Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio Vol. 1

Ceremony and Ritual

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he Lay of the Land, er, Underworld retrograde

Miracles,

Today kicks off a short volume of writings on Mercury’s upcoming retrograde into the sign of Scorpio – which begins on October 31st. You can also find these writings at Canto and on my Facebook page where you may comment or ask a question if the spirit moves you!

Mercury’s retrograde into Scorpio is truly a descent into the Underworld of Shadow and Secrets. This retrograde period has the ability to powerfully shift our perceptions and bring about deep healing – especially to old wounds and traumas, but it also comes with a fair amount of drama and traps that we can easily fall into if we are not helpful.

Here are some of the highlights that you will want to be aware of during this retrograde period.

Those of you who have Scorpio as your sun, moon, or ascendant should be particularly careful during this rx period as you will most likely feel very affected by it. Those with Pluto or Mars as ruling planets or those with loaded 8th houses should also take special note of the retrograde and make plans now to work proactively with it.

The first thing to note is that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is similar to Mercury retrograde in Pisces in that these are both water signs and therefore our feelings, emotions, and instincts are much closer to the surface than usual.

For those accustomed to working from a place of deep feeling, this will feel normal but for those who are not, this can feel precarious and you may find yourself saying and doing things that usually you would keep to yourself.

Of all the water signs Scorpio has the most passion so during this rx period strong passions may be stirred up within yourself and definitely within those around you – proceed with caution. It is not uncommon during Mercury retrograde in Scorpio to see someone leaning heavily into their most passionate conviction only to discard it as soon as the retrograde period is over.

In classical astrology Scorpio was ruled by Mars and only later did Pluto come into the picture. As a Mars-ruled sign, Scorpio, like Aries, can be aggressive, protective, and combative. (It can also be disciplined, just, and heroic).

These lesser tendencies of aggression, over-protection, and combativeness can be on full display during the retrograde period and they show up in behavior but especially in speech.

It is really easy for everyone to take on a harsher and less kind edge in their speech and voices during Mercury rx in Scorpio. On the flip side, it is a wonderful time to write about anything deep, thought-provoking, or fantastic.

The third aspect of this retrograde deals with money. Scorpio is the ruler of “other people’s money and resources” so while this sign does not correlate directly to your day in and day out income (that would be Taurus) it does speak to investments, borrowing, lending, and working with money.

Stocks and many financial instruments are Scorpio in nature so you will want to keep an eye on your cash, and especially watch your investments. Typically Mercury rx is a bad time to make a new big investment or go in with partners on some financial scheme (no matter how sound it looks). Better to wait until the retrograde is complete (or has not yet started) to buy, sell, trade, or transfer any significant aspects.

This is also a time when each individual will be rewarded if they pause and take a long look at where they are investing their own resources – think about money but also beyond money – and determine whether those investment choices are still sound.

Finally, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio can speak to plumbing issues both in your body and in your home. Scorpio rules the bowels of the body (as well as our sex organs) and the bowels of the home as well.

Plumbing issues are likely to emerge at this time so if you know you have something upcoming then getting a start on it before the rx period is a good idea. At the very least make sure you have a good plumber on speed dial.

When it comes to our physical bodies, Mercury rx is always a good time to go in to see your medical provider and get an opinion or a second opinion on a situation. It can encourage revised or meticulously reviewed opinions and treatment plans. If you are having any tummy troubles this is the best time all year to have those looked at carefully by a doctor that you trust and the same goes for any issues with your sex organs and/or intimacy issues.

Arching over these specific points is the fact that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is a powerful time spiritually for all of us. This is the sign of Life, Death, and Resurrection and as such it is a time when we may consciously choose what needs to die, what needs to be aided and supported in coming back to life, and what needs to be born.

Considering your spiritual affiliations, congregations, and practices at this time is a powerful thing to do that will yield much fruit. Making magic and engaging in any Sacred Arts practices is especially auspicious now and you can learn much from any endeavors you make in that arena.

This is one of the deepest retrogrades, so make good use of it!

xo,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Three: Living With Shadows

Learning and Community

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iracles, shadow

Today marks our final lesson in this mini-teaching on Surviving Shadow Work. You can access lesson one here and lesson two here. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the kind emails you have sent, full of your own stories of survival and shadow work – it is such an honor to bear witness to each and every one of them.

So in our final lesson I want to touch on how we LIVE with our shadows. Once we have discovered them, seen them, found medicine for them and applied it…then what?

