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Saturday, February 16, 2013


For February 16, 2013, but plenty for ANY Mercury cycle*

Today, from our view here, Mercury reaches it's greatest separation from the Sun. Mercury's been a lovely Evening Star since January 31 and is about 18° higher than the setting sun tonight (that's probably just a bit less than the width of two fists at arm's length). That view from here will see the separation hold just about the same as Mercury "turns the corner" (albeit a round one) and begins heading toward the path of Earth's orbit. On the 22nd in Hawai'i and the 23rd on the Mainland Mercury will appear to stand still from our Earth view and look to be moving backward in comparison with the direction of the Sun during the days that follow.  On March 4, Mercury will be between Earth and Sun and subsequently move enough away from the Sun's rays to be seen in the pre-dawn sky as Morning Star. It will move farther and farther to the "right" side of the Sun until it seems to stop moving from Earth view, to begin moving in the same direction as the sun moves (no longer retrograde). It will be at its greatest height away from the Sun rise as Morning Star Mercury on March 31 and continue on its journey with the sun, picking up speed slowly as it moves around the "back side" of the Sun from Earth.

That whole swing from greatest elongation in the evening to greatest elongation in the morning is what astrologer Richard Nolle calls "Mercury Max." While grounded, observational astrologers have been aware of this for millennia, somehow modern astrologers simply lump the retrograde period with the retrograde behavior of the other planets with not much regard to any but planetary symbol sorts of differences. I've been regarding the larger cycle for many years now as one of the less regarded bits from my very early mentor, Dane Rudhyar, who used words for parts of the cycle such as Promethean and Epimethean for the retrograde and direct phases within (roughly) the Morning and Evening star periods. Experience taught me that the simplistic "Mercury retrograde" delineations were mostly silly and often very far off base. If things were as chaotic and disastrous as some of the reports of what Mercury retrograde is about, human life on this planet would have ended ages ago with the possible exception of the Three Stooges who'd be living like Adam and Eve in some tropical paradise.

So, if you're an astrologer, please incorporate some of the mechanism of the solar system into your understanding and see how things work out in your own experience. If you are not an astrologer, this "Mercury Max" period (that includes the retrograde) should be seen as a time of heightened and sometimes exaggerated Mercury function. It's not that Mercury retrograde messes things up; enhanced Mercury dumps so much communication and mental activity on us that we just might be tempted to over-do on things Mercurial (mental, day-to-day work and communications, local travel, and general work and busy-ness). To take advantage of the enhanced Mercury, take time to pause and breathe, allow your heart, spirit, whatchamacallit, to prioritize and then follow those priorities rather than thinking that multi-tasking is an admirable practice; sorry folks, it isn't. 

* For any Mercury cycle, this color.

© copyright Tim Rubald 2013