by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mercury Station-Retrograde at 18 Scorpio

This statue (a Roman 2nd century copy of an earlier Greek bronze) of Mercury
pausing to tie his winged sandals just proves we all (even Greek gods)
have to learn to tie our shoes.
(photo credit: Wolfgang Sauber, July 2008)

Mercury entered Scorpio back on September 29th. And barely had it done that when yours truly (aka the astrologer on duty) started getting phone calls and emails and texts about people feeling sick to their stomach and down and out with headaches…oooh, it was awful. Personally, I had the second worst headache of my life (give or take when I cracked my skull in a couple of places, but that simply put me into a coma, so I’m not sure I was into the pain of it all).

I didn’t really connect the zodiacal dots until (duh) my headache went away, but once that happened I realized that Mercury rules two signs: Gemini and Virgo. And Gemini is (to put it generally) “mentality” where Virgo is famously diet and tummy-oriented.

Hence, as Mercury hit Scorpio, that ‘brought out’ all of what might be wrong with our stomachs and our heads. Or, to get a bit more metaphysical about it, our ability to absorb what was going on or think through whatever was in front of us.

The reasons would be many. And to those who ask why this doesn’t happen every time Mercury enters Scorpio, I would say it probably happens to some degree, but that this year’s Scorpio solar eclipse certainly raises the bar. After all, the two months leading into a solar eclipse are all about ‘breaking down’ our walls and resistance. It’s about bringing whatever is keeping us from being who we really are underneath our floorboards of denial or compromise.

Back in the early 80’s I was out there fighting the production wars as a location accountant. And while on a particularly feisty film (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” if you’re curious) there were some…well, let’s say less harmonious members of my crew who were south-of-Purgatorially bent on giving me an exceedingly hard time.

I did my job anyway. As a matter of fact, for reasons best not known to my sanity at the time, I went about doing my job as production accountant in the sweltering Texas heat wearing (mostly) crisp white dresses and white high heels.

(Don’t ask. I still have no idea why I did that.)

Anyway…the film ends and we start to wrap things up. And on the very day when the bulk of the crew heads to the airport, I get sick. The strain has gotten to me and I come down with a giant fever and the whole nine yards.

Off to the doctor I go. They take films, they do the vampire blood draw thing, I get to say ‘aaaahhh’ a lot and the diagnosis is pneumonia.

So back to my hotel room I go. And I’ve barely slogged my feverish body into the air conditioning and traded my pristine whites for something less formal and more beddy-bye when in storms the Associate Producer (and writer’s) Significant Other, a woman never short on opinions and always willing to explain why she’s never short on opinions.

She slams down a jug of cold grapefruit juice on my bedstand, pours me a glass and glares at me while I use that to take a couple of aspirin. (Why I remember it was grapefruit juice is just one of those quirks.)

WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YOU TO BE SICK!!” Her announcement was part protest, part threat and part motivational order of the type generally issued by military commanders.

Then she put a little booklet into my hand. The booklet was called “Heal Your Body” and was written by one Louise L Hay. Opened to a chart of ailments, causal mentalities and affirmations, she pointed to the one for pneumonia. “Read this – and continue reading it until I get back!”

With that, she left – and I was just obedient enough and sick enough to still be mumbling the affirmation when she got back some hour and a half (or some such) later.

“That’s enough – now sleep.” Taking the booklet from my paws she put it on the side table, turned off the light and with a genteel stomping of mighty high top tennis shoes, she vanished out the door.

Result: the next day I was fine. I was so fine that I was taken back to the doctor who did more films and more inspecting and in a baffled tone pronounced me completely cured.

The sixteen hour pneumonia trick, that was. And the process of making me better sold me on the fact that we really do only have one brain: in one direction it leads to our physicality, in another it leads to our personality, and it’s all interconnected. I also realized how despite her annoyance, having someone care about me enough to find a way to help me triggered my willingness to be helped.

