As discussed in the last AstroCast, the archetypal cry for freedom is a strong theme in 2020 courtesy of significant astral signatures featuring Aquarius and its ruler Uranus. The need to break away from the pack played out on the world stage last week with “Brexit” becoming official and the impeachment process in the U.S., while not yet concluded as of this writing, moving strongly in the direction of giving the president even greater powers to act on his own, without restraint or accountability. Taking a stand for oneself and declaring independence from systemic conformity is an essential part of evolutionary growth as represented by the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Yet this is not the end game. There are additional steps in the maturation process wherein the individual learns the value of serving something greater than itself. Service to humanity is the ultimate lesson of Aquarius. But taking it still further, the last stage of the process is Pisces, the most complex and metaphysical of the 12 signs that calls us to develop the ability to experience something even more profound – a transcendent state of divine love and connectedness with all existence.
Over the next couple of months, Mercury will cross the threshold of Aquarius and Pisces three times due to its upcoming retrograde, having a prolonged and bifurcated stay in the last two signs of the Zodiac between January 16 and April 10, roughly double the normal amount of time. On February 2, Mercury entered its “shadow,” the degree space between 28∞13’ Aquarius and 12∞53’ Pisces it will traverse three times. The first pass of this space is when the issues that must be revisited during the retrograde will be set up. The more we pay attention to what is happening now, the more we can utilize the retrograde phase at a higher level of refinement rather than catching up on missed steps or matters we put off that now demand our attention.
On February 3, Mercury ends its initial 16-day stay in Aquarius and enters Pisces where it will reside until March 4 when it backs into Aquarius again. The “Messenger of the Gods” mediating between the sign of the Humanitarian and the sign of the Mystic over the next couple of months gives us a rare opportunity to observe how we are integrating these archetypes in our lives. Mercury is the planet of perception and communication that represents how we experience reality. It governs the processes by which we take in the massive amounts of data from our environment, analyze it, make connections between the various elements of it and share our findings out in the world. Mercury loves details and clearly defined roles. It is comfortable in the intellectual air sign of Aquarius focusing on envisioning the future we want to create for ourselves. The diffuse and boundary dissolving Pisces on the other hand is a challenging sign for the Mercury archetype. We may therefore have trouble discerning between our ideal of how we want things to be rather the reality of what they are. It will help to stay grounded by paying attention to life’s daily affairs and checking in with others to facilitate understanding.
On February 5, Mercury forms a sextile to Uranus in Taurus that intensifies the potential for novel ways of looking at things. With some effort we could put our active imagination to use dreaming up inventive solutions. The Mercury/Uranus planetary pair can inspire like a lightning bolt and although this aspect is relatively brief we’ll have two additional windows of brilliance when it repeats on February 28 and March 22.
A potentially game-changing Full Moon unfolds on February 8 with the Sun in Aquarius opposite the Moon in Leo. This is the peak moment of the monthly lunar cycle where the theme of disruption and uncertainty that began with the New Moon of January 24 will be on full display. Aquarius is the sign that represents change, which can be volatile, and on the socio-political stage it became evident that the need for freedom from governmental structures is strong. But the beauty of disruption and uncertainty about the future is that they open us to new ideas and lightening is striking in dynamic ways to disrupt the crisis-level dysfunction in the state of representative democracy. There are change makers whose innovative tools for citizen engagement in the legislative process are proving to be effective alternatives to money and power-based political polarization. The Bergguen Institute recently reported on a new form of “participatory politics” being implemented in jurisdictions around the world that allows greater voice to the citizenry through robust technological platforms. This new form of deliberative democracy “avoids the populist sins of ignorance, demagoguery and utopian fantasies by introducing expertise and practices of reasoned deliberation into the great opening toward citizen engagement enabled by digital connectivity.” This is the kind of successful integration of the creative leadership represented by the Leo Moon and the mature use of the power and freedom of expression represented by the Aquarius Sun that puts these dynamic talents in service of the greater good.
For the few days before and after Mercury turns retrograde on February 16, the potential for visionary thinking intensifies as will the ability to notice and interpret the abundance of symbolic information that is everywhere around us. Hopefully we will have successfully managed the shadow period up to this point by dealing with important issues as they arise rather than procrastinating so that during the retrograde period, which lasts until March 9, we can allow ourselves to be guided by unseen forces to fine tune projects we’re working on, or even take the time to contemplate consciousness itself, which Pisces represents, and delve deeper into what it means to allow the ego dissolve.
One of the distinctive lessons of Pisces is to teach the value of letting go of our identification with the mental structures that make up our personality so that we can experience our true divine being. Yet this can only be successful if we successfully learned the lessons of the previous signs, but especially that of Aquarius, which is to be our own authority. The combined result of these last two lessons is the experience of unity in diversity where we truly understand the paradox of being a unique individual in relation to another and being at one with that other. When the Sun transitions from Aquarius to Pisces on February 18, we have yet another opportunity to tune into the borderland between the two, to take the essence of one and make it the seed of another. While Pisces ultimately can lead us into the bliss of formless eternal love, this life is not about maintaining a peak experience. It is about a spiral path of growth where every year we renew the cycle at a higher level. By discovering our own uniqueness and ability to stand alone in Aquarius we can then compassionately open to others in a more discerning way so as not to lose ourselves in others who live from ego rather than love. We need to be cognizant we’re living in a structured physical material reality with others at vastly different stages of evolutionary development. This distinction is essential to maintain our own integrity while others continue a path of programmed behavior and remain asleep to the bigger picture of cosmic connection.