This week the configuration of the planets takes the shape of a key, unlocking the heavy door of a vast warehouse. Much has been stored here. Some of it is valuable and rare, while other pieces merely serve to prop up the dust. The Sun, Venus and a retrograde Mercury in Taurus will be our guides through its cluttered corridors. The next several weeks will be spent in this labyrinth of value exploring, sorting and appraising.
On Friday, April 29th, Venus joins the Sun and Mercury in Taurus. Venus’ entrance into the bovine sign sees her move from a portion of the zodiac in which she is considered to have a very hard time, Aries, to one where she is considered powerful and at home— Taurus.
Venus is the ruler, or “owner” of Taurus. The Bull’s sign, with its focus on accumulation, steadiness, luxury and value, has long been conceived of as Venus’ lavish retreat, to which she returns annually to renew herself.
When Venus is ensconced on her comfortable, bull-carved throne, she is more generous with her significations, doling out sweets and luxuries in greater portions than usual. Furthermore, Venus also gets a little bit less stingy with the divine lubrication, happily greasing the wheels of social dynamics. Though she may seem lazy on her couch, she is bright and wise in dispensing judgments regarding the value of things and the equity of relationships. For the time that Venus is Taurus, do not be afraid to wish upon her bright star for a portion of the grace and goodness which are hers to give. Venus will be in Taurus until May 24th.
Yet do not expect Venus’ favor to erase the entire sting of retrograde Mars’ harsh light, for they are two powers, mighty but equal. The heavens have no despot, but are forever a great argument of quarreling gods and titans, their alliances and disagreements forever shifting.
The Low Road
Mercury stations retrograde this Thursday, April 28th, at 23 Taurus, and will continue along his backward path until the 22nd of May, when he
stations direct at 14 Taurus. This particular loop takes longer than most of Mercury’s retrogrades, lasting for three and half weeks, yet it covers less degrees than most— less than 10. Mercury will thus be moving at an unusually slow pace for the next several weeks.
Mercury’s nature is dual, and encompasses the programmer and the hacker, the scholar and the con-man, the pilot of the Concord and the smuggler’s speedboat. Hermes knows both the low road and the high, and can switch between lawful and chaotic on a dime.
However, Mercury is not all of these things all the time. His phase is a prime determinant for which mask we’ll find the traveler wearing. During his retrograde phase, Mercury looks like the unlawful side of the equation, the one who knows the secret roads, the back doors and the short cuts- the way into and through the underworld. Retrograde, Mercury highlights the hacker, con-man, trickster and spelunker. As the entirety of this retrograde occurs within the sign of Taurus, Mercury will tend to put these figures into play in scenarios which relate to flows of capital and questions of value.
Guide of Souls
If we see retrograde Mercury as cognate with the traditional role of Hermes as the guide of souls through the underworld, we cannot help but see the conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, as one of this sphere’s most sainted and mighty dead. Mercury rules lines of travel and communication, and in his retrograde phase, where he is largely invisible to the naked eye, refers specifically to hidden pathways and unseen routes. One can thus hardly imagine a more fitting image than an “Underground Railroad.” Indeed, it is a railroad that is not a railroad, with a conductor who wears no engineer’s cap. Tubman is thus a perfect exemplar of the heroic capacity of Hermes in the hacker/trickster/psychopomp role, and it is entirely fitting that only days ago that the US Treasury announced plans to begin printing $20 bills with her face on them.
Furthermore, as this retrograde takes place within Taurus, which deals with capital, goods, buying and selling, Tubmans’ role as a disruptor of the most hateful commerce is all the more appropriate and worthy of contemplation. She was a trickster, and engaged in illegal activity, but at a time when the law was on the wrong side of god, and honesty would have come at the cost of lives. Some systems, be they cultural, financial or legal, cannot be worked with on their own terms. One must find the secret tunnels within and below them and learn to move through those points of blindness and corridors of absence. Sometimes the trickster is the hero(ine) we need. Let Tubman’s face upon the $20 bill remind you of this, and serve as gateway to remembrance, as well as a critique of the present.
Follow the Money
Not all who wander the twisting passages of the underworld are guides. Within that chthonian labyrinth, minotaurs also abound. Mercury is perhaps the most inherently morally ambiguous of the planets, tending not toward good or evil, but to both. As this cycle illuminates a righteous disruptor of humanity’s most shameful trade by placing Tubman on the $20, so too will it shine a light on those who’ve utilized the tunnels for considerably more nefarious purposes. I refer, of course, to those named in the Panama papers, a set of leaked documents which expose the tax fraud of many of the world’s wealthiest people. Released on the day that Mercury entered Taurus, it is no surprise that the planet has decided to linger in the Bull’s sign, taking the time to follow the money and connect the dots.
The Panama Papers will, doubtless, lead to some revelations and downfalls during the period that Mercury is retrograde, yet some of the implications and cases are likely to take longer. It is at this point that it becomes terribly interesting to note how this Mercury retrograde cycle intersects with that of Mars. The degree that Mercury stations retrograde- 23 Taurus, is exactly opposite the degree that Mars will station direct at the end of June- 23 Scorpio. The action of these two cycles is thus connected, for any planet aspected by one will be aspected by the other.
On a secondary note, Mars’ station atop the red star Antares promised the precipitous fall of the mighty. Brazil’s president was the first and Iceland’s prime minister followed shortly, but with the Panama Papers in play, many more are sure to follow. There’s a whole deck of Tower cards ready to be played.
This cycle is thus clearly aimed, on a macrocosmic level, at exposing the dark side of commerce and subterranean flows of capital. The underworld due to be explored is that of credit, debt, products and the labor buried far beneath them. Follow the money, through tiny capillaries and major financial veins, all the way back to the cholesterol-choked heart of the system.
