Back to the Future; Mercury goes Retrograde in Aquarius

Philosopher William James first coined the phrase “stream of consciousness” to describe the full range of thoughts that we can be aware of at any given time. He called it a stream, observing that thoughts tended to flow from one to another and another.

Here we are at the end of the first month of 2021, and Mercury, the god of thought, is decidedly reversing the stream’s current, in Aquarius, the sign of awareness, foresight and future.

Are we going back to the future?

In a sense, maybe.

As we go about our days we are immersed in many droplets of rich subjective life. Moments when something speaks to us, moments when we feel good or bad, moments that we share, moments that we rush, moments that we savor.

With winged-sandals, Mercury, God of thought swiftly weaves facts out of these moments. Facts that may be recalled in the future about what happened in the past. The facts are what survives, the feelings are fleeting, and disappear like the Moon. Facts weave and connect into the mysterious network of memory. Awaiting a reason to resurface, and be reflected on. Once reflected on, feelings may arise again, and feel like those original feelings, but they are still new, and based on these facts.

As Mercury moves retrograde, the stream of consciousness goes back on itself. It’s like using one of those now obsolete microfiche machines in libraries, where newspapers can be flashed through in search of that pertinent piece of information. Thought goes back on itself, in search of something.

Mercury has been in Aquarius since the beginning of the year leaving many Aquarian-esque facts weaved into our neural networks. Aquarian-esque; existential, pertaining to future, off the beaten path and in question of some basic assumptions.

You found something in these weavings, what was it?

Maybe you will find a fact worthy of reflection. By reflecting on these resurfaced facts, perhaps you will better shape your future! Time flows just like the trickster. Maybe you can manage to go back to the future!

Mercury will be retrograde for the rest of Aquarius Season. The Trickster God will go direct on February 20th, two days after the start of Pisces Season, and remain in Aquarius until March 15th.

Happy Astro Pondering!

Astro art by Johnnie Day Durand.

Full Wolf Moon in the Sign of the Lion. Bound in the Unbounded.

The first Full Moon of the year will be here on Thursday the 28th.  The January Full Moon is known as the Wolf Moon, as it was traditionally believed that wolves howled more at this time because of winter hunger.  The Wolf Moon will paradoxically be in the sign of Leo, making it a breed of dog and cat.  An archetypal mix of belonging and spontaneity.

Many good dogs eagerly anticipate the arrival of their person after a long day of work- and the sight of a sparkly ball sends the average cat into a multiverse of possible spontaneous reactions.  What does this Moon speak of in combining these two themes?

Could it be that we, as humans, are curious creatures whose belonging becomes more clear in moments of spontaneity?

Is this why we laugh with those we feel most at home with? Is this evolution itself making sure that we stay supple and moveable, like a good flame? 

Opposite this Moon will be a trinity of Aquarius, with Sun Jupiter and Saturn.  The sign of freedom, lit up and made expansive by Jupiter, yet with it’s own laws of Saturn.  The age-old debate on Free Will.  Is it ours or is it not?

Squaring all of this is Mars in Taurus near the Great Awakener, Uranus.  Taurus is wonderful magic of homeostasis, always at work in our physiology.

And maybe herein lies a clue.  We are free, but our body knows things that are good for us, and ‘good for us’ speaks on so many different levels (emotionally, physically, morally, for example).

William James said, “the question of free will is insoluble on strictly psychological grounds”. Is he referring to the mysterious balancing act of our physiology, as well as hinting at some greater mystery?

Is to be truly free to surrender to your true being? 

Anchored in flight!

Scorpio, Taurus’ opposite, knows that to some extent, the Will must surrender itself to the mystery of inner balance.

Free Will is embedded in the word spontaneity comes from the latin root sponte, “of one’s own will.” The spontaneous delights of children are likely the best reminder of how good it is to grab a joy where it can be found.  “Kiss it as it flies” as William Blake would say.

Maybe this Full Moon can inspire us to do this. And in a moment of free-willed joy feel a solid place of belonging.

Bound to be unbound, and unbound you are bound to come back around, to where you are bound? 

