Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius: Freedom in Chaos

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Since May, when Mars entered Aquarius and Uranus entered Taurus and the two began squaring each other, the changes have been overwhelming for many of us. And especially since Mars stationed retrograde in my eighth house at the end of June, still squaring Uranus, I’ve had to face all kinds of old blocks I thought I had moved past. Any eighth house transit is a therapy transit. You have to meet your shadow again and again. While not everyone is experiencing this Mars retrograde in the exact same way, eclipses are by definition a kind of shadowing.

In Babylon, an eclipse could foretell the death of a king. Measures were taken to protect the king, namely the practice of šar pūhi, the substitute king, where a decoy was placed on the throne for the time of the eclipse. Eclipses were omens in the ancient world, and a total lunar eclipse on Mars retrograde would have been seen as an ill omen. The destruction that precedes change has always been scary.

The modern eclipse cycle is still a cycle of change, and it can still be volatile, frightening, and unwelcome. But we live in a time of increasing disorder, so these days, you’d do better to embrace the chaos than to fear it.

I don’t go in for a lot of hype about blood moons, blue moons, or supermoons. All total lunar eclipses turn red. This one just happens to be more symbolically “red” by virtue of its conjunction with Mars retrograde. On the flip side, I’m not a fan of pseudo-astrologer-lightworkers who tell everyone that all eclipses represent a time to “go inward” and “get to know yourself.” I’m seeing this more prevalently with every astrological event, from retrogrades to new moons, full moons, and eclipses, and it’s just not always true. That’s a lazy interpretation. I’m an advocate for living in the moon house, for introspection, rest, review, and slowing down on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean it’s the central message of every transit. Don’t try to tell me this grizzly bear is a teddy bear.

Eclipse cycles are cycles of change. And they are always happening. Somewhere in your chart, every few months, you are experiencing a gradually unfolding 18-month period of transformation with some jarring spikes in your stress level. Some are bigger than others. Some are scarier than others. Some will require you to wrestle your shadow to the ground, and others may go practically unnoticed.

This Mars retrograde shows you where your freedom is restricted; where you feel frustrated. In what area of life would you kill for some freedom? What, metaphorically, needs to die so you can have that freedom? This week, as the eclipse energy grew stronger and Mercury stationed retrograde in the opposite sign of Leo, I began to see through some false barriers I had erected for myself a long time ago. Aquarius can’t stand binary thinking. Aquarius is just so far beyond binaries. Man/Woman, Reality/Imagination, Magical/Mundane, Religion/Science, Art/Commerce, Individual/Society, Literature/Mass Market, Can Do/Can’t Do. How flimsy and boring the barriers between these seemingly opposing things. There were several things that I previously crossed off my list of “can do” that I am now seeing uncrossed, part and parcel with the whole of what I already do. This is an eclipse for erasing the borders between things. For tearing down fences and gaining that freedom you so desperately desire. For conquering old fears that took the form of walls you built yourself.

Seeing past binaries and linear thinking is the first step in becoming antifragile. And I do believe that the best way to use astrology is as a tool for your own antifragility. So at this eclipse, make friends with chaos. See what kinds of freedoms you might win. You have more available to you than you may have seen before.

Image Credit: Jan Matejko, Astronomer Copernicus-Conversations with God

Breaking the Retrograde “Rules”

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Common wisdom dictates that one should not start new things during an inner planet (Mercury, Mars, or Venus) retrograde. This is mostly true. I would not advise anyone to launch a business during Mercury retrograde, start a war with someone during Mars retrograde, or get married during a Venus retrograde. It’s not a sure sign of failure; it’s just not ideal. You’ll get off on the wrong foot. And yet. Maybe not. When it comes to smaller "launches," at least, sometimes the timing during a retrograde is right.

