Robert’s Guides to Mercury Retrograde in Taurus/Aries and Jupiter Retrograde in Virgo

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Mercury went retrograde on April 6th in early degrees of the sign Taurus and will remain retrograde until May 1st when it will station and then go direct in late degrees of the sign Aries. I can hear all of you sighing right now, and believe me, I feel your pain…..ouch! To ameliorate that unsettling feeling that a Mercury Retrograde brings, I thought we’d revisit my last article on it a bit, yet add more specificity to Mercury in Taurus – retrograding back into Aries. In addition, I am including a guide on Jupiter Retrograde (Jupiter has been retrograding in Virgo since January 4th). For those who want to read my old article, “Guide to Mercury Retrograde” click on the link that will take you to it.

As a refresher, I want to remind everyone of what the planet Mercury symbolizes in Astrology. As a function of consciousness, Mercury represents our thinking and communicative processes, the ways we access and use information, make decisions, pay attention to details, process data, and express ourselves. Mercury also symbolizes the way we perceive reality via the mind; it’s our mental field. Much of this gets reexamined during a Mercury Retrograde cycle. We are asked to retreat within and reevaluate what serves us in our life with regards to this Mercurial function of consciousness and what needs to be upgraded, refined, or let go of. This time around we will be looking at how this applies to Mercury in Taurus and Aries. Remember that if we resist this cycle of introspection, then we invoke the “Trickster” side of Mercury contained in Mercury’s function so that we will stop resisting and surrender. That being said, with Mercury retrograde in Aries, you can expect a lot of frustration and short tempers when the Trickster is pressing your buttons and blocking your will this time around!

On that note, let’s enter into the threshold of Mercury Direct turning Retrograde in Taurus. Which, for reference, energetically begins to take place a week before the retrograde cycle begins… in this case you would have begun to feel it around March 30th. Did any of you start feeling really impatient/frustrated with certain things in your life around that time, or was it just me feeling that way?! What many of you may have begun to experience, as Mercury slows it’s forward movement and retrogrades in Taurus, is first a revisiting of values, money, and patience – with the focus shifting somewhat as Mercury goes back into Aries. Patience will be a quality that many of us will be called on to embrace in our being over this next month as Mercury retrogrades back from Taurus, into Aries. Aries, by nature, is not a patient and complacent energy!

That said, I am going to focus most of this article on Mercury retrograde in Aries because it will be there longer and Mercury is beginning to leave it’s retrogression of the earth signs and head into the fire signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. So let’s talk about the energy and archetype of Aries, shall we?…

In astrology the planet Mars, who in mythology was the god of war, rules the sign Aries. Essentially that means the archetype of Mars patterns in large part the energy of Aries. What we will all be looking at in particular with this retrograde is how we go about our life with our Mars, warrior-like assertive energy in our decision-making and perceptual processes. So when you start finding yourself in situations that are blocking your need to have things your way – right away, pull back and take a breath honey child! Try to get symbolic about the situation and see it as a message from the Gods that your way of going about getting things done may be in need of some serious re-evaluation, can you feel it already? I’ll be right there with you, screaming and beating my pillow too!

Seriously, I feel that this retrograde is going to be a lot about a deep re-evaluation of how we relate to asserting our will via the decisions we make. Mercury in Aries is willful, fast thinking, fast talking, and driven by ambition and a need to pioneer ahead. Be on the lookout for saying things too quickly without thinking, jumping to conclusions too quickly, and being overly aggressive in your approach. Did I also mention that you might get a chance to see just how competitive you really are?…….Mars wouldn’t suffer being second in a battle. Here in the USA, as a nation, we can expect to be taking a full review of our aggressive march into Iraq during this retrograde. I feel that this should yield a lot of insight into the Aries’ shadow nature of our country’s psyche.

