Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tarot's 3s - Elemental Magic

In tarot’s Minor Arcana, the number 3 embodies the fundamental principles of each suit.  Wands is a suit of action attached to the element of fire.  Life force, if you will.  The 3 of Wands represents the call to action.  In RWSC, a merchant stands above a river leading to the sea.   He watches ships sail towards new horizons.  He is ready to answer life’s call to opportunity and adventure.  All it takes on his part is a simple first step.

Achey, breakey 3 of Swords shows us sorrow and heartache, either personal or work related.  Swords are of the mind and the element of air.  They are about learning, growing and moving past a situation or thought process.  The mind is changeable and expansive.  The swords that pierce our heart in the 3 also offer us the opportunity to learn by moving past our painful experience, our sense of betrayal, sadder, but definitely wiser.  

Recognition and mastery of over the material world hallmark the 3 of Pentacles.  A stone mason holds sway over the decisions made by a powerful bishop and the wealthy architect of a great cathedral.  The lesson is this: Regardless of your station in life, your work has value and purpose.  You are rooted in the element of earth. Without your efforts nothing moves forward or grows.  You are essential to the process and therefore an expert in your own right.  Learn to value yourself and your contributions to the larger effort.

Cups, whose element is water, represents the inner self, love and spirituality.  In the 3 we see celebration and communion.  Three women hold their cups aloft, toasting each other as they toast life itself.  Life is an amazing circumstance.  Even though it is fraught with challenges, there are moments when we pass into the eye of the storm, so to speak.  We recognize life’s perfection as well as its exuberance.  Those are the moments meant to be shared and savored as in the 3 of Cups.

Our elemental self recognizes three as a magic number.  Aladdin’s genie offered him three wishes. There are sacred triads - mother, father, child, birth death infinity, Father, Son and Spirit.   Three is fundamental to the sacred geometry of the Universe - and to baseball.  Three strikes you’re out, three bases passed equal a home run.  

January 31, 2012 reduces to 3 (12 + 31 + 2012 =2055, or  2+0+5+5 = 12, 1+2= 3)  You can simplify this equation even more.  Cups + champagne + 3 friends =  party. Yay!  Not very spiritual, I’ll grant you, but I have a weakness for good champagne and you should always celebrate the arrival of the new year with joyful noise.  

For some of us 2012 was a difficult year (3 of Swords), others experienced a year of triumph (3 of Pentacles).  2012 was in many ways a pivotal year in terms of what we chose to make of our lives (3 of Wands).  When all is said and done, it’s wonderful to stand on the threshold of a new year (3 of Wands again).  Anything could be out there.  Here is our opportunity for adventure and new discoveries.  Sure, there will be challenges, but those are simply one element of your life.  When in doubt, look at the other three.  Oh, and remember to make a joyful noise.

Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

"To The Nines" - Numerology for the Solstice Through Tarot

When you add the numbers for the date of Winter Solstice,
9 of Wands, perseverance, resillience
RWCS US Games©
12/21/12 you get 9.  (1+2+2+1+1+2)  9 is a fun number to write - almost as much fun as 6, but not nearly as much fun as 8.  In tarot, the number 9 represents struggles and compromises in Minor Arcana cards.  However, the struggles and compromises vary in each of the four tarot suits.

In the RWCS deck, the 9 of Wands shows us a man, his head bandaged from a battle wound, leaning heavily against one of his wands.  It's been an effort for him to keep his wands in alignment.  Wands are the suit of action and our hero has fought hard for his success.  He's going to be rewarded for his perseverance, as well as for the strength of his resolve.  The goal has been met, but what has he compromised in order to reach it?  Innocence and complacency, certainly.  He will never again have a truly unguarded moment.  He knows he must stay vigilant in order to defend both himself and what he protects.  Where the Knight of Wands believes in his own invincibility, the warrior in the Nine knows he can be defeated - knocked down.  But now he also knows that he has the stamina to get back up and fight.  What he loses one day, he regains on another.

