saturn, Full Moon in Leo

Leo in love. © Pat Paquette, 2014.

Leo in love. © Pat Paquette, 2014.

This week’s Full Moon in Leo falls on Valentine’s Day – fitting, since Leo is the sign of the heart.

The Full Moon always pairs opposite signs and focuses our awareness on opposing ways of being. With the Sun in Aquarius and the Moon in Leo, Friday’s Full Moon highlights the concept of the collective and team effort, versus individual identity and self-expression.

The Olympics are a perfect example. There are athletes who compete for championship in individual sports, and they often go home as national heroes. But they also are part of a team, and their goal is not just a personal win, but to help bring victory to the entire team and honor to their country.

For the past several weeks, cardinal energies have Continue reading

Weekly Forecast February 3: Mercury Retrograde, Ceres Enters Scorpio

Artist's conception of Ceres. Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

Artist’s conception of Ceres. Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

Anyone feeling a little fuzzy headed? I’m having trouble writing a coherent sentence, and I’m definitely slow.

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,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast January 27: New Moon in Aquarius, Venus Direct

Chinese New Year Poetry, by Peter Morgan.

Chinese New Year Poetry, by Peter Morgan.

Right on cue, the news headlines are increasingly dramatic as we head into another cardinal T-square this week.

Retrograde Jupiter has been approaching opposition with Pluto, and he’ll also form an exact square with Uranus in late February. That means we’re under the influence of this volatile configuration yet again, and for the entire month. Mercury turns retrograde on February 6, adding to the disruption in the weeks ahead.

I suppose the good news is that we’ve been in such disarray that we’re used to its being the rule rather than the exception. Besides that, many of us have been in need of positive change for a long time now, and there are indications that we can realize some of what we’ve been hoping for while planetary energies are in such a state of flux. Although a little stability would be comforting right about now, it’s not compatible with the major shakeups that need to happen for us to get where we want to go. Likewise, the changes we want to see in the world can’t happen without turbulence.

Thursday’s New Moon in Aquarius is a perfect setup for positive developments to emerge from disorder. Not only is Aquarius the sign of innovation and unconventional ideas, but the New Moon makes a dynamic sextile with Uranus, the ruler of Aquarius. In other words, the New Moon provides an outlet for the combative energies of the T-square. You can see it easily in the chart; look for the blue line emanating from the apex of the triangle.

New Moon in Aquarius

Click on image to enlarge

The other two blue lines in the chart connect Jupiter and Pluto to Chiron. I’ve been writing for some time about the Pluto-Chiron sextile, which has been in effect since early 2012 and represents transformation and healing of deep wounds, in individuals and humanity as a whole. The trine from Jupiter to Chiron provides an additional boost. I know it doesn’t seem like humans have learned much in 5,000 years and that we’re an inherently violent species, but statistics show otherwise. On the whole, we’re getting smarter and more peaceful. Then, you’d never know it reading news headlines written to maximize advertising revenue. Even though we’re smarter overall, “Suicide Bomb Kills 30” still gets more readers than “Man Saves Baby in Bombing Attack” (he might get a mention in the 18th paragraph).

This New Moon also holds the potential for rewards missed at the difficult New Moon in Capricorn on January 1. Usually, the New Moon begins a new cycle, with a culmination, resolution, or landmark event at the Full Moon. However, that New Moon was all about endings, and the Full Moon in Cancer on January 15 was more about clearing space for something new to develop. This New Moon is much more promising, and new doors should start opening. What those doors lead you to depends on where the New Moon falls in your natal chart.

Also, Venus has been retrograde since December 21, which corresponds to some delays, especially regarding finances and relationship matters. Venus turns direct on Friday. Whatever might have been stalled will be freed up to move forward. Venus stations direct in close conjunction with Pluto, so she’s also part of the cardinal T-square. This pair signifies intense desire, especially for money or sex. However, Capricorn is frugal, practical, and patient, with the ability to control primal urges. If you’ve had to let go of something or if you’ve been enduring excruciating delays, the shift after Venus begins moving forward could be startling.
Earlier on Friday, the opposition from Jupiter to Pluto is exact. A few hours later, Mercury enters Pisces, although he’ll only dip his foot in the water before turning retrograde on February 6 and returning to Aquarius on February 12. I’ll have more about that next week.