To pull all of this into a more specific focus for each of you, those of you with natal planets in Aries or who have Aries rising will really feel some of what I am saying in direct rapport with the function of the planets you have in Aries or your angular placements of the sign, i.e. Aries on your ascendant or midheaven. For example, if you have your natal sun in Aries, you will likely be looking at the ways in which you are taking action, or not taking action to become more of that sun and fulfill your solar quest. Are you being too assertive or willful, or perhaps not enough? Are you basing your ambition/purpose in life on things that have deep meaning to you, or your lower ego drives? We can all look to our natal charts to see where Mercury is retrograding in Aries by house placement, which will show us the area of our life that is going to be most in review. As an example of this, if you have Aries cusping your 10th house/midheaven you will be asked by the Universe to review the ways in which you assert your career ambitions, or whether those ambitions are congruent with your soul’s intention. This is because the 10th house is symbolic of the field of experience that encompasses the arena of career and how we interface with society via our contributions in that regard. This brings up once again the value of having your natal chart cast. This can allow you to chart these cycles out for yourself so that you can work with them as consciously as possible. Now we all have our blind side, so the Trickster Mercurius will inevitably trick and frustrate us all a bit somehow, but why give him the advantage?!

So what’s the bright side of all this? Hopefully, on the other side of the retrograde, we will be a bit more patient and considerate of the Co-creator’s plan for our life and allow that force to have a voice in our decisions and choices - before we rush off charging ahead with our plans. Patience is a quality we all could use more of, no? Some of you may also find that you need to embrace your assertive nature a bit more and stop holding yourself back to make others happy. Whatever side you fall on, Mercury will know the alchemy that best serves your potential. In addition to all things aforementioned, I sense that there is another level to this retrograde to consider. That is taking a look at the archetype of the Spiritual Warrior. We will all be getting a chance to upgrade our concept of what it means to be a “Spiritual Warrior”. The Spiritual Warrior is an archetype that asks that we first face the battle with our ego and transform our own shadow nature, so that instead of closing down to life, we open up from the heart. The Spiritual Warrior knows that the first battle to be fought is inside him or herself in order to find strength in vulnerability – not necessarily in drawing a sword. So as your outer world/Trickster challenges you these next few weeks and you feel like drawing your sword for combat, take that fight within to face yourself and your own shadow. Bow to the “noble friends” that cross your path, which may be testing you to see how polished your “act of surrendering the ego to the soul/God” really is. For that is the real challenge of the Spiritual Warrior.

In addition, remember that a retrograde period is a time of rest and assimilation of all the information that we perceive consciously and unconsciously when Mercury is direct. A time for our inner wisdom to come forth and guide us to re-organize, rethink, reevaluate, redo, and reboot. This is part of the organic, natural flow of life that our western culture doesn’t fully embrace. Look for signals from the environment to alert you towards inner and outer situations that need some reflection and reevaluation.

Keep in mind that the abdication of our will/ego to a deeper function of consciousness can be quite a struggle as the retrograde cycle commences and this struggle usually lasts for the first 11 days of the cycle. Usually by the 12th day we are usually so tired of fighting this process that we give up and the conscious ego is forced to release its hold over our unconscious. Surrender, surrender, surrender, be and breathe. Just be still….don’t forge ahead. You are meant to be reviewing and reassessing your choices and direction, not going forward. I find it best to go back and collect the fragments I’ve left behind since the last retrograde which was about three months ago. We must allow ourselves the time to intuitively read the landscape of our lives, both inner and outer, that we have been too busy to notice.

While the 1st half of the retrograde can be quite disorienting, the 2nd half – or last 10 days of the retrograde are about reorientation and reorganization. New beginnings begin to come into view around this Aries energy. You should begin to sense how to go assertively forward in a way that serves your core values, Life, and your highest potential. That being said, the traditional approach to Mercury Retrograde of not signing new contracts, making new major purchases, making new important decisions, and initiating new endeavors remains intact. This is because the friction in the psyche is still fresh and will birth even more new information and ideas. As the second half of the retrograde progresses, those new ideas become more and more informed. The last ten days of the retrograde cycle thus become a time to be passively receptive to the new, and ensuring you’ve let go of the old. This will allow more time for holistic agendas to emerge as well as better strategies for their enactment. Once Mercury begins its next cycle of going direct, assertive Aries can pioneer forward with the newly informed perspective. Then you can “go on with your bad self!!!” There is a reason for this cosmic cycle of going within, keep the faith!

