Mercury goes retrograde today, October 14, as I'm writing and posting this. The world doesn't stop when Mercury goes retrograde. Many people hardly notice it because we're so used to solving multiple problems per day. On the other hand, knowing Mercury is changing direction can give us the extra information we need to handle things more smoothly.
Mercury has a few key areas that it rules: communication, transportation and the mind. That gives you a clue that over the next few days it's best to slow down and become more careful in what you say both spoken and written.
With "transportation" you know you'll need to pay greater attention while driving or traveling in general. If you think "communication + transportation", you check your directions, calendar, reservations and so on. And triple-check that you've taken your wallet, phone, keys (and face mask!). If you think "communication + transportation + the mind", you realize there's always a chance that you'll space out and leave something important at home. If that does happen, retrograde yourself back to get it or have a plan B.
The new moon is Friday October 16 at 23° Libra. This places the Sun and Moon opposed to Mars in Aries and squared to Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn. Libra is partnerships (marriage, business and project work). That is likely to be the life area with the most stress right now.
I thought we were done with the Saturn/Pluto volcano metaphor when Saturn went direct last month, but because Mercury is retrograde, I'm bringing it back. Watch your thoughts and emotions to see if a feeling of frustration or anger is building up (Mars and Pluto, the fire of the volcano from underground). Don't just hold it in with self-discipline (Saturn). That adds to the pressure (like earth on top of a volcano holding in the steam).
You must find ways to vent (the steam of the volcano) which are not violent toward others or yourself. Walk outside or do gentle hatha yoga. Sing along with your favorite music or mantra chanting. Journal your feelings. Watch something funny and laugh. Whatever works for you. If you don't trigger this new moon with a big argument or ultimatums, the volcano of emotions will settle down in a few days.
A new issue of Yoga Chicago magazine will be online in a few days. My article "Sorting Things Out with Mindfulness" will include some thoughts about the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction coming up in December. If you haven't seen my previous articles you can find them here .
NORWAC 2021: Early registration for the Northwest Astrology Conference has begun. It will be virtual, May 27 - 31st, with many wonderful speakers from the US and around the world. https://norwac.net/
The Professional Astrology Course: Reminding all astrology students that the Professional Astrology Course from the Temple of Kriya Yoga is still available. Virtual learning is so perfect for this time of social distancing. The course is self-paced so you can start anytime. There are over 120 recordings by Goswami Kriyananda and lots of printed material. As program leader, I answer student questions, grade tests and provide supplemental material and webinars. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the course.
If you would like to receive Astrology Update by Marcia Sacks as an email newsletter, just message me through this website's contact form.
The Full Moon on Sunday, February 9 is at 1:33 a.m. in 20° Leo. The energy is lively and excellent for socializing. Leo is the sign of games, play and fun. If you've been overworked and stressed, take time for an activity that is purely for fun. It doesn't have to be wild. If reading quietly is fun for you, go for it. Just make sure that it's a book (or movie) that gives you a positive emotional boost.
There is a dynamic between the Moon in Leo and the Sun in Aquarius at this Full Moon. There may be conversations or situations with conflict between people on opposite sides of an issue. This means some people will be focused on self-interest. Others will take a more humanitarian or global outlook. Our challenge is to listen before responding, then find common ground if possible.
Mercury goes retrograde on February 17th (until March 11). The stationary point is at 12° Pisces, relatively close to Neptune at 17° Pisces. This will be a spacey, absent-minded period several days on either side of 2/17. Not good for starting new projects or signing papers. Mercury rules both communication and local transportation. Think a bit before speaking in order to organize your thoughts and words. Watch out for distracted drivers. Remember, you're the one with extra (astrological) information. You are of service to others, doing a good deed, when you speak carefully and drive safely.
February 23 - Noon Meditation for the Temple of Kriya Yoga at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. Open to all.
My talk will be "Living the Spiritual Path." There are many ways to balance our spiritual journey toward wisdom and peace with our everyday life. This talk will focus on overcoming the obstacles we find in every day life as we move toward more subtle states of awareness.
You can find me on:
The Full Moon is on Friday, April 19, 2019 at 6:12 a.m. CDT at 29° Libra. The 29° Aries Sun is conjunct Uranus at 2° Taurus. When Uranus is the "flavor" of the Full Moon there are often unexpected events, unforeseen issues causing changes in plan and a general feeling of restlessness.