For a lot of us, placation doesn't help. Telling me - or anyone with a Scorpio anything in their chart how 'there, there, it's going to be all right' feels dismissive. Scorpio desires real interaction...meaningful, intimate, connective interaction - not platitudes, excuses, coverups and sweetly worded avoidance. I have one friend (one of the many fellow Scorpio Moon people in my life) who so wants to protect his Moon that he has this terrible habit of provoking mine. One of these days he's going to figure out that his habit of hiding under his Moon (which is a difficult position to envision, but he manages it) not only leaves a wide open playing field for anyone else to take advantage of (he wonders why he has such difficulties with people and gets taken advantage of? It's so not a mystery!) but seen in 'like attracts like' form is him abandoning the interaction which automatically causes him to be abandoned by others.

As a rather caustic (but lovable) Taurus in my life puts it: ...and good luck with that!

Scorpio requires interaction in order for success to be achieved. Inscribe that in your mentality, please, and don't neglect it just because Mercury is retrograde. This would be one of the all time fabulous periods to sit down especially with people you're having problems with to talk things through. And don't neglect those little things...the cup of coffee, the hug, the taking of their hand when they get all choked up...a little thank you note...sharing a all really, really, REALLY matters now.

And the harder things are, the more it matters. In other words, if you really want your life's bumps to even out, don't look to where things are okkle-dokkle, look to where they're difficult. Or ruptured. Or painful. Scorpio is the sign of surgery, warfare and psychology - none of which are painless.

Headaches, by the by, are defined by Miss Hay as being about ‘invalidation of the self.’ They’re about fear and being frightened that we’re not good enough. Stomachs are more about our ability to absorb or ‘digest’ what’s going on. So for anyone who started into the not-so-wonderful world of not feeling so hot once Mercury hit Scorpio, those connections are to think about.

Just be nice to yourself while you do it.

More broadly, when Mercury – the generator of those waves which seem so important to the stirrings of our mentality, raises the thought level or the problem level in our thoughts…or issues with body processes like eating (Virgo rules the stomach and Mercury rules Virgo), breathing (that’s a Gemini thing), walking (limbs are also Gemini) or the very processes of mentality… when Mercury hits a sign which is famous for its intensity, its association both with toxicity and detoxification and all things which have to do with breaking down and building back up, and when that sign – Scorpio – is itself being energized by muchos months of Saturn occupation and a recent stirring up by Venus and now Mercury bringing things home…is it any wonder that there have been many problems a-foot?

And a-head?

And a-tummy?

And elsewhere?

The problems can be physical, certainly. But they can also be situational, particularly where communications are involved. Mercury in Scorpio is famous for its assertiveness and equally famous for its defensiveness… not to mention that most irritating (and often painful) act of all: the silent treatment.

Silence sometimes communicates more than we can say, yes.

From mentality to transportation and transit, to road rage and arguments, from anger repressed to tears bursting forth to attempts at manipulation to stonewalling any sort of effort to get anything done…it’s ALL so very Mercury in Scorpio, and considering this one has been happening under the initial shake-out period preceding the Scorpio solar eclipse, it’s not surprising that problems which we might have slid by or gotten away with ignoring under some other set of circumstances have risen up to bite us.

But that’s the point of a solar eclipse. Solar eclipses raise issues, and once Mercury hit Scorpio, we all started thinking and talking and (yes) doing something for, against or about those issues.

Or not. Once again, a refusal to do is not non-participation: it’s a choice to not do and therefore create whatever results no doing will create.

And now all that comes to a screeching…well, not screeching, but…a turbulent twist of affairs as Mercury goes retrograde on October 21st at 10:30 in the morning UT/+0 time.

More specifically, that’s when the station is. But since we give all planetary stations a two-day before, two-day after “station allowance,” that means that Mercury’s full station period starts on the 19th and ends on the 23rd.

Anything of note which happens during this time is worth noting. And if you’re looking for a time to do something and (as they say) “make it count” this might just be the moment to do it, PROVIDING you don’t have to rush and providing you are willing to understand that Scorpio is the sign of karma.

Libra is cause-effect: you put the lob over the net in a tennis game and 99 times out of 100, the next ball is going to come from that direction. But karma? Karma is something altogether different. Karma says you can do a good deed at the office or by helping someone out in some way and suddenly get good news in the mail.