Chinese New Year 2014 3Considering how challenging the New Moon on January 1 was, this week’s New Moon could feel more like New Year’s. As it so happens, it’s the Chinese New Year, marking the beginning of the Year of the Wood Horse. The last Wood Horse year was 1954; it takes 60 years to cycle through the twelve Chinese animal signs and five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood). The Western astrological sign that corresponds to the Horse is fast-paced Gemini. I have no idea what that means in terms of forecasting 2014, except that Gemini is an Internet wiz, so we can Google it and find a forecast from a real Chinese astrologer.

May all your wishes be fulfilled,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast January 20: Mercury Trines Mars, Enters Pre-Retrograde Shadow

Facing power. © Pat Paquette, 2014.

Facing power. © Pat Paquette, 2014.

Astrologically, there’s not much going on this week, so we should have some breathing space to adjust to developments over the past month and make room for what’s to come.

The only major planetary aspects this week are a trine from Mercury to Mars on Friday and a square from Mercury to Saturn on Saturday. The Mercury-Mars trine is perfect for discussing relationship issues in a detached manner with a good amount of give-and-take. I suggest you do this now, because Mercury enters into the shadow period mid-week ahead of his station retrograde on February 6.

Many of us avoid talking about things that bother us, because we want to give the impression that we’re cool, we can let the little things roll off our backs, and we can allow others their quirks. If you truly can do that, go for it. But more often than not, the little things start adding up, and then you’ve got one complicated mess that’s hard to untangle. It’s usually better to talk about the small things and air your concerns while you can still be cool about it. Also, the risk of misunderstandings increases after Mercury turns retrograde.

That said, you may meet with some resistance this week, causing one or both of you to “back off” without resolution. Although you can’t force anyone to talk, look for an opening, even though it might take some work. If you do end up in an argument, do your best to find a compromise – and remember, “compromise” typically means that you don’t get everything you want. If you can’t live with it, you’ll need to spend some time alone to reflect.

Saturday’s Mercury-Saturn square is good for solitude and gaining insight into sticky problems. The downside is that it can be depressing, all the more so with the Moon conjunct Saturn less than two hours later. You’ll need to be mindful not to automatically grab onto the worst-case scenario. Relationships go through rough patches, especially when one person is working to change and grow. Try to focus on the overall balance in the relationship. If you’re not getting what you need, is it because your relationship is a one-way street, or is it just going through a natural fluctuation? Some people are able to maintain a constant state of give and take, but others maintain the balance over time, with periods in which one or the other needs more support.

The Mercury-Saturn square also favors mental work, especially regarding finances. The weekend is a great time to round up your tax documents to give to your accountant. If you do your own taxes, get working on it now. The reward could be an early refund. If it turns out that you owe, at least you’ll know so that you can budget ahead for April. Essentially, any task requiring concentration and focus will be easier under this influence.

The most difficult day of the week is Wednesday, when the Moon in Libra revisits the challenges of the New Moon on January 1 and the Full Moon on January 15. The charts for both of those astrological events contain intense cardinal energy (the cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn), which represents breakdowns, loss, and sudden and fast change. There could be some repeats of recent situations and possibly some new developments.

As we’re swept along with the tide, it’s hard to see where we are or where we’re headed, let alone the purpose to it all. Change by nature is disruptive, and change on a planetary scale is accompanied by widespread tension, fear, and anxiety. Even those like me who have a lot of fixed energy in their charts and are normally able to remain grounded are experiencing a lot of anxiety, much of it due to the inevitable changes (we fixed signs have a hard time with change) and the gross uncertainty about what lies ahead. I know, that’s ironic coming from an astrologer. All I can say is that it’s like meteorologists predicting tornadoes. They can see the big storm coming, and they know that conditions are right, but they don’t know how many tornadoes will touch down, where, or how much damage they’ll cause.

