Mercury Retrograde Rx

One of the best things I ever learned, something so liberating I wept with relief when I was told, is that if you know what Mercury Retrograde (MRx) is about, you can weather the storm with optimism and even—gasp!— gratitude. MRx is a time to Re-visit, Re-do, Re-think, even Re-member.

If you have no clue what Mercury Retrograde is, please have a gander at this article:

http://astrology.about.com/od/advancedastrology/p/MercuryRetro.htm

Since an MRx happens approximately 3 times a year and lasts up to 3 weeks each time, the influence is perhaps one of the most frustrating (as opposed to difficult or painful, though it can be both) astrological events we experience. Below, I am going to give you a few steps to follow so that you can do your own research on how an MRx will influence you (or any other astrological Rx or Return or—you name it).

Step One

Find out which planet is the key player(s). Do your research on what the planet governs and influences.

In this instance, we have Mercury the Messenger. Mercury governs communications and all other types of transactions between two or more entities (i.e. the bank and you OR your lower Self with your higher Self). This includes law, commerce, and emotional interactions. Mercury also influences the mental processes—how we think. Don’t just limit this influence to logic though. Mercury touches on our visualizations and our fantasies as well.

There may be another planet involved in your astrological event so be sure to repeat the process.

Step Two

Find out which zodiac sign the planet(s) occupies during the astrological event. This  zodiac sign has its own attributes that impose another layer of influences on the event.

The MRx is exclusively occurring in Cancer, the Crab (sometimes an MRx will back into the previous sign). Cancer is a sign of the mother and the home. This sign’s energetic/elemental signature is cardinal water. Cardinal energy is thrusting, like a seed pushing a plant through the ground. The element of water governs the emotions and is fluid in nature.

Make sure you address the zodiac signs of the other planets in your astrological event, if any.

Step Three

Determine the house governed by the zodiac sign in general and in your natal chart.

In general, the fourth house is ruled by Cancer, and again we find the theme of home life and the mother. However, in your chart, Cancer may have a different governance. In my natal chart, Cancer governs the 2nd house of Finances (I like to consider this Portable Prosperity).

Repeat for any other zodiac signs in your astrological event.

Step Four

Determine which planets are in close configurations or aspects with the MRx.

The Sun is always in close configuration with Mercury but the big Kahuana is the conjunction and it happens on July 9, 2013, which is the midway point of the MRx. Conjunctions are where the influences between two planets (or luminaries) can be most harmonious but it can also be like shoving the same polarity ends of two magnets together. The Moon conjuncts the MRx the day before on July 9th and squares the MRx on July 1st. Since the Moon rules Cancer, this is a significant interaction.

Resources

You can create your natal chart by using this link:

http://www.cafeastrology.com/articles/howtoobtainchart.html

You can look up where the planets are at this moment and how they’re interacting here:

http://www.cafeastrology.com/monthlycalendar.html

The calendar starts with May 2013 but scroll down and you’ll see not only a Key to the symbols but July through November of 2013. The day before the 1st of the month or after the last day of the month gives a low down on when planets go into new zodiac signs. You may have to look at the month before (i.e. Mercury went into Cancer at the end of May) to find out where a planet is.

Application

The MRx is in Cancer, ruler of the 4th house of home and the mother, and happens to be moving through the second house of Portable Prosperity in my natal chart. I’m also going to consider that my natal Moon in Cancer will be influenced by this MRx because it resides in the second house and is in its sign of rulership.

Hmmm, this would explain my intense irritability lately, especially with my children and their constant demands on my resources as their Mother, the state of my financial affairs, and my pervasive sense of not feeling satisfied with what I have. I will need to revisit my feelings and relationship with my Portable Prosperity, first and foremost, and I will need to reassess my feelings about how my children make demands on my liquid assets. The idea is to re-concile the mental and emotional tensions around prosperity.