Karma is not direct, cause-effect is direct. Cause-effect has a decent element of predictability, karma doesn’t. Karma will sneak up and reward you…or bite you…when you least expect it.

So I repeat: Scorpio is the sign of karma.

Scorpio is also the sign of negotiation, which may be a quality called for now considering 18 Scorpio’s strong-minded reputation which may wax jealous or even violent. There’s a tendency to not trust which goes along with this degree which considering the eclipse may pop up now…or may have already been an issue in your world, in which case this may just be the moment to contain the intensity of feelings which may be prone to being more or less accusatory in favor of an inquiry into where someone else is coming from. Or why someone did something as they did – or didn’t choose the avenue you would have chosen or (let’s face it…!) preferred.

Mercury in Scorpio is very good at penetrating the veil of others, and tends to want to hold its own card close. But is that fair…? If your answer is anything close to ‘I don’t care whether it’s fair, I just want what I want’ then you’re likely to incur a rejection of at least your attitude, if not your approach, idea and desire.

The clue about where to go with matters of the moment (or which are bugging the tar out of you) may in fact well come from the Sabian Symbol for 18 Scorpio, a symbol which goes like this: A PARROT REPEATS THE CONVERSATION HE HAS OVERHEARD….with the keynote being ‘The capacity to transmit transcendental knowledge’…which astrologer Dane Rudhyar refers to as “CHANNEL-SHIP” as the ability to receive information or intuit that which isn’t directly or intellectually known, learned or sourced.

A Hyacinth Macaw at Australia's Melbourne Zoo pauses to give the photographer a piece of their parroting mind
(photo credit: Snowmanradio, August 2008)

Certainly this sort of ‘feeling behind what is said’ may be part and parcel of not just issues of the moment, but situations which you carry into and through this October 21st through November 10th Mercury retrograde. Listening not just with our ears but with our soul and spirit is an art – one which seems underrated and yet is the secret to a lot of very canny achievements in this world.

And beyond this, considering we are talking about Mercury going retrograde in Scorpio, there are going to be matters which are not resolved prior to Mercury’s station and which remain to be mulled through. By channeling our recollections through our own interior mind we may well be able to feel and pick up on clues we missed the first time around and come to understand how we can better connect with others or solve whatever problems are dogging our days.

We may also do well to remember that the great stream of time, existence and consciousness is channeling us…through our lives and to many others. Because this is a Scorpio degree we are speaking of, the metaphysical quality of being ‘two-way’ is particularly apt. So yes, this station and the retrograde which will follow is a passage – a ‘channel’ to something else which is yet to be revealed and unfold. That aspect of the idea seems particularly apt when we talk about Mercury retrograde as all Mercury retrogrades tend to describe periods where were will on one hand regroup and catch up with ourselves…and which on the other had outline periods when we don’t really know “the answer” or how something is going to actually turn out.

And this part of the concept seems enormously important considering that the Scorpio solar eclipse will happen at just over half way through the whole of this Mercury retrograde – on November 3rd, to be exact.

Considering that solar eclipses which strike our chart with any acuity denote a much larger and longer process which is a total of 3 years in length, that suggests that the whole of this Mercury retrograde is – or can be seen to be – bound up in the solar eclipse process: the ‘eclipsing’ of something about life…or in our life in particular.

Whether this is a specific or a general is – as always – read by whether the eclipse aspects a planet, dwarf planet, node or cusp in our chart. A “direct hit” (or aspect within orb to one of those factors) is specific. Yet those of us whose charts aren’t being hit directly will still find that issues having to do the area of our charts colored by early-to-mid Scorpio are in flux.

And let’s remember…Scorpio can be many things as this is the sign which is not just ‘emotional’ but about anything which promotes or provokes our emotions or emotionality. The obvious issues are things like war, sex, finances, relationships, debt, obligations, intimacy, the emotional side of any partnership. But since Scorpio is also the sign of the Moon in Fall and the Moon is an integral part of an eclipse structure (as are the nodes, which brings in relationships and as is the Sun, which brings in consciousness and things like career), nutrition, sleep, memories and the body’s general ability to absorb and process anything – be it an idea or your breakfast – is in question.

