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Metaphorcast 9/27- 10/3, 2021
Kierkegaard famously said, “Life can only be understood backwards: but it must be lived forwards.”
Understanding things is the mind’s job, represented in the zodiac by Mercury, the quick-silvered Messenger of the Gods. It moves forward very quickly, faster than any other planet in our solar system. But 3 times a year, it gives the illusion of moving backwards and we find ourselves in the spell of Mercury retrograde for about 3 weeks. Good thing Mercury is the planet of mind, which is good at understanding life in a backwards fashion. Mercury goes retrograde at the beginning of this week on Monday, September 27th and will continue its moonwalk until October 17th. As we continue to live forward, let’s also see how well we can employ our minds to look backwards, and better understand the lives we lead.
Looking back is synonymous with reflection. When you look in a mirror, there you are as a reflection looking back at yourself. As Bob Dylan sang,
When you wake up in the morning, baby, look inside your mirror
You know I won’t be next to you, you know I won’t be near.
I’d just be curious to know if you could see yourself as clear
As someone who has had you on his mind.
In this romantic instance, a lover’s reflection, far away from her, wagered to be stronger than the actual reflection looking back at her from a mirror right in front of her.
Distance is of little importance when it comes to the power of mind. The Extended Mind Thesis, created by philosophers David Chalmers and Andy Clarke states that the mind extends into the world by use of tools and other minds. The idea is that just like a prosthetic limb can become part of a body, technology such as computers or even notebooks become part of our minds. You say you know the time and then look at your watch, or that you know where something is then consult your smartphone. Your mind extends into your environment.
And then there’s the matter of other minds! Other people’s ideas allow us to think of thoughts that we never otherwise would have. Just think how limited our minds would be if ideas were never shared! Ideas are like oxygen, the air we share.
Thinking and looking back has a wide network of assistance. It isn’t just you alone in your head indulging in some “me time”. It is your mind, out in the world, entangled with the ideas that have inspired you, shaped by the people who you love and admire, made more efficient by the tools you use.
When you reflect, when you look back, certain things can happen that simply can’t happen while looking forward. Threads show up and some declare themselves as common. Dots appear that beg to be connected. Patterns emerge. Connections converge. Before you know it, you are sitting in the middle of a movie that has a definite plot. It is this kind of 4th wall shattering that credits Mercury as a bonafide trickster. “Down in front” yells Bugs from the back of the theater.
That’s right, it’s a wascally wetwogwade, with you in the center of it.
This year has been a year of air sign retrogrades for Mercury. After retrograding in Aquarius through most of February, and Gemini through most of June, we are now looking into most of October with a Libra retrograde. Above all, Libra is an otherness.
No matter how much your reflection in the mirror looks like you, it is still fundamentally not you. The otherness of who looks back at you in the mirror is similar to the otherness of your mind as it extends into the world. Silver provides the best reflection, and remember, Mercury is liquid silver. It is fast moving silver, reflecting with a silly symphony of extensions from notebooks to neighbors. It is you and not you. The more not you it is the more you you may become. That is to say, the more you embrace the tools and inspiring ideas that surround you, the more you may come to understand the life you live, and feel a fuller sense of who you are.
Maybe that is why we can see the rabbit in a Full Moon.
That’s All Folks!
Until next time,
Happy astro pondering!