Astrology & Mental Health Diagnoses

when and how is it ok for the two to converge?

Psychoanalysis came about with Freud in the early 20th century. Before then, people weren’t talking in earnest about their feelings. Astrology, of course, is older than psychoanalysis. I’m sure that natal chart readings predating Freud were more mundane and less psychological. Astrology took a different shape in the 20th century, when psychological astrology was born. Before then, we used horoscopes for deciding when to sail ships, erect buildings, go to war, plant crops, etc. Emotions were less important.

We wouldn’t have the astrology that we know today without Jung. The earliest writings on psychological astrology came around his time, in the early 20th century, when astrologers combined Jungian psychoanalysis with astrology. Archetypes and childhood development became key in analyzing someone’s birth chart. Later in the 20th century, the branch of astrology known as psychological astrology happened. Was this because of the spiritualist movement? Was this because of the century of the self ? The culture of narcissism?

While not all astrologers today look at a chart from the standpoint of childhood psychological development, the astrology that is most popularly practiced in a consultation mimics techniques that come from psychoanalysis. ISAR’s consulting skills and ethics course teaches consulting astrologers to practice “active listening,” to act as a counselor. Astrologers must not impose themselves, but rather let the consulted come to their own conclusions.

While it is a functional system, astrology is not necessarily standardized. However, there are organizations which issue consequences for harmful or unethical practices. It is unethical, according to ISAR, to instill false fear or hope in a client, maybe by doing unnecessary delineations. Even if you can approximate someone’s death, an organization like ISAR would revoke your certifications if you did.

It’s important for astrologers to stay in their lane. If you’re not properly accredited, it’s illegal to give financial advice, so a disclaimer is required. If you haven’t studied medicine, then why practice medical astrology? As someone who is not a mental health professional, I feel unqualified to speak so in depth about diagnoses, but am more than happy to hear someone out. The responsibility to refer an astrology client to the appropriate professional rests on the astrologer’s shoulders. Astrologers need to be ready to redirect their clients— to have a Rolodex of references ready to go. 

It’s not uncommon for astrologers to speak to someone in a crisis. Mental health crises are extremely common these days. Diagnoses as well. How does an astrologer discuss mental illness in the birth chart without any awareness of symptoms and treatments? Humbly and ready to ask questions, and only when provoked. It’s uncomfortable, not only because mental health’s invisibility makes it taboo to talk about, but it’s intimidating when it’s not your area of expertise. Words need to be chosen carefully so that they don’t cause harm. Astrologers need to be ready to pass the torch onto someone more qualified, and to be honest about their abilities.

Is it controversial to believe that mental illnesses are treatable? To say that a mental illness appears in someone’s chart can imply that these things are set in stone. To someone who doesn’t have an intimate relationship with astrology, this can make them believe that they’re predestined to feel sick forever. That is harmful. The natal chart breathes and changes with time. Certain aspects of the chart are activated at certain moments, via transits, profections, or progressions. It is popular in psychological astrology, however, to imply that the birth chart reflects the individual’s psyche at all times. It’s a “promise”. Everyone is dealt a genetic hand at birth, but our environment shapes us and should not be taken for granted. There are studies that show genetic predispositions towards ADHD and depression, but these can be triggered by events outside of our control and lifestyle.


An astrologer that doesn’t know enough about bipolar disorder cannot say enough, but in an astrology consultation it’s more important to listen and reflect rather than to be prescriptive, especially when dealing with things outside of your range. Someone with bipolar or anxiety can talk about certain episodes or moments with an astrologer, and an astrologer can use astrology to find key dates and patterns that match their stories, but not every astrologer has studied psychology.

It still feels very sleazy, personally, to use predictive astrology techniques when discussing mental health. To tell someone with depression, “you might be feeling down whenever this happens months from now,” can make depression seem more inescapable than it already does. When is certain information useful? Without identifying the core issue, it’s just a lot of information and the reading becomes overwhelming for everyone involved.

If someone doesn’t say, “I’m going to need a lot of motivation and energy months from now,” then maybe saying, “I see Saturn’s going to be conjunct your natal moon, looks like you’re going to be predisposed to feelings of melancholy and loneliness,” is unethical. Maybe all predictions are unethical! This is why ISAR teaches providing multiple delineations of one aspect, both positive and negative, so that all bases are covered. This way moon/Saturn can also be seen as “a moment of tremendous commitment and long term perseverance.”