9 of Cups, Tarot's wish card
Having it all, self-satisfaction, smugness
RWCS US Games©
The 9 of Cups has it much easier.  A wealthy man sits on a stool in front of a table holding 9 goblets.  His arms are folded across his ample stomach.  Cups deal with emotions and our merchant prince of the 9 doesn't know what it is to be in want.  He is well satisfied with his lot in life and he keeps his feet planted in a balanced position.  He has reached his goal of having it all.  Separating him from his creature comforts would be a difficult task.  He guards the luxuries in his life whether he needs them or not.  They are his to consume or hold on to either by the laws of man or by divine order.  The smugness of his expression shows us his contentment in his own consequence.  He likes to be envied.  So, what is his struggle and what compromises has he made?  This is a tough question is answer for a card that represents so many positive things.

First and foremost, the man in the 9 of Cups has compromised his mobility.  Hopefully he remains content with his luxurious lifestyle, because he can't pick up all of his cups at once and move them to a new location - not without risking loss.  And to let someone help him with the burden of carrying the goblets is to allow someone else control of a portion of his own fate.  Having it all must remain the ultimate goal of 9's merchant prince in order for him to remain content.  The 9 of Cups stays on his seat continuing to view life from the same perspective.
9 of Swords, guilt and anxiety
RWCS US Games ©

The suit of Swords, or gloomy, doomy swords as they're often called, speaks to matters of spirit and the mind.  The 9 of Swords  depicts a woman who's woken up from a nightmare.  She's unable to return to sleep.  Her guilt and anxiety torment her and she buries her face in her hands.  Her struggle is simple.  The lady battles the monsters in her own mind.  They've overwhelmed her to the point where sleep can no longer offer her sanctuary.

Her blanket is covered with red roses which symbolize love and passion.  The image tells us that she is loved by others.  Has she perhaps compromised the love and good wishes of those who care about her?  And because Swords deal with matters of the mind, has she truly compromised their love, or does she merely think that she has.  Time will tell.
9 of Pentacle, self-reliance, high-minded pursuits
RWCS US Games©

Pentacles give us a glimpse of the material world.  The 9 of Pentacles shows us a strong woman, one of wealth and position.  Most importantly, she is aware of her own worth.  The falcon on her arm gives her a complete over-view of her domain.  She gains her information from him alone and makes her own very successful choices.  What has she compromised?  Her ability to partner.  She is sufficient unto herself.  To share her kingdom would mean taking another's wishes, needs and opinions into consideration.  She would sacrifice a measure of her independence if she were to allow someone else into her life.  Her struggle is one of opening up and sharing herself with someone else.

Number 9 in the Major Arcana is The Hermit - tarot's seeker of inner truths.  The Hermit withdraws, holds himself apart from the rest of the world to gain the insights needed to put his life in perspective.  He has a fundamental need to be alone - to periodically reexamine the lessons he's learned along his journey.  What better card could we have for the Winter Solstice?  The end of the year is a perfect time to engage in self-reflection.  Where have we traveled this year and what do we hope to gain in the coming one?

The lessons of the 9 cards can be summed up as follows:

Sometimes it's a struggle to move forward in life, especially when we feel overcome by circumstance that are beyond our control.  The key is to persevere.  If we didn't take the field in a blaze of glory today, there's always tomorrow.  The point is not to give up.  We will eventually succeed.

Don't stagnate yourself with images of who you are based upon what you have.  Stay flexible and have the courage to reinvent yourself.  Sure it's a risk, but so is standing still.  It's simply a different type of risk.

The poet, Omar Khayyam, wrote, "The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on. Nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line; nor all thy tears wash out a single word of it."  Guilt over a past indiscretion is useless.  You can't change your past, but you can improve your future.

Lastly, a well-lived life is one worthy of sharing.  Control over your destiny is great, but you don't have to maintain an isolationist policy to achieve it.  The more love you give, the more love you get back.

 Look forward to next year for the opportunities it will give you to experience and grow.  Mark your passage on this earth by the impressions you leave with the other people you meet along your journey. It can be entertaining as all get out.  Here's to 2013.


