I’m a sucker for symbolism, so when Easter and April Fool’s Day coincided with Mercury’s conjunction with the sun this year (much revelation, very wow), I couldn’t help but look for ways to connect it all together.
There’s a sort of “midway” point during the Mercury Retrograde cycle: Mercury and the sun align exactly for a brief moment in time, giving jester Mercury the opportunity to don the king’s robes and part the clouds for a couple of hours (the sun was traditionally thought to represent the ruler, or the king).
The way it goes is that planets near the sun are considered combust, or fried up by the sun — all the way up until the point where they’re not. A very tight conjunction to the sun (within 17 minutes of a degree) is considered “cazimi,” a Latin term that means “in the heart.” To be very reductive about it all, cazimi planets have super powers, and when retrograde Mercury gets this powerful energetic boost, the messenger planet tones down its signal-scrambling in order to deliver an important and insightful broadcast. It’s almost as though the chaos, logistical failures, and backward-looking nature of Mercury Retrograde brought you to this point so you could get the message.
This “look back before you look forward” imperative is a form of resurrection in its own right. During Mercury Retrograde, we see Facebook memories that serve as significant reminders; we dig through old emails to discover something new; we attend to old technical problems we never thoroughly fixed; we return to projects or ideas that we’d shelved until further notice; we run into people from our past for one reason or another.
This idea that we need to occasionally mine our past for information and resources resonates a lot with what Daniel Foor (author of Ancestral Medicine) says about working with our ancestors. Making peace with our lineage (and even calling on it for help) is an important component of the healing that so desperately needs to happen on Earth. All of the so-called “fault lines” that threaten our survival — racism, sexism, abuse of each other and abuse of the environment — are old problems with old roots. It’s almost as though we have to go back to the source, or go back to where it all started, if we’re ever going to fix it for real.
Now, Mercury is a trickster god, and it saves its best pranks for Mercury Retrograde. But there’s also something really deep and esoteric about its trolling. The Fool in the tarot is considered by some to be one of the most powerful cards, because it represents an infinity of possibility that’s contained within a universe of innocence. It’s a card of new beginnings; of stepping out onto a new journey with no real knowledge of what’s ahead. Maybe you’re also kind of naive about what it’s going to require of you, but maybe that’s a good thing, because taking a chance is inherently foolish (even if it’s also kinda wise).
If you know anything about Mercury Retrograde, then you know it’s not a good time to set off onto your own foolish journey. You’re better off saving your new beginnings for later, because you’ve got loose ends to tie up, and the facts are still coming in.
With a good chunk of the city immersed in Easter Sunday stuff this weekend, I found myself at the Natural History Museum, surveying the remains of the dinosaurs we couldn’t resurrect. I thought a lot about our own drag race toward annihilation, and how perilous it is to keep repeating the same mistakes. I was circling around some sort of big “aha” — a synthesis of these various ideas. And then it clicked. In periodically resurrecting the past, we prevent our own extinction. I looked at the clock: 1:54 pm, the exact moment of Mercury’s cazimi.
The Fool is unburdened by the past. But maybe it’s just because he reckoned with it completely.
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