While people who pay for consultations love nothing more than to have an astrologer circle around their natal chart and tell them who they are, why they’re like that, the prescriptive nature is not necessarily ethical either. It seems harmless for an astrologer to tell someone “you’re a Libra, so you’re indecisive!” But there are 1,001+ websites that can say the same thing. Telling people things that they already know might be a waste of time when there are two living, breathing people interacting with each other face-to-face. It’s entertaining, but is it useful for healing and reflection? Or maybe someone just wants to use their time being entertained by some supernatural party trick.

If someone wants to use astrology to understand their mental health, then astrology can offer an alternate perspective, outside of things that are so standardized and rigid. There is the risk of being made to think that certain natal aspects imply that mental diagnoses are not something that can be treated or worked with. Keep in mind that astrology is just a reflection of what’s present.

Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930. Its discovery was announced on March 12, 1930. Psychoanalysis reached the United States slightly earlier, around the turn of the century, but was made popular in Europe a few decades before. Pluto, one of the newer planets, is associated with psychology and the unconscious mind. The outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto have gotten their meaning from things happening in the world around that time. For instance, Neptune is associated with film and cinema. I don’t really know exactly how Pluto came to be associated with psychology, but it’d be worth revisiting this episode of The Astrology Podcast.

I think the most effective way to use astrology is by having a guiding question or topic, and then using the horoscope to develop the conversation around that topic. I don’t think it’s always helpful to be prescriptive. There are systems in place, of course, that can help to initiate the reflection process. 

Most of the modern associations we have with planets are so heavily influenced by the psychological astrology movement and we don’t even realize it. There are a few things that can signify mental health and wellness in the birth chart. The moon can represent emotional inner world, or what you need to feel safe. The sun is our “ego” or consciousness. Mercury is our mental processes. Mars is our motivation or willpower, or even defensiveness. Saturn is our fears or stressors. Venus desires.

The 12th house is often used to delineate mental health, dreams, the subconscious mind. Pluto also has strong associations with the unconscious mind and behavioral loops. Look at the 12th house and the conditions of the planetary ruler of the 12th house to get more informed about the general topic of mental health in your chart. While I do think mental health is a holistic thing that cannot be targeted in one piece, looking to the 12th house can give more insight into the unknown or unseeable. The 12th house is not visible from the ascendant or rising sign, so it represents things that are not visible to you.

Earlier in pandemic season 1, I read a pirated copy of Liz Greene & Howard Sasportas’s Seminars on Psychological Astrology, which are transcripts of a really incredible lecture series. It was the most well rounded introduction to childhood psychological development I’ve ever read. In fact, it was the only one I’ve ever read. They’re not only astrologers, but also psychologists. It was interesting to read this after following the traditional, historical, ancient lineup, because much of what they were delineating as astrologers made me do the typical pretentious, gatekeepy astrologer scoff. But I recommend these books if you want to learn more about psychology and astrology combined! I’m sure there are more out there, but I haven’t read them personally.

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You're a Pisces

you might think that you're not, but you are

Pisces season is beginning as the sun moves into Pisces at 11:43 AM CET on Thursday, February 18. I expect spring temperatures, fog, and rain. Pisces is the final zodiac sign of the 12. It is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of expansion and protection. Modern astrology gives Pisces Neptune, the planet of photography and fantasy, too. Both of these planets have come to be related to substances/drugs/alcohol/belief. Leave it to Pisces to put vaseline on the lens.

Pisces is a mutable water sign. Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) are the final signs of a tropical season (Spring, Summer, etc.), so they are when temperatures are changing, unpredictable. Mutable signs correspond with changes that need to be made in order to prepare for something new to be initiated with the new tropical season. Water signs are connected to the emotional and psychic worlds. Some key words for Pisces are healing, transcendence, and beliefs.

If you’ve just learned how to look at a birth chart you’ll see that there are some houses (or divisions) of the chart that have planets, angles, and other special degrees inside of it, and some that don’t. This might lead you to believe that there is nothing in that house, nothing in that sign. I’ve heard people say, “I have nothing in Pisces.” That’s not a reason to ignore that part of your chart. The sign itself is there, though, and the planet that rules that sign is always there as well. A chart is made up of all 12 zodiac signs. Every person has every sign in their chart. If someone asks what’s your sign, maybe the right thing to say is, “all of them”. 