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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Apocolypse,- Schmocolypse! Pass Me the Fudge - A Practical Look At the End of the Mayan Calendar

They say this universe is bound to blow
But I say we crank up the calypso control
Now I'm no dancer as dancer's go
But this is one step that you need to know
We'll be dancin' when we go

Planets come and planets go
Undisturbed the answers flow

By: matt betton

It’s important to keep your perspective when dealing with other people’s concepts of the Apocalypse.  Try the following suggestions.  One: Download Jimmy Buffett’s version of Matt Betton’s  fabulous song, “Apocalypso.” If that doesn’t put things in perspective, nothing will.  Two: measure the life cycle of popular apocalyptic movements against the life cycle of any other durable goods or products that promise investment potential.  Here’s a handy reference guide.

Stage 1  - Innovators (those who developed and first used the product)  In this case, the Mayans and John of Patmos (the guy who wrote the Book of Revelations)

Stage 2 - Early Adopters (trend setters who echoed the rallying cry of the Innovators and were the first on their block to have one) Examples: The Oracle at Delphi and Nostradamus.

Stage 3 - Early Majority - (everyone jumping on the bandwagon to have one of their very own) -  Jim Jones, David Koresh and that bug-eyed gremlin guy from Heaven’s Gate.

Stage 4 - Late Minority - (the ‘me too, me too!’ folks who managed to save up enough to buy a cheap knockoff) Insert any of the modern mainstream fundamentalist movements here.

Stage 5 - Laggards - (the people who run far behind popular thought and are still waiting for Betamax to make a comeback) - Congress.

We are inundated with documentaries, TV specials and books about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world.  Here’s the deal.  Since the day the world began, it began to end.  What truly matters is, how well you dance.

There’s been a lot of buzz about December’s star patterns and certified astrologers are assuring us of the same thing.  At midnight on December 21st, we will see the beginning of December 22nd.  To understand what some of the astrological hubbub is about however, you need to understand one of the most singular definitions - the meaning of the term, yod.

In language, yod signifies the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In Jewish mystic tradition, the yod (pronounced like Yoda without the a) symbolizes the beginning point of divine energy, or the omnipresent mind of God.  You will see the symbol for yod  used freely in RWCS tarot cards such as # 18, The Moon.  Moonbeams fall from the solemn face of Moon as he looks across the darkened landscape of the human subconscious.  The beams themselves fall in the shape of yod, representing the constant presence of the Divine mind.  Divinity watches man’s struggles with the anxiety he’s produced from the shadowy illusions of his own mind.  The Invisible Divine - always present, always part of us.

In astrology, a yod refers to a rare aspect between three planets.  Two of the planets hold a sextile (60 degrees) aspect to each other, while both of them are in a quincunx (150 degrees) aspect to a third, focal planet of the yod configuration.  The focal planet tugs against the two sextile planets.  Together, they all form a giant ‘Y’ in the sky.  Most astrologers refer to this formation as the ‘Finger of God.’  Serious stuff, astrologically speaking.  A yod operates in one of two ways.  It either releases or restrains vast amounts of cosmic energy that relates to the planets within its configuration.  

On December 21st we have a yod pattern focal to Jupiter.  This particular pattern has only been seen one other time during the past few hundred years - May of 1989.  Yup, you guessed it.  Side ponytails and “Flock of Seagulls” are both making comebacks.  The planets involved in the yod hi-jinx on the 21st are Saturn and Pluto at sextile and Jupiter at quincunx. 

Saturn regulates the rigid structure of governments and other bureaucratic systems that turn the wheels of a great society.  Although these characteristics appear to be more in keeping with tarot’s The Emperor, it’s actually  # 21, The World, that’s rules Saturn.  #21 is the culmination card for the soul’s journey in tarot.  It establishes a new threshold of spiritual evolution and awakening.   Pluto deals in more covert operations.  Think espionage, secret societies and radical fringe groups crossed with both corporate and political agendas. Pluto is ruled by #20, Judgement, which in tarot, signifies rebirth.  That leaves us Jupiter to consider.  Jupiter rules moral conduct, philosophy and theology.  Again, areas more in keeping with #5, the Hierophant than #10, The Wheel of Fortune, which is the actual major arcana card for Jupiter.  Fortunes turn on a dime and those who are trapped beneath the wheel one day, rise to the top on another.

What happened in May of 1989 under a similar yod?  The end of the Cold War and the beginning of a little incident we now call Tienanmen Square.  Globally, people stood up and were counted.  They were present in the moment, refused to be silenced and made miracles happen.  What began with China’s government declaring martial law, culminated weeks later with a single man standing defiantly in front of an oncoming tank saying, “no more.”  This single episode in human history says more about us as a species than any apocalyptic theory to date.