Hence, since Mercury is going retrograde in this sign, such things are worth paying attention to. There’s a lot of squirrely behavior under Mercury retrograde due to the odd mixture of frustrations and retreats which manifest under this influence. Then we add in Scorpio..and then we add in the solar eclipse…and it is not to be surprised at if either the truly unexpected…or that ‘thing’ you have been trying to push out of your thoughts (but maybe shouldn’t have) emerge as being true.

Sometimes we ‘parrot’ the strangest things, which brings up a whole other way to see the Sabian Symbol for this degree: the being ‘a parrot’ of something which you don’t understand the full meaning or power of. Or maybe the qualities of – pro or con. To have Mercury turning at this degree and finding out that something you have thought was just fine isn’t fine would be not unheard of. Considering the interplay of the Sabian and the more standard ‘lore’ for this degree, the motivations for why someone takes some position may also be enlightening… even if perhaps unpleasantly so, in the case of someone who is pressing some case or some ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do that’ based on their own desires for control (read: manipulative impulses).

And of course, we all have to watch our own tendency to do likewise. Even the best intended among us isn't immune to such psychological, habits.

For anyone with a planet, dwarf planet, node or axis point between 13 Scorpio and 23 Scorpio, being willing to reflect on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is central. Those you are dealing with are certainly having their own issues, and making new commitments or ‘spending emotional capital’ at this time should be done cautiously. If you must invest yourself, try to do it on a trial basis. Ask a lot of questions, and listen to answers not just in the textual sense, but the emotional and auric sense.

For anyone with a planet, dwarf planet, node or axis point between 13 Taurus and 23 Taurus, matters which confront you should be thoroughly explored, and as you do that, your own reactions and responses to those matters need to be taken into account. Don’t just ‘accept’ how you feel, ask yourself why you feel as you do…and think that through from there.

For anyone with a planet, dwarf planet, node or axis point between either 13 Aquarius and 23 Aquarius and/or 13 Leo and 23 Leo you can expect some new information and possibly some challenges from left (or right) field. These issues need to be taken into account, whether or not they become part of your basic support structure moving forward.

In all of the above, those who are in the 13-to-16 range should be aware that these degrees are also being directly affected by the eclipse. That suggests that matters of the moment may need solving in the moment, yes. (Or dealing with now and solving for the moment when/after Mercury goes direct on November 10th.) But there WILL BE a further ‘playing out’ of this dynamic, this issue, the ramifications of what happens now…all that…both in the next months to come AND in about two and a half years from now as this solar eclipse begins to “mature”…or ‘ripen’ as they say at fruit stands.

Also, if you happen to be in interaction with someone (or plural people or parties) whose charts you happen to be able to lay your hands on and THEY are being eclipsed? Or being dealt a moment of ‘turnaround’ with this Mercury station?

At that point, separating the ‘your stuff’ from ‘their stuff’ is vitally important, lest you take their stuff on…or force them to absorb yours. (That would be peeing in a karma pool which is going to be only yours to swim in, if you take my meaning.) 

Mercury retrograde is by any account a time which asks us to think things through and deal with our thoughts, and all things mental – mental health, mental abilities, decisions, priorities, choices…all that. Add in Scorpio and this becomes how we treat each other and why we treat each other that way (what predisposes us to one set of behaviors and not another) plus our physical functionality…AND the difference between the dream or ideal and the reality of life – not so much in the sense of what is ‘expected’ of us, but with an eye to what we need to do in order to be or become effective.

Our wishes are real.

But realities are realer.

My bottom line suggestion here: tread lightly, listen with your spirit as well as your ears and be willing to wait for your own answers. That’s hard, yes. But everything we go through inside while waiting is also important to our experience of personal evolution.


  1. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. love problem solution astrology

  2. Bravo! So insightful and helpful. ..."less accusatory in favor of an inquiry into where someone else is coming from." To just turn that irritation with a pushy person into a silent curiosity shifts the stressful tension within myself, thank you.

    1. You're entirely welcome. I hope it helps through the whole of this Mercury/Scorpio passage!