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Not every piece of your chart is necessarily you as an individual. I think that we hang too much of our identity on the individual. Identity isn’t formed in a controlled space. We are a product of our environment. The birth chart reveals not just you as the main character of your life, but also all of the other factors in your life that shape you. Back in the day maybe there was one timed chart for an individual, and astrologers would use that one timed chart in order to get more information about an individual’s parents, grandparents, brothers, and enemies. You are not the only person that shows up in your birth chart because we do not exist alone, as much as we might like to act like we do.

So I have used my interpretation of each sun or rising sign’s Pisces house (a house is a subdivision of a chart) to provide more insight.


Pisces sun/rising

Pisces is your sign! It’s the part of your chart that overlooks your 1st house of self. It defines your physical attributes and your immediate surroundings. Pisces season puts you and your needs front and center, after some time of feeling like things were out of your reach. There is a selfless kindness and forgiveness to Pisces. This can attract partners who don’t understand “boundaries”, or it can just be interpreted as mixed signals. Be careful of people projecting onto you as you remember who you are, which is defined by your beliefs and your connection to something greater— not by some passing fad.

Aries Sun/Rising

Pisces is the sign that overlooks your 12th house of rehabilitation, self-undoing, and solitude. Pisces season is a time where you are recharging, tying up loose ends. The transits of Pisces season find you not ready to leave the house just yet, and in need of some alone time. While you might have the personality of a jock, there is a sensitive side to you that not many people get to see. It only comes out when you’re by yourself. When you are alone you explore other dimensions. Even if you are atheist, or a skeptic you find it easy to pray to a higher power in tremendous situations.

Taurus Sun/Rising

Pisces is the sign that overlooks your 11th house of friendships, community, and hopes and dreams. Pisces season is a time for you to do some outreach— to realign with the things that you hope for, and to call up the people who can make it happen. Your friendships are a source of endless inspiration, hope, and protection. You can be subjected to peer pressure. You would do anything to help the team, and might need to be careful that you’re not being a pushover or a doormat. It’s possible that the golden rule of “treat others the way you’d like to be treated” has led to questionable decisions, but at least you can have faith that you’re well liked.

Gemini Sun/Rising

Pisces is the sign overlooking your 10th house of career, public reputation, and legacy. Pisces season is a time for you to take a step back from the easel and look at your work from afar. With the sun moving through this house starting February 18, you’re getting attention from authorities for your achievements. While Gemini is a detail-oriented sign, you also access a bird’s eye perspective on why the little things matter, and how they add up. It can be hard these days to figure out exactly what you want to be known for, and it’s likely that people are mystified by all of the different hats you wear. Jack of all trades, master of none, but many skills are better than one? Is that how that goes?

Cancer sun/rising

Pisces is the sign overlooking your 9th house of beliefs, higher education, and faraway travel. Pisces season is a time for you to connect to your mission statement. All Cancers are sensitive to their spirituality in some way, it’s never an apathetic topic, but what is? You have a wide range of interests and are never tired of learning more and asking questions. While you might not be above turning defensive when your beliefs are challenged, confrontation definitely doesn’t stop you from exploring things further, and finding a gem of information that protects, or expands upon, your current understanding of the world.

Leo sun/rising

Pisces is the sign that overlooks your 8th house of shared resources, taxes, and transformation. It’s a psychic and intimate, but also financial place in the chart. Pisces season is a sensitive time where you are looking at a ledger trying to see how the score is settled. This is also a time where you can decide to cut people off, or make major changes. Leo is one of the most generous signs of the zodiac. It’s ruled by the sun, the reason why we are alive. Pisces is also very generous. Not only is being a provider part of your identity, but sharing and generosity is something that you believe in. It can easily be a way that you connect to something greater.

Virgo sun/rising

Pisces is the sign that overlooks your 7th house of relationships. These are the relationships that are committed, but not necessarily romantic. It can even describe “open enemies” or obvious haters. Pisces season is a time where you are paying more attention to other people and getting a better look at what your interpersonal commitments look like. Relationships are hard to define, even though Virgo is a sign that works tirelessly to classify things. Something as spiritual and sacred as a true bond is slippery and often times exceeds language. You believe in other people, but you’ve probably been asking “so what are we?” and since 2012, when Neptune first entered Pisces, declaring relationships a nebulous zone.

Libra sun/rising

Pisces is the sign that overlooks your 6th house of work, health, and routine. This has to do with your lifestyle, your day job, your chores. The 6th house gets a bad rep for being boring, but there are few things more spiritually empowered than a good ritual. A daily prayer or meditation ritual can be easily adopted into your hazy, lazy, forever flexible schedule. During Pisces season you’re going to be looking more at your daily commitments. It’s hard to work a job that you don’t believe in, but volunteering actually does not count as a real job. There are ways to incorporate your strong beliefs and penchant for doing right into literally any job that you’re stuck with.

