Mercury enters what is known as the shadow phase on February 20, 2019. It’s like traveling down a road, then [when Mercury turns Retrograde] making a U-turn and traveling back down that same road, because you forgot something and you’ve got to retrieve it. Once you’ve gone all the way to this point to get what you needed, you pick up where you left off and make another U-turn to retrace this part of the road yet again [that’s the post-retrograde shadow phase] to get to where you originally planned to go.
Shadow path begins in Pisces: February 20, 2019. [Chiron is at Zero Degrees Aries, transitioning into the fiery realm of the Emperor, marking the official end of a cycle that won’t return again for another 50 years.]
Mercury Stations Retrograde in Pisces: March 6, 2019. [Within hours, Uranus crosses the threshold into the sign of Taurus - another major shift that we got a taste of for few months last year. This time it’s official, launching a new reality that will unfold between now and 2026. This influence will not be happening again until around 2100, making it quite significant.]
Mercury is Retrograde until March 29, 2019. Stationing direct that day, the post shadow begins and will last until April 17, 2019.
MARCH 6/7, 2019: New Moon in Pisces, Mercury stations Retrograde in Pisces, Uranus ingress into Taurus
MARCH 14, 2019: Cazimi - Sun Mercury Meet-up
MARCH 20, 2019: Equinox, Full Moon in Libra (at 0*)
MARCH 24, 2019: Mercury Neptune Meet-up
MARCH 28/29, 2019: Mercury stations Direct
Keep Calm Before the Storm
In the days leading up to this pivotal moment when Mercury turns back and it can feel like we are being swallowed whole by a tidal wave, the energies form a sort of alliance to help us suit up and prepare for what’s to come. With a Full Moon in Virgo, Chiron (our inner- Wounded Healer) starting over in Aries, Mars slowing us down a bit in the sign of Taurus, and all planets direct. . .
The cosmic vibes before this Mercury Retrograde seem to whisper, “Something big is coming. Get ready.”
In our own ways, we’ve been getting signals to tune in, remove the excess, tie up the loose ends and pay close attention to what we truly need. There’s a strong focus on grounding and getting centered.
It reminds me of a soldier, fresh out of boot camp. The bell tolls, but there’s time to prepare. As he/she gets ready for the real battle, there’s no room for anything that isn’t absolutely necessary — it would only weigh him/her down. There’s a need to have the tools, skills, resources and knowledge that will be required on the front-line. Also a need for a calm and focused approach. Is there a plan in place? A strategy? And alignment… who are our allies? What really matters in the end? An unwavering commitment to fighting for only what is worth fighting for. A solemn and strict order before the chaos is unleashed.
So much energy in Earth signs before the murky Retrograde takes full effect is important to leverage. When things seem relatively calm, use that time to organize what you can in your life, preferably something that will make your life a little easier later on. It’s worth the effort now to take something stressful off your plate that could tip you overboard in the event that other stressors sneak up on you.
[Soundtrack for this Mercury Retrograde phase: Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne]
More Or Less?
More or less is a typical vague Piscean response to a question, which leaves one wondering what that even means. It’s the quintessential shoulder shrug, wide-open to going either way… there’s really no certainty or definite answer. That’s the over-arching vibe of this whole Mercury Retrograde, making it quite a confusing time, more so than the average Mercury Retrograde effect.
But it’s nothing to gloss over or take too lightly. During this time it may be difficult to judge how much is too much and when enough is enough. Mercury travels through a zone in the cosmos associated with the Tarot card revealing maxed out emotional capacity. This influence can blur the lines between knowing when to stop or wave the white flag, and when to give it your all or see it through to the end.
We can feel like we need a lot more than we do in a given situation. This could result in overdoses, or otherwise extreme reactions when crossing a sensitivity threshold (ie. acute allergic reactions to medicines).
[Use extra caution when it comes to drinking alcohol (or any kind of substance use). Seriously. Even if you are a casual drinker, we’re a bit more susceptible than usual to over-consumption at this time, which will result in a sense of lost time or losing control. Not a time to throw caution to the wind and let loose, especially if it’s in an unfamiliar place or with people you may not fully trust.]
On the flip-side, this influence could leave us seriously lacking in resources or nourishment. Resulting in a deficiency of some kind or letting go of too much. Some could feel a soul-deep urge to sell everything they own and adopt a minimalist lifestyle or take a vow of silence for an extended period of time, or some other extreme abandon everything type of lifestyle shift.
