Last weekend, I had my bag packed to head down the shore for some fun in the sun when I woke up with a gnarly sore throat. I was stopped in my tracks, forced to stay indoors and nurse myself back to health most of the weekend (and part of the week). As characterized by one of my Teacher Training classmates, Stefanie, this was a total “summer bummer.”
It just so happens that this summer bummer came about during Mercury Retrograde, a three-times-per-year phenomenon when Mercury appears to go backwards through the zodiac from our perspective on Earth. Mercury (the messenger) represents how we think and communicate.
In 2013, each Mercury Retrograde is happening in a water sign: first Pisces (back in February), now Cancer, and, in the fall, Scorpio. Water energy represents emotion. Water is powerful, and it is known to flow around any obstacle. Put your thoughts and words (Mercury) under water, send ’em backwards, and voila! Confusion and emotional meltdowns abound.
As many of us now understand, Mercury Retrograde actually has a purpose other than to frustrate and annoy us; it signals that it’s time to slow down and course correct. For me, this manifested, literally, in getting sick and being forced to stop what I was doing and get healthy (not to mention other technological manifestations like my icemaker going on the fritz and our office A/C breaking down in the midst of an intense NYC heatwave).
While quarantined in my apartment, I was reminded of our previous Mercury Retrograde, in Pisces, which came to life in a powerful show of nature – a nor’easter that the Weather Channel called “Nemo.” Having run out of interesting things to watch on television during my extended home confinement, I decided to pop in the Finding Nemo DVD and reread some of my own advice:
“For those of us who find the watery depths a bit unnerving, remember: just as Marlin and Nemo keep hope alive and (spoiler alert!) are eventually reunited, redemption is often right around the next coral reef (or nor’easter).“
This message came up again when I was getting ready for work yesterday, and heard about the sad passing of Talia Castellano, a beautiful little girl who made a strong mark despite a short life plagued by cancer. I welled up as they ran a clip of Talia telling Ellen Degeneres “A little fishy told me to just keep swimming” (warning: tearjerker ahead):
The thing about the water is that, as necessary as it is to life, it can also be murky: the depths (Pisces) can be dark and scary (where they only way to see is to run into that creepy fish with the weird headlamp). The shoreline (Cancer) is fun for a swim, but you must be alert for a strong wave or undertoe. And the swamp (Scorpio), well, you never know what is lurking in fixed water, an ecosystem that both supports life and takes it away. Our senses are not as sharp in the water, and if we’re not careful it can knock us off our feet or pull us under.
One of my favorite astrologers, Tom Lescher, characterizes this time as being in the dark, watery womb of Cancer, the mother. I could not help but think of the royal baby, whose arrival the world is eagerly awaiting. Will the baby be a boy or a girl? What will they name him or her? Will this herald a new beginning for the royal family? (Personally, I am pulling for a girl named Alexandra.)
If you’re as weary as I am of treading water, I have good news: Mercury stations direct on Saturday, the sun will be born into its fiery home of Leo on Monday, and we will have a full moon in airy Aquarius on Tuesday. What is being born in your world? What new beginning? What fresh start?
Don’t know yet? That’s OK, too. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to dry off, get the sunscreen out of your eyes, throw on some shades, and see clearly again.
Until then – and, now that I’m healthy again, I’m thinking – dance party?