Anyway, a howl-roar to the first Full Moon of 2021!  

Happy Astro Pondering!

The Promise of Tomorrow; Aquarius Season Begins

Tomorrow, tomorrow. I love ya, tomorrow,  it’s only a day away… that a new president steps into office. It was only a day ago that we gave tribute Martin Luther King, a great leader who believed in the promise of tomorrow.

Aquarius Season has begun.  The promise of tomorrow.  The creative life of the future that is always accessible in the present moment.  A shift in perspective.  A shift in momentum.  A whole lot of shaking going on.

The word future stems from the latin root fu which means “to grow” or “become”.  This puts the magic of the future more directly in the body, and renders it less of an abstraction.  The warm glow of optimism that floods the body would be Annie’s sun of tomorrow.  As the 5th dimension sings: Let the sun shine in.

To put the emphasis on growing and becoming is to welcome all experience as a learning tool.  The current buzzword for this is growth mindset, but Goethe would have called it bildung; education from life experience.

Aquarius is the water bearer.  An air sign that refers to water.  Experience that refers to feeling. Experience ultimately is subjectivity, the feelings that arise in each moment, the emotions that arise in us and signal what is good or bad for our survival and flourishing.

Aquarius is the evaporated air (thoughts) of our water (feelings), as they descend into the past, making facts from which we will reflect on in the future.  These “facts” will inform our behavior through the subconscious mind.  Wouldn’t it be best to oversee what “facts” make it into the fabric of our being?  

Aquarius has the solution with its gift of awareness and foresight.  Awareness can dawn (there’s that inner sun again) on you in any moment and cause a shift, or a rift, in the steady sea of the subconscious mind.  Writer and philosopher Colin Wilson would call this steady sea the robot,  an evolutionary life-hack that allows us to drive a car or type without much thinking after we’ve learned it.  The robot steps in and does it for you, freeing you to tend to other thoughts, or do other things.  The problem is the robot becomes over active, and in its tendency to take over, it also de-values the moment, by making it overly familiar.

Although it is associated with technology, Aquarius is weary of over-mechanization.  The robotic mindset stands in opposition to the urge to be free.  The awakening of that urge, is awareness, Aquarius’ first step.

Though associated with technology, Aquarius is not robotic!

The next step is to tie in the future through foresight.  It’s not enough just to be aware of the moment, there must be a commitment to cultivation.  There must be a reverence for the fleeting shimmer of water (real feeling) that is active only in the present moment.  This is the sunlight dancing on the water, sparkling in the snow, shimmering in the heart.  The joy and freedom of becoming and growing. 

The evaporated facts that come from shimmering water are quite different from the evaporated facts of stagnant water. They are healthy with electricity, supportive of the life urge to flourish. Knowing this is Aquarius’ foresight, a path for cultivation.

Aquarius reveres the water that it bears, listening to it and cultivating it. 

The promise of future lives moment to moment! 

All art by Johnnie Day Durand

Venus in Capricorn- The World as a Whole

This past week Venus entered Capricorn, the sign of the real world. Capricorn is the mythical SeaGoat. We can find a goat in the world and we can find a fish in the world, but we can’t find a SeaGoat in the real world.

Or can we?

Perhaps what is necessary is to examine what is meant by a real world.

In his book, Leisure as the Basis of Culture, Josef Pieper says that a world is a “field of relations”. To have a world is to “be the center, the coordinator, of a field of relations”. He gives the example of a plant using its surroundings; absorbing the air, the sunshine, and drawing nourishment from the ground. `

If the world is defined by our relations, of our inner life to our outer life, then a human’s world would include all the many relations of the mind and heart. The world becomes deeper and wider.

Imagination, philosophy, dreaming, these are the things that extend the boundaries of our world into the reality of wholeness. This, as Pieper saw it, is the real world. The world as a whole. For us to be at peace with ourselves, we must not mistake our environment with the real world of wholeness.

"The really human thing is to see the stars above the roof, to preserve our apprehension of the universality of things in the midst of the habits of our daily life, and to see "the world" above and beyond our immediate environment."   Joseph Pieper- Leisure The Basis of Culture

For the rest of this month, as Venus moves through the Capricorn, don’t forget to see those stars amidst your daily habits.

