The most significant thing happening in the skies over the next couple of days is that Mercury turns retrograde. I have written about this retrograde elsewhere; here about the retrograde in general, including his shadow period and here about the relation of the retrograde period to the upcoming eclipses. It does seem a very significant event, perhaps especially as Mercury has ruled this year’s retrograde series, I thought it worth spending a little time looking specifically at the chart for when he turns retrograde tomorrow at 23:05 GMT.
First of all we have Uranian planet Admetos conjunct the South Node indicating issues from the past. Admetos meaning untamed – king of Pherae in Thessaly, renowned for hospitality and justice. When the God Apollo was sentenced to a year of servitude for killing the Cyclops Apollo chose to stay with Admetos and become his herdsman, he was treated so well there that ever after he helped Admetos out in many things from helping to win the hand of his bride, Alcestis, to advising how to lift a curse from an offended goddess Artemis. The final favour Apollo did for Admetos was persuading the fates to remove his destined day of death, his wife opting to die in his stead. Admetos was not overjoyed at this, however, as life without his wife seemed more meaningless. Again his hospitality and kindness was repaid, this time by Heracles who descended to the underworld and fought Thanatos, god of Death, so that he would release Alcestis.
Uranian astrology interprets Admetos as a planet of manifestation – it brings the ability to ground visions and make them real – this can be a double edged sword as that which becomes manifest can as easily be difficult and upsetting as it can be joyful. This is reflected in the myth of Admetos when his wish to escape death was granted – but at what cost? As with many of the Uranian planets Admetos is associated with specific physical and emotional difficulties and indicates an opportunity to remove blockages. With Admetos conjunct the South Node since September this pass of Mercury Rx in opposition is giving a last opportunity to understand what from our past has been holding us back and creating blockages, freeing us up to move forward towards the promise of the North Node.
Admetos and the South Node are conjunct fixed star Algol which is often associated with strife, anger and discord – and we may expect to see occasions during this Mercury Rx when, as issues rise to the surface and conscious awareness, people become upset, angry and even disorientated with their grief, especially if what has been causing blockages is especially traumatic.
More on Admetos can be found here
While Admetos is working through issues brought up through the South Node asteroid Astraea is conjunct the North Node. Astraea was a daughter of Zeus (Jupiter) and Themis (so it’s very significant that she should be conjunct the North Node as Jupiter and Themis are together). Like her mother before her Astraea is a personification of justice, however with Astraea that personification is less worldly wise as she has the innocence and purity of a child. Astraea was the last of the immortals to live alongside human beings, before humanity descended into ways of wickedness and injustice. The myths tell that one day she will return, heralding the dawn of a new golden age.
Astraea is also referenced in John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, in Book IV between lines 990 and 1000. When Satan is discovered in the Garden of Eden and brought before the Angel Gabriel, the two are on the verge of war.
[God (The Eternal)] Hung forth in Heav’n his golden Scales, yet seen
Betwixt ASTREA and the SCORPION signe,
Wherein all things created first he weighd,
The pendulous round Earth with ballanc’t Aire
In counterpoise, now ponders all events,
Battels and Realms
In the Station retrograde chart the Moon is closely conjunct asteroid Nestor. In mythology Nestor was an Argonaut known for his wisdom and wise counsel. He was also involved in the Trojan wars, even though he was reputed to be 110 years old when the war started. He advised the younger warriors on strategy and also managed to persuade Agamemnon and Achilles to reconcile. So we have a demonstrative and expressive Leo Moon being offered words of wisdom from one who has learned from experience.
In this chart Venus is involved in a great and tragic story but with a hint that maybe things will turn out differently this time around. Venus is closely conjunct asteroids Felicitas, meaning luck or good fortune, and Aida, heroine of one of the greatest operas of all time – and not one with whom luck and good fortune are usually associated.
Aida was an Ethiopian Princess who was captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. In Egypt a military commander fell in love with her and struggled to decide between his love for her and his loyalty to the pharaoh. To make matters even more difficult the military commander, Radames, was loved by the Pharaoh’s daughter. In an attempt to release his daughter from slavery Aida’s father marches upon the city of Thebes where she is held captive. Aida is now torn between her love for Radames and for her father as Radames is chosen to lead the defence against the invading Ethiopians. Radames is victorious and is granted his heart’s desire by the Pharaoh – and Radames asks that the Ethiopian prisoners (including Aida’s father) be set free. This is done, with Aida and her father remaining as hostages in order to ensure that the Ethiopians don’t try to attack once more.
Aida and Radames plan to escape together before Radames is made to marry the Pharaoh’s daughter, however their secret meeting is spied upon by all sides with Aida’s father listening in to find out where the Egyptian army is camped and the Pharaoh’s daughter listening to see whether Radames is secretly in love with Aida as she suspects. As punishment for betraying the Pharaoh – by letting slip to Aida the army’s hiding place and also by demonstrating his love for Aida rather than the Pharaoh’s daughter – Radames is sentenced to death. He will be sealed up inside the lower levels of the temple of Isis, but he is resigned to his fate and hopes only that Aida is safe. Once the tomb has been sealed he hears a sigh and realises that Aida has hidden herself inside the tomb so that she can die with him – and so they meet their death within each others arms.
Here is a link to Pavarotti and Dimitrove performing the Final Act (it’s a bit dark, sorry)
Perhaps with Felicitas present love will triumph over the workings of a corrupt state this time (note the words of the final act which damn the priests for sentencing to death a man who has done no wrong). In the Mercury station retrograde chart Venus does look like she’s very concerned with tales of love, betrayal, conflicting loyalties and hope.
And what about Mercury – after all this chart is really all about him. He has been so very busy this past year, especially as he has ruled over the linked series of retrogrades. Now his own retrograde motion begins with him closely conjunct asteroid Isis – goddess in whose temple Radames and Aida were entombed. Isis guards the doorways between worlds and can lead through the lands of the dead. She has the power to bring back to life and protects newborn children as well as the souls of the dead. It seems as though Mercury, having this last heart-to-heart with Isis as he turns Rx is being given some good tips about how to navigate his way through the murky waters of Scorpio that he is set to return to.
In support of Mercury during this Rx turn we have Jupiter, also in Rx and in mutual reception with Mercury (Jupiter is in a sign ruled by Mercury while Mercury is in a sign ruled by Jupiter). Jupiter is still with asteroid Themis, indicating good counsel, wise advice, thoughtful justice. So the mood here is to support what Mercury is trying to achieve and to ensure that established institutions support this too – the doubly retrograde movement suggests an unpicking of things ruled by Jupiter and Mercury (think institutions such as legal and educational and communications) – maybe an unravelling of red tape and bureaucracy.
All in all this chart indicates a promise of a Mercury Rx period that could bring into our awareness experiences from the past that are now standing in our way and preventing us from moving forwards. There are overtones of justice and good counsel – for those whose hurts run deep there will be professional help and the mood of the times is more in favour of the one who has been hurt than it is in favour of propping up corrupt or failing institutions. I cannot help but think of the Hillsborough enquiry and the enquiries coming about as a result of revelations regarding Saville and I am fascinated to see what will come of the US Presidential elections with fortune favouring the true of heart, the just and the innocent.