On July 1, 2013, when the Moon squares the MRx, I better watch what comes out of my mouth because I will probably have a hair trigger. On July 5th, the MRx is sesquiquadrate to Neptune. Though the aspect is minor, confusion is bound to interfere with the reconciliation process. The conjunction with the Moon and then the Sun one day after the other (June 8th and 9th) is probably going to be tense, though in a good way. This may be where the frustration has mounted to an intolerable level and I’ll have a breakthrough!

Sharing Traditions: Dance of the Standing Stones

Our Clan’s ritual book is a Llewellyn tome, so I include the title here:

Kynes, Sandra. “Litha.” A Year of Ritual: Sabbats and Esbats for Solitaries & Covens, pp. 49-55.

Though Ms. Kynes is a practicing Hedge Druid, the Sabbat rituals have a distinctly Feri flavor to them. I only say this because I was secondly taught by a Feri coven and the rituals of both book and coven, though not similar in content, have a looser, more shamanic structure than more traditional Sabbat rituals that I have seen.

One of the practices from Kynes’ Litha ritual is the Dance of the Standing Stones. The stones are seven in number and set up in two rows to allow celebrants the freedom to dance about them, which is a powerful way to raise energy. This arrangement is meant to recreate the standing stones found on the European continent. A number of scholars have put forth the idea that the stone circles, like Stone Henge, are astronomical observatories marking the winter and summer solstices.

Our clan has seven large, garden stones, roughly rectangular, that we set up to create an avenue. We took the idea a step or two further by marking each stone with the symbol of one of the 7 planets/luminaries: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. When we dance, the implications are cosmic and the energy raised comes from a higher source because the astronomical observatory has become our own solar system of possibility. The Microcosm becomes the Macrocosm.

A table of influences is provided below:

The Sun rules the Ego, the conscious mind, and personal expression. It influences creativity and willpower (Tifareth).

The Moon rules the subconscious mind, emotions, and memory. It influences moods, receptivity, and imagination (Yesod).

Mercury rules communication, technology, and commerce. It influences analysis, diplomacy, and secrets (Hod).

Venus rules money, love, and desire. It influences cooperation, finances, and pleasure (Netzach).

Mars rules leadership, the Id, and ambition. It influences passions, drives, and sexuality (Geburah).

Jupiter rules justice, morality, governance, and ideals. It influences generosity, expansiveness, and optimism (Chesed).

Saturn rules ambition, motivation, and restrictions. It influences duty, responsibility, and discipline (Binah).

Helpful Links:

http://www.cafeastrology.com/articles/planetsinastrology.html

http://www.astrology.com.au/astrology/planets/index.php

Face of God: The Big Sun

The solar equinoxes and solstices are a time when Clan Bradan celebrates the Lord, the masculine aspect of the Divine.  At the summer solstice the First Lord is in his prime. He is known by many names: Lugh, Apollo, Baldur, Christ, and Ra to name a few. Clan Bradan adopted the aspect of Lugh, the Sun god of skill and bravery.

Lugh’s myths portray the archetype of the Warrior King, who brings knowledge and justice to his subjects while protecting them with his strong sword arm. He is a learned man, compassionate with his subjects yet fierce against his enemies. His word is his bond and his keen mind and zest for life gives him the ability to illuminate what troubles the mind and heart.

This archetype is also the Sacrificial King. As the Oak King, he dies for our continued survival at the hand of the Holly King, who begins his reign at the Summer Solstice. The Oak King’s blood and flesh are symbolically represented in the fruit and grain harvests of agricultural societies and his energies are invoked in Cakes & Wine. He is also reborn at the following Winter Solstice when his return defeats the inevitability of death represented by the Holly King.

So ask yourself, which facet of the Lord is your Warrior King? Who comes to your defense from the Inner Realms when you are under attack? Who illuminates your troubles and leads you to the skills that will overcome your obstacles? What kind of relationship do you have with this archetype? Litha is the perfect time to explore this face of god.

Resources:

Jones, Mary. “Lugh Lamhfada.” Jones’ Celtic Encyclopedia. http://www.maryjones.us/jce/lugh.html, accessed June 18, 2013.