Notwithstanding, I think that aspects mid-week will help us recognize the path we’ve been on and to see it as a continuum. And that recognition may be precisely what helps us adjust and regain some balance. The next lunar cycle contains the same turbulent energies, but also holds the potential for some good news, innovative solutions, and long-overdue rewards. And remember, Pluto remains in positive aspect to Chiron, so the undercurrent of healing energies is ever-present. The healing process can be painful, but it eventually leads to regeneration.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast November 25: Mercury Conjunct Saturn, Sun Trine Uranus

Late fall sun. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Late fall sun. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Oh, for a little boredom.

What I really mean by “boredom” is “nothing to do.” That may sound like hell for a Millennial, but it’s music to the ears of a worn-out Boomer. We’ve been in high-gear seemingly forever, running from one crisis to another and rushing from one project to the next without a break. At times, we’ve been spinning our wheels, frustrated that we’ve expended so much energy without anything to show for it.

I concede that I have a higher-than-average need for solitude and time to reflect, but most of us need a lot more downtime than we’re getting. In some cases, the lack of downtime is due to overbooking or chasing after things we really don’t need, in the process losing what truly would sustain us. Never is that more apparent than at this time of year, when we’re under so much pressure to shop ’til we drop and show our love for each other with vast quantities of consumer goods.

Astrologically, we have another week in which we can wind down a bit if we choose. Like last week, there aren’t any hugely significant planetary aspects. This will come as a relief to anyone still struggling with the fallout from events during the past two months, if not the past year.

Moreover, the Moon is in the last quarter, a natural time to finish what’s on our plate and prepare for a new cycle. The New Moon on December 2 is a good time to start new projects, but for the rest of the coming week, R&R is the order of the day. In the United States, many people will have a four-day break, with Thanksgiving and the following day off. Even those who have to work on Friday probably will have a lighter load.

Monday begins with a conjunction of Mercury and Saturn, the third and final contact of Mercury’s most-recent retrograde cycle. Three-part aspects typically unfold as an issue that needs attention, a crisis period, and final resolution. The first conjunction occurred on October 8. The second occurred on October 29, during the high-stress period between eclipses. The conjunction on Monday occurs with Mercury direct and the eclipses receding into the past. Circumstances have changed a lot in one month. Mercury represents rational thinking, while Saturn symbolizes structure, commitment, and durability. This is about finding workable, long-term answers to difficult problems and challenges. Solutions that eluded you before are possible now.

Mercury advances to sextile Venus on Wednesday and trine Jupiter on Thursday (late Wednesday in western time zones). As the week goes on, you could find more than one elegant solution to a problem. The only caution is that you remain fairly discipline and conservative. For example, if you suddenly get a big chunk of money, resist the temptation to blow it all on Black Friday sales.

Venus and Jupiter are opposed on Thursday, which is Thanksgiving in the United States. This is the classic over-indulgence aspect. On one hand, you could be presented with a feast that is unusually abundant and spectacular. On the other, the temptation to over-do it will be hard to resist. Likewise, Friday shopping could get totally out of control. Retailers likely will be happy, but do keep your receipts in case you go overboard and later wonder what on earth you were thinking. Impulse buying is going to be even more rampant given the trine between the Sun and Uranus on Saturday.

The Sun-Uranus trine could occur with some other surprises and sudden changes. Congress is adjourned until December 9, so Washington will be fairly quiet. That said, the Obamacare fiasco hasn’t settled down yet. There could be unexpected developments there. Or, related events could involve foreign heads of state. Impulsive decisions and sudden turn-arounds are the signature of this aspect, and I would expect them to be more positive than negative.

Throughout the week, Ceres makes a T-square with Uranus and Pluto. Astrologers are still collecting data on Ceres in individual and mundane charts, but there does seem to be a solid connection between Ceres transits and environmental issues. I’ll be watching next week’s headlines for related events. If you happen to come upon a story you think is relevant, please post a comment or drop me a quick note.

It’s also worth mentioning that Comet ISON reaches perihelion on Thanksgiving. I haven’t seen it yet, because I don’t have a clear view of the eastern horizon before dawn. I’ve read that you can see it without a telescope, provided there isn’t much light pollution where you live. On Monday and Tuesday, it will be near the conjunction of Mercury and Saturn. After perihelion, ISON will disappear into the sun’s glare. If it doesn’t break up, it will re-emerge in December and could be easier to see. So far, it doesn’t seem that this visitor has carried a “message,” but perhaps that will change if and when it becomes more visible.

