“My words are tied in one with the mountains”

Yokuts prayer

…Everyone perceives the world differently.  Conditioned by our experiences, the information we are allowing in, and how it all coagulates into opinion within our subjective vessels, morphing into our own words and statements about how IT is, we must always remember: All is relative.  There is only one Truth, yet we all have our own versions of IT.  It’s a fascinating, yet frustrating principle of being human.  And it’s my feeling that the best practice in working with this is to have what Shunryu Suzuki called, “Beginners Mind”—a state of perpetual curiosity, openness, and knowing of the subjective nature of minds.

If we were to give planetary rulership to this phenomena of perception, it would have to be given to Mercury.  Different than the mind of the Moon or any other planet, Mercury is an almost neutral function of the Psyche which perceives and reflects, inside and out; Above and below.

Capricorn retrograde
Symbol for Mercury

There is a sanskrit term called Buddhi which I feel points to the heart of the matter. Buddhi (or Mercury) is the first principle derived from the un-manifest, and is a virtually transparent reflector for pure consciousness (interesting, in that it is the closet planet to the Sun, relaying all our Star’s truth to us).  We could liken it to the 3rd eye, but that’s not specific enough.  It also relates to the throat, to language, and how we express our own truth’s.  This contrasts with the idea of Manas (which I relate to the Moon) which has a more sensory, emotional, even subjective nature to it; We could even call it our ‘self talk.’  Not to say there isn’t inner dialogue with Mercury (Buddhi) as well, but there is a more neutral nature to this aspect of Mind.  Ultimately, it’s all semantics, but it is useful to make a division.

One of the easiest ways to discover the difference between these two expressions of Mind is by tracking both Lunar and Mercury cycles.  A lunar cycle is just short of 30 days, the Mercury synod is 116 days.  By contemplating deeply on both, tracking them closely, you will without a doubt notice the difference between the two.

In this article, I would like to explore the Mercury synodic period specifically with you, and give you a profoundly helpful tool to assist in understanding your perceptions, what is coming in, what is going out, and how to track the changes of the mercurial Mind throughout the 116 day period.

Being that Mercury is quick, second only to the Moon in its synodic journey, it can be subtle.  If you are already mutable by nature, you can see how your mind and perceptions and interests can change swiftly throughout the cycle, and this is not a bad thing, as long as you have your “beginners mind” in tact, with the solidity of a mountain in relation to the Ultimate Truth of things.

Let’s explore further.

.: 116 Faces :.

The many faces of Mercury
Art by Johfra Boschart

One of the toughest aspects of beginning ones study of cycles or periods, is to know where the beginning is. This is especially true with Venus, Mars, and Mercury cycles.  Some say it begins with the retrograde, others with the first appearance in the morning sky or even at its maximum elongation.  For me, with the inner Planets, Venus and Mercury, it is cazimi, or when the Planet passes in Rx motion between the Earth and Sun, then aligns perfectly with both (props to Adam Gainesburg and Gary Caton for doing some groundwork for us on this one).  This syzygy between the three bodies not only makes logical sense to me, but intuitively and experientially as well.

We can divide up these synodic periods in many different ways, yet I would like to condense it to the simplest and easiest way to understand.  For instance, if we were to treat the Interior Conjunction as the beginning (Phase 1) with Mercury, we must also consider that it is Retrograde when this happens and it is also absent from both morning and evening skies—in the Underworld as many call it; The Mind is being transmuted.  There is a 3 way syzygy happening between Sun, Mercury, and the Earth during this phase.  Mercury is also closet to the Earth here, dropping Divine messages into our Mind’s eye like some beneficent god or magician.

Phase 2 is the appearance in the morning sky, reaching maximum elongation, then descending from the sky once again (again, I’m simplifying, but for our purposes here, it works wonders); 

Phase 3 is absent from the skies, yet this time in direct motion, on the other side of the Sun.  Another transmutation, but not the same as when retrograde.  It’s not the beginning, it’s the middle.  We could even liken it to a Full Moon.  It is in this phase of the Exterior Conjunction where we witness ideas come manifest and also need to be integrated deeply into our personal experience: Time to walk the talk—or, talk clearly and openly about what we are learning.

Phase 4 is the Evening sky.  Mercury becomes the wise sage, the pipe smoking wizard, the Magi, or the patient mind.  In my experience, patience comes much easier when Mercury is in the evening sky than it does in the morning.  And it makes sense.  It is youthfully folly and excitement around information vs. time tested ideas formed into livable wisdom.

Phase 5 is when Mercury stations retrograde.  This always happens in the evening sky, then swiftly descends from it, heading into yet another world to begin the next cycle.