Lyrica. “About Sun Gods and Sun Symbols in Mythology and Your Psyche.” http://www.lyricalworks.com/stories/amaterasu/sunsymbols.htm, accessed June 18, 2013.

Wigington, Patty. “Lugh, Master of Skills.” About.com Paganism/Wicca. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/godsandgoddesses/p/Lugh.htm, accessed June 18, 2013.

Ibid. “The Legend of the Holly and the Oak King.” About. com Paganism/Wicca. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yulethelongestnight/p/Holly_KIng_Yule.htm, accessed June 18, 2013.

Litha: A Time of Reconciliation

I’ve seen plenty of articles that emphasize the sensual nature of Litha, and I don’t wish to diminish the potency of the masculine or the appeal of sex because I happen to like both. Very. Much. My intention is to shift the focus to include the spiritual, since humans were given the blessing to experience both the sexual and the spiritual at the same time. So let’s go over the basics.

Litha, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “midsummer,” is the third festival of the Lord celebrated circa June 21st in the first degree of Cancer. Also known as Summer Solstice, this is the time of the longest day and the shortest night when the sun shines upon the northern hemisphere in all its potency. Fire and the energy of the sun are celebrated at this time.

Cancer, the zodiac sign that rules the period of June 21st through July 20th, is a cardinal mode of the element of water. It is a cool, moist, and thrusting energy juxtaposed to the hot, dry, forceful energy of a midsummer sun. These two energies seem opposite, but it is the challenge of reconciling these two energies that shapes the purpose of Litha.

We are seventy percent water, yet what moves us is the fire of metabolism and the thrusting energy of our hearts. When working in concert, these physiological processes create health and vitality; when at odds and uncorrected, they create dis-ease within our bodies. Conversely, the fire of our wills and the water of our emotions, when at odds and uncorrected, create dis-ease within our spirits. Inevitably, the physical body follows the lead of the spirit: As Within, So Without.

Magickal people use the energy of Litha to reconcile and maintain the health of the elemental energies of fire and water within their spirits. The element of fire is used to burn away excess energies and dis-ease. The element of water is used to cleanse and to restore. A reconciliation of the masculine and feminine energies with you is but one application of this operation.

So when June 21, 2013 arrives (or June 22, because that is a Magickal Sandwich Day with Summer Solstice on one end and a Full Moon on the other), take time to commune with your significant other by immersing your awareness in the contrasts between you. If you are single or are inclined to get your hands dirty with inner work, take time to commune with the contrasting elements of your internal collective. You may either be faced with a reconciliation of illusory opposing forces, a battle of Holly and Oak, or something deliciously in between (think makeup sex).

IMHO: Feminism & Paganism

As a feminist, I am still turned off by the more militant of my kind. Patriarchal Christianity is the root of all evil in their minds. Though I’m not pleased with the political aspects of Christianity, I think the root of all evil is intolerance and that can be found in any ideology.

My understanding of feminism is that it places an emphasis on the welfare of women and children. What feminism opposes is not men, but a particular mindset put into place by a powerful political minority that happens to be white and male. Not all white males are part of this elite club, but many of them fall prey to the propaganda.

I’ve been told by books and well-meaning pagans that paganism focuses on the feminine to bring the world into balance after the scourge of centuries of Patriarchal Monotheism. Priestesses serve by providing strong feminine role models to young women and men . What I’m discovering, and one of the reasons that I withdrew from the community at large, is that the masculine is diminished, even at times degraded, by the mindset of paganism. This is not a strong, feminine role model in action.

Men and women are the flip sides of the same coin, opposites assuredly, but also complements in the evolution of the Universe. As pagans, we must remember the Law of Polarity and honor the feminine in balance with the masculine. We must recognize that everything without is a reflection of that which is within.

To be whole individuals, we must reconcile ourselves to all the components in our makeup, no matter how badly we have been harmed by one part or another in our outer realities. If we are in conflict with the men in our lives, if we diminish the masculine, then we are not at peace with the Divine Lord within. If we are not at peace with one side of the polarity coin, then truly are we at peace with the other?