cold mercury nights

Mercury_in_color_-_Prockter07-edit1

Enhanced-color image of Mercury from first MESSENGER flyby

Just spent the past two days learning about the solar system and then writing about it.

One interesting thing I learned about the planet Mercury is that it has no atmosphere. So the temperature fluctuations range 1100 degrees, from 800F during the day to -280F at night. That makes Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

And maybe this is a metaphor for 2018, that I’ve had a cold Mercury night when I thought day was approaching. Of course, I don’t want a hot Mercury day, either. 

I don’t want extremes. I need atmosphere.

When I lived in Chicago, I remembered learning that the bright sunny days of winter would actually be colder than the more frequent cloudy days.

The clouds kept the heat in.

Having an atmosphere not only keeps temperatures more even, it protects you from cosmic radiation and solar winds. A lot more protects us from that, too–like the magnetosphere, Van Allen radiation belts, and the Sun’s heliosphere.

(Don’t worry, I’m not extending this metaphor any further from the atmosphere.)

This year especially, it seems that I had no atmosphere. It was so extreme. And it’s only been about a month of having life the cover of an atmosphere.

And quicksilver astrological Mercury, with their quick turns of fate…still under that foolywang shadow until Christmas Eve…

A bit of a sidenote, really, but it still relates to not having an atmosphere…just the other day while writing (not here), I really was feeling myself. I felt the muses were having a party and just releasing all these great things for me to say.

And I thought my audience was feeling me, too. This is the good shit.

I’m still not sure if I’m what crickets I’m hearing–of busyness, of embarrassment, or of revulsion.

But boy, are the crickets so fucking loud.

I thought the sun was rising on Mercury, but it was a false alarm. I’m still choking in the airless cold.

And today I had a reading with my favorite intuitive, just to see where I’ve ended up on this craptastic voyage. And it’s as I thought–still a little banged up, still looking back at the past as if those catastrophic fires could bring any warmth to me now.

But, whatever internal shrieks and shouts that were a constant din in the back of my mind have now been quieted. For now, building a new atmosphere has been about creating a place of stability and shutting everything and everyone else out that didn’t contribute to that.

(I had always been focused on the former, but never got to the latter.)

So this is even beyond just creating an atmosphere where I can breathe, where it’s not a hostile or harsh environment for me to live.

It’s about world-building.

So what do I want?

For now, I just want to not feel so deflated. It’s not even about healing up anymore. During that reading today, I released a lot of old shit from this year. I had already energetically released a lot in some other ritual earlier last week.

One thing the reader kept saying, it’s done, it’s over.

Well, that’s the thing about trauma, isn’t it? The events may be over, but now is the time actually start the reckoning, within your body.

I’ve been lucky and fortunate to have that happen already. Now it’s about getting up off the floor, fixing my face, and heading in some sort of direction.

And guess who’s leading the brigade into someplace new? My heart.

Oh, how precious.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next–vocationally, relationally, or in any way. Well, except that I have a lot of work to do this week, of which I am grateful to have.

Beyond that, I’ve figured out what I want generally already. I just haven’t been able to get it yet.

But since my mind can’t be the one leading the Pleasure Parade here, then it’s good that I have a few things in mind that I want to accomplish–just no new plan on how to get them.

Capricorn season starts when the work week ends, on Friday evening, and it’s funny to go into that season sans a plan.

I don’t have a feeling of adventure. But I don’t have a feeling of dread.

I can’t think ahead to anything pleasurable, not even my birthday. Turning 41 feels like another step towards death (because it is, because every waking moment is), but this blog post is not (solely?) about that part of my mid-life angst.

Today I was told that I needed to have more fun and not be so hard on myself–ageless advice for me. And to connect with others–that part I’m working in new ways…but I still feel like the long, cold night is one I should get used to instead of preparing to leave for a more habitable planet.

It’s hard for me not to think–oooh girl, if you try to do anything new, then you’ll get the same disappointing results. 

And it’s not true.

I’m listening to this Elton John vs. Pnau song called “Phoenix” (I can’t believe I didn’t know this album existed until about maybe a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been out for six years).