Planets come and planets go, but the history of ours is still being written.  Frequently, it’s not pretty, but sometimes there are defining moments and sometimes we pass the test.  Whether or not you believe that December 21st will show us cataclysm, salvation,or a combination of the two; one thing is for certain.  We are all responsible for what happens on our planet.  Each day we are given an opportunity, both individually and collectively, to determine the course of our species in matters great, as well as small.  It’s important to remember in this season of light and hope to take advantage of our capacity for kindness and generosity.  It’s also important to learn how to dance.

With Light and Love,


Monday, November 26, 2012

Full Moon Eclipse November 28th, 2012

November’s full moon arrives on the 28th at 9:47 a.m., EST - two days after Mercury turns direct.  Hallelujah!  The November full moon, or the second full moon after the Fall Equinox, is called the Full Beaver Moon (No snickering from the kids in the back, please).  Historically, this was the time of year Native Americans set their traps for beaver, who become very active in the late fall. November’s full moon is sometimes called the Frost Moon, as well.

After all the dire warnings we’ve had during the past few full moon cycles, it’s going to be nice to have a full moon that is relatively uncomplicated and just darn right fun.  Our full moon this month is in six degrees Gemini, in opposition to a Sagittarian sun.  This means that while Gemini asks you to use logic and reason to solve a problem, Sagittarius nudges you in the ribs and says, “Come on.  Think outside the box.”
The Gemini moon is about communications and attitude.  We also have a lunar eclipse occurring at the same time and remember, eclipses have the power of 10 full moons.  You can expect to receive extra power kick to the already boosted organizing and accomplishing drive we have from Mars visiting Capricorn.

Sparkling conversation and witty remarks are the hallmarks of this full moon cycle.  Consider hosting an afterwork soirĂ©e with good wine and friends who always have something thought-provoking to say.  You might also round up your friends and drop by your favorite bistro.  The 28th is definitely an evening for good food and good cheer.  Think of it as a cosmic kickoff to the holiday season.

In terms of tarot, the number for the 28th is 8  (11 + 28 + 2012 = 8).  

Major Arcana # 8     =       Strength: compassion, coping, the ability to act 
                                          powerfully, yet calmly

8 of Wands              =       movement, a message or proposal, timing

8 of Cups                =        leaving a situation or relationship that is completed 
                                         and going to something better

8 of Swords            =      self-imposed restraint, or limitations

8 of Pentacles        =      task mastery, development of work skills and discipline for
                                       the sake of the job itself, immersion in work

Enjoy our Gemini moon.  She heralds some interesting high points for the December holiday season.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Sorrow, Letting Go and Tarot's 5 of Cups

                                                                                                  5 of Cups - Loss, sorrow, grief 

5 of Cups as depicted in "Wizard's Tarot"©
by Corrine Kenner and John J. Blumen
During winter, the Pacific Northwest, reflects a grieving world.  The sky is a solid mass of grey - varying hues, but grey nonetheless.  Rain comes down in cold sheets that penetrate everything that isn't Gortex.  Fashion is all but forgotten in the quest for dryness and rubber boots that are big enough to allow for heavy socks are your closest friends.

Death, or Transition comes at any time, but in winter it feels particularly deep.  Symbolically, The Green Man is no more and though he will come again when oak leaves burst open to life, right now it feels as if Spring has been imprisoned on the other side of eternity.  This is the world of tarot's 5 of Cups.

In the RWCS tarot deck, a cloaked figure stands huddled against the wounds of the world.  Before him, three cups have spilled their contents on the bank of the river.  Their liquid creates a small rivulet that seeks to rejoin the river as it moves purposefully towards eternity.  Our cloaked friend stands mute, deep in the sorrow of what has been lost and can never be reclaimed.  There is a time to grieve and that time must be honored.  We are of this world and can have only limited understanding of the next one.  We want things to remain the same - to stay in a form and content that our concept of reality can understand.  Unfortunately, that's not the way the universe works.  The universe sees the big picture and we only see a shadowbox.