Now, I’m completely aware this is overly generalized, but I have been sitting with these 5 simplified stages for months now, and it is uncanny.  All it takes is some time on your part—or, with your Astrologer—to connect the dots.  For example, these are the dates of the Mercury period ending currently:

Phase 1: 9.30.15 (8 Libra); “Cazimi/Interior Conjunction”

Phase 2: 10.15.15 “High in the Morning sky”

Phase 3: 11.17.15 “Necessary transmutations/Superior Conjunction”

Phase 4: 12.29.15 “High in the Evening sky”

Phase 5: 1.5.16 (1 Aquarius)“Rx”

To get the most from these dates, pull out your calendar, your journal, a mediation cushion, a candle, some tea, whatever it takes, and really sit with it.  The life hack here is to remember what you were reading or listening to during Phase 1. To remember where your mind was at essentially.  Also, remembering that it was Rx then, and so it is important to remember what were the lessons learned with the MRI’s (Mercury Retrograde Interventions) back then.

As I write, Mercury is indeed retrograde, about to leave the Evening Sky, and is headed swiftly, with all wings humming in the descending winds to the beginning of the next cycle.  This occurs on Jan. 14th.  Here are the dates for the upcoming cycle (write it down in your calendar, and track it to your best abilities):

Phase 1: 1.14.16 (24 Capricorn) “Cazimi/Interior Conjunction”

Phase 2: 1.25.16 “High in the Morning Sky”

Phase 3: 3.23.16 “Necessary transmutations/Superior Conjunction”

Phase 4: 4.18.16 “High in the Evening Sky”

Phase 5: 4.28.16 (24 Taurus)“Rx”

Find Phase 1 in your Chart, and watch how those House themes and planetary aspects will unfold over the next 116 days.

*  I’m aware I did not include the signs and degrees of all of the Phases.  Understanding the origin degree and tracking Mercury in the actual sky is foundational.  If you want to know the degrees, well, just pull out an ephemeris for these dates, pull up the charts, and go even deeper with it.

.: Satori & the MRI :.

Mercurial precepts
Art by ANON

Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening. It is true comprehension or understanding. In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to the experience of kensho, “seeing into one’s true nature.”  To me, there is no better word to assist in wrapping our heads around what happens when we see beyond, beneath, and within what Mercury is doing—especially when retrograde, during the most frustrating of MRI’s.

We must remember that both the end and the beginnings of Mercury synodic periods occurs while Mercury is retrograde.  And I have noticed a difference between the two sides, with some insight into the cazimi or Interior Conjunction (Phase 1) as well.

In my experience, from the moment Mercury stations Rx in the evening sky, there begins an unraveling.  It is a test on what has been learned throughout the cycle.  And so, in every MRI (again, Mercury Rx Interventions) the lessons beneath the actual events challenge us to keep a level head and not loose our shit. They are essential lessons given to assist in deepening our integration of all we have gathered along the way.

The next step, as subtle as it is, is when Mercury passes between Earth and Sun—the cazimi, Phase 1, the Interior conjunction.  Over the past 5 cycles, I have noticed clarity enters in a profound way on this day, or around it.  It’s like an eye in the mental hurricane.  Whatever has been halted, twisted, tied, or put off comes crystal clear in this originating moment.

And then, as Mercury is still retrograde, yet moving away from the Earth and into the Morning Sky, syncroncity and novel magic enters.  There are still MRI’s, but they are related to the fresh cycle, not the previous.  “Comparisons are odious,” as Kerouac said, but the level of frustration seems to be much more minimal in this phase when it comes to mercurial Rx madness.  Then, he stations direct in the morning sky, and the heyoka in all of us comes out to play. A new truth in relation to the Truth is on our minds.

Kundalini and Hermes
Caduceus Tattoo

________________________________________________________

Without conclusion, yet hopefully equipped with fresh perceptions about Mercury, hopefully we can now distill greater meaning from MRIs and see how it is all connected and woven into a grander image.  If we connect to Mercury in the actual sky, watching this dance, taking notes and keeping our beginners mind in open focus, there is so much to learn here.  It is important to keep our channel clean as well.  There is no better way to keep Buddhi transparent and luminescent than through meditation.  There are many types, but sitting meditation is the Rx.  Also, being on high alert to what you are listening to, who you are talking to, what you are reading, watching, and essentially letting into your sphere is also highly recommended. With all this said, I wish you an abundance of magic, epiphany, and long awaited connection to the actual sky in this upcoming cycle. Know the Truth, be like that mountain, and use it as your essential reference point. Enjoy.

* If you would like to have assistance with this cycle, in understanding its movements in your own life, I would love to help. CLICK THE BUTTONS BELOW.

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