Friday the 13th, Mercury Retrograde & the Full Moon

Friday the 13th, the “bad luck day” comes from Paraskavedekatriaphobia, the term for fear of Friday the 13th. It may have started in 1881, when a group of influential business and military skeptics would get together on Friday the 13th and try to debunk every superstition. Nobody ever died from bad luck, and their membership included five men who ended up as Presidents of the US. One historian noted that literary references to Friday the 13th were nonexistent before 1907, when the novel “Friday the 13th” by Thomas Lawson was published. It told of an unscrupulous stockbroker who panicked the markets to his advantage through superstition. It became a best seller that enabled him to buy a schooner that sank – you guessed it – on Friday the 13th.nasa shot
Another story says that the goddess Frigga, associated with Fridays by name, convened a group of 11 witches and the Devil on Friday the 13th, and made all sorts of mayhem. That must have been propaganda from the church militant; the Devil is not part of the old faith. Some say King Philip of France, enraged by the popularity and wealth of the Knights Templar, ordered their mass arrest on Friday 13th of 1307. Guess what – this story was unknown before the publication of the “DaVinci Code.”
In other words, this superstition has no basis in history or myth – it’s a modern invention based on skeptics trying to debunk superstitions.
Mercury “Retrograde” is more of a fact, but is really only a part of Mercury’s power cycle. The period of Mercury’s dominance lasts from Xraythe time it reaches the place of its greatest eastern elongation as a morning star, through it’s apparent standstill and backward movement, until it reaches its greatest western elongation and begins to look like its moving east. During that period, it makes an inferior conjunction, which means that Earth and Mercury make a straight line toward the Sun – it’s already been seen from Mars. This happens 3 or 4 times a year. So what does that mean to us?
Traditionally, it’s said that when Mercury is retrograde, it is “weakened”, but, in fact, it is emphasized, being brighter in the sky (because it’s closer to Earth during the morning star phase) and the conjunction. Matters connected with Mercury become prominent; travel, transportation, information, communication and commerce, or any type of networking. Just paying attention to details and being alert will help you avoid most problems – catching up on things you may have left on the back burner also helps.
cristina But there are things we have no control over – trucking, shipping, the internet and electronics, and especially the weather. Solar Flares, CME’s  and such may play a part  (especially if the hyperactive area of the Sun happens to be pointed toward us), as might high winds, electric or geomagnetic storms, and storm-caused damage to power lines or infrastructure. In fact, there is a named hurricane forming as I write this. The current rash of pictures from NASA and bear this out. Mars happens to be in its own power cycle – gun violence and “open carry” advocates, war, terrorism, the increasing protests in Brazil (surrounding the World Cup) and other particularly 2014_SchoolShootingsSinceNewtown1Mars-like stories have been replacing celebrity couples in the headlines.
Mercury’s current power cycle began with its maximum eastern elongation on May 25th. The retrograde station occurred on June 7th; the inferior conjunction occurs on June 19th, and the direct station is on July 1st. The western elongation point does not occur until July 12th – check the news and see what happened before the 7th when official retrograde began.
The Full Moon (which occurs late on the 12th in much of the world) of Friday the 13th certainly will skew the quality of this Mercury cycle – there’s a  Venus-Saturn opposition in the Full Moon chart that may be strong enough to “panic” financial markets. Mars forming a T-Square with Uranus and Pluto could certainly bring the Mars power cycle effects out into the open, and the Moon happens to be at maximum south declination, which usually adds to atmospheric and tidal effects. This lunation occurs close enough to the Mercury inferior conjunction to be potent, especially from the 14th to the 21st. The Moon also crosses the celestial equator within this window, and it’s closest approach to the Earth may result in strong winds, tidal surges, powerful storms and strong seismic activity during this time.Fullmoon
As you can see, it’s not all about Friday the 13th – in fact, that’s the only thing happening this week that can be written off as coincidence.

Night Sky in the West

screenshot courtesy of Stellarium -

screenshot courtesy of Stellarium -

No doubt the added constellation images help with an idea of how stunning it was to look into the sky and see Jupiter sitting on an almost straight line that runs from Pollux to Betelgeuse, with Procyon to the south. Even in the light pollution, haze and clouds, my brief peek at the sky was enough to remind me of how much more interesting the sky is if you know a little of the lore. Rather than distracting you from the image, let me say that Stellarium’s the BEST!

All platforms, desktop and mobile.


Spring Snow and the Blood Moon

Blood Moon

Please note the picture credits – click to see full size image

Here’s an excellent picture of the “Blood Moon” eclipse. It is the first of 4 total lunar eclipses – astronomers call this a tetrad. An article about the entire series will have to wait because of the night being spent on hardware and software upgrades, as well as the work that’s been keeping me from posting for so long.

Although the eclipse was visible over the great lakes, we couldn’t see it in Chicagoland because of cloudy skies and SNOW. The temperature dropped 40 degrees from the wet morning of the 14th until after the eclipse, which occurred at 2:42:16 AM on the 15th. I was expecting something like this, because, having cast the chart several days ago, I knew that Saturn had returned to the Midheaven of the local eclipse chart, where it was located in the charts of the Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice of 2013, which (combined with other features) gave us one of the most brutal winters we’ve had in a long time.


Note the positions of Mars and Saturn; click to view full-sized image

The charts for Spring and Summer of 2014 featured Jupiter, which usually brings warmer and moist weather. Usually the weather follows the trends set up by the solstice and equinox charts, unless a cosmic event sets up an interference pattern – and the Blood Moon eclipse certainly did.

In weather charts, the planets closest to the Midheaven Axis that usually have the most to say about local conditions. But going beyond weather, as you can see, Mars is opposite a Mercury-Uranus conjunction which happens to be 90 degrees from the Jupiter-Pluto opposition. I should have mentioned that Mars had just passed Perigee, where it’s orbit brings it closest to Earth, and it tends to be brighter than usual.