Sunday (December 1) could feel like somewhat of a letdown, either because you’re shopped out or partied too hard for three days. In addition to head and body aches, some people feel a bit depressed the day after a party. Take it easy in the morning and drink lots of water. Aspects in the evening are more conducive to going out and having one last bit of fun before returning to a fast-paced work week.

In the meantime, I’ll be grateful to have another relatively quiet week in which to reflect, regroup, and test my recipe for a dairy and gluten-free pumpkin pie.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast October 28: Uranus Square Pluto, Solar Eclipse in Scorpio

Deep woods. © Osk Ingad Alden, 2013.

Deep woods. © Osk Ingad Alden, 2013.

Ghosts, goblins, and witches are everywhere this week. Skeletons pop out of graves (and probably some closets, too).

In any given year, the last week of October is dominated by themes related to death, which is the dark domain of Scorpio and its modern ruler, Pluto. For thousands of years, people have felt something mysterious about this time of year, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and we can peer into other dimensions of time and space. The dead “reappear,” and we may even get glimpses of our own past lives.

However, this is not just any year, astrologically speaking. The coming week is arguably the most intense of 2013, with an exact square between Uranus and Pluto, a total eclipse of the Sun in Scorpio, and Mercury retrograde in the sign of death and transformation. This is Pluto on steroids.

There’s no question that we’re in scary times. The world seems to be disintegrating; civilization as we know it is falling apart. An image comes to mind from when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest. We don’t get much snow here, but winters are cold and wet. One day, walking into town, I noticed a dead raccoon in the ditch. Normally, animal removal crews would have cleaned it up, but it remained there. Weeks went by. It struck me as very strange that it wasn’t decomposing. Then, literally overnight, the outer shell collapsed, revealing a maggot-ridden mass rotting from the inside out. Within a week, all that was left was a layer of melted fur clinging to the grass.

There have been times in history when civilizations were destroyed by outside forces such as invading armies or natural disasters. But many slowly collapsed from within, usually due to corruption. Rot and corruption are synonymous. I often think of the raccoon when I observe how forces of corruption are rotting our system, feeding on the structure until, one day, the whole thing will collapse.

Saturn, ruler of Capricorn and the planet most often associated with structure, has been in Scorpio for just over a year. That means we’ve have Saturn in the sign of Pluto and Pluto in the sign of Saturn, a relationship called “mutual reception.” Under this rare configuration, corruption becomes more rampant, acting like force of voracious maggots.

At the same time, Uranus is squaring Pluto in a cycle that averages nearly 130 years from conjunction to conjunction. Uranus in a square with Pluto represents rebellion against authority or a sudden event that shakes up the power structure. A corrupt system won’t be able to withstand the challenge.

So, here we have a rare convergence of a Uranus-Pluto square and mutual reception from Saturn to Pluto. Add to that a solar eclipse and Mercury retrograde, both in Scorpio, and you’ve got the astrological equivalent of a Pacific Northwest winter. Oh, and did I mention an approaching comet?

The current Uranus-Pluto square began in June 2012, and it extends to March 2015, with seven exact alignments during that time. The exact square this Friday is the fourth of seven, so we’re exactly halfway through. As it also happens, we’re halfway through Mercury’s retrograde phase on Thursday. Although each retrograde seems to have its own rhythm, I’ve observed during some cycles that nothing much happens in the first half of the retrograde period, and then all hell breaks loose at the midway point. Likewise, Ray Merriman writes that the halfway mark for the Uranus-Pluto square tends to be the crisis period.

We’re certainly poised for such a crisis. Although the United States narrowly avoided default in a congressional deal that included restarting the government after a two-week shutdown, it’s not the end of the story. There are many possible breaking points, but one that comes immediately to mind is further cuts in entitlement programs such as food stamps and Social Security, both of which provide safety nets for the poor and elderly. Combined with the low minimum wage and high rate of unemployment, we’ve got a ticking time bomb in this country. We can be fairly sure that the plutocrats know this. So far, they’ve been able to count on infighting among the citizenry over who gets the bones with the most scraps of meat. But their thugs are ready, just in case people should unite and try to storm the Bastille.

