Written by Joe G. Santos
"As above so below." We most likely have all heard this saying at least once in our lives. These contrasting realms incessantly mimic one another in a glorious epic, and Astrology is the study that aims at demystifying that connection. It helps us navigate the invisible energies from the "above" that affect us down here in the "below." This year (2020) is the host of many resplendent astrological events, which may come to no surprise considering our world's current state. Among these events, there are the much talked about retrogrades. When talking about retrogrades, a specific celestial body gets the spotlight: Mercury, possibly due to how often it goes through this process. Still, all planets go through the same phase—albeit not as often. This year, every planet goes retrograde at least once, with Neptune and Mars' overlapping with the last Mercury retrograde for the year. This event will be taking place on October 14th. Since other retrogrades are happening simultaneously, we will look at how those intermingle with the upcoming cycle and how that will affect humankind.
If we take the material approach, retrograde is an optical illusion caused by how Earth and the other heavenly bodies move. All of our solar system members are always moving in the same direction, yet our line of sight varies. When viewing the other planets from certain angles, it seems as though they are moving backward. When that happens, a planet is in retrograde motion. In astrology, that motion has a greater significance other than a mere illusion. I invited professional astrologer Bracha Goldsmith, a practitioner for over 30 years, to refine our understanding of the meaning of such an event:
"When a planet goes retrograde, it indicates that the energies of that planet are to be internalized. It's usually a time for going within, and for looking inside yourself—retrograde triggers many words beginning with RE.
For example, retrogrades are good times for relaxing, releasing, researching, reenergizing, reflecting, recycling, recreation, reinvention, rebirth, revisiting, and rebooting.
The most frequent retrograde is that of Mercury, which happens 3-4 times a year for about three weeks.
Mercury rules communications, and at the time of the retrograde, there may be some small frustrations. The way to prepare for this is to back up your hard drive, leave plenty of time to get to important appointments, and get important documents signed before the retrograde. If you buy anything during a retrograde, remember to keep all guarantees and receipts just in case you change your mind when Mercury goes direct."
Many celestial bodies have a godly counterpart. Our ancestors, presumably studying the connection between Earth and the heavens, noticed the power imbued in those same planetary energies. Unsurprisingly, many of these energies share names with gods and other mythical creatures from our ancestral cultures. These legendary characters' tales often illustrate the human likeness of the very real planets, comets, stars, and moons named after them. Mercury, also known as Hermes, is often associated with communication, contracts, agreements, and coaxing. The persuasive nature of this divine being has also earned him the title of the trickster god.
The story goes that Hermes (or Mercury) soon after his birth decided to steal his brother Apollo's herd of oxen. To avoid being punished, the winged god Hermes developed a master plan to smooth his misconduct in his brother's eyes. The scheme was carried by the Lyre's invention, which Hermes had created before the unearthing of his thievery. The instrument's sound enchanted Apollo upon hearing his brother play it so much that he traded his oxen for the device. This mastery of communication illustrates the power of the planet Mercury. With creativity, it brings forth innovation and technology. Yet, occasionally these blessings may be delivered in the form of tricks and misunderstandings.
During the retrograde, Mercury's identity as a trickster is much more apparent, hence the invitation to reflect on our day-to-day choices instead of relentless action. But as demonstrated by his tale, these tricks are just another way to deliver gifts to humanity. With that in mind, do not waste your energy being frightened during this period; know these energies have your best interest at heart.
Mercury goes retrograde from October 14th to November 3rd. During this time, Mercury will be residing first in the house of Scorpio, then backtracking to Libra. Both signs are closely linked to relationships, putting the theme at the forefront of the retrograde. The earlier stages being in Scorpio could bring up themes of transformation, communion, and confidentiality. On the other hand, Libra brings to light partnerships, purpose, and truth.
While the planet is in Scorpio, skepticism and taboo subjects could be a risky path to tread. Since communication can be laborious during this period, Scorpio's suspicious nature can be challenging. Be careful not to be too paranoid about others' intentions and take extra time to meditate and investigate your inner-self. Use the time to reap the sign's transformative energy by letting go of any ideas or anything hidden within you that does not serve you anymore. It is a time to look inwards and reflect on the parts of your identity you keep hidden from others, rather than what is being kept invisible from you (these could very well resurface during the Libra stage of the retrograde). If dealing with secrets and confrontation, take the extra time to map out how you will deliver your opinions to others, but wait until the retrograde's closure before you act upon it. That being said, mindfulness is crucial at this time, so while stepping away from old habits, beliefs, secrets, and emotions, be kind to yourself through that process. Miscommunications do not only happen with others; we often can also be confounded by our thoughts. Tarot cards to meditate on during this period could be Death, The King of Cups, and the Seven of Cups.