Eclipses have a somewhat “retroactive” effect, and because the Moon had just passed the conjunction of Mars (and the transit of the Grand Cross), the Moon would carry its energy to fruition. The Moon is an indicator of “local conditions” – it seems that 36 people were shot in 36 hours in the local area during the two days beforehand. The Eclipse Degree being close to a friend’s natal Jupiter caused her to lose a substantial amount of money, ruining travel plans. Mars is almost exactly conjunct my natal Mercury – bringing in the influences of Jupiter, Pluto, Uranus and transiting Mercury. I’m taking a break from upgrading my operating system and hardware at the moment. Ukrainian forces have begun to fight back against Russian militias; the Mars Midheaven line on the astral map for the Perigee passed over the eastern Ukraine, and the Jupiter/Pluto Asc-Dsc lines passed over the Ukraine at the moment of the eclipse. Dozens of other examples could be discussed here, but I must go play engineer -

Check out NASA’s eclipse map here: Visibility Map


Scale of the Universe

Copy of Sombrero_smNo, this is not the solstice report yet. I just was sent a link to a really clever website that I couldn’t resist putting here, called The Scale of the Universe. It is built around a slider bar that takes you from “Quantum Foam” to “The Universe” and includes everything from neutrinos to the Hubble Deep Field. we have no way to measure how far this region of the Universe is now; we only know where it was 12.7 billion years ago. Although this is really a topic of interest for astronomers and astrophysicists, those of us who are concerned with meaning rather than measure should take this as an opportunity for meditation and contemplation. Plus, there is a nowhere-near unpleasant music loop behind the animated image on the site, and it has a link/button through which it can be translated into different languages – something I have to do for my site, I think.

So while you’re waiting for the Solstice Report and other articles related to (astrologically speaking) Saturn’s time of the year, spend a few minutes contemplating the range of what consciousness is capable of perceiving and understanding – in the physical world alone.

Omens of June Part 2 – The Venus Transit


Mars and Venus by Botticelli

A lot is being made of the Venus Transit of the Sun, mostly by attention seeking astronomers, and New-Age Positivist astrologers, for whom everything is a great opportunity for happiness, love and spiritual growth. I don’t belong to either camp. An astrological event like this always has an upside and a downside, and despite its rarity, there is really no precedent for the hype as seen on the internet today.


Vul-cain has forged arms for Aeneas – he’s presenting them to Venus: click for a larger image

If we look at traditional astrology, no distinction is made between any other Sun-Venus conjunction and this one. Declination (the distance north or south of the celestial equator) was studied in older forms of astrology, in which case this would qualify as a conjunction and a parallel, which would have a special meaning according to the individual chart being studied. Latitude (the distance north or south of the Ecliptic, or the apparent path of the Sun) was treated in much the same way.

According to modern astrologers of the more scientific bent, this combination could be very important to some, because it is an alignment, in the same sense as a total eclipse is an alignment. It could be an especially powerful event in a Solar or Lunar Return chart occurring at the time of the alignment, but it’s meaning would be specific to the individual or event under examination. It’s likely that many will attribute events to the Venus transit that are actually due to Mercury being out-of-bounds, or the Uranus-Pluto square, the Moon-Pluto square or some other less “sexy” astrological condition.

In Horary astrology (astral divination) Venus is Cazimi during this event, being 17 minutes of arc or less from the Sun’s center. This is considered a very powerful dignity by some, and a relatively important accidental dignity by others. Again, this is the art of answering questions using astrology as the tool of divination, and the value of the Venus Transit depends solely on whether or not the question or the querent is signified by Venus. It’s also important to remember that Venus is retrograde, and except for the short time while it is Cazimi, it is Combust, both of which are considered major afflictions.


Astral Map of the Venus Transit – click for a larger image

If we take a look at the astral map above, we can see the places on earth where the Venus-Sun conjunction is on the Midheaven, Ascendant, Descendant or Lower Heaven. Other than the crossing of the Descendant line with the Uranus IC line in central Michigan (this may have to do with the recall vote against the anti-labor, reactionary governor of Wisconsin, which is well within range), it doesn’t really exemplify a lot as far as populated areas and planetary combinations are concerned. Other lines in the map for the moment of the event are prominent; for instance, there is a Mars-Mercury crossing in the British Isles and a Moon-Pluto conjunction line through central Europe. I suspect the biggest news will be coming from those areas, as well as the places where Pluto and Uranus cross on this day, and in the future, as the Moon makes its regular connections with Uranus and Pluto.


A modern sculpture of Venus

The psychic (psychological) advice given on the basis of this transit is really the kind of advice that should be given no matter what is happening astrologically. Think about it – align your thoughts with your intentions and eliminate self-sabotage; act in your own self interest, uproot ethical conflicts and know them for what they are, etc.  Nevertheless, those who have been actively involved in purification or detoxification processes may get some of the rewards they have been looking for. This transit is also likely to favor some who have undertaken elective surgeries or other radical cosmetic procedures. It may also be beneficial for re-evaluating investments or portfolios, designing new budgets, and acquiring sponsorship, grants or scholarships, if the rest of the chart agrees.

The Venus transit may, for some, act as an omen of good results coming from undertakings begun at an earlier time. Astrology is not about getting something for nothing. New-age mystics are making any number of rosy predictions and pronouncements but, let’s face facts. For every person who wins at lottery games, thousands break their legs, are in accidents or fights, suffer broken relationships and health issues. Don’t expect this, or any other transit to fix anything – the planets are always there, and we can benefit from them if we use them. A hammer does not frame a house on its own – we need to take action to make things happen.