I’ve definitely died and have been reborn. I have to trust in this regenerative process. I have to trust in the results–the results of me, being a different, wiser person.

It takes bravery to seek a better world, to get up and try again and again and again, to keep seeking, knocking, finding.

And, I know I’ve lost my nerve (which is a new thing for me)…or I’ve had it stripped from me. Hearing how flat my affect was on the phone today, feeling waves of enthusiasm and passion wash over me like lukewarm oatmeal…

*sigh*

But as I told the intuitive, I can only take things day by day.

But sadly, like a true, tortured Capricorn, I’ve felt guilty about any breaks or fun I’ve had. I can’t allow myself to have fun along the way.

So I keep putting it off until I’m done with work…or, I end up revolting and playing around for hours.

It’s like how you can’t really hold your own breath to die because usually your body will just kick in and allow you to breath.

Maybe I should stop holding my breath, though…

And yet somehow, I’m still not as productive as I could be–and that isn’t the workaholic talking, just the realist. All that avoidance and sacrifice, and there’s only misery.

As I preached to the cricket choir a couple of weeks ago–it’s not about ending the misery, per se. It’s about enjoying the good times when they come.

Admittedly (and thankfully), I’ve gotten better at that. But now I have to start being more proactive about creating those times, when possible–and not be afraid to make that an aim.

It makes me meta-sad that having fun frightens me. And it’s not even the “there’s no one to have fun with here” problem–that’s a whole other existential hell. 

Part of it is…wait, how do I do that again? And another part is, well, I want to do something musical…how do I do that? By myself? With whom?

Some of it is the scarier thought that I’ve lost pleasure in most things, which I don’t think is entirely true–I hope not. But that’s one sign of depression, which I wouldn’t blame me for being. 

But it’s more like–everything has changed, including me. So what I found pleasure in has changed. I have to figure some of that out, along with getting reconnected with what still works.

And, now that I’m older, I hear that ticking clock of death more loudly. 

What are you doing with your time? What are you doing that’s worthwhile?

It’s a lot of pressure to live up to, especially with Capricorn fantasies of legacy and longevity. I’m lucky to get out of bed in the morning with such mounting pressures to live up to.

I’ve been grinding at work for a few weeks. It has helped me to eat and keep a roof over my head. It’s helped to quell the pangs of feeling unsafe and uncared for.

But I’ve hit an emotional wall with the “all work, no play”–and thankfully, it’s during a week that should be a lot easier than previous weeks.

Ah, so much babbling, but it all boils down to this–I’ve known what I’ve wanted for years, but I’m not sure if I should keep wanting it or if I need to do something entirely different.

Do all these roadblocks me keep going or find a new path? I sincerely don’t know.

But, I will–I can trust in this eventuality, wholeheartedly.

I just can’t use the ole tinker to do it–have to use the ole ticker instead. 

What’s scary, and at the same time liberating, is that there’s possibly no right answer except for what I prefer.

I’ve known so many lonely, cold Mercury nights and blistering hot Mercury days.

But it’s time for a change.

I need real atmosphere…


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astrology & superstition

astrology SOM

As Mercury Retrograde’s shadow period continues to loom long, I have been thinking about the collective pop culture freakout that will happen next weekend when Mercury’s retrograde transit begins in earnest. It’s a little bit annoying since it seems to be the only time that people care about astrology. But my annoyance isn’t because I’m some rabid evangelist for astrology (although my close friends may disagree). Astrology is a paradigm that seems to work for me…for now.

Mercury Retrograde nowadays can feel like a silly superstition, like not walking under a ladder or owning a black cat. Superstitions have a way of becoming the scapegoat for all that goes wrong (or even right) in a person’s life.

I wonder where I start to feel like astrology is merely more information that I can use to lead my life in a better, more informed way instead of just an excuse for why things don’t go the way I want (or vice versa).

Currently, I’m having some problems in my bathroom. The toilet isn’t filling its tank very well. Usually, a toilet’s tank takes about a minute or less to fill. It’s taking 15 minutes now. And recently, there are some pipes screeching and banging behind my toilet when no one is using it.

My computer has given me a blue screen of death twice. It’s not old.

