November: Mercury Retrograde and Scorpio Eclipse
Two events dominate the astrology of November — Mercury retrograde and a total eclipse of the Sun. There is also a corresponding lunar eclipse, though it’s a penumbral eclipse, which some would say is not particularly strong; but to me this gentle eclipse looks like a special opportunity. Let’s take these events one at a time (and I suggest you review the October stars piece from last month).
The Mercury retrograde that begins Nov. 6 is a particularly interesting one. Apart from the fact that it begins on the day of a U.S. presidential election, Mercury makes a number of challenging aspects. Fortunately we have astrology so we can see them in advance. These include a series of three squares to Neptune — one during the forward shadow phase (the weeks leading up to the station retrograde), one during the retrograde and the last during the second shadow phase, with Mercury again direct.
Mercury square Neptune can be slippery. It is difficult to discern the truth under the influence of this aspect. It is therefore essential that you not act on what you know or suspect to be incomplete information. Also, I suggest you raise your standard to pausing and seeking additional information if you should know something; you are responsible for both what you know, and acting on that information.
When in doubt, the thing to do is pause. Lost opportunities during these aspects are unlikely to have been opportunities at all — and if they were, they will still be there in late December or early January when things settle down. One potential issue is that decisions made under these influences can have substantial staying power, mainly due to the involvement of a total eclipse of the Sun, which will have a pattern-setting property (eclipses almost always do). Therefore, get in the habit now of making sure that you’ve got your facts right, and pausing if you fear that you do not. This might not be the time to act on a suspicion, but it’s definitely time to pause for more information.
The first Mercury-Neptune square happens Monday, Oct. 29, just two hours ahead of the Taurus Full Moon. (The Full Moon is exact Monday at 3:49 pm EDT.) We are under the influence of the square and the Full Moon now, and there is considerable momentum (in part because the Sun is in Scorpio and in part because we are close to one of the cross-quarters of the year, in particular, an old holiday which we how commemorate as Halloween).
The second Mercury-Neptune square happens two weeks later, very close to the total solar eclipse of Nov. 13. So the first two Mercury-Neptune squares are combined with lunations, meaning that emotional pressure is likely to influence your already slippery intellectual process. Emotion is not subject to reason and, while it may be good at guiding you in certain circumstances, you cannot expect a rational result, especially under this astrology. Therefore, do a kind of ‘therapy check’ when making decisions — question one is, how do I feel? Question two is, what are the facts? Beware of wishful thinking and selective inattention.
The last Mercury-Neptune square is Dec. 11, when Mercury is direct but before it’s entered new territory after the retrograde. This is the moment that may come with the feeling of, “I should have known.” Therefore, starting now, I suggest you take it slow and recognize that you are responsible for what you do not know.
As for the usual “don’t buy, don’t sign” influence happening during part of the holiday shopping season, I recommend buying modest gifts, and if possible, doing your holiday shopping once Mercury has stationed direct on Nov. 26 (give it a few days). Yes, there will be residual influences hanging around, though they will be easier to handle after the station direct and after the stormy phase close to the end of the retrograde settles down. You don’t need to fall for the compulsive behavior associated with holiday shopping. It really is the thought that counts.
Last, here are a few thoughts about the eclipses. The total solar eclipse in Scorpio is the first eclipse in Scorpio for nearly a decade (eclipses run on a nine-year cycle). Eclipses stir up the psychic territory, wherever they are — and Scorpio is challenging for many people because it brings up taboo subject matter: sex, desire, death, money and all the various shades of secrets associated with these things.
Saturn is also in Scorpio, in a sense compelling that discussion. I suggest you have it sooner rather than later, though due to Mercury retrograde, please do not expect “the truth” to arrive in a neat bundle. If ever the truth be known, it’s usually something we put together from many points of view, with the occasional revelation.
Last, there is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon in Gemini on Nov. 28. (This is also the Gemini Full Moon.) For this eclipse, Venus, Saturn and Mercury are all in Scorpio, so there will be plenty to talk about — under the influence of a talkative Full Moon. By this time, you may notice that it’s become a lot easier to handle taboo topics. Here is the message of this eclipse: You are what you talk about. Therefore, choose your subject matter, your point of view and your language carefully and consciously.
