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.