Mercury in Retrograde: December 19th 2016 – January 7th 2017*

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Two days into Mercury retrograding, I found myself with a couple of failed online appointments and an aching left ankle. Certainly typical of what Mercury in Retrograde asks of us – that is, to stop and to slow down. In a world where capitalism commands lives and most are addicted to being busy, I’ve seen people express dislike – and even hate – of the retrograding Mercury.

I am aware that many, if not most, people cannot afford to stop or slow down, at least not outwardly. We have to continue working, taking care of families, paying the bills, and so the list goes. In my opinion, a couple of deep breaths before you start walking briskly towards the train station is a step towards the right direction. And if you’re not a morning person, writing a couple of sentences in your journal before you go to sleep or making tea for yourself after work can also be ameliorative.

Despite the above recommendations, I do believe that the mind-buzz that we experience daily can be managed through actions that are angled inward – towards the inner-self & beyond tactility. I like giving myself daily mantras that I recite throughout the day to myself, such as Surrender or Breathe. The reminding of the self is an act of meditation and recentering the mind. Other times, I also enjoy turning to one-card Tarot spreads. I read one card out of the pile, and make it my daily focus. The purpose of that is to focus my energy towards one thing that means something to me. Maybe I’m archaic in that sense; I know that post-modern art disagrees with me.

Mercury will be in retrograde until January 7th, 2017, which perfectly aligns with the holiday season! I’ll be sipping hot cocoa in my newly painted room, drawing charts, and massaging my ankle. I’m finding that contemplating Venusian energy in a slow time like this puts me at ease, so here I am absorbing the color blue that contrasts perfectly with the cream-colored walls and dark gray pillows (pictured above). Yes, friends…aesthetics! What will you be doing?

*For wise words on Mercury in Retrograde, I love reading up on Mystic Mamma’s compilation of wisdom. Chani Nicholas has some cool things up, too. ElsaElsa’s post is affirming and warm.

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Book: Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs by Linda Goodman

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Cover of Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs (1972)

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get about astrology is regarding where I get my information from. In my experience, finding books that go beyond the basic stereotypical knowledge of astrology is difficult; finding people who do “proper” astrology is truly harder – which is why I turn to books. The great thing for those who are serious about deepening their astrological knowledge is that there are resources out there! Unfortunately, you have to scour for them yourselves. Yes, it’s a trial-and-error process.

I had my start with shallow online descriptions of astrological signs. Being a believer in astrology and all things occult since the beginning, reading those did not allow me the footing nor the integrity to study astrology seriously. Reading this book helped me gain confidence in the discipline of astrology. Now, this book is a staple in my shelf. Linda Goodman speaks with such authority (whether the people gave it to her or not is a different issue) on a field that is constantly belittled by the “rational” world. Goodman’s voice is fresh and at times, funny. I admit that her approach to reading the sun signs are highly gendered, and therefore, antiquated. After all, this book came out in the 70’s – so read it with a grain of salt.

I think it’s important to read astrological work with a critical mind. It certainly deserves the same kind of seriousness that we give to the academic/scholarly work that we frequent in university. That being said, this book is thorough in describing the male versus female manifestation of each sun sign, as well as their manifestation in children and bosses. Yes, an interesting and somewhat useful categories. Yet, I would be very careful in allowing her descriptions to become stereotypes that we hold on to. I know many people end up stereotyping signs, and I am highly against that kind of thinking. Reading this book and stopping here will certainly do that. Consider this book a first entertaining glance at the astrological world that is yet to unfold, not a bible! (Did I mention she prefaces each section with quotes from Alice in Wonderland?)

I highly recommend reading her Foreword as it sets the context for this book. Many astrologers have different angles, and it’s worth your time to know Goodman’s. Like any academic, Goodman is a part of a certain school of thought. I, for one, know that she would not really get along with Dane Rudhyar’s meta-astrological camp.

For those that have read this book, any thoughts? Did it ever impress you – or the opposite? Book available here.

 

Kanye’s Gemini

Today was the first time I listened to Kanye’s The Life of Pablo. Wanting to know what critics thought about it, I googled the reviews. Came across this one and was amazed at how Rolling Stone was able to tap into the essence of how a Gemini makes art or accesses their aesthetics.

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“The world has distracted from Kanye West’s creative process – except, as he shows on The Life of Pablo, distraction is his creative process.”

Lately, Geminis have had a reputation of being the worst sign in the zodiac because they’re too.. Frivolous? Chatty? I don’t really know what exactly, but I know that there is a side of Geminis that don’t get discussed much, which I honestly feel makes them feel understood – and therefore, isolated & alone, like Kanye. It is what’s most known as their “sensitive” side. I have not been fully comfortable to describe Geminis as sensitive because maybe there’s 5% truth in that.

Instead, I would describe it as Anger. You know the Aquarian anger/rebelliousness that surfaces as a social revolution? Well, I think Gemini has the seed of that Aquarian, air-type intellect. The Geminian energy is a departure from the Taurean’s rootedness in the self. So there is a nervous spark to depart from the body, the personal kinesphere. This is the genius of it. The Mercurian Gemini has to question this departure, and maybe even gets stuck in this realm between the social and the self. This is, as I’m listening to the album, embodied in “I Love Kanye”.

My favorite track so far is “Wolves” with its charming but pensive sampling of a soprano child-voice. The lyrics are overwhelmingly pessimistic in nature, but even in its pessimism, I could truly feel anger and resentment. I really can not tell towards what or whom; it seems that it’s directed at everyone and everything, which means that it’s as good as it being directed at nothing in the first place. I suppose this could be why we do not often understand a Geminian angry spell. It’s not a spell at all – we must have misperceived. It must be an ever-present, ever-consuming anger at what’s outside of the self.

Before today, I have never listened to a Kanye album in full. I am enjoying what I am hearing. The sound is changing all throughout the album, and even within a track itself, there are mood shifts – not just the Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus formulation that we often hear on the radio. Each track feels like it has its own intro, outro, verses, chorus, shortcut, intersection, etc. And yet somehow, the whole album is still a truly colorful and cohesive collage made by Kanye himself. If he ever honestly proclaims that he is God, I could understand why. His creativity is unbounded and uncontrollable by the limits of present society (Air-type idealism, remember?) but is crafted at the end. The final product is a story, and possibly, a seed of a musical movement.

I cannot claim to have deciphered the Geminian energy, much less Kanye West. Dare I say that he is the most misunderstood hip hop artist so far in the 21st century? Kanye thinks not. Click here for Kanye’s own musings about Geminis and more.