Changing how you feel can begin with changing your mind, and that often starts with how you choose to describe your experience. Listen to yourself.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
The time has come to go beyond belief. In fact, I suggest that the moment you find yourself ‘believing’ something, that’s the time to question it. By this, I mean ask yourself a series of questions, check every fact, and persist in going deeper, over an extended period of time. You’re about to encounter a situation where this kind of mental rigor will be essential both to your happiness and your financial wellbeing. The setup is essentially that you’re headed for making a decision that seems good at the time, only to doubt yourself, only then to find out that you have regrets. You can avoid this whole thing by pausing and getting the facts now. I recognize that this kind of attentiveness can be off-putting to others. Having information is a form of power, and refusing to go blithely on belief, or to simply accept others at their word, can be off-putting. You might feel guilty for challenging others. The most important thing you can do, besides having some healthy skepticism, is be polite. Persist in seeking specific facts and numbers, which will take a few more weeks (into early December or a bit longer). Meanwhile, if you’re moving forward about anything and you still have your doubts, slow down the move. Build in some delays, and hold your cards until your knowledge starts to reach a tipping point. That’s a moment of truth, and it’s better when this happens before you’re committed to something you can’t get out of easily.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Whatever else may be going on in your life — and there is plenty — I suggest you keep your emphasis on your wellbeing, such as maintaining a balance between your work and your personal life. The most intimate aspects of your existence are likely to be compelling, as you rethink your involvement in a certain agreement based on factors you’re unlikely to have considered before. The practical aspect may seem to compete against the emotional aspect, though you’re making progress when you see them as the same thing. It’s essential that you become a highly conscious decision maker, which may be challenging amongst so many unusual factors, events that somehow seem fated, and doubts about your past choices. I suggest you develop the skill of knowing when you’re in denial. Each time you figure it out, consider that a moment of awakening. From there, your first objective would be to remain awake, so you can use your awareness to help you guide your life in a wholly positive direction. One additional challenge is the sense of mystery that may be pervading everything. There are the usual questions, such as where am I and how did I get here? These have answers. The most pressing questions involve you and what you want. You’ve taken some strides on this particular issue; you’ve figured out some of what you don’t want and discovered a few things that make you happy. Yet you remain the most persistent mystery in the room. Sit with that one; don’t rush yourself.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Maintaining one’s independence is challenging in relationships, especially in a world where we seem to have two options — taken and not taken. Taken often involves signing a 100-page contract, and not taken can come with the sense of being a non-person. You’re finally seeing the futility of this, yet there doesn’t seem to be an easy way out of the paradox. It would be a cruel world where intimacy came only at the expense of a hostage situation, though for too many people this is what happens nearly all the time. You seem intent on going beyond this limited reality, or what could less politely be described as an emotional trap where your own needs and desires are used as bait. If you’re seeking your freedom without the corresponding sacrifice of closeness, make sure you notice those moments when freedom seems like a dangerous, unstable state of existence. Those are your best indication that the door is actually coming unlocked. Usually, an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and the daunting prospect of failure, contribute to the sense that the fewer options one has, the better. Lately, however, you’ve become aware of a fact that verges on metaphysical: you are a distinct entity in the universe, responsible for the course of your own existence. You may be feeling it as a struggle for survival, and I assure you that your quest is precisely that. Don’t let anyone convince you of what is not true, but more to the point, don’t convince yourself.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
If you find yourself going deeper than you feel safe in an erotic situation, remember one word: healing. That will help you focus, and it will give you a basis of both purpose and communication. You can pretty much assess everyone and everything on the basis of their affinity with this concept — including yourself. There’s the phase of this experience where pleasure itself is a kind of necessary balm. Yet the experience continues from there. The whole experience is a vehicle to take you deeper into a kind of hidden realm, which may involve dealing with certain matters that (for example) your parents did not address and which were passed on to you. Yet there is something deeper than your immediate lineage that you’re about to address, and that is part of the reason that you may be feeling out of your depth (particularly around the time of a total solar eclipse on Nov. 13). You seem to be dealing with something much larger than yourself, and if you know that, you will both not feel so overwhelmed and you’ll also have a line of approach to the territory. You seem to be involved with a situation that started with the intent for one thing, then in a series of steps you didn’t know you were taking, became something else, as if you encountered a kind of emotional or psychic undertow. To proceed from here, you will need to take one step at a time, making one decision at a time, based on the best available information you have.