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Super-Virgo: Mercury Retrograde and Eclipse Season 

click to enlarge Photo by Amanda Painter - AMANDA PAINTER
  • Amanda Painter
  • Photo by Amanda Painter

Dear Chronogram Reader:

We’ve entered the season of solar Virgo, and it has some real flair this year. The Sun entered Virgo on Monday, joining the lunar North Node, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury—setting the stage for summer to wind down by opening up a space of unusual potential.

First, a note about some Virgo basics.

Being the sign of mutable earth and ruled by Mercury, the planet of the mind, Virgo’s energy is partly about bringing ideas into the material plane.

Directed constructively (such as in service to a higher cause or true vision, rather than over-focused on criticizing the details), there is an element of ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’ to Virgo. Or, perhaps more accurately, if you can plan it and organize it, it will get done -- though the dream or vision part of the equation comes through Virgo’s complementary sign, Pisces, on the other side of the wheel.

Working in service of a worthy goal is an excellent expression of Virgo -- one reason why ‘teacher’ and ‘nurse’ are so often quoted as stereotypical Virgo professions. Yet in that act of working toward something, its mutable quality tends to lend flexibility rather than the dogged stubbornness of, say, Taurus. Seasonally speaking, the mutable signs are about shifting from things being fixed in place to starting something new.

With all of that in mind, here’s what’s approaching on the near horizon:

Mercury stations retrograde on Aug. 30 at 9:04 am EDT. It will continue in apparent retrograde motion until Sept. 22, when it will station direct in mid-Virgo.

If you have not yet started getting your ducks in a row in preparation, this would be a good time to begin. The few days on either side of a Mercury station are often the most turbulent, when communication gets confused, travel gets disrupted and items (include your mind) seem to go missing. Notice when you lose focus and then re-focus on what you’re doing; remember that there’s generally always a workaround to any delay or equipment breakdown; major purchases or contracts can usually be put off for three weeks. Patience is not a virtue—it’s a necessity.

Luckily, with so many planets already in Virgo, there’s been a really nice emphasis on buckling down on anything you need to get organized in tangible form. As Mercury gets slower and more powerful, this will have the benefit of helping you to keep your mind organized as well. To-do lists, charts and systems will be your friend, especially if you’re already noticing fluctuations in your ability to focus.

Two days after Mercury stations retrograde, however, is when things get truly special: Sept. 1 at 5:03 am EDT, the Moon will conjoin the Sun in Virgo for a New Moon. And that New Moon, due to its proximity to the lunar North Node, will be an annular (not ‘annual’) solar eclipse, visible from Madagascar and locations in Central Africa (and parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans).

This Virgo New Moon eclipse opens up a two-week period in which you might encounter unusual opportunities to move your life in a new direction. At the very least, eclipse events can be great pattern-setting tools, and therefore warrant some time and attention paid to the things you want to cultivate for the next 6-12 months.

This combination of Mercury retrograde in Virgo plus a New Moon eclipse in Virgo so close together in time is unusual. Mercury symbolically suggests the mind turned inward or backward in review. A New Moon is our monthly ‘reset button’ and seed moment, and also has an inward or reflective quality. Yet a North Node eclipse suggests forward motion of the kind aligned with your soul’s higher purpose (dharma). That forward path is attractive, but it might not be comfortable because it is unfamiliar; old habits—including mental habits—are hard to shake even when we know they are holding us back.

It’s almost as if Mercury is offering a critical assessment of what you’ve worked for thus far: what have you served, and how well has it really served you? Do you use your mind to create the reality you desire, or do your thoughts keep you focused on past shortfalls?

It seems that the more closely you look at the answers, the further that insight might take you as you make new choices about your life’s direction. After all, most people don’t discover their purpose by thinking about it; they discover it by making choices to try new things: ideas made tangible, one step at a time.

Yours & truly,

Amanda Painter

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