Scorpio sun/rising

Pisces is the sign that overlooks your 5th house of friendships, dating, and creativity. During Pisces season you’re more focused on the finer things in life, indulging. The only thing stopping you from going over the top is the lockdown regulations. There is a limitlessness when it comes to your connections to your inner circle. There is always room for more people in your clique and you have a very open approach to making new friends. You should, however, be careful of being influenced or swayed by the people you’re dating. Keep your skepticism strong. Scorpios have an artistic side, or at least an ability to be fearless when it comes to expressing themselves.

Sagittarius sun/rising

Pisces is the part of your chart that overlooks your 4th house of home, domestic life, and family. During Pisces season you’re going to be more focused on these private affairs. I once wrote that Sagittarius is a sign that travels, that makes itself at home anywhere, because its roots are planted in something universal. That’s not to say that you are immune to homesickness, we’re all human. There is simply an ability to make your home in your beliefs, and to have comfort in knowing that you remain connected to your roots no matter how distant they are.

Capricorn sun/rising

Pisces is the part of your chart that overlooks your 3rd house of communication, commuting, and neighborhood. This also is the house where the moon finds its joy, and is a pretty spiritual place associated with “goddess”. Your close friends, the people that you see on a day-to-day basis like your roommates, your neighbors, and colleagues, are people that are coming into focus during Pisces season. Capricorn has a way of making grand, sweeping claims that simply cannot be challenged. This also is where their great sense of humor comes from, or at least they think the dad jokes are funny.

Aquarius sun/rising

Pisces is the part of your chart that overlooks your 2nd house of personal resources, finances, and possessions. Pisces season brings boring financial matters into focus as you get a clear look at what you have to give. Aquarius is a pretty moralistic sign, and you are likely to have fallen prey to the idea that you can vote with your dollar (ahk-shually it’s on us to hold larger stakeholders accountable to take meaningful action). Nonprofit organizations appeal to some Aquariuses just as finding alternative ways to paying for things does. Immaterial currency, finding a way for everyone to have what they need, an Aquarius is going to discover it someday, we hope.

My weekly horoscopes are up. This week was really one of the biggest weeks of the year, since Saturn/Uranus squared. I also did some astro film pairings for Curzon Cinemas’ blog for V-Day. Not all of them are my personal recommendations, but some of them are. I have availability for consultations, too, by the way. You can email me if the times don’t suit you.

Mrs. Spears-Hilton

Britney Spears & Paris Hilton's astrological compatibility

The ethics of reading a public figure’s birth chart without explicit consent is contested, so if this is invasive, I apologize. Delineating natal charts without express consent breaks the rules of ISAR’s ethics guide. It’s tricky, though, because since these two have had their lives totally invaded by the paparazzi, it’s painfully difficult to define public domain. I will try to keep things hypothetical and light, only using public knowledge to support my fictional vision.

I just really want Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to get married and am using astrology to see if it’s possible. I’m here to satisfy my own agenda, and that is to see them join forces, preferably in holy matrimony. I will wish for it every chance I get. With every birthday candle I blow out, with every wishbone I break, and with every eyelash I catch, I will wish for Mrs. Spears-Hilton, and I hope you do too.

Paris Hilton’s birth time is uncertain, although argued to be 2:30 AM for some reason. I believe some astrologers assumed it because she’s a party girl and wanted to put Neptune on the ascendant, which I personally resent. Ms.Hilton was born the day of a Mercury cazimi, much like today, with Mercury retrograde meeting the sun in Aquarius. The sun and Mercury were at the same degree at some point on Feb 18, 1981, so her birth was big news.

Leo is definitely Hilton’s moon sign, with Aquarius as her sun sign. She was born just before a full moon in Virgo at 0º. She has a 29º sun, which is something astrologers note as a critical degree. Since we don’t have her birth time, I just put the degree of her ascendant as her sun sign, and the houses are to follow. This is how sun sign horoscopes are written, essentially. The ascendant is really important though, and without a birth time we can’t calculate it.

For Ms. Spears, her birth time is less contested. The Rodden rating is an A. The Rodden rating system is a way that astrologers grade the birth times of public figures, AA being the most accurate.

