Mercury’s New Synodic Cycle Begins on March 14th
Venus and Mercury are unique in that their orbits are inside the Earth’s orbit, closer to the Sun. Aside from the Earth’s Moon, they are the only planets that can come between the Earth and the Sun in an interior conjunction.
These interior conjunctions with the Sun occur fairly regularly. We see it happen about 12 times a year with the Moon (conjunctions which we refer to as “New Moons”). It occurs approximately 3 times a year for Mercury, and once every 1.5 years for Venus.
The Sun and Venus are never more than 48 degrees apart (never more than 2 signs away from each other), and the Sun and Mercury are never more than 28 degrees from each other (Mercury will only ever be in the same sign as the Sun, or in the sign before or after). (*some differing opinions on this out there – fact check me if you have alternative degree parameters from solid sources!)
It is impossible to have a Sun-Mercury square, or a Sun-Venus opposition in an astrological chart. And Mercury and Venus, unlike other planets, experience both an interior and exterior conjunction with the Sun (other planets, excluding the Moon, only experience exterior conjunctions with the Sun).
Therefore, Mercury and Venus are intimately associated with the Sun. They travel together with our core essence and life-giving purposeful urges (the Sun), holding sway over personal human realms of experience such as perception, learning, thinking, communicating, relating, connecting, attraction, love, pleasure and money.
On March 14th, Mercury will be halfway through its retrograde period, which is demarcated by the interior conjunction with the Sun. Many astrologers consider this to be the beginning of Mercury’s next ~116 day synodic cycle (roughly 4 months).
Symbolically, what does it mean that Mercury experiences both an interior and exterior conjunction with the Sun? How are the two conjunctions different from each other, archetypally? How might we experience them differently here on Earth?
I’ve been reflecting on these questions so much over the last 6 months – especially since I live with an exact Mercury-Sun interior conjunction in Pisces in my natal chart, within two degrees of today’s interior conjunction.
I used to think of the interior and exterior conjunctions in the same way. It’s easy to dismiss the difference between them, because from the perspective of an astro chart, they look nearly the same – except that the interior conjunction only occurs during a retrograde so you’ll see the rx symbol beside the Sun-Mercury conjunction when this occurs.
But if you zoom out for a perspective from outer space, the two conjunctions are entirely different. During the interior conjunction on March 14th, Mercury is closest to the Earth, in front of the Sun, with no interference between us.
Mercury has a diameter of 4,879 km. The Sun has a diameter of 1,392 million km.
That is a ginormous difference in size.
So in contrast, during an exterior conjunction let’s imagine we’re here on Earth having a conversation with Mercury the messenger, and then the Sun gets in the way.
Like, the Sun REALLY gets in the way.
It’s like trying to have a conversation with a small child when the 1970’s Mr. Universe winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, walks in-between us, flexing. (Arnold, incidentally is a Sun-ruled Leo, of course)
At the time of both the interior and exterior conjunction, Mercury is invisible in the sky to the naked eye, but with the exterior conjunction, Mercury is truly quite far away on the other side of the Sun, whereas with the interior conjunction (occurring on March 14th) Mercury is very close to us.
If Mercury symbolizes our thought processes, our communications, and the power of language and information, what does this mean to have Mercury so near?
One thing is clear, Mercury’s typical tricks have certainly intensified in a big way over the last few days as we neared the March 14th conjunction.
For example, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram (arguably the most dominant social media tools) were erratically, frustratingly glitchy and experiencing off and on outages throughout Wednesday, March 13th (and continuing today from what I can tell). Everyday communicative social media is Mercury’s domain.
In the last 48 hours, acquaintances realized that they would have to cancel $5000 worth of tickets for a family vacation to Florida because at the last minute they realized the father’s passport had expired (Mercury is ruler of travel details and modes of travel).
Luckily they were able to get credit for the tickets, but when they went to make other flight plans during this very busy travel time (students’ march break)… they ran into the backed-up mess that has erupted since Boeing suddenly grounded their entire fleet of 737 Max airplanes on March 13th in Canada and the U.S., out of concern that there may be something faulty in the design following two crashes earlier this year.
Thousands of people and their travel plans are potentially affected by this disruption and delays due to reduced airline capacity during a very busy season – but safety is important!
Randomly, in Ontario on Tuesday, March 12th, a small plane overshot the runway [Mercury/Jupiter] and crashed onto the highway, nearly skewering a vehicle on the road (everyone survived thankfully!).
In Britain on Wednesday, March 13th, “after a day of high drama, lawmakers [Mercury/Jupiter] defied the government [the Sun] by voting 321 to 278 in favour of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances.” (CBC News)
Securing deals and contracts are Mercury’s cup of tea.
And then, also on Wednesday, it came to the public’s attention that rich celebrities and other highly privileged folks, had been bribing University coaches and staff to get their kids into top schools in the U.S. (Mercury rules learning, as well as cheating, and the Sun-Mercury conjunction is square to Jupiter in Sagittarius, which is associated with universities as well as abundant wealth and fame).
