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Putting together the pieces
“Where do your ideas come from?” Creative folks are asked this question a lot. As a writer my whole life, I can tell you how I would answer.
There are, indeed, those magical, fascinating days when a writer sits down and produces a song, a story, an essay as though we’re simply taking transcription from some divine, unseen source. But mostly, it’s a process of making connections. All the bits of stuff you’ve collected – images, ideas, jokes, memories, dialogue – have been stored away the database of your mind. One day you do a database search for, say, Mercury in Gemini – and it returns a couple of things that, while on the surface don’t seem connected, can be knitted together into something new and interesting.
As Mercury, planet of the mind, enters sociable, curious Gemini this week (May 11, 2:57 pm PDT), it’s time to open the vault, sort through all your mental treasures, and experiment with putting them together. Particularly as Mercury goes out-of-bounds (May 16 – more about out-of-bounds here), our minds lose some of their constraints about what’s possible and what isn’t; what creators and communicators put together now can be innovative and truly delightful.
If you’ve ever seen a movie protagonist dramatically subsumed by quicksand, you may be surprised to learn that such a fate is highly unlikely, despite how often it’s been deployed as a dramatic trope. Usually, even if you should accidentally stumble into one of these wet, sandy pits, you’ll only sink to waist level. That said, if you thrash and struggle to get out, you will be pulled under a bit deeper. And eventually, unable to escape, your greatest peril comes from predators, hypothermia, or dehydration, not from drowning.
It’s not the quicksand that takes you down. It’s the panic.
Most of us wander into metaphorical quicksand from time to time, into situations that overwhelm and incapacitate us. The instinct is to struggle mightily for escape, but that’s the wrong approach. What’s called for instead is a variation on the advice for escaping actual quicksand: Very gently move your legs to increase viscosity, and turn your body slightly so you can gradually float to the top.
Gentle motion, flexibility, and floating: These are your survival tools as Mars, the emergency response planet, enters Pisces (May 12, 9:17 pm PDT). At times like this, surrender—not struggle—is the key.
Every now and then, I pick up my phone to take a photo and accidentally activate the selfie view. The sight of my everyday, no-makeup, ever-graying face in an inevitably unflattering pose is always startling, and usually dismaying.
So is Venus turning retrograde, I think, as she does this week in the sign of Gemini (May 12, 2020, 11:45 pm PDT – through June 26). Venus symbolizes one’s sense of being attractive, valued, and beloved. We often turn to the outside world to reassure us of our desirability, but Venus’s retrograde periods coax us to look within for that reassurance. Sometimes, we’ll be helped by people from the past who show up to remind us who we used to be, the better to appreciate who we’ve become.
Venus was last retrograde in the sign of Gemini (May 2012) when the great United Astrology Conference convened in New Orleans. It was a wonderful conference, I loved the city, and I remember the entire experience very fondly. But I remember, too, that I was riddled with self-doubt at that conference. I felt shy and unattractive. With a few exceptions, it was kind of difficult.
This time around, as we’re socializing in person much less, Venus in Gemini’s retrograde gift is to help us reconnect with parts of ourselves – lovable parts – we’ve neglected or forgotten.
The Last Quarter Moon is the time each lunar cycle for taking stock and recalibrating direction. As I mentioned in this week’s podcast, though, this internal progress report isn’t confined to the current lunar cycle, beginning at the most recent New Moon. Rather, it can be a time of reviewing your life in larger terms.
The Sabian symbol for the Last Quarter Moon at 24.13 Aquarius (May 14, 2020, 7:02 am PDT) is A butterfly with the right wing more perfectly formed. Some symbologists see the right side of the body as being symbolic of faith in Self and faith for the future. Applying that interpretation to the this Sabian symbol, there’s the suggestion that the future will be “more perfect,” even if the past or present have been quite agreeable.
The Sun is trine Pluto (May 14, 11:49 pm PDT) at the Last Quarter Moon, and I think this suggests that we have both more and less control than we think to create this perfect future. Less, because Pluto always represents forces beyond our control; but more, but we always have personal agency in how we think about things.
Why do some people seem to be so lucky? Astrologers associate Jupiter with luck, and certainly there seems to be an element of good fortune in the lives of those who have Jupiter or its signs, Sagittarius and Pisces, prominent.
And while I don’t particularly believe in fate, I actually do believe in luck. There are some people who seem to have a miraculous ability to deflect bad fortune and attract wealth and support. But the catch is, I don’t think luck necessarily makes them any happier than anyone else.
We get a couple of days this week to put that to the test. As the Sun in Taurus trines Jupiter in Capricorn (May 17, 9:39 am PDT), luck asserts itself; see if you can grab a piece as it goes by. Those with the strongest will and the greatest confidence will likely do the best; this is a sort of “rich get richer” aspect. The week should bring good fortune to our planets in Leo, ruled by the Sun; and if your birthday is this week you can probably expect a little something extra in your stack of cosmic birthday presents.
Writing and collages © 2020 April Elliott Kent
Jen and I dig deep into all the week’s highlights
in our latest podcast episode,
25| The Retrograde Parade!