Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Element of Water

Think of the rivers, lakes and vast oceans, of the tides of feeling that can sweep over you from time to time. Think of the nuances and moods of emotion that characterise human experience. In all these things we find the essence of the element of water.

The water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces all concern the vast realm of the feelings. Cancer has a great protectiveness to it, a very nurturing feel. Scorpio represents the emotions that touch us most deeply, that arouse the most passionate and fierce of our feelings. In Pisces we find great sensitivity to the unseen realms, and a strong theme of letting go and sacrifice. In this last of the water signs we find the capacity to release outworn feelings that are holding us back.

The planets that rule these signs, the Moon, Mars/Pluto and Jupiter/Neptune all have varying degrees of association with water. The Moon is perhaps the most natural signifier of our feeling life, and her constantly changing cycle of waxing and waning phases aptly reflects the ebb and flow of human emotions. Mars is feeling through passion and drive, whilst Pluto more aptly reflects the deepest and darkest emotions that lie at the base of our soul. Jupiter is, I think, less associated with water than its co-ruler of Pisces, Neptune, who wonderfully reflects the vast ocean of the subconscious and all that is irrational and mysterious in the world. These too are associations of the element of water.

With the Sun in a water sign our fulfilment is bound up with the extent to which our vocation or identity can express our emotions and feelings.

The Moon in water often suggests a very sensitive and emotional person, someone who may suffer from mood-swings (particularly the Moon in Cancer). With the Moon in water we are instinctively acting from our own subjective emotions and may find it harder to access the emotional states of others, so overwhelmed are we by our own rich feeling life.

With Mercury in water our thinking is often coloured by our emotions, and we may communicate with sensitivity and attention to our feelings.

Venus in water often enjoys a close, emotional relationship, where the honouring of each other's feelings is a prime component.

With Mars in water our ability to go after what we want may be strongly linked with the extent of our emotional involvement. If we do not feel it, we simply do not act.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Astrology: Mercury Retrograde

Several times each year, the planet Mercury goes into its retrograde phase. This means that, viewed from Earth, the planet appears to stop still in the heavens and move backwards. Mercury is not really moving backwards, but the fact he appears to be doing so has symbolic significance.

Mercury retrograde periods have a bad reputation in astrology. Many astrologers refuse to make applications, fill out paperwork or proceed with important decisions during the Mercury retrograde phases. But is Mercury retrograde all bad?

To assess what it might be a good time to do and not to do we need to go back to the symbolism of this planet. Mercury rules communications, learning, connections, trade and commerce. He is a linking planet, one which can move between the others, creating vital relationships.

With Mercury retrograde, it is often helpful to use the time to review communications, contacts and decisions. If we make new decisions in this period, these may be one's that reflect a reversal of previous thinking or which have something particularly reflective about them.

Even greater use can be made of Mercury's cycle by considering the sign he is traversing when retrograde, and what area of the chart he covers for you. If he retrogrades in Scorpio for example, it might be a time to review communications concerning deep emotions, sexual matters, or intrigues and power struggles. If he retrogrades in Aquarius, it might be the time to review decisions relating to technology, progress or humanitarian concerns.

When Mercury's retrograde phase highlights one of your natal planets then his backwards movement could be particularly important. For example, if he moved backwards over your Sun, this would mean that he would conjoin your Sun three times in a small space of time (once direct, then back over, then by moving forwards again). There is therefore a highlighting of your life direction and purpose (Sun) and there may well be important communications or decisions around your vocation that need to be closely considered.

It would be foolish to think that we should take no action at all when Mercury is retrograde, or down tools on all transactions or communications. But it is as well to be aware that often, when this trickster is moving backwards, things do seem to go slightly awry with communications or paperwork. We may therefore need to consider what Mercury may be asking us to re-think or review, and take a little more care than usual to ensure our decisions are the product of sufficiently deep reflection.