Grieving is an individual process.  There are no timetables, no list
5 of Cups, RWCS
US Games© Edition
of standardized events that truly signal its end.  Grieving takes as long as it takes because what you are doing is trying to catch your breath by once more synchronizing with the universal flow.  That's hard to do when the person or people that helped you set your pace are no longer there to guide you.  You are alienated from the rest of life and you've momentarily forgotten your way home.

The figure in the 5 of Cups doesn't see that there are still two cups standing with their contents intact.  His back is turned to them, as if their life-affirming presence is to painful to handle.  Eventually, he will begin to breathe in a pattern close to the old, familiar one.  There will be enough moments between the new normal and the profound agony of loss that he will be able to get his bearings.  He'll turn and see what has been left to him.  In that pivotal moment, our friend must decide whether he remains fixed at the riverbank, continuing to long for what has passed away, or whether he releases his grief and moves on.  Most of us turn around in our own good time and see the remaining cups.  We pick them up, working our fingertips over their battered, but familiar surfaces and holding them close to our hearts, we follow the path that leads us to the bridge that takes us home.

December brings us the Solstice and Yule - celebrations of light and hope.  We mark the return of light to the world and even though we may not be in a space to reflect on its brilliance, we appreciate the fact that the light is there.  So it is with the world in the 5 of Cups. It's a long journey from the riverbank to the bridge and a lot of soul searching is done along the way. There's an old proverb that says, "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."  Our friend in the 5 of Cups comes to understand that very thing as he stands on the bridge looking up at the lighted windows of his home.  Inside is the warmth of hearth, friends and family and it is ultimately their glow that drives away the darkness.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Leonid Meteor Shower 2012 - A Gift That Keeps on Giving

November is the month for the Leonid Meteor Shower and this year we have two peak times to watch the display.  Our first opportunity came on the 17th, and if you (like me) didn't have your act together to catch the peak display, you get another chance on November 20th.  That's right, two peaks, no waiting.

The Leonid Shower has sometimes been referred to as a meteor storm due to the frequency of meteors blazing across the night sky.  In 1966 the meteors fell at a rate of a thousand per minute.  Not so this year.  This year the meteors are falling at a rate of about ten to twenty per hour.  In case you think that the cosmos is playing a game of slow pitch softball with us, think again.  The meteors will be falling at a rate of almost forty miles per second.

This November meteor shower emanates from the constellation of Leo.  Good thing it didn't come out of Sagittarius, isn't it?  Try wrapping your mouth around something like that.  The meteors themselves are objects from the debris field of the Tempel-Tuttle comet which circles our Sun in a large, egg-shaped orbit.  Every thirty-three years Tempel-Tuttle's orbit brings it within spitting distance of earth - astronomically speaking.  That means we pass through a denser part of the debris field during our own solar orbit.  1999 was another banner year for meteors, which means that 2032 should be looking good for an all out meteor storm.

November 20th still promises us some good viewing action during the wee hours of the morning.  Our crescent moon will be setting as the constellation Leo rises, providing us with a darker sky.  Meteors will fall at the rate of fifteen to twenty per hour.  To put this in perspective, the Perseid Shower boasts an average shower rate of about fifty meteors per hour.  Okay, so this year the Leonid Shower is more like, "The Little Meteor Shower That Could." That doesn't mean you should pass up the opportunity to take in the show.  Remember, good things come in small packages.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 2012 - New Moon Eclipse In Scorpio

By now many of us have come to terms with the quirks of this month’s Mercury Retrograde.  We’re cleaning closets, revisiting plans and generally giving our lives a once over.

This Mercury Retrograde began the month in 6 degrees and 47 minutes of Sagittarius and will conclude on November 26th in passionate and mysterious Scorpio. 21 degrees and 57 minutes to be exact.  Certain astrological websites imply that Scorpio’s influence on the retrograde could cause old romances to rekindle.  If you’re going to rekindle anything - romantically speaking - make sure that it’s capable of sustaining the flame all on its own.  Words like ‘written in the stars’ make great song lyrics, but can ring a little hollow once the stars change their positions.  There was probably a good reason the relationship ended the first time around.

