The Solstice, the Sun, and the Mercury retrograde: Welcome to your new week

two-of-cups-starchildWhat an active astrological week we’re entering into.

I know it’s hard to fight against, but it’s times like these I really are a fight to stay true to the rhythms that I wish to follow. As we’re nearing the holiday season, the pressure always mounts to do more, give more, be more.

And yet today, Mercury goes retrograde.

I like to think of Mercury retrogrades as a sacred pause, a permission slip from the universe that asks us to slow down just a little. While I always do my best to follow and honour nature’s rhythms, it can become difficult when the universe wants to go one way, and we are trying to go another.

Mercury connects to our minds, our thoughts, and so we might overthink or over-stress about a situation. Mercury is often connected to things like travel delays, so I’m expecting that things will feel a bit more chaotic than usual at borders, airports, and on the roads as people around the world gear up for holiday travel. Even though trips can always be delayed by weather or other factors outside of our control, the stresses those delays cause seem to be exacerbated with Mercury in retrograde.

Mercury retrograde often causes significant dread, but it’s important to remember that this can be a very helpful time, especially as we move toward the Winter Solstice this Wednesday, December 21. This is a time for inner reflection and solitude. Many of us will be reviewing the year we’re putting behind us, and revising our ideas of what 2017 may hold.

Mercury retrograde is prime time for re-jigging plans, for finding clarity within, and changing direction if needed. We’ll be under this transit until January 8, giving us plenty of time to use Mercury’s power as a sacred pause that allows us to draw our maps for the year ahead.

I think it will be especially important to slow down in the coming weeks. Mars also moves into Pisces today. That means a fiery, aggressive planet is easing into a dreamy, spiritual realm. Pisces energy can be divine, creative, ethereal, and illusory. It can dissolve boundaries, or create confusion. This is a blend of fire and water, and so things can go either way: You might feel your confidence or physical vitality come down a notch, or you might find yourself fired up about a spiritual pursuit or creative path.

Either way, it’s definitely a time to think before you act. This might feel a bit tough when the Sun moves into industrious Capricorn on the day of the Winter Solstice. Typically, the Sun in Capricorn can really push us towards productive energy: To-do lists can get crushed with Capricorn’s help.

But again, I would hold off on making any solid plans or declarations until after January 8, when the Moon will be waxing and Mercury will be direct.

How does this bode for holiday get-togethers? Well, again, Mars in Pisces might help to soften some edges, but it might also stir up some new resentments if boundaries are crossed, or aren’t easily identified in the first place. The Moon is waning right now, which can also lead to a decrease in energy for some. It will also be in Scorpio on the 24th and 25th, which might ramp up some emotional intensity.

I hope I’m not making this sound like a challenging week! The card I pulled for the week ahead is the Two of Cups, which is a gentle, loving card. It’s one of partnership, respect, and understanding. And I think those are the elements that need to shine through as many prepare to enter into a typically frenzied time.

Keep looking at the people around you, whether it’s your family at home, the person driving your bus, or a clerk at the mall. Make eye contact. Take your time in speaking, and in listening. Remember that we are all in this together, in good days and bad. It’s important to see the humanity in each other.

Remember, too, that the Winter Solstice is a potent time for quiet reflection. Try to set some time aside for yourself this Wednesday. You might want to perform a small ritual for yourself to connect with your inner world: What message might rise up in the dark? What are you searching for in solitude? Or, why might you run from it?

This is a chance to know yourself, but sometimes, that knowing comes from allowing for time to slow down.

If it helps, here is a mantra that you can work with throughout the week:

As the days grow darker, my inner light shines brighter.

And if you have a tarot deck of your own and would like to connect to the energy of the Winter Solstice, here is a spread you might like to try:

1. What message has been hidden in the darkness?
2. What should I do now that it has come to light?
3. How can I brighten my own path in the season to come?
4. How can I honour Mercury’s sacred pause at this time?
Happy Solstice.

Until next time,

Liz xo

p.s. If you’re in need of some guidance at this time, or a sacred pause of your own, I’m offering special 2017 tarot forecasts. These are private readings that include some extra bonuses to help you stay true to your path in the coming year. Learn more here.