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Is this a moment of settling down, or of upheaval? The astrology for your sign this month presents two distinct scenarios, and how you respond to it will depend on a number of factors, one of which I will call your density level. This isn’t a concept I’ve used in my column before, so I will explain. Think of increased density as contraction, fear, resistance, denial and the feeling of being stuck. Think of lighter density as expansion, a sense of flow, flexibility, alertness and the sensation that you have the ability to choose. Taken on a denser energy level, the astrology of this month could be jarring, threatening to your security and come with the sensation that changes are being imposed on you by outside forces. As you go to lighter, less dense levels of awareness, the astrology will feel more like being in the right place at the right time, putting down emotional roots, and taking the opportunity to make productive, necessary and long-overdue changes. Looked at in the best light, the approaching combination of astrological factors describes a time of distinction between the past and the present. You’re being set free from negative attachments, seeming obligations and a whole raft of family karma. This is an amazing opportunity for you, except for one thing. It’s entirely too easy to be attached to a low density level. It’s easy to be attached to the past. Therefore, focus on raising your vibration — and keep your mind focused on a vision for the future.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
This month we return to a theme that’s arisen periodically over the past few years: your relationship to your ancestral past. You do seem to be here on a mission, though it’s difficult for you to separate your particular calling from the views of so many others who have imposed their intentions on you. Some of this is from the distant past, some of it’s from your family of origin and much of it is filtering in from various teachings you’ve been exposed to over the years. At the moment you seem poised to do something daring, and that you haven’t quite done before: go beyond all of that theory, and reach your awareness into the core of who you are. You don’t need these other influences, they no longer serve you, and to the extent that anyone thinks they need you to do their bidding, they’ll get over not having you as their agent. Here’s the thing: on the way to finding out something that is absolutely true for yourself, you will go through a process of discovering what’s not true — and that may be a little unnerving, especially as you realize the negative influences they’ve had. Remember you’re doing this in a time when there’s a prevailing philosophy that ‘there’s no such thing as the truth’. There’s another notion that the truth is whatever someone can get someone else to believe. As you’ve no doubt noticed, these become excuses for many to abandon integrity. You have a different agenda.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You will need to be impeccable with money and resources for the rest of the year. This includes making no commitments you’re not sure you can keep, or that you even suspect you might not be able to keep. You’ll also need to preserve what you have as a conscious act. As you do this, a lot of information is going to come your way. There will be certain specific facts that prove to be useful, though the thing to look for is the overall pattern. This will take some time to develop, and you may find yourself wading through plenty of murky water before you arrive at several moments of clarity. Take these one at a time, and watch the pattern of what you learn from these developments as well. Any sense of needing to rush is entirely artificial. Rather than resisting the urge to push forward, devote your energy to learning, and in particular, learning about the way in which resources are as important as money, or more so. ‘Resources’ includes your skills, your reputation and your ability to relate to others. It would also include your relationships with resourceful people, and all those who care about you and have demonstrated over time that they are willing to lend support to your cause. The communication piece — listening, and learning to speak in a clear, focused way — may be the most significant of all. In a sense, it’s the key to everything else, and the most meaningful tool for establishing both your credibility, and your creativity.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
On Nov. 13, there’s a total solar eclipse in your birth sign, the first in more than nine years. Though there are numerous other factors influencing you this month, this by far is the most significant. Eclipses are about shifts in continuity, sometimes subtle, sometimes radical. I would say they represent ‘change’, but these days that’s a meaningless word. It’s a special kind of change, involving things that have gone on so long you’ve taken them for granted. This could include emotional patterns, certain facts about your sexuality and most significantly, the ways you communicate with yourself and others. Your charts present an image of you passing through what would normally be a ‘veil of forgetfulness’, only this time, you remember who you are. Not only that, you remember the support, love and trust that surrounds you, much of it coming from far beyond the Earthly realm. Yet in the aspect of your life that’s located here on Earth, one implication is that you’re experiencing the drive to rebuild your integrity. It may be painful, at first, to consider the ways that your words and actions have not been in alignment — then after a while, you’ll figure out that every time you discover one of these fractures is an opportunity to make amends with yourself and by extension, with others. It will help if you come to terms with the fact that, for many years, not everything you’ve believed was true. And that, you will discover, is very good news.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