Whilst in these chthonian depths, consider chatting up the spectre of Marx, whose natal Sun is within one degree of the place that Mercury will make his direct station on May 22nd. Offer his shade liquor and tobacco, and then listen carefully to his macro-economic critique. For god’s sake, though, don’t take any financial advice from him. The man was terrible with money.
A Month In The Vault
On a personal level, events are likely to be less dramatic. In general, this cycle asks us take a second look at what we do and do not value, as well as what we’ve invested in the different areas of our lives. Upon inspection, you’re likely find both hidden costs and secret treasures. There is much to consider and much to appraise over the coming weeks, so do not rush your inspection, but take it slowly and thoughtfully, one item at a time.
Mercury’s retrograde station this week marks a month long inspection of what you’re holding onto and what’s slipping between your fingers. Consider this period a good excuse to do an inventory, and assess the value of what you’ve stored up. If you take the time to go through your warehouse, you’ll probably find a few collectibles you’ve forgotten about, as well as some old junk just cluttering things up. If you made room, what else could you fit?
Mercury’s retrograde through your sign asks you to reassess your own value. It is important to note that learning to value yourself is not simply a matter of deciding that you’re universally great. You are great, but not universally so. You’re great in particular ways that are individual to you, and which are up to you to understand and accept. You’re also probably not-great in other ways. If you can accept those, it will show you where you can improve, as well as keep you humble. Let your appraisals be guided by truth, and your self image tied to that gold standard.
The action is all in Taurus this week, with Mercury stationing retrograde there on the 28th and Venus entering the sign on the 29th. These two planets are poised to bring a number of hidden facts to the forefront. Though they may seem minor, these little bits of data may end up changing your appraisal of yourself and your ideas. Yesterday’s trash may, in fact, be tomorrow’s treasure.
The retrograde station of Mercury in Taurus and the entrance of Venus into the bovine sign signifies a focus on your social life and relationships within communities. While Venus highlights the benefits participating in collectives, Mercury’s retrograde station suggests that you may spend need to spend some time rethinking exactly that value group membership and social activities have in your life. Consider which people and groups you have mutually beneficial associations with, the ones in which the benefits are strictly one-sided, and those in which the relationship is detrimental all-around.
Venus enters Taurus this week, just as Mercury stations retrograde late in the sign. These dual omens both speak to the status of your professional situation. While Venus augurs pleasures, Mercury casts a more critical eye on your works. Professional communications may get snarled up, slowed down or otherwise entangled over the coming weeks. These delays may well bring you to reassess your current professional strategy. While it is natural to try to draw a straight line from point A to point B, sometimes a more circuitous route is more expedient. So take Mercury’s hand, and explore the backroads he leads you down. It might be a short-cut, or he may lead you on a goose-chase. Even if you don’t find that goose, you may well discover something you’d never had stumbled across if you stuck to the main roads.
Venus’ entrance into Taurus and Mercury’s retrograde station within the sign signal an emphasis on long term goals and long journeys. On both the literal and metaphoric levels, you may find your trajectory altered or delayed over the coming weeks— straight lines are likely to be beset with unexpected and perhaps unwanted curvature. Although these unscheduled changes might prevent you from reaching your intended destination on schedule, you may well stumble across treasures you’d have otherwise missed.
Mercury’s retrograde station in Taurus and Venus’ entrance into the sign highlight what you do for others, as well as what they do for you. These exchanges of time, money and energy are scheduled for inspection over the several weeks. Consider not only the dynamics involved, but the words which convey the nature of your agreements.
With the preponderance of planets in Taurus, this week and the next several have relationships as a consistent theme. Mercury’s retrograde station this week suggests you reconsider the pattern of communications between yourself and those close to you. It may be that the words you’ve been using are an insufficient vehicle for what you’ve been trying to express. Conversely, you might also spare some time to think about the way you’re interpreting the words coming your way. Communication is a matter of both the ears and the tongue.
The trio of planets in Taurus emphasizes the list of ongoing tasks to which you must attend. There are benefits to be found in pushing the plow steadily through the fields, but do not expect the fruits to precede the labor. Hang the carrot of future rewards before yourself, and press on. Furthermore, Mercury’s retrograde station in the Bull’s sign suggests you consider how you might streamline your labors and obligations. Ask yourself what it would look like to worth both smart and hard.
Venus’ ingress into Taurus and Mercury’s retrograde station with the Bull’s sign highlight the projects and activities you’re putting your energy into. Venus should provide a boost to your creative energy levels, but Mercury’s retrograde station sign suggests that it might be time to consider what kind of a return you’re getting on those investments of energy.
Venus’ entrance into Taurus on Friday highlights the pleasures of hearth, home and family. Even if your hearth is meager, your home just a room and your family only a small collection of trusted people, there is joy to be found here, as well as gratitude. Meanwhile, Mercury’s retrograde station suggests that over the coming weeks you might want to take a closer look at the communications with the people you share either space or blood with. Furthermore, Mercury may also have some suggestions about the way that you tell your family story. It might be that your narrative could use a few edits.
The trio of planets in Taurus makes your weekly schedule and trips around your neighborhood regular themes for the next several weeks. Venus’ entrance into the sign on Friday highlights the rewards that comes from social circulation, as well as the pleasures to be had whilst going about your business. Mercury’s retrograde station, on the other hand, may see unexpected delays or detours temporarily alter your course. Additionally, Mercury’s backward walk may well lead you to rethink the way you’re scheduling yourself. Your time is valuable, as it is one of the few truly non-renewable resources at your disposal. Like any other form of currency, it is easy to fritter away on one small thing at a time. Yet if those tiny daily investments are part of a larger strategic context, their cumulative value can end up being tremendous. Most great accomplishments are merely the accumulated sum of small efforts made regularly.