The position of the Moon at the very end of Libra, gives it a type of indecisiveness. Sometimes astrologers say that a sign is in transition to the next sign when it's located at 29°. Libra is a sign that is naturally indecisive as it weighs all judgements in the balance. You may find yourself saying, "Well, on this hand … but on the other hand …". The Saturn and Pluto station points in the following days will force a judgement or decision. It can be very helpful to have all available information plus the advice of experts in whatever field you are analyzing.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. When there is a major event in the news like this, I try to pick it apart symbolically and astrologically for its message for me. I first reflected on the Saturn/Pluto conjunction which is in the Full Moon chart. Saturn represents things that are old and haven't changed in a long time. Pluto symbolizes the transformations like death and rebirth. So I've been reflecting on the old established structures in my own life. Is it the building itself that has value? Or is it our relationship to the Divine which awe inspiring churches, temples, synagogues and mosques represent? What happens when material structures in our lives are burned or destroyed? Is our relationship with the Divine destroyed? Or is it some thing that we just need to let go of? Or rebuild in an even more beautiful and awe-inspiring way? Maybe there's a way to look at this on the more personal level, symbolically thinking about structures of ideas that I have, ideas that I need to let go of, transform, or reconstruct.
Be compassionate and flexible as you encounter challenges in the next two weeks.
April 24: Pluto Station Retrograde 23° Capricorn
April 29: Saturn Station Retrograde 20° Capricorn
I wrote about these planetary retrogrades occurring together in my article in Yoga Chicago magazine: Astrology, Yoga and Balance.
I don't always talk about the asteroid Chiron in relationship to a lunation chart but I see that Mercury in the chart is conjunct Chiron. One of Chiron's symbols is "the wounded healer." It suggests that you can be helpful to people by sharing your own difficult situations and how you solved them. So rather than giving advice like "you should do this", frame it as "when I found myself in a similar situation this is what helped me."
In the News:
Ray Grasse's book Urban Mystic: Recollections of Goswami Kriyananda has been published this month and is available on Amazon both in paperback and Kindle format. As many of you know, Goswami Kriyananda was my guru. He was a light on my path and the spiritual preceptor of the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago.
April 28, 2019: The Babaji Festival, usually held at the Temple of Kriya Yoga, is being held at the Moksha Yoga Center this year. It starts at 11:30 a.m. with chanting followed by inspirational talks. I will be giving a talk on "Planetary Cycles: Messages, Lessons and Gratitude”. Contact the Temple for more info at: 773-342-4600 or email@example.com
The Full Moon and the Vernal Equinox both occur on March 20, 2019. The Equinox is at 4:58 pm CDT, as always with the Sun at 0° Aries. The Full Moon is at 8:42 pm CDT in 0° Libra. Equinoxes represent balance and the sign Libra represents harmony. One thing to think about at this time is how you can bring more balance and harmony into your own life.
With the Equinox and Full Moon giving emphasis to the Aries/Libra polarity here are some other things to think about. How you want to approach the next two weeks (the Full Moon time frame) or the next quarter of a year (the Equinox time frame)? Will you choose the forcefulness of Aries or the diplomacy of Libra? What works best for you - the independence of Aries or working together in partnerships like Libra?
With Mercury still retrograde, neither the decisiveness of Aries nor the Libran tendency to poll the opinions of others will have an advantage in the next few days. Important decisions that have legal implications should probably be put off until several days after Mercury goes direct on March 28.
So how has this Mercury retrograde period been for you? On March 5, the day of the Mercury retrograde we were already in the car on the expressway when we realized we left something critically important at home. We had to get to the next exit, retrograde our way back to our house on the local roads, retrieve what we needed, and then get back on the expressway. That was so totally Mercury retro that we had to laugh even though it was a time-consuming inconvenience.
Goswami Kriyananda said "Karma is forgetfulness." So even though I knew that it was Mercury retrograde, and I knew we needed to stand still for a moment and think before we walked out the door, we still got caught up in that moment of rushing out. The key point about knowing that an aspect occurred and a piece of karma triggered is that if you can rebalance right away, the piece of karma is over. Actually, laughing is a way of softening or neutralizing karma. If we'd beat ourselves up about the incident all day, we'd have been hanging onto a piece of karma that could have been over.
Here's a relevant Zen story "The Muddy Road" from the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps:
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection. 'Come on, girl,' said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. 'We monks don't go near females.' He told Tanzan, especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?' 'I left the girl there,' said Tanzan. 'Are you still carrying her?'
Keep in mind that when Mercury goes direct on March 28 it's conjunct Neptune so extra 'forgetfulness' is possible for a day or two around the 28th. Do the best you can by communicating carefully and making lists of things to remember. If you have to 'retrograde' to fix a problem, just do it, then let it go. A few days on from March 28, projects and plans will begin to move forward again.
My article "Astrology, Yoga and Balance" is in the March/April issue of Yoga Chicago Magazine.
Goswami Kriyananda's Professional Astrology Course is distance learning at your own pace.
In the Future:
Saturday, March 23, 6:30 - 8 p.m.: Music Meditation with the Temple of Kriya Yoga Musicians at The Yoga Shop, 3830 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
Sunday, March 31: Astrologer Lynn Ewing is giving a workshop "Retrogrades - the Big Rewind - Karma, Reincarnation, Revisioning" at Life Force Arts Center in Chicago.
