March 17th-23rd: Action and Assessment
This weekend's new moon in Pisces could have been described as the shedding moon. This is a time to cast away the things that don't serve us anymore. Even if there are still things in your life that feel limiting or constrictive, recognizing what makes you feel this way is good work and it will be easier to begin to shift toward a fuller realization of what you seek. A lot of this work will be mental, in that we may have to change the way we think about things, or open up to new perceptions. If we are unwilling to do this work, we can be met with tension. We will likely have to drop judgments about ourselves and others during this time. As the moon begins to wax again on Sunday the 18th, we start to build toward the fiery energy of lunar Aries. While the new moon was for recognizing what you are ready to release, the coming week will be for beginning to implement this. If you are ready to make changes, you will likely need to take inspired action. The Vernal Equinox is on Tuesday the 20th, bringing spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern. This is the point in the year when the Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north. Energy increases and we strive toward action and activity, or else may feel restless.
Mercury retrograde begins again this Thursday the 22nd. The retrograde period will last until April 15th, with the shadow period extending beyond that until May 5th. The retrograde begins at 23 degrees Pisces and will retreat all the way back to 11 degrees Pisces (on April 15th), when it will resume normal motion and continue making its way forward through Pisces. We don't reach new ground (beyond 23 degrees Pisces) until May 5th. Mercury normally spends about three weeks in a sign, but because of this retrograde will be in Pisces for twice that time. This is excellent for spirituality, psychic development and sensitivity and empathy toward others, but it may be challenging for work in the material or physical sectors.
Mercury retrogrades are common enough, happening a few times each year, but their energy still impacts a lot of people. Part of this is the strengthening of the retrograde through so many people believing in its power in our society, but also because our society runs on the things that Mercury rules over. Mercury rules over speed, communication and zippy technology. It is highly impatient, and having to be slowed down by the retrograde really muffles its positive qualities. Our society is much like Mercury, in that we live in a fast-paced world and rely heavily on instant communication through our technology. When a retrograde hits, it doesn't mean that all the computers and phones will go on the fritz (although that sometimes happens!) or that progress of all kinds will stop or slow down. It impacts the energy; anytime an energy pattern is disrupted our reactions to it determine whether that energy will manifest in the physical world. The Piscean retrograde makes this especially so, since the energy is caught up in the intuitive, feeling world of Pisces. We may feel as though our own progress is slowing down, or that it is harder to communicate with those around us. By fighting this energy we manifest situations that exemplify the Mercury retrograde (or at least our perception makes it seem like this is so). This doesn't mean you should lay back and do nothing during a Mercury retrograde, just that you may need to adjust your expectations. You can still accomplish your goals, but you might have to throw out your time table and make sure that you back up all data. Curves appear on a road that seemed relatively straight before; roadblocks crop up. If you try to barrel through them, you could crash your car and leave your wheels spinning. It may be best to slow down, reassess and figure out an alternate route. This is the best analogy for the Mercury retrograde energy and how to operate within its confines.
The shadow period (April 15th-May 5th) is less intense than the full retrograde time, but requires us to retrace our steps in order to break new ground. We may have to deal with some issues we thought we had already solved, or encounter some familiar faces from the past. This period can be very illuminating, and can allow us to react to these old situations in a new way. Shadow periods are wonderful for breaking old patterns or bad habits, since it is easier to spot them overall.