Let’s talk about what’s truly exciting this month - two, count ‘em, two eclipses.  November 13th is the New Moon and this month our lunar gal is bringing a solar eclipse with her as she tours the sign of Scorpio.  So hang on to your bootstraps, me Scorpion hearties.  This eclipse packs the power of 10 new moons.  Though we will all feel the burn on this one, you, dear Scorpio, are going to feel it burn all the way to your toes.  

Scorpio is a sign of passionate focus and strong-willed determination.  This powerful new moon offers all of us the chance to set intentions and renew our relationships.  That’s what new moons do.  However, each of us must decide whether the power from this super charged new moon will have positive or negative consequences in our lives.  Scorpio is a sign of extremes.  This solar eclipse brings all of us the chance to transform our lives - a process natural to a Scorpio.  We can release the attitudes and beliefs that no longer serve the direction we wish our lives to take, or we can use the eclipse energy to fill ourselves with spite and a determination to redress old wrongs, whatever the cost.  Again, it’s our choice, but ask yourself, which scenario you think will serve you better in the long run.  We’ve all got a marvelous opportunity to release and renew on November 13th - perfect ‘r’ words, by the way for the retrograde period. 
During the solar eclipse we will also be seeing a square between Mercury and Neptune.  As previously stated, the eclipse power will be either dark or light, depending on whether you choose to grow via release or to poison yourself with spite.  There may be times when you feel caught in a planetary tug of war between your higher self and your lowest impulses.  That’s the Neptune Mercury square.  Should this happen, beat a hasty retreat (another ‘r’ word for you) for some serious solitude.  If you can’t rise above your lower impulses, you don’t have to inflict them on others.  Meditate.  Stay holed up with your DVD player until you recover.  And remember, that’s why the Universe gave us cheesecake. 

On November 16th Mars is in Capricorn and there will probably be an early morning uptick in the stock market as the war god flexes his muscle.  Mars, under Capricorn’s influence will bring out brisk efficiency in those wanting to hone their organizational skills.  In tarot readings, you want to pay particular attention to the appearance of Wands and Pentacles (elements of fire and earth) in your readings - especially the Ace or Page.  Both of these cards denote the introduction of an endeavor or the beginning of a creative period or process.  While you shouldn’t sign any contracts until after the 26th and the end of retrograde, take notice of the opportunities presenting themselves to you.  Mars reigns in Capricorn for six weeks.    You’ll have plenty of time to act on your opportunities after retrograde.  Just be sure you act.

I will be cover the Full Moon in Gemini and lunar eclipse on the 28th later this month.

Here’s a look at the cards for some of the players on the field this month.

CARD                                   RULES                                  MEANING

#13, Death                         Scorpio                           Transformation

#1  The Magician               Mercury                         Conscious Awareness, Directed Action

#12 The Hanged Man       Neptune                         Letting Go, Suspension

#2   The High Priestess    Moon                              Intuition

#16  The Tower                  Mars                               Sudden Change

#15  The Devil                    Capricorn                      Enslavement to the Material

#19  The Sun                      The Sun                         Enlightenment

#6    The Lovers                 Gemini                           Relationships, Values

# 21 The World                  Saturn                             Integration

As you can see, Mercury and Neptune really are giving us a tug in opposite directions.  You can also see the potential conflicts with Mars in Capricorn.  A sudden change is always particularly distressing when we focus only on the material in life.  Luckily, Saturn, though a tough taskmaster, is in Scorpio.  This means that the lessons we learn help us integrate the various parts of ourselves, allowing for growth as we move closer towards the Sun, or, enlightenment.  Simple, right?  I don’t know about that.  Until I master that whole growth/transformation thing I’m laying in an extra supply of cheesecake.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Clearing the Wreckage - Preparing For A Successful November 2012

 It's time to wash the zombie makeup out of the guest towels, take the leftover Halloween candy to the office and stash away the martini shaker.  October's Full Moon in Taurus and Halloween are both over.  What's next, you ask?  Why none other than our old, but dubious friend, Mercury Retrograde.  And here we are still out of breath from chocolate vodka martinis and candy corn.