Jupiter Retrograde in Virgo that leads me onto Jupiter, the planet of faith, which has been retrograde since January….

One of the reasons I wanted to include this guide on Jupiter retrograde is because both Mercury and Jupiter will go direct the same week, Mercury on May 1st and Jupiter on May 5th. Before I talk about Jupiter Retrograde, once again I feel we must understand Jupiter’s function in our consciousness when it’s direct. Jupiter spends about one year in each zodiacal sign as it makes its sojourn through the heavens. During that time Jupiter goes retrograde once and spends about four months in retrogression.

Jupiter truly is the planet that represents the function of intuitive perception in our consciousness. Where as Mercury likes to process and gather data via the mind, Jupiter isn’t concerned about data per se, but with what it means. Jupiter symbolizes the capacity to perceive life as being symbolically imbued with meaning and purpose. Jupiter is also concerned with the expansion of our lives and of what we could ideally be. In our solar system, Jupiter is the largest planet, the bigger the better is Jupiter’s motto! To delve deeper into this, let’s look at the mythologies connected to the planet Jupiter, yum!

As Stephen Arroyo mentions in his book “Exploring Jupiter”(1996 CRCS Publications), mythologically and historically, Jupiter has been associated with the king, patriarch, and the chief god in various pantheons. The gods associated with the astrological planet Jupiter, such as Zeus, were known as gods of thunder, learning, wisdom, justice, and prophetic vision. However, I think we can best understand Jupiter as symbolic of the intuitive function of consciousness by examining the sign Sagittarius, which Jupiter rules astrologically. This means that the archetype of Jupiter patterns to a large extent the energy of Sagittarius.

Sagittarius is the sign of the centaur, which is half divine/half horse, armed with a bow and arrow. This symbol communicates much about Jupiter as being a function in our consciousness that is half of this world, yet half of the divine mind – mixing the world of energy with the world of matter, while shooting its arrow of aspiration towards something greater, which is the truth with a capital “T”. This archetype wants to seek out the meaning of the embodiment of spirit in matter. “What is the meaning of life and why am I here in a mortal body when I am half divine?” the centaur/Sagittarian asks. It is this very question that ignites the higher function of intuitive perception and quest for truth that the sign Sagittarius is so well known for, and this resonates with the core of Jupiter’s function in our consciousness. I know that you all thought the sign Pisces was the intuitive of the zodiac, sorry! Pisces doesn’t want to have the hot line to heaven that Sagittarius does, rather Pisces wants to go back to heaven! (This leads me to point out the difference between being psychic-which Pisces is, and intuitive-which Sagittarius is. Being psychic really means being able to open your “psyche” to the vibrational energy of another and absorb it. In this process, you may gather data and information as well as another’s bad mood, but that doesn’t mean it will give you direction on what to do with the information you perceive. Where as an intuitive hit is like a fast lightening zap from Zeus that gives direction and meaningful insight. It doesn’t carry with it emotional energy, but a sense of purpose. Intuition is therefore like a verb, where as psychic energy in like a noun. Whew, I feel better now that I got that out! Back to Jupiter!!)

As I mentioned earlier, Jupiter was the Roman god the Greeks knew as Zeus. Zeus was a benefic god of the heavens, ruling the expansive and limitless space above the earth. From his view on high, Zeus could see all, which illustrates the capacity of the astrological Jupiter to give us intuitive glimpses at the bigger picture from a higher altitude. Zeus didn’t like limits (especially those imposed on him by his wife Hera, he was always out on the prowl gettin’ some of this and some of that, if ya know what I mean!), nor does our astrological Jupiter like limits. Jupiter wants to show us what is possible through a very optimistic perception of life. When Jupiter is going direct in the heavens and through our charts it brings expansion and optimism to the planets and houses it transits with an intuitive trust in future outcome. It brings light, faith, and confidence, with a vision that is holographic in nature. “This is what you could be if you only take a risk and have a little faith…” Jupiter whispers in our ear when it’s going forward in direct motion. In fact, for Jupiter, faith is a mode of learning – a way of exploring our lives energetically via the vehicle of intuition, which again differentiates Jupiter from Mercury. Learning for Jupiter involves participation with life in which wisdom is gained via the meaning of the experiences here in earth school. You will find Mercury reading a book in the corner learning lots of facts and figures, while Jupiter is in the other corner cracking his book open on Sacred Contracts. The philosopher Pascal summed this up succinctly when he said, “Earthly things must be known to be loved; Divine things must be loved to be known.” Jupiter simply intuits what is True.