Spears is a Libra rising, which makes sense. Her face is symmetrical. When the rising sign is ruled by Venus it usually denotes a physically beautiful person. In a day chart, Venus is the most positive planet, and that is the ruler of Libra, her ascendant, which describes physical features.

Like Hilton, Spears also has a sun/Mercury chart, but instead of being in the heart of the sun, her natal Mercury is under the sun’s rays, which definitely tracks with the cryptic messages she’s been rumored to post. Mercury being within 10º of the sun means that it’s not visible. It corresponds with a hidden message, something spoken in private. Once Mercury gets to the same degree as the sun, however, it is thought that this is when a message is realized or exposed. When she was 8 years old, her progressed Mercury met with her natal sun at 10º Sagittarius, which was when she traveled to Atlanta to audition for the Mickey Mouse club, according to her Wikipedia page. I think 1:30 AM is a pretty accurate birth time for Spears. Mercury rules her 9th house of travel and 12th house of self undoing and public service.

Could the sun/Mercury alignment in both of their natal charts correspond with Hilton and Spears being constantly featured in the press? In my horoscopes I usually write “look out for interesting news” whenever Mercury mets with the sun, so, in a person, does that mean that they essentially are the news? These blondes were the reason why the paps put food on the table every night.

Have you watched Framing Britney Spears yet? I’d love to hear some critical thoughts on it. I have a lot to say about Spears’ chart, not only because it’s timed, but because I feel like I understand so much after the documentary. It speaks volumes that it’s posted on her own Youtube channel and streaming free. I hope it helps her win her court case and change the laws surrounding conservatorship in the United States.

In the documentary, one of her friends states that after the birth of her second child and the divorce which followed two months later, Spears suffered from postpartum depression (on top of grieving her marriage). This was when they were featured in the news together. She was going out to blow off steam in an especially difficult time in her life, and this was when the media made the most money off of her suffering.

There are rumors that Paris Hilton is a lesbian, which does not surprise me. Only a terrifyingly high femme lesbian could be that far into becoming a parody of herself. She owns her camp in a way that is autonomous and obviously leaning in one direction on the Kinsey scale. Apart from the two tabloid headlines that suggest she’s had relationships with women, her sexuality is not public.1 Spears, on the other hand has made out with Madonna on national television, while dressed as a lesbian bride, nonetheless.

There are a few different ways to go about reading the synastry between two charts. First, you can overlay the two charts. I put Paris Hilton’s chart in charge of the house cusps, since her rising sign is not really accurate, I have the chart starting at the degree of Hilton’s sun, 29º Aquarius. Ignore the As/Ds/Ic/Mc in her chart— her birth time has a C Rodden rating, so the angles are not reliable. The bi-wheel (lol) helps us to visualize how the two charts interact with each other. I first check angles to see what’s up.

Hilton’s exalted Saturn in Libra, conjunct Jupiter, falls on Spears’ rising sign, separated by 6º. My fantasy of Paris Hilton’s commitment to Britney Spears (in holy matrimony???) is not far off. Please note how Paris Hilton was born during the last great conjunction in an air sign, which everyone was saying hasn’t happened for 600 years or something like that. Please stop believing everything you read online.

Spears’ ascendant falls in Hilton’s solar 8th equal house of shared finances. These two would clearly be able to merge assets in a way that is diplomatic, and legally sound. If we put the degree of Hilton’s ascendant at 0 Aquarius, making it whole solar houses, then Spears’ rising sign falls in Hilton’s solar 9th house of distant travel, meaning that they could enjoy the jet setting life together. 

It is argued that Paris Hilton is a Sagittarius rising, and in her documentary she’s traveling more than she is at home in LA. If her 2:30 AM birth time is remotely accurate, then her rising sign is the same as Spears’ sun sign: Sagittarius. This can delineate attraction. Paris Hilton is possibly someone who Spears can relate to and finds beautiful. If she was Sag rising, then the two could use their Neptune in Sagittarius powers to fool the public into whatever they wanted to spin. Their PR powers would be unreal. They did get a lot of attention for their party days. Neptune denotes fantasies and substances. 

Spears’ moon in Aquarius is on Paris Hilton’s south node by degree. They have lived a past life together, literally. Spears is likely someone that Hilton can find comfort in, even if it’s a comfort that she can outgrow, she can always regress to it in order to recharge or find shelter.

Since Spears is an Aquarius moon and Hilton an Aquarius sun, Hilton gives Spears what she needs in order to feel like her emotions are valid and understood. Hilton illuminates Spears’ hidden world. Which is exactly what she did in Framing Britney Spears. Hilton’s documentary was also about her struggles with mental health as a result of being in the public eye, and I think her strength to address this publicly bodes well for Britney Spears’ story.