Sometimes the cosmos doesn't play fair and the Tuesday, November 6th is one of those times.  Does the date November 6th ring a bell with you?  That's right.  The first day of the November Mercury Retrograde is also Election Day in the United States.  Don't worry, I’m not getting political here.  You get enough of that everywhere else.  Still, a Mercury Retrograde that starts on an election day does make you think about hanging chads and mechanical voting machines going haywire, doesn't it?  

Mercury Retrograde occurs three to four times a year.  When we pass the planet Mercury in our orbit, it causes the optical illusion that Mercury is moving backwards in the sky.  (See my blog; “Mercury Retrograde, Tarot and You” for a complete survival guide) During a Mercury Retrograde period, systems and machinery that normally run smoothly tend to snag.  A few web astrologers have cautioned against the election process becoming tangled this year, however most agree, as do I, that we should simply envision everything running smoothly and all votes being counted correctly.  Let’s hear it for collective consciousness.

November’s Retrograde may start a little rougher than most of them do for several reasons.  Last week, we experienced a particularly potent full moon that left many of us with our energy fields ragged at the edges.  There was also the usual dimensional seepage during All Hallows Eve.  Plus, we’ve got some cosmic stumbling blocks going on froms Saturn move in with Scorpio (Saturn is a taskmaster). Let’s also remember that we have a swiftly approaching Winter Solstice season that’s said to be one for the record books in terms of human experience and growth potential.  In short, we need to clear the energetic wreckage from the end of October before we tackle November’s Retrograde.  

It’s not unusual for you to have the sensation of being rushed from one thing to another right now.  The end of the year always winds up for a fevered pitch.  Here are a few suggestions to help you ground yourself before you get swept into the frantic current of year end revels that start in just a little more than two weeks.  

Spend time freeing yourself from distractions.  Clean your physical space.  Box up items you won’t be needing for a while and tuck them away.  If you have too much of anything, give it away or donate it.  Clean you mirrors, light fixtures and candle holders in preparation for the coming holiday season.  The holiday seasons are all about gratitude and the celebration of light returning to the world.  Free your home’s reflective surfaces of dust and clutter.  This will brighten the glow from your Thanksgiving and Holiday candles when it comes time to light them, as well as help you symbolically settle in to enjoy the last two months of the year. 

Performing simple, routine household tasks and making plans for Thanksgiving (if you happen to celebrate it) helps you re-establish your natural rhythm.  Meditate and surround yourself with some of your favorite books and music.  Use your sage smudge or white candles liberally.  Don’t have any?  Get some.  One of my teachers has a glorious meditation room filled with crystals and white tea candles.  The lighting effect is remarkably subtile, even with all the crystals.  And it’s such a treat to be asked to join her there for meditations.

If you are making plans for Thanksgiving (November 22nd in America) that include travel, don’t forget to make allowances for Mercury Retrograde-style hassles.   Remember to review your travel itinerary, recheck your accommodations and plan to arrive at the airport, train station or bus terminal earlier than is recommended.  If traveling by car, have your tires, oil and water checked out well before your travel date and start out for your destination a little earlier to avoid traffic.  Again, the key to successfully navigating Mercury Retrograde is revise, review, recheck, revisit and redesign your plans. Re-words.

Take a couple of hours this Sunday and Monday to unplug the election countdown.  Do a little soul searching as in the Major Arcana’s #9, The Hermit. He goes inside himself to seek his truth.  He lights his own path with the insights he’s gain from his introspection.  Rest and renew your mind as in the Four of Swords.  Seek to balance your inner and outer worlds as depicted in #14, Temperance, #17, Star and Minor Arcana’s 2 of Pentacles.  

Pull all of these cards from your favorite deck and add #8, Strength.  
Sit in a comfortable position where you normally either meditate, or read cards.  Aline the cards in any manner that feels right to you.  Study each of them - their design, their symbolism.  Contemplate their range of meanings.  Close your eyes and envision yourself walking in a forest or by the sea - your choice.  As you walk you will meet each of the figures depicted in the cards.  The order in which you meet them is also your choice.  Angel, Hermit, Knight in Repose (another ‘R’ word!), Star; there’s no wrong order.  Visit with them.  They will give you information during this meditation that will help you integrate your worlds.

Now you’re set to head into a successful month.  Later this week I’ll be posting about the astrological implications we have coming up for the month.  In the meantime, relax and ease into November 2012.