It’s all or nothing energy.
Or nothing at all.
And these two opposite energies can affect one another. For example, a person who suddenly adopts a radical new diet like eating only one type of food in order to lose weight, then suffering a major vitamin deficiency as a result that causes an illness. It’s a sort of abandoning one thing for the sake of another, creating a separation from belief and reality… a tearing away at the core to discover a deeper Truth and revealing the ultimate desire for wholeness.
Either way, there could be an overall need to fill some kind of void. It’s a time to tread lightly and use caution, especially when it comes to anything that is driven by a sense of insatiability. Slow down, and listen to cues that come from deep within.
While the dangers are real with this energy, when we are willing to submit to what is beyond our control and we can open up to unveiling our true self . This is a great time to channel this flow toward something we know we have outgrown or has become toxic in our lives. A time to break-free from dysfunctional patterns that may have had a hold on us for far too long. This makes it an optimal time for rehab, letting go of an addiction once and for all. Remember you can use this force for good.
Can’t Seem to Keep It All Together. . .
Under the influence of this Mercury Retrograde it will be all too easy to lose track of time…. especially when getting distracted or attempting to escape reality in some way. Many things may seem all too seductively binge-worthy now.
Oversleeping could lead to missed appointments or running late….
There may be a sense of brain fog that lends way to forgetfulness. Like, what day is it again? Or, OMG! That was scheduled for today?!
>> My youngest son (born with Mercury in Pisces) has no concept of time. At times this is a beautiful thing, because he could easily spend hours drawing or practicing his magic card tricks. On the other hand, it can be challenging, as I’m always having to remind him that it’s time to eat or get ready to go somewhere. He most always believes he has more time than he does or no time at all, like he’s already missed out. <<
There could be a lot of hang-ups when it comes to managing time, lots of rescheduling or mixing up dates. So, review your calendar carefully during this phase when the essence of time itself comes into question.
It’s a broader brush stroke in the final degrees of the tropical zodiac… We could be at a loss for words or simply have a nagging feeling that something important is missing or has been left behind. We could misplace or lose things. Having a general sense that everything is falling apart, we could be at a total loss.
We, humans, are fallible by nature and because life is so complex, and we ourselves are complex beings, we usually see only what we’re used to seeing or are actively looking for.. Like this selective attention test demonstrates, we miss details that are irrelevant to what we are focusing our attention on. If something doesn’t fit with the narrative we’ve been told or the pattern we are in, we don’t really see it until it disrupts the pattern… even if it’s been there all along. This influence is particularly strong at the New Moon, March 6th, the say that Mercury officially goes retro.
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but this really is some wild energy that could send us into a tailspin, especially when Mercury links up with Neptune [Happening February 19, March 24 and April 2, 2019]. It seems to wash away whatever we’ve been clinging to for dear life, perhaps without even realizing it, and show us something beyond that. The Truth that’s been there all along, we simply couldn’t see before.
Underneath the Undertow
With the energy of the 10 of Cups activated with this Mercury Retrograde, it can feel like we’re being dragged with the current along the ocean floor or plunged into no man’s land at times. It’s difficult to know where you’re going when you don’t really know where you are or how you got there… and that’s the kind of strange vibes that are at play. The urge to escape the overwhelm can be so strong it’s difficult to resist.
During this phase it’s possible to become overwhelmed by a situation that challenges everything we once believed or believed in.
The energy reads like a scene from a suspenseful thriller…. You know, that pivotal moment when the hero faces the maniacal villain just as he’s about to execute his evil plan. Have you noticed how the hero or “good guy” always asks the enemy, why? What’s the point in doing this? Creating this chaos? Causing this suffering? (We may find ourselves asking a Higher Power these same existential questions.)
The answer given by the villain is never a good one, because it never makes logical sense. At least, not to one who doesn’t hold the same distorted perception of reality. And that’s exactly the point. We are confronted with something beyond our comprehension and yet still… we try to understand or make sense of it somehow. That’s Mercury (our mind) doing what it’s used to doing.
That kind of questioning is tough on the psyche and the emotional state. Clear and direct answers may not be entirely possible at this time.
Even in the movies, those crises are never resolved through logic alone. It requires us to reach beyond what we can see or make sense of, because we’re confronted with something outside of that realm. We must meet it with something beyond what we would normally do or perhaps have ever done before. We may have to let go of a belief or a picture-perfect ending we had imagined when faced with a reality check. Surrender to what is without putting the puzzle pieces together and allow a miracle to unfold or let our creative-genius-side take the reigns.