Spears’ Aquarius moon is also conjunct Hilton’s Aquarius Venus. This is in the cookbooks as a great aspect for romantic synastry. Venus and the moon aligning is like the most girly aspect that I can think of. Their relationship embodies girl power and I want it to last forever. I think it will.

Like Spears, Hilton also has a natal Venus/South node conjunction. She can also find that relationships are a place where she regresses or goes back to the ways that she knows are safe and comfortable. What better way to regress than to marry your old friend. This of course is if we’re looking to Venus as the general significator of relationships.

By sign, Hilton’s moon in Leo is trine Spears’ sun in Sagittarius. Spears’ sun in Sagittarius makes a sign-based sextile to Hilton’s sun in Aquarius. They get along great, as far as I can tell. They’re both generous. Spears is inspired by Hilton’s pursuits to save the animals. They’re natural collaborators.

Spears’ sun and Mercury make an overcoming square to Hilton’s Mars, which is combust or under the sun’s rays. A square is just something happening. Without squares, nothing would happen. Since Spears’ sun/Mercury are in a superior position to Hilton’s Mars, it is Spears that inspires Hilton to act. Spears can rouse Hilton to take secret action. They could get into some little spats, of course, if Spears didn’t understand Hilton’s Aquarius cool logic.

They have a lot of harmonious compatibility that suggests that they can easily forgive and forget whatever misunderstandings arise. Hilton’s natal Mercury is retrograde, so she has a funny way of self-expression, and her rationale can easily be misinterpreted. In her documentary she was talking about how hard it is for her to be herself when there are cameras around, and how she always performs “Paris Hilton” and never shows her real thoughts. This makes me think that she might not have been born at the exact conjunction and rather have a pretty combust Mercury. Spears would get Hilton to talk and express more, and compel Paris to do something! Can this be the relationship that pulls Paris Hilton out of the closet?

There are other methods of using charts to speculate romantic compatibility. There is a composite chart, which uses the midpoints between two people’s birthdays to come up with a new chart, which is said to represent their relationship. In the 80’s an astrologer came up with a new way of drawing compatibility charts called the Davison method. This not only finds the midpoint between birth times, but also finds the midpoint between latitude and longitude of two people! This of course can only be used once we finally have Paris Hilton’s birth time, if she’s not offended by my fantasy. While I do want them to be the greatest celebrity couple of all time and rock the world with their love, I also admire their very real, powerful friendship. Bless it.

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I think that’s cool.

wtf is a Mercury pre-retrograde shadow phase?

Mercury's retrograde again


It’s a verb: Mercury retrogrades. It’s a noun: We hate Mercury retrogrades. It’s an adjective: Retrograde Mercury is famous. Mercury cannot be “in” retrograde, because that’s not grammatically correct. That’s like saying, “Mercury is in backwards.” You can say, “Mercury is retrograding,” if you want to spice things up.

When astronomers invented astrology, they derived meaning from observable planetary motion.

Media frenzy aside, Mercury retrograde is so popular because it’s as commonly experienced as a full moon. Mercury retrograde happens frequently. Mercury retrogrades three or four times per year.

Mercury’s tricky motion earns its tricky signifiers. When astronomers invented astrology, they derived meaning from observable planetary motion. So, Mercury being the fastest moving planet, making the most connections to other planets, gives it its “messenger” meaning. When Mercury retrogrades it backs up and asks, “oh wait, did I hear that correctly?” Mercury retrograde reflects our need to clarify and revise in order to better understand things.

Mercury retrogrades bring about inconveniences that require patience, but ultimately provide fluency in the end.

A planet that’s retrograde is not doing its normal thing, it’s moving backwards. If Mercury is the planet that reflects how we communicate, information, commerce, small animals, technology, commuting, planes, trains, automobiles, youths— what it means when it’s reverse is that these things can malfunction. Wires are crossed. Delays, miscommunications, Freudian slips.

Mercury retrograde is like in the movie Gremlins when the protagonist  unwittingly feeds the mogwai after midnight because they unplugged his  clock. Mercury retrogrades bring about inconveniences that require patience, but ultimately provide fluency in the end. The awareness of knowing that Mercury is retrograde should never stop you from living your life. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it is the world. It’s simply the nature of things.