Venus will move into Aquarius on February 1st.

As always, happy astro pondering!

The Future of Value. Uranus Moves Direct

 The planet of future moves forward today in Taurus, the sign of value, after having been retrograde since mid August.  

Uranus has been called the Great Awakener.  These awakenings are born from a kind of shaking, a moving, a turbulence, or perhaps a strange moment of wonder that renders us back to a freshness as a beginner.

The past year has shook the entire globe up into a collective new reality.  The question is, from such a change, what is the future of value itself? 

Is there a future where wellbeing is deemed more valuable than money?  What would such a future look like?  John Lennon painted such a future, from his imagination outward.  When he said he was not the only dreamer, he understood full well the joy of the beginner.  Embracing what is fresh, and yet to be.  

Uranus is the planet of future because it is the essence of yet to be.  In Taurus we tie in an element of goodness.  Taurus is the kinds of response we prefer to hold on to, to constitute ourselves, to be secure and strong.  Be it food, thought, relations, environment, tradition, habit, what have you.  Taurus uses whatever it can to continue to constitute itself and make itself strong.

The future lives in every moment, as we are free to shake off the imposing qualities of the immediate past (as philosopher Alfred North Whitehead talks about) and create something new with a “bid for freedom”.  In this way, we step into the realm of yet to be instead of sinking into the swamp of that’s just the way it is.

As the future gains its forward stride, cultivate moments of well-being, that inform you from the inside the true meaning of value.  Lightning visions of intuition may find you in such moments, illuminating this question even more, then gone in a flash, yet hopefully rediscovered through… pondering! 

As always, happy astro pondering! 

Uranus won’t retrograde again until August 2022, and will be in Taurus until April 2026.

Mars into Taurus- the Will to Stabilize

In the light of recent events, this title’s concept will likely be quickly felt. Felt in the right spot too. That is the mysterious space of the internal mileu, where good and bad are physiologically known.

It is through the avoiding of what’s bad, and the seeking and assimilating of what’s good that keeps us in a state of homeostasis. Just imagine what would happen if we always ignored that good drink of water when we were thirsty, or took no precaution to step out of the way of that bad oncoming city bus.

These value judgments are constantly at play, in every moment. They make themselves known to us through feelings.

Feelings are, according to neuroscientist and author, Antonio Damasio, “mental experiences of body states”. He talks about certain feelings as “basic homeostatic feelings”, in that they help to regulate the stability of our internal milieu. Homeostasis, as he talks about it, is a two-sided process. One side is the automatic unconscious physiological side, where the heart goes on beating, etc. but the other side is conscious. It is conscious by means of these basic feelings. These feeling can include hunger, thirst, malaise, wellbeing, pleasure and certain types of pain. These are feeling that can become known to us.

He makes a point not to confuse feelings with emotion. Feelings are the mental experience, the awareness of what you feel. Emotions are, as implied by it’s name, all about motion. There is a stirring in the body, you can see the anger on someone’s face, or the joy in a smile. Feelings may also cause stirrings within the body, but they are, by nature, more reflective. And they serve to keep us on track with “managing life”, or in other words homeostasis.

An interesting point that Damasio makes about homeostasis is that it is not only meant for survival, but also for flourishing.

He says , “life is regulated within a range that is not just compatible with survival but also conducive to flourishing, to a projection of life into the future of an organism or a species”.

Taurus is this fascinating mystery of homeostasis. The management of life that happens from within an internal mileu in a relationship of constant response and action to it’s world in which it lives.

This past week, television all over the US displayed shocking video of violent disregard for our own nation’s right to stability. Stability not just understood as surviving but a chance to flourish as well. Such flourishing can only occur by listening to the promptings of our moral understandings. Understandings, as Damasio suggests,. are deeply embedded in our very physiology. In our internal mileu. Where we respond to our world, in each and every magic moment.

Mars went into Taurus on January 6th, after 7 long months in Aries. It will move into Gemini on March 3rd.

Happy astro pondering!