And So Begins The Gemini/Sagittarius Eclipse Cycle

Talk about extreme: this solstice we have a total lunar eclipse in the last degree of Gemini. Lunar eclipses are extreme events, a total eclipse even more so, and put it at the end of its axis and everything is larger than life.

Add to it that the sun’s ruler is Mr. Bigger-Is-Better himself, Jupiter. Nothing’s subtle or minor. Everything’s grand scale. If your car is breaking down, it’s REALLY caving in. If you’ve had a burglary, you’ve been cleaned out but good.

Not to mention that the sun is hanging around with Pluto, lord of the underworld, wielder of the sharpest, most focused scalpel in existence. He knows where the skeletons are, where the secrets and decay are, and where to cut.

Ouch.

Since today’s event is a lunar eclipse, it’s got a huge air of escalating and summing up — bringing matters to a head that have been whipping up for a long, long time, as far back as late 2003.

The axis deals with how we think and what we say, how we travel about and what we believe about reality, as well as publishing and the media, higher education, planes, trains and automobiles, legal matters and foreign people, places and affairs. The full personal meaning will roll out as we get toward June’s solar eclipse, which will catapult us into the themes and issues we’ll be thinking about through 2013.

For now — look at what’s unfolding in your life as the embodiment of your beliefs — your thoughts made real. If you don’t like what you’re seeing…how could you alter what you’re thinking?

Read more in my lunar eclipse report at TheCosmicPath.com. To join my mailing list or learn about my eclipse reading special, visit EmpowermentUnlimited.net.

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Mercury Retrograde Guide

Mercury will be retrograde from December 10 – 30, 2010. Here’s a guide to what that means and how to deal with it.

Mercury rules communication, transportation and short-distance travel. When it is retrograde, it appears to be moving backward. (That’s an optical illusion much like when you pass a car and it falls beyond you in the rear view mirror.) When this happens, everything ruled by Mercury operates differently — more slowly, less smoothly, with more disruption and unpredictability. You know those times when everything seems to go flooey? This is one of them.

Challenges & Strategies
Communication gets garbled. It’s rife with misunderstandings, confusion, inexactness, lies. For this reason Mercury retrograde is not a good time to make deals, sign contracts, make major purchases or launch important projects, because key factors are probably not what you think they are. On the other hand, if you want to keep a door open, sign away; odds are you’ll have the opportunity to revisit or renegotiate the deal later.

Double- and triple-check assumptions and fine print. Don’t rely on your memory for addresses and dates. People are going to be showing up at the wrong house or wrong time the entire party season.

Technology malfunctions. Machines break. Don’t be surprised if something you rely on — your computer, cell phone, printer, DVR, wireless router, toaster, car — suddenly stops or undergoes a personality change. Traffic snarls. Travel gets delayed or impeded. (When Mercury went retrograde in Taurus in the spring of 2010, airports shut down across Europe because volcanic ash had made flight impossible.)

Why This One Is So Intense
All of this is going to go double, triple, quadruple for the December 2010 Mercury retrograde, because of other conditions in the sky. Mercury is in a hard aspect to Mars and Pluto (which rule action and transformation, respectively, as well as anger and really deep anger), and he’s one of the rulers of the full moon/lunar eclipse on the transportation axis.

Accidents and breakdowns will be rampant, and so will temper tantrums. Stay out of harm’s way: Back up your data (several ways, if possible). Allow lots of extra time when you’re on the road. Take something to occupy yourself, a blanket, water and snacks, too, so you won’t be bored or endangered if you get severely sidelined.

What’s The Upside?
You can learn and clean up a lot and put much in order. Mercury retrograde is ideal for going back over old territory and digging deeper.

Investigate and research. Finish old business and organize paperwork. Information can pop up that clarifies the past and this particular retrograde is going to up end a cornucopia of secrets and explanations. Launch negotiations, too; just hold off signing on the dotted line.

People from the past tend to resurface under this influence. Pay attention to who shows back up in your life, and make a point to get in touch with people you haven’t talked to in a while.

How Long This Lasts
The scope of a Mercury retrograde is longer than the time the planet is actually retrograde. It begins when the planet hits the degree to which it will eventually return, and it finally ends after the planet has turned direct moves past the degree where he went retrograde.

The time period on either time of the actual retrograde is called the retrograde shadow.. Issues that will be important during the retrograde tend to start showing up during the first part of the shadow, and they continue being addressed or worked out during the back end.

For the December 2010 cycle, Mercury entered his retrograde shadow on November 22, when he reached 19 Sagittarius. He will clear the shadow on January 18, 2011, when he passes 5 Capricorn.

Other Important Dates for This Retrograde
At the beginning of this retrograde and at the end of his shadow, Mercury is activating the Capricorn lunar eclipse from June 26, 2010. Themes, issues, conversations and people that were prominent in your life then will come back around. Important disclosures are probable — more background, more brutal honesty, more data that changes everything. This influence is especially active December 1-18 (5th-15th being the hottest) and January 13-21.

Mercury is also passing over the degree of the Gemini lunar eclipse that’s happening on the solstice, December 21. He’ll activate that point by January 13th and 14th, so watch for more to be revealed at that time about this season’s holiday sagas.

Real-Life Experiences
In the first day of this Mercury retrograde, my electric tea kettle broke, the controller went out for the blower of the pellet stove that heats my home, and my intended route home from an event was blocked by the aftermath of a multi-car collision in an intersection (including a fire truck, two ambulances and multiple police cars, all with flashing lights). This one’s going to be a doozy. Feel free to share your own experiences and questions. Plan ahead; take your time; and keep breathing!