People are not robots, and even robots break down sometimes. Mercury retrograde is just the repair and revisal period. If anything, its blips encourage us to come together, to make up for lost time, and to remember to always leave room for human error. Astrology is never an excuse to stop yourself from living your life, but a tool to gauge your expectations and make the best of the cards we’re dealt.

A planet stations retrograde and it stations direct. The stations are important moments. Astrologers look to the degrees that the stations occur. Mercury stationed retrograde at 26º Aquarius on January 30. Mercury stations direct (ending its retrograde) at 11º Aquarius on February 21.

As it moves backwards from 26º to 11º Aquarius over the next month, it will repeat some connections to the slower-moving planets, as it retraces its footprints. Whenever planets connect, both with each other in the sky as well as with the planets in your birth chart, it corresponds with an event, either personal (when your natal chart’s placements are activated) or somewhere out in the world. Since these connections are repeat, so will the events.

When Mercury was direct, it moved from 11º to 26º between January 15th-ish and January 30th, the day that the retrograde began. This timespan is known as the pre-retrograde period. It’s the time when the path where Mercury will soon retrograde is first paved. It’s helpful to look at what conversations were had during this period, because during Mercury’s retrograde, they can repeat themselves three times. Across the timespan of its pre-retrograde shadow, retrograde, and post-retrograde shadow, Mercury goes over a certain degree three times. To see how it works with your chart, check what planets are between 11º and 26º, then consider how they are being aspected. To see how it reflects general events, which we all at least witness, we look at the general transits!

Pre-retrograde Aspects (January 15/16 to January 30):

  • January 20 Mercury trine nodes of fate.

The true node (or “the nodes of fate”) is a calculated point in the sky, it’s the moon’s ecliptic. When a full moon or new moon fall on the nodes, there is an eclipse. In astrology the moon’s ecliptic is associated with fate.

That’s the only aspect Mercury made during its pre-retrograde shadow phase. Connections that were made on January 20, introductions especially, and emails sent, were with people who are important for opening doors.

Some news headlines from January 20 that are to repeat three times: the inauguration. Biden signed 15 executive actions. 1,000 arrests at protests in Tunisia. I suppose we will hear more about these things whenever the aspects repeat themself on both February 10, during the retrograde period, and March 2, during the post-retrograde shadow period.

Retrograde aspects (January 30 to February 21):

  • February 8 Mercury retrograde meets with the sun.

With Mercury being both retrograde and under the sun’s rays for the days leading up to this alignment, we are going to be really confused and waiting on delayed information. Things can be stolen or misplaced. Finally, once Mercury gets in the heart of the sun, we will have more clarity surrounding things had been sort of secretive or hidden since February 3. Objects may be found or more information about their whereabouts can be revealed.

  • February 10 Mercury retrograde trine nodes of fate (again!).

Let’s put a star here for world events, especially concerning Tunisia and the actions that Biden signed. The north node is a place of visibility, and the trine an aspect of progress. With Mercury being retrograde, we are going to see some revisions taking place, or some public delays to these actions being put in motion.

  • February 10 Mercury retrograde square Mars.

This is going to be annoying. People are going to be making choices based on misinformation. Arguments can arise out of a misunderstanding. It’s a “measure twice cut once” type beat. Mars is literally cutting/scissors. Kitchen safety is key.

  • February 13 Venus meets with retrograde Mercury

This is honestly really cute for Valentine’s Day. I think this is a time to express things that have been misunderstood concerning relationships and to just generally get a better understanding of desires. A romantic recap, a walk down memory lane.

  • February 14 Mercury retrograde meets with Jupiter

OK People are really going to be talking a lot of $#!7. There will be a lot that looks too good to be true, because it is. I expect oversight.

Post-retrograde aspects (February 21 to March 13/14):

  • March 2 Mercury trine nodes of fate (third time).

This is the third and final trine to the nodes of fate that Mercury will make, at least while it’s in Aquarius. This is it, moving forward with this important connection that’s taking place, having given it a little reconsideration and wiggle room. Again we will see things progressing with the 15 actions that Biden signed. Sorry to mention boring politics I just thought we could all see public news stories as an accessible example.

  • March 5 Mercury meets Jupiter (second time).

Once more, people are going to be correcting the lies that they got caught in when they bit off more than they could chew. Mercury and Jupiter are both associated with learning.

It’s also useful to get a look at the aspects that Mercury makes at the moment that it stations.