As the days go by, the forces of society increasingly draw people outside of themselves. Whether people are gazing into little rectangular crystal balls, obsessed with fashion, obsessed with romance, chasing sex or success or fixated on something they despise, in our current era, the prevailing direction of flow of consciousness is outward. For you, the pull is in the opposite direction — into yourself. This may be happening to a degree that is unsettling, though the result will be to make you a more settled person. It’s true that there are still externals to distract you. Yet your inward draw is much stronger, and it’s likely to increase in intensity over the next few weeks until it gets not only your attention, but your full devotion. Of particular concern are resolving any ways you’ve been living a double life, which could include any tendency to exclude people close to you from awareness of what you think or do. Yet there is something else going on, which is being real about your tendency to compartmentalize and hide information from yourself. This kind of detachment can allow you a measure of temporary freedom, and helps you suspend awareness of certain ethical or emotional responsibilities. However, you’re no longer in a position to pretend that these emotional influences or factors don’t exist, or to make believe that you don’t know what you know and feel what you feel. It doesn’t matter how popular you are. What matters is that you’re real with yourself and with others.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
In retrospect, you may decide this was the month you actually woke up and figured out that you’re alive, and that you’re here to live your life, your way. One element of this is the discovery that it’s simply impossible to please everyone, and a miracle when people actually recognize who you are. The message coming through from life and from the planets is: don’t bother trying to please anyone, and recognize and appreciate who you are. Acting on this intention will introduce a shock to your psyche, making you more alert and calling several people around you into focus. Then, you’ll get to have a different kind of conversation. When you feel a real level of trust, take the opportunity to push the boundary of who you are — and by that, I mean to not only stretch but exceed your comfort zone. The idea is to be realer than you’re accustomed to being, even to the point where it feels a little dangerous. Yet I suggest you do this in a contained environment, not live on YouTube. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this journey is an experiment in revealing what you would have been reluctant to reveal before, or indeed, what you would have never considered. You cannot be comfortable with yourself if you’re not comfortable being yourself and allowing others to see who you are. While you might think that you would feel confident before making any such revelation, your growth will proceed in the other direction.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
It was the astrologer Patric Walker (1931-1995) who handed John Lennon the beautiful line, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” This is a fair reading of your chart these days, particularly as regards your professional life. It’s true that some people are born knowing what they’re ‘supposed to do’, set about doing it, and succeed brilliantly. Most of the time, the process is an extended experiment, and devotion to one particular path or intention can be altered by a casual conversation at a party, a chance meeting or an opportunity that seems interesting. In those moments, it seems to be the hand of fate that’s guiding you, though what you call it doesn’t really matter — only that you notice when it’s at work. Through this month, there are two forces or factors guiding you. One is your traditional approach to success: set goals, work hard, be dependable. The second factor is the sensation of providence moving in your direction. It’s essential that you recognize this when it happens; it may not come in a form that you recognize, and in truth, everything that happens to you this month is part of a conspiracy to guide you to where you belong, and where you want to be. For this to work, you’ll need to let go of your desire to control your direction or the specific outcome, and muster up just a little faith in yourself. A little goes a long way.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
As the Zen Room of the zodiac, your sign often spawns individuals naturally inclined to live in the moment. This is more neutral than it seems, facilitating pleasure-seeking or spiritual growth; self-absorption or devotion to service. Yet you’re now feeling the need to both develop your longterm plan, and to put certain deeply cherished goals into action. Your solar chart suggests that you’re tired of wondering what is possible, or what the universe is willing to cooperate with, and are intent on finding out for yourself. This will take a combination of discipline and risk-taking, which is exactly what this month’s aspects offer. Yet the most meaningful chance you will take is expanding your beliefs about what is possible. It would be best if you could set the whole question aside, focus on your vision and go one step at a time for as long as it takes to get where you want to be. To do this, you need to blend persistence with something even more challenging: believing in yourself, and what you want. And there’s one other factor. To fully embrace your mission, you must accept being different. This includes the potential for standing out, for challenging people, being thought of as weird, and recognizing that some people will not agree with or approve of what you’re doing. Your spiritual and creative quest is not a popularity contest. However, being willing to take these risks might make you very successful in the end.