cancerAnyone else enjoying a Mercury station hangover? My head feels all cottony, words are barely accessible, and I keep forgetting the brilliant idea I just had a moment ago. Mercury – planet of the mind, perception and communication – turned Retrograde at 6:07 this morning (Pacific time), and the few days around the station, as Mercury stands still before appearing to reverse directions, tend to be when we feel the influence most intensely.

Our foundational astrological premise – as above, so below – recommends doing as the planets do, and in the case of Mercury Retrograde, this translates into slowing down, backing up, and turning inward to retreat, reflect, reconsider, regenerate, and all the other “re-” words. Mercury Retro gets a bad rap in our uber-yang culture that values always pushing forward, the faster the better. For the next three weeks, until July 20, we can cooperate with the cosmic flow by focusing on completions and cleaning up the past (rather than launching a major new beginning), and navigating by intuition rather than rational analysis.

The call to slow down and go within is especially strong this time around because Mercury is reversing through Cancer – the watery, sensitive sign that rules the realm of deep feelings. This is a time to reconnect with the deepest parts of ourselves, the core of who we are, our emotional foundation. Mercury Retro in Cancer asks: What nourishes you? How can you increase your feeling of safety and security, from the inside out? What changes can you make in your home to better support you? Are there old family issues or patterns that hold you back from living fully in the present?

jupiterCoinciding with Mercury’s reversal is another big planetary shift – Jupiter’s entry into Cancer (last night at 6:40 PDT). Jupiter is “exalted” in the sign of the Crab, increasing access to the Great Benefic’s gifts of expansion, trust, optimism and wisdom. Over the next year, Jupiter in Cancer offers support for tremendous emotional growth and healing, accessing ancestral wisdom, deepening intimacy with loved ones, making improvements in our homes, and increasing our sense of feeling “at home” within ourselves and on our beloved planet. Ideally, we can expand (Jupiter) our concept of home and family (Cancer) to include the Earth and all her inhabitants.

Mercury turning Retrograde in Cancer just as Jupiter enters Cancer gives us an opportunity to become well-acquainted with the workings of this sign. If Jupiter, the biggest-by-far planet out there, is going to magnify Cancerian energy for the next year, let’s use it wisely. The key to expressing Cancer in a positive and productive way is an open heart, and our work over the next three weeks is to identify and soften our defenses, the layers of armoring that have built up around our hearts.

The last time Jupiter was in Cancer, July 2001-August 2002, the post-9/11 wave of nationalism here in the U.S. (a Cancer country, born on July 4th) fed into justifications for invading Afghanistan, gutting civil rights, and persecuting Muslims and anyone of Middle-Eastern descent. We saw the expansion of the “security” state and the “defense” industry. Shadow, fear-based Cancer builds a bigger wall and tougher shell to protect ME and MINE (MY family, MY country), everyone else be damned. We can see how well these strategies work by considering whether the world is a safer place now than it was 12 years ago – not so much.

EarthHigh-vibration Cancer knows that the best defense, the best way to create authentic and lasting security, is to make sure everyone has enough to eat, a home to live in, and strong community connections. Imagine if the gazillions of dollars spent on killing people in foreign countries and spying on U.S. citizens over the past 12 years had instead been used to feed the hungry and build shelters for the homeless?

This is the potential of the Grand Water Trine – a rare harmonious alignment between Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will peak on July 17. To soften our defenses, to feel more compassion for ourselves and for all the beings of the world, inspiring a new vision for our collective future and creative action that will reverse the tides of genocide and ecocide. Can we disarm the violence of the state, the corrupt corporate plutocracy, with our love for one another, with our radically open hearts?

– Emily Trinkaus