The New Moon is December 7, 2018, 1:20 a.m. in 15° Sagittarius
Does it feel like you've been slogging through a swamp or not quite feeling awake all day for the past few weeks? Neptune has been the prominent outer planet in terms of astrological aspects lately. When Mercury went retrograde on November 16, it was squared to Neptune. In this way, it picked up the "flavor" of Neptune carrying with it in its backward journey. Then Neptune went direct on November 24th, still in square to Mercury (the mind).
Now Mercury finally goes direct on December 6 at 27 ° Scorpio but it will take a few days for us to feel like we're going forward again. In the meantime this New Moon is square to a an exact conjunction of Mars and Neptune at 13° Pisces. So more Neptune. At least for several days past the New Moon.
As a said in my last blog post, Neptune rules feeling foggy, nebulous or spacey. It's hard to see people and their motivations clearly. A Mars/Neptune conjunction is dangerous. One symbol is drunk drivers or driving under the influence of drugs. Another is driving while sleep-deprived. (Mars is driving, Neptune is drugs or spaciness of any sort). Another symbol is a salesman (Mars) giving you misinformation (Neptune) on a product or service. One more symbol to keep in mind is getting scalded (Mars) by boiling water or steam (Neptune is water and with Mars is steam). Stay awake and aware whether driving, shopping or cooking at this New Moon.
A benefit to Neptune is being more suggestible, so affirmations can be very powerful at this time. Some tips for creating affirmations:
I am healing deeply as pure Divine energy fills and permeates every level of my body and mind.
If you want ideas for affirmations try these: https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/
Or just Google "Affirmations for ___________" and fill in the blank.
Another way to use this New Moon energy is to totally tune into the most spiritual and uplifting aspects of the holiday season. Find the music that makes your soul soar and play that often. Light candles. Give to charity. Watch the holiday movies that make you laugh or open your heart.
In the future:
The Winter Solstice takes place on December 21. I wrote a little bit about that for Yoga Chicago Magazine.
I will be giving a talk on "Kriya Yoga and Astrology: Planetary Patterns for 2019" at the Winter Solstice Festival at the Temple of Kriya Yoga: Sunday, December 16, 11:30 a.m., 2414 N. Kedzie, Chicago, IL
There will also be talks, meditation, a ritual and refreshments. The program is described here:
The New Moon is on November 7, 2018 at 10:01 a.m. CST in 15° Scorpio. The New Moon in Scorpio is a time for deep thoughts. Scorpio and its ruler Pluto have a symbolic correspondence with the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
Last week I went to the Temple of Kriya Yoga for the Annual Ritual for the Departed. It was an opportunity to remember, pray for and send blessings to our family and friends who are no longer on the earth plane. It was also a reminder for me of how short our time is here, and how precious it is to spend time with loved ones. This week I watched the animated film "Coco" about a family celebrating the Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos (the Day of the Dead). There's music, adventure and humor, but so poignant at the end - a really beautiful movie.
Along with feeling close to those who've passed on, the New Moon in Scorpio is a time when you may find you have greater dream recall and more meaningful dreams. Do you journal your dreams? It is one of the practices my guru, Goswami Kriyananda suggested to his disciples. I take time every morning when I wake up to write down my dreams.
Writing down dreams consistently helps us to remember our dreams more clearly, and to be more aware in our dreams while we're dreaming them. According to the yogis, working with your dreams gives you greater ability to be conscious as you make your transition from one life to the next.
Jupiter makes its entrance into the sign Sagittarius on November 8th and will be in that sign approximately 12 months. Jupiter in Sag makes the coming year an excellent time for expanding your mind by studying philosophy, religion, foreign languages and the law. The same transit can also open your mind to the potential for traveling outside your own country.
November 16 there are two stationary points: Venus goes direct at 25 Libra and Mercury goes retrograde at 13 Sagittarius. Coping strategy # 1: if at all possible, don't sign any documents that relate to financial matters 3 days before and after November 16. Coping strategy # 2: don't start arguments with your romantic partner/significant other for 3 days before and after November 16. Try your best to stay awake and aware of what you're about to do or say before you do or say them.
I like this Zen story called Every Minute Zen. It's from the book Zen Flesh/Zen Bones by Paul Reps:
Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella.
After greeting him Nan-in remarked: 'I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.' Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nanin's pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.
Unfortunately, even though I try to stay aware, I'd probably flunk this Zen test every time. During Mercury retrograde, I'm the most likely person to walk to the car, remember I left something in the house, and go back for it. Because astrology gives me that bit of perspective, that bit of detachment, I can laugh about it, as I picture myself as Mercury going retrograde in my orbit.
In the future:
November 24: Neptune goes direct 13 Pisces. You can read about it in my most recent Yoga Chicago article Astrology, Karma and Free Will .
November 13: Astrologer Dave Gunning will be speaking at the Northern Illinois Chapter of NCGR on "The Economic and Political Challenges for the U.S. in 2019".
You can find me on:
Marcia Sacks is an astrologer in the Kriya Yoga tradition.