At the latter half of the retrograde, Libra asks us to inspect how our relationship with others affects our inner truth. Inquire about the differences between how you interact with your different internal groups (friends, coworkers, family, etc.) and if you have repressed any parts of your identity while engaging with anyone specifically. Remember, it is okay to disagree with somebody you love; our differences often make up healthy relationships. Also, be careful with attempting to play the role of a mediator. If you are usually drawn to solving other people's arguments, try to avoid these types of conversation (at least for a while) since it could backfire. With the retrograde, diplomacy will require extra hard work to be delivered appropriately at a higher risk of conversational blunder. If you cannot avoid these situations efficiently, be patient, and carefully analyze both sides before jumping to any conclusions.
On the other hand, this could also be a time calling you to step away from perfectionism. If you have a tyrannical inner critic, this is the time to develop healthy coping mechanisms to soothe the anxiety caused by excessive self-analysis. It is empirical for your self-development that you hold yourself accountable for your own mistakes without punishment. Learn from these mishaps and move forward with your head high (just do not repeat them, of course). Tarot cards to meditate on during this period could be Balance (Justice), the Queen of Swords, and the Two of Swords.
As mentioned earlier, while Mercury is going through its retrograde period, Neptune and Mars are also joining it. Like with anything in life, if we want to have an accurate picture of what is happening, we must look at all the tiny details.
Neptune's retrograde had the earliest start. On January 23rd, we have the planet relative to the God Poseidon and the astrological sign of Pisces, start its seemingly backward motion. Neptune deals with fantasy, spirituality, and idealism. While the retrograde is happening, the planet is also being housed in the sign it rules (Pieces). That relationship enhances Neptune's influence as we have seen through the need to retreat and get more acquainted with where our faith lies. The retrograde ends on November 29th, and until it comes to a closure, we need to think about our issues with idealism and escapism. The planet's fantastical force may cause us to feel detached from the problematic aspects of our reality, craving an ideal world.
While picturing the perfect world helps us manifest it, we have to be mindful of how often we are actively working on making that vision a reality. Combined with the Mercury retrograde, we may need to think about how to efficiently deliver our innovative propositions to others, especially those of differing views. A writing exercise can be an excellent tool to ground you to your humanitarian goals. Describe what the world you want to live in looks like and the changes that need to happen for us all to get there. You can make this exercise ongoing for the Mercury retrograde, and once you have had the time to solidify your beliefs, you may even share it with your community. Who knows? Great things could come from your ideas. If you need further help to understand these energies, a tarot card to meditate on would be The Moon.
Mars went retrograde starting September 9th, and it will continue the motion through November 14th. Mars, related to the God Ares, stands for initiative, aggression, and competition. The planet is also housed in one of the signs it rules (Aries), similarly emphasizing its vibrations.
Now, this retrograde is a great time to tend to our foundations. Mars represents male energy, the driving force of manifestation, and the installer of a go-getter attitude. Yet, if you have not received the other retrogrades' message, this cycle might not be the best time to start any new tasks. Instead, look at the building blocks of any existing projects left undone. If a deadline is absent, use the Mars retrograde energies to look at any modifications that need to occur. If you sometimes find yourself obsessing over accomplishments, this would be an excellent opportunity to show yourself some gratitude for keeping up with your to-do lists. Take this time to rest and celebrate your victories, as well as to cultivate small healthy habits.
It is also important to note, due to Mars' relationship with anger, the retrograde might make bottled up frustrations resurface. For that reason, self-care is essential now more than ever. With the influence of Mercury as well, arguments can become too heated due to misunderstandings. If you find yourself engaged in a yelling match with somebody, remember to breathe and recenter yourself; these emotional debates rarely birth a sense of mutual understanding. Remember that it is okay to step away from a fight politely. Though running away will surely make things worse, you can always revisit these quarrels when you are both calm and collected. A tarot card to assist you through this cycle would be The Emperor.
If you seek more information, an earlier Spirit Science video covers the Mars retrograde of 2014.
With all these cosmic energies at play, October looks like it could be a challenging month for some. Still, the need for fear is irrelevant when you know you control your reality. Astrology is supposed to help us prepare for events and powers beyond our control, and not bring us down. Recognize you already have all the tools to deal with any incoming feelings of helplessness. To access these tools, what is needed is a willing heart and a spirit of gratitude. As Goldsmith puts it, retrograde is a trigger for reflection. Look inwards, and even in the face of mix-ups, delusions, or anger, you will know yourself enough to recognize what your next steps should be. Be thankful for the challenges life hands us from time to time. These are moments that cultivate the highest amount of growth. Think back on any difficulties you have faced in the past. They most likely all had an end, and this too shall end.
About the author: Joe G. Santos
Writer, Thinker, and Visionary. Through writing, I aim to clarify the most pressing questions about human behavior and world issues, pointing to practical resolutions in an entertaining and accessible manner. You can find my work and contact me at https://www.joegwriting.com/.
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