Therefore when Jupiter is direct we are expanding our consciousness, learning via intuition and faith, and taking risks based on that faith. We are growing in the sphere of life represented by the zodiacal sign and house Jupiter is transiting, as well as planting seeds for the future. This can often bring with it a sense of wanting to teach our insights to others. So what happens when Jupiter goes retrograde?

First, as Jupiter is concerned with meaning, when Jupiter goes retrograde inner gravity pulls you inside yourself to investigate deeply the current philosophies or paradigms that you use to perceive life symbolically. Of course, the outer world will help you out on your journey within by causing the growth and expansion that you had hoped for to withdraw in the area of your natal chart/life in which Jupiter is going retrograde, which will leave you with the question, “Why?” This question ignites the impetus to take steps up into higher altitudes to see things more symbolically. During Jupiter Retrograde, when external circumstances do not support the desired results of expansion and growth, they begin to become less meaningful; therefore one’s inner intuition and wisdom can deepen. This allows you to see that what you thought was so meaningful before the retrograde – whether it was a cherished goal, ideal, career prospect, business venture, relationship, or future vision - perhaps wasn’t very meaningful to your soul and restrictive to its full expression here on earth. Remember Jupiter loves freedom and expansion. Jupiter’s retrograde is the annual opportunity we are all given to re-evaluate what has meaning in our life and how we build our morality, goals, and ethics around that.

So what about Jupiter in Virgo? First let me say that all the planets will keep their intrinsic archetypal energy when they are in different signs. However, each planet will focus its energy in a different way depending on the sign it’s in. This sort of like shining light through a kaleidoscope, the light changes color via the colored glass in front of it that it’s shining through, but it’s still luminous light, right? The light just becomes a different vibration and shade of color. It’s the same for planets in different zodiacal signs. So here’s a brief description of Jupiter transiting in Virgo:

As Jupiter focuses its energy through the lens of Virgo, it expands the need to grow via attention to the details we most often overlook in life, especially the details relative to the integration of our own health and well-being. Jupiter expands a disciplined approach to self-improvement in Virgo, working with things of the earth…….so we all might be taking a good look at our diet and exercise regime. There’s emphasis on improving our faculties of discrimination and analysis, as well as perfecting our various skills and crafts. Lastly, we all will be looking at the ways in which we are of service to others and whether or not our service has meaning to us and helps us grow. Virgo needs to be of service in some capacity. Jupiter will express itself by magnifying this need as it shines its light into Virgo, and Jupiter gives the concept of service a more intuitive and energetic feel by broadening the whole concept of what service is.

With this retrograde, many of you have probably had to revisit and evaluate many of the themes mentioned above to see where you are, or have been, off track. Many of my clients are currently looking at the ways in which they or their businesses/careers are of service to others, and doing an overhaul in that regard during this retrograde. Others are currently redoing their health and wellness paradigms because they have experienced health issues during the retrograde that they can no longer ignore, while some just want to live healthier, more integrated lives. There is also a theme around the use of discrimination and intuition in regards to work and job opportunities. Those of you with a strong Virgo emphasis in your charts will have experienced the most review of what has meaning and how you base your morality, ethics, and life philosophy on that sense of meaning. The main question that I have seen come up the most is “what defines meaningful service and right livelihood?”

When Jupiter goes direct on May 5th, the desire to expand and take a few risks will return with renewed vision and enthusiasm. The concept of service should re-emerge with a larger and more expanded definition. You will all hopefully move forward with a deeper sense of what your future vision is, having based that on the whisperings of your soul. Spend some time while both Mercury and Jupiter are moving backwards over the next three weeks in silence, assessing your life. It won’t necessarily alleviate all the challenges ahead, but I feel it can bring you faster to the solutions.

Namaste my friends – until next time,

Robert Ohotto

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