Scorpio also is concerned with the nation’s wealth. In Greek mythology, Hades was lord of the underworld, but he also was called Plouton, meaning “giver of wealth.” The meaning could be quite literal, in that gems and minerals, a source of great wealth, came from underground. Incidentally, that’s how we get the words “plutocrat” and “plutocracy,” which means rulership by a small number of people who control all the wealth – a corrupt system by definition.

New Moon Eclipse in Scorpio

Click on image to enlarge

The above themes are amplified by the solar eclipse on November 3, which falls in close conjunction with Saturn and sextile Pluto. Mars, the ruler of Scorpio before Pluto was discovered in 1930, also makes a sextile with the Sun and Moon by exact degree. The trine from Mars to Pluto is exact on Thursday. Sextiles and trines are supportive aspects and provide paths to release pent-up energies. Mars in Virgo supports practical measures for necessary reforms. As it so happens, Virgo is associated with healthcare as well as computer programming, so hopefully we’ll get some good news about the Affordable Health Care website. Mercury retrograde periods are great for re-doing work and finding the glitches. That said, it remains to be seen how the program is received once people are actually using it.

As I already mentioned, Mercury is halfway through his retrograde cycle on Thursday. Two days earlier, he conjoins Saturn – more reinforcement for themes of breakdown and collapse, especially in financial systems. In the New Moon chart, Mercury is conjunct the North Node by exact degree. Astrologers use the North Node as a pointer to destiny, both in individual and mundane charts. What’s happening now in international economics is going to have long-lasting implications. Decades from now, when geopolitical alignments have shifted, people will look back at this period as critical.

There are several individual aspects over the weekend, but I’ve pretty much covered them above. The only other one I’d like to mention is Monday’s sextile from Pluto to Chiron in Pisces. This is an aspect for deep healing, especially psychological wounds that are so deep we might not even realize they exist. Pisces is associated with the collective unconscious and past-life memories. It’s also the sign of mental health. Due to the retrograde cycles of both planets, Pluto and Chiron are sextile by exact degree from the first week of October through the last week in November. The “conversation” they’re having is quiet but powerful. The New Moon eclipse falls in a trine with Chiron. This is yet another indication that, while intense, this week’s aspects hold a huge potential for bringing us toward wholeness, within ourselves as well as in how we connect within our communities and to the planet.

The thing about deep healing, of course, is that it requires going into the dark places we’d rather not venture. That’s the basic premise of the mythological underworld journey. The monsters we find there can be every bit as scary as the Medusa or the Minotaur, and the treasures we find can be worth their weight in gold.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast October 21: Mercury Retrograde, Sun Enters Scorpio

© Pat Paquette, 2013.

© Pat Paquette, 2013.

Wet chill and dead leaves clinging to the trees are sure signs that we’re about to enter Scorpio territory. Or, I should say, that it’s about to get more intense.

Saturn and the lunar North Node have been in Scorpio for just over a year. Mercury is about to go retrograde in Scorpio on Monday. With the Sun moving into Scorpio this week, it hits us that we’re entering the darkest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the mythological descent into hell, one of the oldest stories in history.

We did get some good news last week … sort of. The U.S. Congress voted to reopen the government and raise the debt limit. But I don’t know anyone who’s overjoyed about it. We’re feeling wrung out from the stress and fear, and angry that we’ve been played yet again. The astrology of this period is indeed intense, and so I couldn’t dismiss the possibility of a default and all the implications. But the entire time, I was thinking that this was just more political theater, with a script written like a Hollywood movie in which the hero beats death at the eleventh hour to save the girl and kill the monster. And the writers made sure they created an opening for the sequel. Like Aliens, maybe. We thought the horrific monster was slain, only to find that there’s an entire nest of them, and they multiply like – well, like insects.

The primal fear for one’s very survival is a Scorpio concern, and in true Scorpio fashion, it can be manipulated by those hoarding the money and power in order to hang onto what they have – because they, too, fear for their survival. Tyrants, bullies, and control freaks typically don’t see themselves as perpetrators, but rather as victims and targets. Paranoia is another Scorpio trait.