We must not abandon what truly deeply has value and meaning to us in the process.. We must awaken to the space within us that realizes what it is that truly does matter above all else. Those are the guiding lights that flicker and glow, when all else seems to be lost.
Deep in the ocean waters, marine animals have adapted to these bizarre conditions that are unlike anything anywhere else on Earth. They glow in the dark with bio-luminescence. They use sonar and shape-shifting and transparency in a way that enables them to survive and thrive in the vast unknown depths. Just like a hero in a story or movie transcends the limitations of what has been known or even his usual skills and talents to diffuse a crisis, defeat the villain and save the world.
We may not be saving the world, but in some way, each of us is saving ourselves…
The things (underlying stress) that we’ve been neglecting or willfully ignoring take a toll on us. It becomes obvious we can’t go on like this forever.
…Like This Forever?
We could find ourselves going over and over things in our mind, stirring up a seemingly endless loop of emotional torture, until we realize that we cannot keep doing that forever. It could feel like drowning, until you suddenly open your eyes underwater and discover that you can mobilize and engage your muscles in ways that are not possible on land, out of the water. It’s like swimming in the deep end. You recognize that your body is lighter, and strangely more free and flexible, when you are completely submerged.
While Mercury is considered to be debilitated or in detriment in the sign of Pisces, I feel that in a mysterious way, Mercury has the most magical effect in this zone — particularly when retrograde, because things don’t work the way they usually do during this time and we’ve gotta get creative with our solutions to everyday issues. Mercury can play with what’s available in the deepest oceans of Piscean energy, the purest magic. The ultimate Truth. THE Divine. When Mercury gets an opportunity to whip through the abyss, we can engage with the subtler energies that always keep us afloat without us ever really paying attention to them.
We may become painfully aware of where a boundary is needed, too. What we’ve let slide in the past may not be the best choice now. We may feel waves wash over us, revealing that something is amiss and we are leaving ourselves too wide-open or vulnerable to attracting the things we don’t want. While part of Mercury’s path will be aligned with the 9 of Cups, we could be over- or under-appreciating things in our lives, feeling taken for granted or irritatingly unworthy of some kind of praise or gifts because of an unresolved feeling deep within. Even if the ducks are all in a row, there’s this sense of something not being quite right even though we can’t put our finger on exactly what that is.
Issues of codependency, or otherwise over-compensating to make up for an internal sense of lack, may come bubbling up to the surface.
Just as the same rules don’t apply when you’re swimming deep in the ocean as compared to trekking up a steep mountainside, this Mercury Retrograde could provide a calming sense of relief amidst this total restructuring of the world as we know it while Pluto and Saturn do their thing in the sign of Capricorn. It could serve as a sort of spiritual retreat, a break in time, providing solace and reprieve from the intensity and pressure we’ve been feeling from Pluto and Saturn that have us all working so hard.
I’ll Meet You There… At The Altar.
The same rules don’t apply in the depths of the ocean, as they do on solid ground. We can be tossed around like rag dolls in slow motion down there. The force is magnified and yet our bodies, physical matters, seem lighter and more buoyant.
I used to teach swimming lessons to infants decades ago. Babies naturally, instinctively relax once they’re comfortable in the water and float easily once they know they are safe. It’s like they remember what it’s like to be in their mother’s womb, their innocence safely contained and protected from the outside world.
We, too, must learn to relax and go with the flow when we realize we’re getting in over our heads or finding it hard to breathe… Become one with the water, essentially. Return to the cosmic womb. I titled my e-book Quantum Rebirth 2019 (about the energies of this year) for a reason. We get this period of time during Mercury Retrograde to re-set and reconnect to the sacred space of Life. It’s no coincidence that this is all enveloping the Equinox, too. On it’s own, this time is when we are renewed with Mother Nature, held in her cyclical rhythm, reminded that there is balance and harmony in our material world (even when it doesn’t look that way).
In the space between letting go and falling apart emotionally, we could realize how truly magical our Life already is. That space is where poets, musicians and artists of every shape and form create their very best work.
As we drop to our knees and beg for mercy we discover things in the stillness… Humility. Grace. Innocence. Our True Nature. Infinite Love.
When we release our need to do it our way we are lifted up by the divine way. This is a rite of passage. To release who we once thought we were and more fully Live the Truth of who we are.