You have to know the rules before you can break them. The conventional rules for retrogrades are to go into the past (or embrace the present) and wait for the future, to do inner work rather than making external changes, to cleanse and clear so that you are ready for the action when it starts. But the one who knows the rules also knows that past/present/future and inner/outer are shaky constructs at best, and so doing stuff during retrogrades, even new stuff, can have its advantages if you are fully aware of what you are doing.

With this series of retrogrades and eclipses in my money, work, and career houses, I am seeing more potential clients and contracts come in during retrograde periods this year. This goes for both my freelance writing work and astrology. Old contacts get in touch with new work, past conversations are revived, finished projects can be leveraged to gain new contracts. Does communicating take longer and require more clarification? Yes. Are there technical glitches? Totally, and we would all benefit if big tech companies like Instagram didn’t try to change their APIs during Mars retrograde, but nonetheless we carry on. Do projects with contracts signed during Mercury Rx have more bugs? Occasionally, but freelance work being the gamble that it is, this can happen with Mercury direct, too. Signing a contract after Mercury stations direct is still ideal. If this is not possible, you just have to make sure you read it over carefully and clarify everything twice. The opportunities I have had during retrogrades have been game-changing for me, and that is only so because I seized them when they felt right, overriding the conventional wisdom of astrological timing.

This experience of the retrograde opportunity boomeranging back more than once has me thinking more deeply about my relationship to Mercury, and Mercury in retrograde. Mercury rules the slippery things in life, like words and symbols, which can be manipulated to various ends. If you are involved in Mercurial activities (freelancing, commerce, writing, tech, astrology, magic, communications), you are already playing the Trickster. So Mercury Rx may be less about hermiting and more game recognizing game. Why stop playing just because the game gets a little bit more challenging? There may actually be extra loopholes and little pockets in the fabric of space and time that can be worked to your advantage during a Mercury Rx period. I’m talking about choosing antifragility here.

Antifragility as explained through Mercury retrogrades:

Fragile: Your coworker who does not “believe” in astrology and continues to do business as usual, oblivious to all weather warnings, then loses important documents when her computer crashes. Also, people who know about Mercury Rx, but only read pop descriptions and live in fear / scapegoat Mercury for all of their own poor decisions.

Robust/Resilient: People who are aware of Mercury Retrograde and plan ahead by backing up the computer and scheduling deadlines around these dates. They then use the transit to do things like reflect, double check communications, and fix past errors. Robust/Resilient people are avoiding problems with Mercury retrograde while also recovering from mistakes and using the time to get some inner spring cleaning done. The changes resulting from a robust/resilient approach are small: no big risks and no big wins.

Antifragile: People who understand astrology but also understand that cycles are by definition nonlinear and Mercury Rx is common, so they game the retrograde to revive dead projects, reconnect with well-resourced friends from what feel like past lifetimes, and use the cosmic permeability to communicate on a spiritual level (where the official language is Trickster anyway). The antifragile astro-adept gains from the volatility of Mercury retrograde, taking some risks for potentially big rewards.

We are in Peak Retrograde with the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse on Mars Rx + Mercury Rx. After Mars stations direct on August 27th, we get one glorious month (September!) without a personal planet retrograde, although if you want to get technical about it, Mars is still in shadow. Then Venus retrogrades October 5th - November 16th, followed by Mercury retrograde from November 16th - December 6th. So the rest of the year is retrograde central.

If you have five months off and access to a monastery, good for you. The rest of us can cry about it or we can turn a bug into a feature. Game the season of the retrograde. You don't have to wait on everything; you just have to play the game well. Practice being antifragile for the rest of 2018.

Image Credit: Caduceus Grunge Symbol by Nicolas Raymond

Limited Time Offer: Mars Retrograde Reading

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Book by Tuesday, June 26th.

Mars will be retrograde from June 26 - August 27, 2018.

Mars stations retrograde once every 2.5 years, prompting us to review our desires. Find out more about what this Mars retrograde period means for you, and how to work with it in your specific chart, when you book this 25-minute consultation.

Consultation available via Skype. Includes a copy of your chart and an audio recording. $50.