Scorpio simultaneously draws us in and terrifies us with its mysterious power, which ultimately is the power of life and death. It requires us to let go, without any hint of what might be on the other side if we do. There are more taboos associated with this sign than any other. Thus, the powerful myth of the descent into hell. Usually, it’s portrayed as the “hero’s journey,” but I always like to point out that one of the earliest stories ever written down was about the goddess Inanna. Not coincidentally, she was sometimes portrayed with a scorpion beneath her wedding bed. All of these stories, by the way, originated with the stars, constellations, and the changing seasons. The point of the underworld journeys is that the hero or heroine returns with magical powers, usually the power to heal. That is what we often forget. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the dark drama.

I’ve written a lot about the healing aspect of Scorpio, especially in reference to Ophiuchus, the so-called “thirteenth” constellation of the zodiac. Ophiuchus isn’t an astrological sign and never will be, despite all the silliness in the media a few years back. But we might consider it a “hidden” side of Scorpio. Depending on how you calculate it – and this is a tricky business – Ophiuchus accounts for roughly two thirds of Scorpio, from about 10 to 29 degrees. So, while the Sun and the North Node currently are in Scorpio, Saturn and Mercury are in the “Ophiuchus degrees.” Moreover, Saturn is in a sextile with Chiron, named for a mythological centaur with connections to Ophiuchus.

So, as we head into the darkest time, it’s always helpful to remember that this is where we’ll find our real power. It’s cliché by now, but it’s true that to find our power, we first need to discover and own our dark, “shadow” side. In terms of the collective, we’re going through a period in which we’re beginning to understand that humans are capable of horrific cruelty. By definition, that means we all have that potential somewhere deep inside of us.

Mercury turns retrograde on Monday at 18°24′ Scorpio. He’ll remain in “reverse” until November 10. In classical mythology, Mercury (Greek Hermes) guided souls to the underworld. He was the only god who could come and go freely. We experience this phenomenon every day in sleeping and waking – slipping into the unconscious and returning to consciousness when we wake up. The dream state is where we can encounter our deep psyche, although the images sometimes require a lot of work to translate into comprehensible messages. While Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio, we have a special opportunity to connect with parts of ourselves that may be hidden or buried.

Overall, this Mercury retrograde could be difficult, due to its timing with the eclipses and the Uranus-Pluto square, which is exact on November 1. Watch the headlines for scandals and state secrets exposed. It’s possible that some of what’s discovered could cause a serious public backlash, if not outright protests.

As I mentioned in a previous post, take precautions to ensure that your own secrets are safe. Double-check that you have the right e-mail addresses before hitting “send” and that you’re sending faxes to the right number. All the usual cautions apply: Back up your computer data, and take special care with your cell phone. At this point, you should have important business wrapped up, especially contractual agreements. Of course, we don’t always have a choice, and businesses that depend on contracts can’t just stop for three weeks three times a year. With Mercury in Scorpio, it’s possible that there are hidden terms and conditions, so be sure to read the fine print and ask lots of questions. If you don’t understand the answers, keep asking.

The Sun enters Scorpio on Wednesday at 2:10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time – late Tuesday on the West Coast of the United States and points farther west. I mentioned dreams above. Pay special attention toward the end of the week, as the Sun will be in a trine with Neptune in Pisces, another sign associated with the deep psyche and ancient memories. These can include glimpse of past-life experiences. In general, the veil between the worlds begins to lift in late October. Some of what comes into our field of conscious awareness could be shocking in its intensity.

We’ll also have a very brief revisit of the summer’s grand water trine when the Moon in Cancer forms a trine with the Sun and Neptune on Thursday. Think back to what was going on for you starting in July. It probably wasn’t a one-time event that was neatly concluded in a month’s time, but more likely an ongoing situation that will continue to unfold. Later this week, you may get hints of future developments.

I want to end by saying that although next week’s astrological aspects are the most turbulent of the year, we’re in that zone now. Events associated with eclipses, especially powerful ones, can manifest a month or more in advance, and up to three months afterward. Some astrologers extend that period to six months, depending on a host of factors. If it’s any consolation, most of you already know what issues you’re dealing with in this eclipse cycle, since we’ve been in it for a year. Put another way, even though the other shoe may be about to drop, at least we know which shoe we’re talking about and approximately where it might land.

Much love and courage to all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.