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Bootstraps and Retrogrades
It's an interesting idea, really - that one about planets moving through the sky having some correlation to our lives on the ground, with the meaning of the movement defined by our own personal and collective takes on individual motion and the human condition.
When the planet moves forward across the sky, unobstructed through the flat two-dimensional plane that the dome of heaven is reduced to by this idea, and it meets no galaxies or other planets to impede or affect its progress, the most common interpretation is of forward momentum, unchallenged by external forces - clear sailing all the way.
The vectors of such meetings are watched, analyzed and interpreted through filters of archetypal human relationship. The Mayans, Egyptians, Druids, and other Ancients devoted huge amounts of societal energy to this work of noticing and documenting interaction. I love listening to what they thought of it all, and there were some suprising agreements between the systems that are mostly about being human, and not much else.
Planets, like humans, approaching one another enhance one another's qualities - by making them more visible, if nothing else. Degrees of *apparent* closeness are considered relevant, just like in our daily lives, and the resonance of the connection increases and decreases through a mathematical progression of established (and disputed) angles of influence that, in turn, become the basis for describing complex dynamics of the ongoing interaction.
What the planets and star clusters are actually doing in the larger physical space may have nothing to do with what is seen. Planets may appear to be coming into "alignment", into proximity, but may actually be farther apart than before. In some circles, that sort of "obvious" discontinuity is enough to get you dismissed from the Reality Club, but if you can hang with the true solipsistic relativism of it all you can tune into the Tea Leaf Channel and pull in some thoughts that might be of use.
Retrograde planets are a good example. The Retrograde describes a period of apparent backward motion, where the path of the planet literally looks backward in the sky. Mercury does this three times a year. It isn't moving backward - it simply appears to be, due to its own trajectory and the position of yourself, the observer, and the other things you're comparing its relative motion to - much as anything else that looks "backwards" to another.
How one uses the meaning of "backwards" is certainly contingent upon the personal attitudes one has cultivated. Common language today, in Bob Lehrer Business Speak, has an emphasis on "forwardness" that is noticeable, and reframing apparent backward-motion into forward momentum is now a professional calling, with profit attached if you do it well. Likewise is that Watts' approach in the "Wisdom of Uncertainty", or Basho's understanding of forward progress through wine.
But my thinking here is more on my own (of course) take on the retrograde slippage implied by Mercury, and the task-list that these retrogrades can serve to generate.
This particular retrograde, landing just as Winter begins to fold up its main work of the year, reminds me that it's time for me to finish up work that was planned for this type of time. The retrograde is an ideal moment to look behind, and study one's tracks in the snow, to see how your path is unfolding, and whether or not the overall course is aligned with a larger desired direction.
It's an excellent time to finish up taxes, paper work, and administrivia that impacts the next forward step. For me, of course, it's time to recommit to the plans I shared with you in the Fall, that work of changing life gears that has me shedding so much in material and gaining so much in essence.
I realize that I've lost a bit of momentum myself in the last couple of months. I really wasn't aware of just how tired I was, and moving into this little space has pared my life activity down to a pace that's allowed for some recuperation.
That's been done but, unfortunately, I'm more at that spot of catching a catnap between long work shifts around a project's completion, and the alarm clock's just rung (Mercury, Retrograde) so I have to get out of bed and get back to it.
Mercury's reverse is a perfectly timed project-space. It lasts about three weeks - just right for a sustained push that has a clear end in sight - and it lays out well for that. Since there's no need for initialization of anything, meaningful work begins immediately. Open the file cabinet and dive in. Make the follow-up calls. Put stagnant things back in motion if they need closure. Dig around in the backwaters of your mental and spiritual piling systems and clean up a little.
The other thing I like about Mercury R is that it's not a time to fully finish things. Closure is not completely reached - agreements made will have to be re-negotiated - but bringing the agreements closer to completion is exactly what the energy is good for. Rummaging around in the detritus of the neglected generally brings to light something overlooked that is relevant to the best agreements, so even the prospect of re-negotiation (a backwards step in some minds) is reframed into forward progress.
The retrograde ends on February 8th, just the perfect amount of time to lay out a course of determined action for the next two weeks and get some good stuff done. The next one comes in May, and I'll use it to do the last big steps before passing the day-to-day baton of conducting the store's score at the end of June.
And so I'm grateful once again for the gift of this odd human trait for seeing what we want to see in the stars and other moving things, and how we let them become symbols for the less tangible entities of process in our lives.
I'm grateful for the arts of Metaphor and Analogue that let me fashion bootstraps from my imagination that both tie my shoes for walking onward, and tether my life to the motion of stars.
In loving retro,
PLUR. Remember PLUR
-- Anonymous, January 28, 2002