Questions From Readers: Saturn and Virgos

CAG writes: I hear Saturn is bringing good thangs for Virgos?  Starting maybe the 20th of this month, and going for something like 12 – 26 years? Where is he going and what has he been doing to me?

What Saturn is bringing Virgos is relief! For most of the past three years, Saturn has been in your sign, Virgo. On July 21, he will leave your sign for Libra and will not return to Virgo for about another 28 years. That’s how long you have until another stretch of life comes around like the last three years. Now, this doesn’t mean that Saturn isn’t going to influence you in some way. He is always moving through some part of your chart. But the big, inescapable, unavoidable, at times crushing pressure he has put on you will not come back around again for almost 30 years.

Saturn challenges us to act responsibly in and commit to whatever area of life he is moving through in your chart. During the two to two and a half years he spends in your sign, obligations and responsibilities increase. Life becomes more serious, because you are learning to take yourself more seriously. Saturn brings lessons of maturity and competence. Circumstances force you to work hard. If you have been handling your business properly, doing your homework and using your power responsibly, Saturn brings a pay-off and rewards you at the end of his time in your sign.

Here are the dates of Saturn’s most recent transit in Virgo: end of August 2007 – July 21, 2010, with a breather from the end of October 2009 until the first week of April 2010, when he made a foray into Libra.)

One more note about timing: The foundations you laid and progress you made during Saturn’s time in your sign will be tested in about 7, 14 and 21 years (depending on when he contacts the sun in your chart.)

How Did I Get Here? Or, What to Expect From the Spring 2010 Merc Retrograde

I unwittingly did some advance work on the nature of the Mercury retrograde that’ll be with us from April 16 through May 11. Hoooboy. Buy a compass and carry a cell phone, preferably one programmed with the number of at least one Taurus.

When Mercury goes retrograde (an optical illusion, when the planet appears to be moving backward because of a change in relative orbital speed), communication and transportation often go flooey. Thinking gets fuzzy. Misunderstandings, confusion and lies abound. Travel hits snarls and delays. Technology breaks down. It’s not a good time for starting new projects and entering contracts (unless you want to keep the door open to renegotiating them later), because the words you’re thinking, hearing and reading do not entirely line up with what the other parties involved are thinking, saying and writing. It is a good time, however, to research and investigate and to clean up old business.

This time around, Mercury will be retrograde in the sign of Taurus. This slow, steady, earthy sign is not a comfortable place for the winged messenger, who prefers darting around to sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn. Mercury’s high-flying tendencies will not only be doing a major U-turn, but also be coming to ground. It’s not a coincidence that as Mercury was slowing to station retrograde, clouds (clouds! how Neptunian!) of volcanic ash grounded flights across Europe and shut down Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and other major airports. Prepare for a widespread muddling of practicalities and concrete information, and how.

My unintended research confused me so greatly that I concluded that the retrograde had already begun. It took a little distance to realize that the full power of the retrograde was still a week away; what was happening was transiting Mercury in Taurus opposing my natal Neptune and turning my natal t-square into a grand cross (effectively creating my own personal retrograde simulation). And what happened down here on terra firma? A drive to the Bronx and subway ride to the Village, following routes I’ve taken more times than I can tally and which should have taken an hour and 45 minutes, worst case scenario, lasted closer to three and a half.

The trouble started when I attempted to recreate a mistake I’d made the last time I’d driven in, which took a good 10 minutes off the drive. I misjudged the exit and ended up in an unfamiliar part of Harlem. I couldn’t remember where the avenue I was on, Lenox, was in relation to Madison, where I needed to be. I phoned the friend I would soon be visiting, and she wasn’t sure either. I doubled back and U-turned (with a police car coming into rear view, of course, as I completed it), took the first major street to the east and ended up a bridge other than the one I expected to be on. I phoned my friend again and she told me how to continue avoiding the expressway I had avoided in the first place. Then the street split, the signs weren’t clear and I found myself on that very same expressway. The upcoming exit wasn’t what I expected, but it mentioned the bridge by the warehouse where my friend lives, so I took it. The right street and bridge and highway sign layout came into view, but the corner buildings were from another universe, and the access road didn’t lead to her street but to … the bar and grill on the other side of the bridge from it. Apparently I had driven into the universe perpendicular to hers. Crossing over took multiple corrective turns, then — whew! Destination reached; ordeal ended.

Ha.

At least part two was shorter. It began after I discovered at the entrance to the closest subway station that my Metro card had expired. I’d been told there were no card machines there and certainly saw none, so I headed out in search of the station for the next closest line, which I’ve used multiple times and which I knew had machines selling cards. Once again, reality was familiar in one direction and absolutely foreign in the other. I walked a block. The side streets looked right; the buildings on the main street looked wrong. I phoned my friend yet again. She guided me back to the other station and to the entrance that did lead to Metro card machines. There was an attendant on duty, too, who transferred the unused fares from the expired card onto a new one. Just in case, I decided to run the card through a reader and verify the amount. A very large, very, very slow moving man was inches from me as I turned toward the scanner. “Excuse me,” I said, which immediately gave way to a loud and blasphemous curse (mine) as the man slammed into me without acknowledging my presence in any way — and catapulted me solidly into the there and then.

It occurred to me during the subway ride that the voice on the other end of my calls of confusion belonged to a Taurus. I’d recommend you get a couple lined up to act as guide lines.