Go back to our first lesson and recall that the origin of the idea of shadow work started with Carl Jung. We don’t have to be Jungian scholars to understand that Jung’s ultimate vision of a happy, person with a healthily functioning psyche was one of integration, meaning that the healthy psyche was one where shadow and light, good and bad, desire and restraint, all have roles to play.

In some cases, usually in cases of severe trauma, recognizing the root cause of a shadow is a really significant act and the shadow itself – once properly treated – simply disappears.

But for most of us what we find is that we discover a shadow, find the needed medicine, treat it successfully, and then integrate it into our waking life in various ways.

For some of us that will look like relying on the right medicine and making sure it is available to us.

For others it is sufficient awareness of what situations might trigger your shadow and the subsequent avoiding of those situations.

Still for others there is a sense of peace and healing that goes hand in hand with renewed energy and activity.

The point that I really want to make here is that we all live with our shadows in different ways, but living with them is really what we are meant to do.

Even in cases where one shadow seems to have completely been illuminated (and thus disappeared) there will be more shadows…there always are. That is not a bad or good thing, just truth.

However, we can make choices in our daily lives that feed our shadows or don’t. And we can choose to look at our shadows when we are ready to or not. So many of those choices constellate around how much strength, endurance, and support you have in your life at the given point in time. For this reason attention to the things that nourish you here and now is of paramount importance.

In short, we live with our shadows best when we discover what truly sustains us at present.

So, for your final prompt I would like you to consider that: what truly sustains you and how can you bring more of that sustenance into your life?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Surviving Shadow Work Lesson Two: Focusing, Finding and Applying the Needed Medicines

Learning and Community

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lright Miracles, shadow

Today we are going to work in a very particular way with the area of shadow that you identified for yourself after reading yesterday’s lesson.

As I wrote there, the biggest challenge around engaging in shadow work is getting stuck in the psychic underworld, never ascending, never returning to life here and now.

I believe this is such a challenge for the age-old reason that any journey can be perilous – distraction. For when we plumb our depths and experience the underbelly of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs we often find much more than we bargained for.
We may have started our journey with one area of shadow in mind and find ourselves months or even years later so far off course that we couldn’t tell you what we were trying to do in the first place. In some traditions, this is referred to as being fairy-led and there are many stories that deal with the theme: from the Biblical tale of Lot’s wife to the ancient myth of Orpheus, to the classical work of Dante. In all cases, the protagonists deal with the very real possibility that in their foray into the Underworld (where our shadows reside) we run the risk of getting stuck and never ascending.

Which brings us to the question of how one avoids falling into the trap of distraction and making the actual ascent back into the world here and now. The answer is simple: stay focused, find the needed medicine, and apply it immediately.

Let’s break this down into three steps with the help of a hypothetical story. This is a true story from one of my clients who gave me permission to share, the name has been changed for obvious reasons.

Amy dreams of public speaking. She has had offers to go and speak in front of crowds and lead gatherings because her work is popular and known. But Amy does not like to be in the spotlight AT ALL. Not because she is shy – she isn’t – but because she is very comfortable with people’s eyes on her. Amy came to me to have some divination on this situation and also to do some liminal work around it – she realized that some shadowy reason was at the root of her resistance to being seen and wanted more insight on it.

We worked together and this is what she found:
Amy realized that the shadow she was dealing with concerned her dad. He would come home from work every day tired and angry and looking for someone to take it out on. Since she was very tiny Amy learned to hide, in her bedroom, among her stuffed animals, to avoid his wrath.

This brings us to Step One: Stay Focused.
Amy did not need to do a lot of work to discover the deep cause of her discomfort with the spotlight. A little divination, a little liminal work, and she knew what the situation was. At this point Amy had a choice: she could continue with the shadow work by seeking to understand WHY her father was the way he was OR she could deal with the issue at hand – her discomfort with being seen. You can see how tempting it is to take it further, to get just a little more information, but you can also see how that journey takes us farther away from the goal – which was to support Amy in public speaking and being seen by people. Amy wisely chose to deal with the issue at hand. She knew what her shadow was, now what?

Step Two: Find the Needed Medicine.
Amy had mentioned that she always hid among her stuffed animals. A little more divination and a few questions later, we had determined that one stuffed animal, in particular, a lion, had really made her feel especially safe and secure. This was ONE medicine that resonated with her situation and addressed her shadow with potency. From there it was obvious what needed to happen. We were ready to move to Step Three: Apply It Immediately.

Now we did have a moment where we had to get creative because Amy’s little lion was long gone…and a grown woman probably couldn’t take a stuff lion on stage with her! But, we did discover that there are tiny stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes, many that attach to a key chain. Amy found a lion she loved, I loaded it up magically for her, and she attached it to her key chain. She takes it everywhere with her and guess what? She also does lots of public speaking now. Amy had a successful encounter with one of her shadows because she stayed focused, found the needed medicine, and applied it immediately.

