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Highlights for Nov. 11-17, 2019: Standing Against The Sun

Standing Against The Sun

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Release and transition

Although this week is full of smaller moments and opportunities that I’d ordinarily love to savor, I’m choosing to write only about the two biggest, shoutiest celestial events.

The first is Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun on Nov. 11 (7:21 am PST), when it will briefly be visible as a small, dark dot against the Sun. Normally, a planet in conjunction with the Sun is rendered invisible by that star’s brilliant light; so Mercury’s *“transits” of the Sun – when it passes in front of it and is visible from earth, like a tiny object that’s been blown into your eye – are rare and significant. (* “Transit” here is distinct from its usual meaning in astrology, when it’s used to refer to the current position of the planets in relation to another chart.)

Mercury gets short shrift in astrology, other than the histrionics that accompany his retrograde periods. And that’s a shame, because astrological Mercury is as rich and deep as any symbol. Mercury is the astrological ruler of some of my favorite people – jesters, rakes, magicians, wordsmiths – and the facilitator of words and ideas. He’s the telephone wires overhead and the fiber optic cables under our feet, passing messages and signals at furious speed. He’s the central nervous system that animates our bodies. In an astrological chart, he’s the connective tissue that makes everything else hang together.

In mythology, Mercury was the psychopomp who escorted souls to the afterlife. This week, he’s escorted a little animal spirit very dear to me and is poised to take another. He held the hand of a friend’s beloved young relative as he tragically left the world. I like to imagine that, in moments such as these, Mercury hovers nearby like Wim Wenders’ elegant, pony-tailed angels, bearing careful witness to the last thoughts and whispers of the dying. At the moment of death – whether literal or figurative – Mercury brings release and transition.

But like a sleight-of-hand magician, Mercury prefers his work to go undetected. What will it mean, astrologically, as he passes, dark and conspicuous, before our life-giving star? Oh, one dozen astrologers will give you one dozen interpretations, many more eloquent than my own.

But my mind goes here: That Mercury’s transits across the Sun occur only in November and May, and are more common in November, Scorpio’s season. We spend our days consumed by the light, by the rhythm of day and night, ruled by our Solar, ego-and-earth bound selves. That’s as it should be; it’s what it means to live. But now and again, when Mercury the trickster asserts himself so boldly – standing tiny and dark against a brilliant and colossal star – he reveals both the psychopomp who carries us to the other side, and also the magician, the trickster, and a reminder that death is an illusion, a magic trick.

Spirit changes form all the time, but it stubbornly refuses to die. The spirits we love and lose are traveling with Mercury; and eventually, they’ll emerge somewhere else, as sure as a rabbit pops out of a magician’s hat.

Wind clouds and haste

E ach year, the Full Moon in Taurus (Nov. 12, 5:34 am) offers an emphatic, unequivocal, life-affirming response to the season of death. But Venus, the ruler of Taurus, approaches a square to Neptune, the god of illusion (exact on Nov. 14, 9:06 am) in this Full Moon chart; and the Sun stands at the Sabian Symbol, A woman drawing two dark curtains aside. The Taurus Full Moon affirms the power of life over death, but might also bring the sudden revelation that someone we relied on as a stable and reliable fact of our lives is, in fact, a total stranger.

Again, it’s a week of transition, and spirit is in the process of assuming other forms. When we lose something we love, people in our lives get a chance to show us the truth of who they are and what we mean to them. The ones who show up for you, and the ones who don’t, don’t always line up the way you expect them to.

The Sabian Symbol for the Full Moon degree is Wind clouds and haste. Blain Bovee likens this degree to the effect of time lapse photography, when slow motion images are speeded up to reveal movement over time. Life does seem to be moving fast, but in reality there are the same number of minutes on the clock. It’s just that we spend less time with the small, static moments; they fly past us like social media posts.

We do know on some level that from one day to the next, one hour to the next, we have no reasonable expectation that our lives will look as they do right now. Most of the time, we can afford to ignore that fact. But this week, the curtains have been pulled aside – and behind them is a different world.

