“One doesn’t become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious. The latter is more difficult, and therefore less popular” – Carl Jung

plutoFor the past few days Mercury has been “stationary” — appearing to stand still before reversing directions — while closely aligned with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld. Mercury rules the mind and communication, while Pluto’s job is to uncover what is hidden beneath the surface and get to the core or essence. Obsessive thoughts, penetrating perceptions, deep conversations, revealing secrets, and emotional insights are some possible expressions.

Mercury turned Retrograde at 4:04 this morning, basically until the end of the year (December 29th, 11:21pm PST, to be exact). In addition to the usual delays, miscommunications and technical glitches, this particular Mercury Retro feels especially intense.

First there’s the Plutonian connection, setting a deep, dark, potentially painful, transformational and (ideally) healing tone for this Retrograde. Because of Mercury’s Retrograde movement, Mercury and Pluto will exactly unite three times: December 5th, December 13th, and January 17th.

As described by Donna Cunningham, this combination “could be extremely productive of insights into long-standing blockages — things we’ve been reluctant to face or have been in denial about. It can also make words powerfully healing OR seriously destructive.” (If It Weren’t for that Mercury Conjunction to Pluto…)

When suppressed or denied thoughts and feelings come into awareness, the experience is usually not comfortable or pleasant. But, as April Kent writes about the Mercury-Pluto conjunction, “Sometimes loss and shock and grief open up channels of communication that can’t be opened any other way” (Mercury Retrograde, Pluto and the Darker Woods).

capricornMercury and Pluto are meeting up in Capricorn — the sign of responsibility, integrity, long-term goals and commitments. The truths that are revealed during this time help us get back on track, and realign with our higher destiny.

Mercury Retrograde is always a time for slowing down forward momentum in order to reflect upon and reevaluate where you’re going. Mercury Retro in Capricorn asks: What are you really committed to? What are you responsible for? What are your long-term goals? What is your definition of success? What are you willing to work for?

Intensifying Capricorn themes, Pluto continues to travel close together with the North Node — the point that signifies our best way forward. I wrote about this conjunction in September:

Pluto’s conjunction with the North Node brings a sense of urgency to living out our destinies…. Pluto always requires a death, a letting-go. Pluto conjunct the North Node says: if your passion isn’t in it, let it go. If you’re out of your integrity and authenticity, let it go. If you’re playing by someone else’s rules, let it go. If you’re staying in a situation out of fear, let it go. (Passion, Authenticity and Ambition)

There is abundant cosmic support for letting go right now. As we approach the Winter Solstice on December 21st — the darkest day of the year — we are called to release whatever we want to leave behind before the return of the light. Coinciding with the Solstice is a Lunar Eclipse, an extra-potent Full Moon that signifies a major ending or culmination. The Solstice and Eclipse on the same day “doubles the power of banishing and reweaving,” in the words of Caroline Casey — “all of nature want humans to release what’s in the way of the desirable story.”

The Lunar Eclipse will be in Gemini — the sign ruled by Mercury — further animating the mental and conversational intensity of this time. Our assignment is to identify and release the thoughts, beliefs and perceptions that undermine our power and purpose. And to express ourselves honestly, to increase authentic connection with others, in order to free ourselves from the illusion of separation.

– Emily Trinkaus