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The Mercury Elemental Year 2013

before Gary’s blog, a note from Tem

Dear TMA blog readers,
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–Tem Tarriktar, TMA Publisher

The Mercury Elemental Year 2013: A Watery Chapter in the Book of Revolution
by Gary P. Caton

In my article for TMA this summer, I called upon astrologers to become more aware of the astrological nuances within the Uranus-Pluto squares of the next few years and the corresponding “Epoch of Revolution.” (1) Because they are invisible and have orbital periods that dwarf most human activity, it is my opinion that the outer planets represent vast transpersonal/societal forces and/or levels of awareness beyond normal everyday reality. In my experience, this can make the outer planets very hard for many people to access in a positive and productive fashion. It has been theorized that one way to “humanize” the outer planets is to access them through the classical, visible planets that represent a similar energy, vibration/note, or “octave.” Since the asteroids dwell between the rocky personal planets and the transpersonal gas giants, they can be seen in the role of “octave transformer.” (2) For example, because of their mutual connection to mental activity, many people see Uranus as the “higher octave” of Mercury. Since they are orbitting between Mercury and Uranus, asteroids with a similar archetypal quality can be seen as transformers in the archetypal circuitry. Their role is to literally step up (or down) the archetypal energy between the personal and transpersonal planet. In the aforementioned article for TMA, I wrote “Pallas can be seen as an ‘octave transformer’ between Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus, because all these archetypes are associated with somewhat unbounded mental creative principles. It seems to me that these four bodies constitute a sort of ‘archetypal complex,’ if you will…As we enter the next major Uranus-Pluto transits, it seems logical that if Pallas does correlate to a similar archetypal energy as Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus, then we will see clear examples of this.”

Now transiting in Pisces, Pallas Athene is due to return to Aries — where she was at the last Uranus-Pluto square (on September 18) — on January 10, and will remain in Aries through March 30. I expect to see some emphasis on the more liberating side of the Uranus-Pluto alchemical equation returning to us soon. However, we must remember that because she is linking Mercury with Jupiter and Uranus, she can only “step up” that which Mercury is already in the process of establishing as fact. In this vein it is very interesting to look at what I call the “Mercury Elemental Year” as a possible foundation for the major transformations of our current “Epoch of Revolution.”

It is commonly understood that Mercury takes about a year to traverse all 12 signs of the Zodiac; however, this does not mean that he spends an equal amount of time in each sign. Because of his frequent retrograde motion, in 2013 Mercury will spend more time in the three water signs than all the other nine signs combined! In my follow-up post to the 2012 election, I explained how Mercury’s retrograde periods move through the four elements in a cyclic fashion, with four to six consecutive retrogrades occurring in a single element and 19 to 22 retrograde periods occurring over six or seven years before an element is repeated. (3) I call this phenomenon the “Mercury Elemental Year” because it is quite common for all three Mercury retrogrades in a calendar year to occur in the same element or elemental combination. As we can see from the diagram below, in 2013 the inferior conjunctions of Mercury with the Sun, which define the mid-point of the retrograde period, are all happening in water signs.

Mercury Tables 2012

With the strong emphasis on time spent in water signs, the “public discourse” driven by Mercury may have a decidedly watery or emotional quality for all of 2013. But what does this mean? How can we expect to experience this watery inundation? I would suggest that under the influence of water, nothing is as it seems. Aside from its remarkable reflective ability, all the truly interesting stuff about water is what’s going on under the surface or behind the scenes. Whatever we hear or see, it should be assumed to have a whole universe of emotive precursors behind it. We should ask about these and be prepared to listen and reflect back what we hear. Water is a feminine or Yin element. The alchemical symbol for water is an inverted triangle, representing its nature, which is to move down and inward. We may want to spend less time in outward action and more time going within ourselves. Water has no shape of its own and so takes on the form (earth) of whatever container it encounters. It will be important to have healthy containers and surrender those that are no longer viable. In terms of Aristotelian qualities, water is moist, which means it tends to bring people, places, and things together. We can allow ourselves to be drawn together via these watery currents. Finally, water is the slowest of all the elements to change. So we can cultivate the long view and the patience to go along with it. Since the rest of my analysis will focus on the socio-political realm, I refer the reader in search of a personal take on this subject to an excellent article by a talented colleague of ours, Austin Coppock. (4)

In 2013, we find ourselves in the midst of a series of Uranus-Pluto alignments with the Mercury Elemental year being so watery. It seems logical to look at the last time this happened for some clues as to what’s coming up. This just happens to be 1967, the year of the fabled Summer of Love.
Mercury Tables

Before I go any further, let me be clear that I’m not predicting another wave of hippies spreading peace, love, and music. Far from it. What I am pointing to is the existence of a similar opportunity for a progressive rebellion against the status quo (Uranus-Pluto) to gain new levels of cohesion (Mercury Elemental Year in water). However, one of the main differences between 1967 and 2013 is how the Uranus-Pluto alignments are aspecting the planetary nodes.