© 2019 by April Elliott Kent

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18 comments to " Highlights for Nov. 11-17, 2019: Standing Against The Sun "

  • Anna

    Sorry for your loss, April!

  • ann griffen

    So sorry for your losses April. May all find peace and healing in time of loss.

  • GabrielleB

    Oh gosh April, what a time of it you have had. My heart goes out to you and your husband. Your darling kitties (sighs). . . .they sure knew where to find the love, and you gave so so much to them. xx. You certainly wrote beautifully given your grief and I’ve come to understand Mercury a bit more too. Thank you. Blessing your tears.

  • Jo

    Sorry to learn your little Bodhi passed, April, but losing two companions in the same week is heartbreaking. Prayers, Kind Thoughts & Blessings.

    • April

      Thank you, Jo. My neighbor and I have co-parented each other’s cats, and in six months we’ve gone from five to two. Very tough. Thank you for your good thoughts. xoxo

  • Dearest April,
    I am so grateful for your posts and appreciate your sharing such artful sentiments each week. On this day I am particularly touched by your heartfelt writings and feel comforted. You are compassionate and very special. Take in the empathy and be blessed…

    • April

      That is so kind. Thank you so much… I’ve been so touched by the sweet comments here. I feel fortunate to have such lovely readers! xoxo

  • Many Blessings to you and your family… heart goes out to you. Loosing the company of a beloved pet is so painful. May Bodhi be in a very happy place, watching her earthly family with love. On a lighter note…I really appreciate your writings, and also the magical pictures you choose to support them. A simple ‘Thank you’ for you being you. Josia

    • April

      Thank you so much, Josia, for all of that! And thank you for being here and reading, and for sharing your warm thoughts. xoxo

  • Sara E. McNeil

    Dear April,
    I am very, very sorry for your losses. I wish you and yours, including Bodhi, peace now and always. Thank you, as always, for enriching my life with your words and images, and know that you and your beloved companions will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Anthony

    I am sorry for your losses, dear April. I really hope that time will help heal the pain you are feeling.

    As for the full moon… “The Taurus Full Moon affirms the power of life over death, but might also bring the sudden revelation that someone we relied on as a stable and reliable fact of our lives is, in fact, a total stranger.”

    Thank you very much for this description, April. It is the most accurate description of how I’ve experienced this full moon, (opposing my natal Scorpio moon) and the whole retro Mercury retro period for that matter. A very cold, bold, hearbreaking realization that has impacted me on a psychological and physical level, as it concerns a former partner of mine. Haven’t felt like this since ages, perhaps because I didn’t allow myself to get involved with someone else in such intimacy. And when I did, after a while – boom! – the same thing happenned. It feels like a death of some sort, and there’s a lot of deep grieving involved that I am currently challenged to process.

    I am hoping for the Sun to shine again in everybody’s lives.. This Scorpio period has been quite a challenge.. much more than I ever expected…

    • April

      It really was a rough Scorpio time, Anthony, and I’m so sorry about the disappointment in your relationship. The loss of connections with others feels very much like death, and like other endings it comes with its own, unpredictable process of recovery. Wishing you sunshine in this season of Thanksgiving. xoxo

  • Denise

    “The ones who show up for you, and the ones who don’t, don’t always line up the way you expect them to.”

    So true. At those times I find myself trying to push aside the hurt of unmet expectations, and often end up realizing that some kind of transition is in progress, either in their life or in our relationship, that I hadn’t known about or noticed before. And for those who do show up, surprised gratitude, and often I only understand the full value later, because I didn’t expect a gift of that magnitude from them.

    Take care!

    • April

      You’ve put it very well, Denise, about the surprised gratitude for those who show up. I’ve been very gratified by the outpouring of warmth and sympathy about the loss of our little pet. A wise friend once said – I think I put this in an essay somewhere – that you can’t expect people to give what you can in a relationship, you can only expect them to give what they can. That’s something I try to remember, but it’s not always easy when you’re hurting. Thanks for reading! xoxo

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