You can do this as well: go back to the shadow you wrote about in the last lesson. Think and feel into it and try to recollect what medicines supported you when it was an active force in your life. There may be several such medicines but most likely, one will stand out. Then ask yourself: how can I apply for this medicine today and immediately?

In our final lesson, we are going to talk about what happens next, after the medicine has been applied.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The Story Is Not The Struggle

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

Every descent into dark and scary places, every journey into the Underworld involves finding the right medicine, a medicine that can be retrieved and brought back into daily life where it may be put to good use.

Like Inanna or Ishtar, Dionysus, Jesus Christ, Persephone or San Juan de la Cruz, we will choose to harrow hell in order to find healing, wholeness, and true, bone-deep, holiness.

So we go, we go to the crossroads and then we descend down into the belly of the world where we are asked to see not with our eyes but with our hearts, minds, and physical bodies. We learn to see a crisis for what it really is: a choice. And to make that choice wisely and descend into the unknown is often the hardest part requiring the greatest courage

As I see it, many of us, many of you, in our own ways have agreed to this task. We have signed up to look at our own scared and scarred places, and many of us again, through various activisms, have signed up to confront the shadowy realms we find in our neighborhoods, our schools, our communities, our regions, and our countries.

Yes, we say again and again: yes! We will go into the unknown places, and we will do the hard work!

And we do. Bless us and all that we are. There are so many of us, far more than I think are typically recognized or acknowledged.

But in the doing and confronting, in the healing and the dealing, in the hard truth-telling and the brave action-taking, we often forget that the struggle itself is, after all, not the story. The struggle is only one part of a much greater tale. The end, the goal, is the gleaming treasure, the victory, the cup of blessing, the medicine that restores life, not merely the struggle, the bitter, the challenge.

The Underworld in the old stories is traditionally understood as the most dangerous realm not because of what you encounter there. Every demon was, after all, once upon a time, just another angel. No, the Underworld is the most dangerous realm because it is the place that will trip you up and keep you stuck, mired in a swamp of your own waste.

This is why Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell is not the hottest part of the Inferno, but rather colder than cold, frozen in place and time, still and deadly. It is what can happen to each of us as we confront our shadows. We can remain locked in a never-ending struggle, like the figure Sisyphus in the old Greek tales.

But hear this: our lives are not meant to be lived as one eternal and exhausting Sisyphus-like struggle. The underworld, also traditionally known as the realm of illusion, has pulled one over on us, so that every victory we accomplish is not met with a period of peace and rest as it should be, but instead is met with yet another crisis to solve, another journey to go on, another descent ever deeper this time, to make.

Does anyone else feel stifled and even hopeless by this scenario? So what can be done?

The answer is clearly not to go back to the surface and become satisfied with superficial answers and options to tough choices.

No, the answer is found when we look again to the ones whose footsteps we first followed: Inanna or Ishtar, Dionysus, Jesus Christ, Persephone or San Juan de la Cruz. Descent is followed by ascent. We go down so that we might come back up to the topside world, changed and carrying the needed treasure, the life-saving medicine.

Or, if that seems abstract I would say this: in every cave and every underground place physically in the world, you go down far enough and you will hit water. Even and especially in the most dry, deserted, heaven forsaken places this is true, go down far enough and you will find water, you will find life. And when you do finally find it, the water surges and springs up through bedrock and shadow, through cave and root systems it springs up, enlivening and enriching everything it touches until it reaches the surface where it flows and nourishes all creatures and the land upon which they live. The spirit of this life-saving medicine we seek works for us too in just this way.

Even in the places receiving the least light, places which leave us feeling most terrified, most empty, most bereft.   Even here, if you will go down far enough, you will find a well of water, a well of life, that given half the chance will spring up, healing what is hurting, mending the broken pieces, calling forth restoration and carrying you back up through the shadowlands into your one, blessed life.

You and I, all of us, have what it takes to confront adversity or necessity. Go down far enough and you’ll find it too. Necessity, once known as an ancient and powerful Goddess, demands from us our most creative and inventive aspects, makes us stronger in ways that matter, and provides the occasion for betterment. She is a whetstone against which we sharpen our minds, a deep note with which we may attune our Souls.

And so for those of you who feel the weight of crisis after crisis, who feel it is always a struggle, always so hard, and rarely getting easier I simply say this: there is a well, deep within. It is time to dig down let it spring forth!

In love and blessing~

Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.