When it stationed retrograde on January 30, we got no aspects within a 3º orb. When it stations direct on February 21, we get no aspects in the sky as well. It is interesting to look at your own chart to see how the stations will affect you. For example, Mercury stations retrograde on my natal Saturn in the 2H of personal resources, so maybe this will mean that the three paychecks I am waiting on will finally reach my bank account? Wishful thinking? These paychecks are a part of my Mercury retrograde story. Astrology: you live and you learn. Mercury will retrograde in the part of your chart that is ruled by Aquarius, so look into your Aquarius house(s… we are ok with quadrant house systems here) to get more information about this! 

Good luck. If you need me, you know where to find me. I’ll leave you with a transcript of one of my favorite episodes of The Astrology Podcast on the topic of Mercury retrogrades.

All of these dates are based on CET, so give it wiggle room, a buffer of about a day +/-.

what don't you understand about astrology?

how does it work?

I asked the Internet what they don’t understand about astrology. Many had the same unanswerable questions that I have. Astrology and how it functions is a mystery, which requires a little faith and humility to practice. I wish I could provide a scientific rationale, but I will never have one that satisfies. I will never be able to tell you “how it works,” so I won’t set out to answer broader, existential questions (at least not immediately). Astrology is not a belief, but a practice. “It’s not something to believe in, it’s something to enjoy,” as Annabel Gat once put it. It’s something to witness and experience. To fully appreciate astrology, we have to accept that there is something unexplainable at play— something that has yet to be quantified and explained by our current scientific method. 

A very beautiful European astrologer once said at an ISAR workshop in Portugal, “Astrologers are from the future,” or something like that. We tell time in a non-linear way. Time is a flat circle because we literally revolve around the sun. That is how time is measured. Planetary motion illustrates the eternal return. And astrology illustrates planetary motion. Astrology is a way of drawing connections between patterns in human behavior and history with cosmic alignments. Astrology does not cause, but reflect events. History repeats itself. Jung was an astrologer. I don’t know what else I have to say to beg people to respect astrology, because I still think everyone deserves to have fun and be trashy sometimes. While it’s hard to wrap our minds around how it works, I can’t help but notice that it does. Not everything has to be scientific to be practiced. Many things, if not most things, are not a science and the majority of us still respect them (i.e. the stock market, psychology, politics).

When I asked my followers about what we want to learn more about, there were questions about advanced, technical things that I have yet to find an answer to, and that I hope to use this form to explore and teach. There were also questions that I can answer with no reference but my brain. Topics including:

  • Zodiacal Releasing

  • The houses

  • Progressions

  • Degrees

  • Visualizing the chart outside of the 2D form

  • The angles in a chart

  • The importance of birth time

  • The placements of the planets & nodes

  • Transits, including that of the moon

If I spoke on all of these questions I would have three manuscripts. I’m not saying that I can’t. Of course I can point anyone towards a book or podcast about any one of the above topics. I picture the future of this newsletter being partially educational, about basic astrology things, and also I want to make stuff that doesn’t exist yet.

I will share graphics and visuals to help conceptualize what a 2-d natal chart looks like in a 3-d world. I will break down all of the different house systems (and present that in a lecture). I will discuss topical things, like current transits and maybe even reflections on what’s happening in the mundane world… Mundane astrology is the astrology of events and politics. My target audience is literally everyone for now… I want to make this fun and accessible for people who know nothing about astrology, as well as practicing astrologers.

That being said: here’s a link to my weekly horoscope for this week, beginning Monday, January 25 and ending Sunday, January 31. This week there has been a sun/Uranus square, and we are leading up to a Venus/Pluto conjunction, a full moon in Leo, and Mercury retrograde. Everyone with eyes knows what a full moon is, and most people who are into astrology has experienced the inconveniences of Mercury retrograde. My teacher and colleague Annabel Gat has some great thoughts on the full moon in Leo in her new podcast, which you should check out.

In my next email I will be discussing this upcoming Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, which begins on Saturday. Not only will I define what Mercury retrograde even means, I will also get into the meaning of the Mercury retrograde shadow periods, which happen before and after the retrograde period. Then I will explain key dates for this Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, what to expect, and some wobbly predictions. I also found Ryan Trecartin’s birth time, and want to do something for Valentine’s day.

This isn’t just an ordinary newsletter, it’s a Substack. Basically it’s a newsletter that you can pay for. I am going to have some paid content, and some free content. I intend on sending emails out twice weekly, one for free subscribers and one for people with paid subscriptions. You can always reply to these emails, or comment on the website, too. Hopefully this goes to your inbox and not the spam folder. Until then.

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