Planetary nodes are a very important, and yet underutilized, aspect of modern astrology. Planetary nodes are the places where a planet’s orbit crosses the ecliptic plane. We know that the Equinox points are defined by the places where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic, and these form the very foundations of the tropical zodiac. The places where other bodies cross the ecliptic plane, like the lunar nodes, have also been important to astrology for some time. Just as the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic plane at her North and South Nodes, so do the planets have such crossing points, and they are also very important. Dane Rudhyar said that the planetary nodes represent places where the essential quality of that planet affects the very structure and the roots of our individuality as a member of the human species. (5)

The Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of the 1960’s occurred in mid-Virgo, square to the nodes of Venus, the planet of Love, and Uranus, the planet of Promethean awakenings. (6) By contrast, the current Uranus-Pluto squares are moving into aspect with the nodes of Jupiter (presently at the 11th degree of Cancer/Capricorn). As the greater benefic, Jupiter is generally fortunate and has a similar power to bring people and things together as Venus, but on a more abstract, philosophical, and detached level, like Zeus looking down from Mt Olympus. As a planet, Jupiter also has several moons (and Zeus fathered innumerable children). Jupiter thus represents the procreation of many diverse offspring and/or systems that bring and hold diverse elements together.

I noticed three emerging trends in the news recently that may reflect these themes. The first article I noticed tells us that the housing market appears to finally be on the mend, with new foreclosures the lowest in six years. (7) Since Jupiter is cash and cash flow, and the housing market bubble was the source of the economic downturn, this could suggest a more favorable overall economic outlook than we dared hope for in some time. The other recent news, which matches expectations for Jupiter’s influence on a long-term revolutionary aspect like Uranus-Pluto, is the report by the U.S. Census bureau that projects increasing diversity in the population (8). It is projected that the U.S. is becoming a “minority majority” country more rapidly than we’d previously thought. Non-whites are projected to be a majority by 2043 and will make up nearly 60 percent of the population by 2060. As I outlined in my recent blog for TMA on the 2012 election, this has enormous ramifications for elected officials who steer public policy.

The final theme, and perhaps the most striking, is the morphing of the Occupy movement from tent cities protesting income inequality into an organized effort to help Hurricane Sandy victims and to initiate a “debt resistance” movement (9). Perhaps, as the Mercury retrogrades moved from the element of fire to water, the Occupy movement has moved from having outrage (fire) in common to having compassion for victims and the chains of unfair debt loads. Given their ability to stay relevant during the Mercury Elemental Year transition from fire to water, it could very well be that movements like Occupy will find a new level of cohesion in 2013.

References & Recommended Reading:

(1) “The Synergy of Pallas Athene with Uranus-Pluto,” The Mountain Astrologer, June/July 2012.
Online readers can find a link to view a copy of the article here

Richard Tarnas coined the term “Epochs of Revolution” to describe the archetypal quality of the history surrounding major Uranus-Pluto aspects in his book Cosmos and Psyche. (2006)
Readers who are not acquainted with this epic work can get a preview here

(2) Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, Ibis Press, 2003.

(3) All Mercury Retrogrades are not Created Equal, November 12, 2012:

Erin Sullivan, Retrograde Planets, Weiser, 2000.
Readers who are not acquainted with this classic work can get a preview here

(4) The Astrology of 2013: Ship of Fools by Austin Coppock:

(5) Orbital Astrology and the Nodes by Dane Rudhyar

(6) See here for a list of the current locations of the Planetary Nodes

(7) Yahoo

(8) Yahoo

(9) Occupy Sandy
The Nation

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 23 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993, his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 19 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Gary, I always learn so much from your articles; just wish I’d found this one sooner! I have a Mercury pattern I will have to check out for contact with other planetary nodes, but this 3-chart story starts with the Moon’s nodes in the U.S. (Sibly) Solar Return for 2012.

    In the solar return chart, the North Node was at 4 Sagittarius 32. When Mercury stationed retrograde on Election Day in the U.S. it was at 4 Sagittarius 18. On December 14th, the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Mercury was moving direct and at that same degree of Sagittarius. Both election day and the day of the school shooting, Uranus was trine Mercury and he had just stationed direct on December 13th. My thoughts on this phenomenon are too lengthy for this comment space but the higher octive of Uranus to Mercury seemed to dominate and overwhelm the citizens of the U.S. on that day when 20 children were slaughtered.

    I believe Dane Rudhyar’s description of the Sabian Symbol for this degree, of an old owl sitting on a tree, was most appropriate for the process that these 3 charts symbolize. Speaking of the old owl, he says “His eyes see what men normally fail to perceive.”

    Looking back I see that Pallas-Athene was conjunct Uranus at the time of the U.S Solar Return. She was in a t-square with the Mars-Vesta opposition on Election Day when Mercury went retrograde, and she squared the Sun on December 14th. It was Venus, Ceres and the Moon, as well as Neptune that I found to play a most compelling role in the Sandy Hook chart.

    Venus was sextile the ascendant of that chart and formed a yod with Ceres, the grieving mother. That chart’s ascendant was also conjunct the Moon in the U.S. solar return chart, and they both conjunct the U.S. natal (Sibly) Pluto in Capricorn. As Pluto symbolizes reptilian self-preservation (among other things), I take this pattern to represent the American obsession of gun ownership and an awakening (Uranus-Mercury)of the people (Moon) that will play out over the next several years through the Epoch of Revolution, the Pluto-Uranus squares you speak of.

    Rudhyar tells us that birds symbolize a spiritual presence and I don’t doubt that includes the wise old owl. The U.S. Solar Return chart this year duplicates the 4 points (asc., MH, etc.)of the Sibly natal birth chart that I take as a second chance to get it right. Even the Winter Solstice chart when set for Washington, DC replicates this pattern.

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