Written by Pam Younghans
Photo: Image of the planet Mercury, taken by the Messenger spacecraft (photo from NASA website).
Mercury retrograde. In Virgo, the sign most associated with organized thought and action, and our ability to consciously analyze and sort through the various components of this earthly experience.
Perhaps the involvement of Virgo is why this particular Mercury retrograde period has been exceptionally noticeable, as the blurring of boundaries between realities affects the logical, ordered progression of our thoughts. But maybe we can also associate this feeling of being in a continuous altered state as part of the dimensional shift that is occurring.
Mercury continues moving backward this week, but is scheduled to station direct next Sunday. It will be interesting to see if -- and how -- this altered perception of reality carries into the next few weeks, as Mercury slowly starts his forward motion and then gains momentum.
Our New Moon on Wednesday is also in Virgo, emphasizing our quest for improvement and ultimate perfection. This goal of "perfection" is of course unrealistic, which is why we must also hold the energy of acceptance and unconditional love whenever Virgo's influence is in effect. Without the allowing and accepting of "what is," we can get so caught up in the ever-present evidence of current imperfections that we lose our perspective, and hope for the future becomes overlaid with pessimism.
So our challenge, throughout the Sun's month-long journey through Virgo and especially around this New Moon, is to keep our gaze on the mountaintop, while also appreciating the gifts of the valley, and the sometimes seemingly-circuitous trail that will take us upward.
If you've ever hiked in the backcountry, you know how frustrating switchbacks can be, those zigzag trails up a steep mountainside. There's a big temptation either to complain endlessly about the back-and-forth motion, or to head cross-country and forget about the trail altogether.
My memories of the hiking experience remind me that complaining just makes the feet heavier and the trail seem even more wearisome -- and that trying to climb straight up the mountain is so exhausting, it quickly becomes clear why the switchbacks were created in the first place.
Virgo reminds us of the importance of the step-by-step process of growth. By keeping our minds positive and our perspective in present-time, we even begin to notice the lovely wildflowers adorning the sides of the trail. And, with that awareness, our feet actually become lighter and our journey unfolds more gracefully.
The Sabian symbol for the 16th degree of Virgo, the position of the Sun and the Moon at the time of the New Moon, focuses on another aspect of Virgo. The symbol reads:
"In the zoo, children are brought face-to-face with an orangutan: A direct confrontation with the 'wild' power of primordial nature within oneself."
The keywords for this symbol are "Karmic Confrontation," and the full interpretation reminds us that Virgo is the time of the harvest, when we reap the results of our actions and intentions.
Supported by the dark skies that accompany this Virgo New Moon, and by Mercury's retrograde phase, we can use the energies this week to focus on where we are in our journey, and gain insights into how we have gotten where we are. We can see what qualities we have been watering and fertilizing the most in ourselves and in our relationships, and can also perceive with greater clarity what concrete steps are needed to bring about better results in the future.
Of course, with Mercury still retrograde at the time of the New Moon, we don't quite have a green light for outward action yet. But we do have the opportunity for heightened perspective this week, and the insights we gain will benefit our progress through the rest of the coming month. That progress will be even more noticeable after September 26, when Mercury moves beyond the position where he originally began his retrograde phase back on August 20.
The planets encourage us to ask for and receive assistance from the unseen realms this week. Neptune, Chiron and Mars dance in harmony on Thursday and Friday, supporting the alignment of our personal will with Divine Intention. This planetary interaction also creates opportunities for us to actively heal those remaining beliefs in separation -- the fear that we are alone, alienated, and unsupported by the universe.
Also enhancing our spiritual connection this week: Jupiter, now retrograde, will re-enter Pisces on Wednesday, on track for his second rendezvous with Uranus on September 18.
The first Uranus-Jupiter alignment occurred on June 8, but was in the sign of Aries. This month's alignment between the two planets, and the one in January 2011, will be in Pisces, which puts a very different spin on the energies involved.
Where Aries is about the creation and assertion of the individual ego, Pisces is about the merging of self with the Essential Self. As we work now with the growing energies of the upcoming Uranus-Jupiter alignment in Pisces, we can anticipate breakthroughs in our spiritual growth and our connection to and awareness of nonphysical realities.
NorthPoint Astrology Blog: I'll be sharing more thoughts this week at http://northpointastrology.blogspot.com/ -- please visit and join in the conversation!
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