So what’s going on? It seems like things are just falling apart all at once.

With the toilet, this house is old. I have Uranus in my 4th house, which has to do with home life. Uranus is a bit of a wild card. It’s hard to know what will happen. It’s like a scary jack-in-the-box. I’m not a fan. I had my room flood during this Uranus transit, so the pipes are brand new.

But, again: this house is old. I’m also getting a new toilet seat because I bet that toilet seat has never been replaced. It’s wooden and painted. The paint is chipped and stained. The seat itself is broken underneath. The seat will be replaced and the hissing fill will get fixed soon.

As for the computer, although it’s pretty speedy, it needs more RAM mainly because Google Chrome is a greedy little application. But, I’m not purchasing any new RAM until Mercury Retrograde is really over, meaning we’ve cleared the shadow period where Mercury makes it way back to the degree where it started its seemingly wayward course.

That’s the conventional wisdom of dealing with the trickster planet’s moonwalk in the stars: don’t buy any new technology. The reasoning is that if I buy something now, it may not work correctly and I will have to return it later, wasting both my time and my money.

Is that wisdom or superstition? Are these planetary and lunar transits more like weather reports? For example, it would be foolish to go out without an umbrella in Florida, especially in rainy. I’ve done it and it’s horrible–soaked to the bone, in denim.

There are other do’s and don’ts which all have to do with travel, communication, and technology:

  • If you have to travel, prepare for delays.
  • Back up your documents (to the cloud!).
  • Re-read your emails before your send them.
  • Make sure your car is running well.
  • Think twice if an old friend or ex re-enters your life.

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to buttress all this advice. It’s good advice no matter the transit or season. It just takes extra time. But then I also think about confirmation bias and the power of suggestion. Am I just more sensitive to these transits because I know about them, or do they explain phenomena that otherwise would have made no sense otherwise?

The way I see Mercury Retrograde, as well as all retrograde transits, is that they are times for review. We are eternal beings that live in a temporal world. Things break, fail, or become ruined. There’s not much in the world that will last–even relationships; even our bodies. We need to have time to repair and to release.

Mercury Retrograde can also be an invitation to rest, to slow down. Maybe in our fast-paced modern world, that invitation is more salient now that even 100 years ago. But in our speeding around to get things done, things get overlooked.

Mercury Retrograde can be a time of review. Are we being good stewards of the things we own? Are these things owning us? Maybe these exes or former friends that come out of the woodwork are a test to see if these relationships have really ended. Have we really moved on?

Sidenote: It seems a little unfair that Mercury Retrograde happens at key times during the academic year. Right now, many families are preparing for their children to return back to school and to college. Today is the last day of a tax-free weekend in Florida, so the stores may be crammed with people buying computers and other technological gadgets (as well as clothing and shoes). Other school preparations involve just getting there (with all the things that have been bought): traveling across the state or the country. The shadow period for Mercury Retrograde won’t end until most people are back in school, around mid-September.

The next Mercury Retrograde this year will happen in early December, with the shadow period beginning in mid-November and ending in mid-January 2018. What a crummy time to travel. That’s during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s also a crummy time to study and possibly have your computer’s hard drive fail as you are writing a final paper. That happened to me five years ago, during the final retrograde shadow period. I had an extended warranty and was able to get it replaced for free, but it was scary and inconvenient when it happened.

So what are you to do? You can’t just sit at home and avoid everything. That’s what I believe superstition does–imprisons and limits people. I believe astrology really tries not to do that, even if it there is discussion about seemingly limiting transits, like a Mercury Retrograde. It seems like astrology tries to empower and illuminate.

I’ve come to some rueful acceptance that I can’t catch all the “good” transits in the way that I want, especially the Venusian ones. But then again, all the “bad” ones don’t catch me, either. And that’s part of the mystery, of life. There’s so much interplay between the potential of the stars, my own free will, the Universe itself, and what others’ free wills…and maybe Fate with a capital F.

So with this Mercury Retrograde coming up, and with life–do the best you can in light of that old adage: “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” This transit isn’t a black cat crossing your path. It’s just a season of a different kind of awareness. There are plenty of astrologers who can help you out, too.

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