August was the month that witnessed the exit of the 'dog days' that began July 3rd, and the beginning of the 'Cat Nights' that began on August 17th.
The Dog days, marked the 40 day period of warmest of the summer days, beginning on July 3rd and astrologically heralded in by the dog star Sirius' helical rising in the morning. The dog days ended on August 11th when Sirius shifted out of the spotlight, making room for the Cat nights.
The Cat nights are the period following the dangerous Dog Days. It is a period of respite from the heat, and of increased abundance. The Cat nights began on August 17th and ran until September 16th.
On the heels of these solar driven cycles of scarcity and opportunity, arrives Mercury preparing for retrograde. Let the trembling commence.
People get so weird just thinking about mercury going retrograde they forget to assess the 'gift' or lesson within... Andrew Smith writes in his article http://www.cosmicintelligenceagency.com/2014/09/preparing-for-the-third-mercury-retrograde-of-2014/ about the retrograde phases... the stages that occur when a planet retrogrades. His article is written well, explaining very clearly the stages of retrograde action,and even attempting to give lay-people a perspective of the offerings of the retrograde movements through the cosmos.
Yet what is disconcerting is the disconnect between what is clearly felt by those that perceive energy, and the message of what a retrograde is all about. This fear of disruption of the mundane is so great that many people ask me, the minute something feels wonky "is Mercury retrograde".
While I applaud more people becoming aware of stellar activities and how they effect us on the mundane level and hopefully on a deeper level of our psyche, I have found more often that they (the collective, fear filled masses) become so filled with panic at the impending doom of the possibility of having their activities, forward movement, or desires, thwarted or delayed on any level they miss the message, the gift entirely. As if the opportunity for taking a moment before taking an action was a bad thing...
I believe the fear mindset around planetary "Ah Ha's" is rooted in the comfort of navigating through the world and lives in a rote and completely unconscious manner. When we are 'told' by the universe that now we are entering a time that requires a more 'deliberate' and conscious execution of our words, actions (fill in the blanks)... people lose their immediate gratifying minds.
How many will heed the information found in Andrews article, or for that matter the information from any seasoned Astrologer that tells them that the effects of any retrograde are governed by your own chart and the relationship to the planet going retrograde, as well as the placement of the retrograde planet on the date of retrograde?
How many will check into the energy of the retrograde, and turn their inquisitiveness inward, examining their own motivations, thoughts, histories, selves.. No... because the only thing they hear as the word retrograde swirls around their mental cavity is 'be aware', 'check yourself', 'pay attention.... most importantly 'be present'.. Another pet peeve, since we are sharing is why do people only care about Mercury?
There are more planets that offer far more disruption in our lives than Mercury when they go retrograde. Take Uranus, which can hose us on a global scale through the shut down of power (our personal power as well as the plug in kind), and technology (and who isn't using technology?) ... or how about Pluto, or the asteroid Chiron? Talk about taking you down to the foundation of your soul, your very being.. those two stellar objects will.....
Neptune retrograde may stimulate our dreams (which I find very helpful personally), but it also brings to light the areas where we lie to ourselves, or are unable to see things clearly, making us vulnerable to situations where we may be lied to... So, yes we need to watch the contents of contracts signed... but when should we not pay attention to that?... and yes we really do need to check the words departing our lips... but again when do we not need to do that either?
The action of the retrograde:
The shadow phase is also known as the stationary phase. It is where the planet, or sub-planet, or asteroid seems to have stopped moving. The planet appears to be neither moving forward, nor backward.
It is this stage of movement (or lack of) that can offer us a great opportunity, if we are self reflective by nature. Because this is precursor to the period where we need to turn the action of the planet/asteroid inward, shining the light where we do not typically shine the light.
This stopped place tells us we are entering a period where the areas governed by the retrograding planet need to be examined within us... This still point says sort out where our personal work will be... if it is Mercury then it is about how we communicate... but what does that mean?
Mercury in Pisces behave completely different that Mercury in Aries, as does Mercury in Scorpio (where my natal mercury is, and where this October retrograde will be turning from)..
The still point can happen with the planet in a different sign than it will be in for the retrograde... What does that mean?
Well, if the stationary placement is in Virgo (like it is currently and will be in during most of the shadow or still point) then it speaks to us about our need for structured communication, our need to categorize, to box, assign labels to the information we receive and disseminate to others. It also speaks to us about how communication or lack of it affects our health. Maybe we find conversation nerve wracking, or maybe we over think what we need to say.
Whether these are our normal modes of communicating, this focus will be triggered during a transit (planet moving into a set point). If you have a natal Virgo Mercury, it will surly offer you an opportunity to examine your communication needs, not always gracefully if you choose to not pay attention.
With stationary Mercury in Virgo you may notice in general everyone needing clarity, concreteness, clean and clear categories in their conversations. If we are not derailed during the shadow phase then we are better prepared to do the work during the retrograde period. The shadow phase simply prepares us for the 'work' part which is the true retrograde.
Mercury in Scorpio... that is where our retrograde will be occurring. What does that mean? Do you know anyone with a natal Mercury in Scorpio? They 'know' what you really mean, they can smell bullshit from across the universe and can ferret out the truth in any situation... They can also go to the darkest of places to find that which is hidden.. the places that are too terrifying to imagine... they can write mysteries, or complex papers on the mystifying aspects of the psyche.... and when they talk to you, they are actually talking to your soul, not your mundane, rooted in ordinary reality self....
So, this retrograde Mercury in Scorpio offers us an opportunity as we step toward the dark time of the year... to go into the dark, and ferret out the deep motivations that drive our communication style.. If we are clever and daring we may take this opportunity to recognize and partnership this retrograde with the shamanesque power of retrograde Chiron. Opening up the possibility of healing some very old wounds, or reconnecting with estranged friends and family........