This involved the exchange of money, as well as manipulating test scores, and photo-shopping the heads of the young applicants on to the bodies of top athletes (some Mars-Neptune absurdity?!).
Interestingly it seemed in many cases, the kids and future students themselves didn’t realize that their rich parents were pulling strings behind the scenes. Arguably the Sun (and Jupiter) could signify the rich, famous parents as well as institutional authority figures, while Mercury could signify the students and the admissions process.
In the case of the university bribing scandal, the grounded planes, and the expired passport, some very important information came to light and decisions were made, based on this new information.
What does this mean in regards to Mercury’s interior conjunction on March 14th? I feel I need to experience and observe a few more Mercury cycles at least, to begin tracking patterns unique to either the interior or the exterior conjunction.
However, the beginning of any life cycle, any cosmic cycle, commences on the deathbed of the previous one. Beginnings follow endings. New growth follows decay and disintegration.
What is wrapping up in your life, and what is beginning? In what ways have you acquired new insight and inspiration that you can now apply to Mercury’s next trip around the Sun?
Perhaps this heightened Mercury retrograde craziness around the end of a synodic cycle is highlighting what needs to be fixed, what can no longer be hidden… so that we may go forward into the next cycle with greater clarity and direction.
The dross of Mercury’s prior cycle, the contamination and pollution it acquired while traveling, are being burned away by the Sun’s fire in an alchemical purifying act.
Pay attention to the 48 hours surrounding this auspicious interior Sun-Mercury conjunction! What time is it occurring for you? You can find out the exact time for your region using planetwatcher.com.
Be receptive to the guidance and messages the Universe wants to deliver to you, but also, be active in your co-creation and intention-setting. What type of Mercurial journey do you hope to embark on over the next 4 months?
In about a week or so, Mercury will join Venus, visible in the morning sky, calling in the Sunrise (i.e. “the helical rise”). Here we will see Mercury’s new cycle released from the birthing process as the synodic seeds grow and manifest above the soil.
I’ll speak more to the exterior conjunction when we next arrive there on May 21st, 2019, but on a personal level, what I noticed from the last synodic cycle was that at the interior conjunction on November 27, 2018, I began really investing into new creative projects and artistic endeavors in the wake of releasing my regular posting on Lilith Rebellion.
And then, at the culminating point of the previous synodic cycle (the exterior conjunction), on January 29th, 2019, I had a really bizarre 36 hours where I received six different requests from a wide variety of people (some of whom I hadn’t heard from in over a year), asking for my immediate help and assistance with their creative projects. It was uncanny.
I had to reach deep (reaching past the Sun) to access the power of my voice (Mercury)! It was a frustrating couple of days where I felt taken for granted as a resource machine (I love and appreciate the people involved, but it was very strange timing).
It was through this challenge and struggle (really, because of it), that I gained a lot of clarity and successfully reclaimed my voice, grounded myself in my worth, and prioritized my direction via setting boundaries and becoming more comfortable with saying no to external pressure.
So that’s what the synodic story arc looked like for me! There are other variables involved though- the conjunction was in my 6th house in an exact degree aspect to my tight Chiron-Saturn-Venus configuration and globally, there was a Mars-Pluto square building I believe (with its associated power struggles) – so I need to do more real life research!
Now, with this interior conjunction occurring right next to my natal interior Mercury-Sun conjunction… I’m wondering what’s next!
I believe the interior conjunctions are often quieter than the exterior conjunctions (much like a New Moon), and we may only recognize their correlations in retrospect… but stay open to what is being burned away and seeded in your life as we pass through this holy chamber, as Demetra George calls it.
Tuesday morning (March 12th) I was up at 4 am to take this cutie to the airport to send her across the country to live with her real (human) mom, while Mercury was closing in on its interior conjunction with the Sun in my 8th house of shared resources and energy.
This sweet dog has been living with us for a year now and I have become so accustomed to her curious and warm presence in the house. I will miss her so – I already do! But I’m relieved that she arrived safely and that she is providing some much needed companionship.
I generally associate Taurus with farm animals (especially cows), Sagittarius with wild animals (especially horses), and Mercury with house pets and domesticated animals, although its not often discussed.
I see this association as relevant both through Mercury’s sign Gemini, as well as Virgo.
With Gemini, the sign of the twins and siblings, we have the image of a pet as a friend and a constant playful companion.
If I remember correctly it was Steven Forrest, who referred to Mercury as the Sun’s buddy and sidekick because of their close proximity.
Through the sign of Virgo, I can see the dedication to caring for a dependent animal, and the need to maintain a consistent daily routine of care-giving that involves both food and perhaps regular walks (for a dog).
Furthermore, Virgo is the sign of health and wellness, and animals can have a profound healing impact on their fellow humans.
I was phobic of dogs as a child (well, I was phobic of just about everything), but now I couldn’t imagine my life without a dog! They’ve been there as vital support when I’m in the throes of a panic attack, or in the depths of depression.
I know I’m not the only one.
Where would we be without dogs, cats, birds, etc.? For many people, the beloved animal in their life offers more potent medicine than any therapist or treatment could provide. They are often safer companions than humans because of their acceptance and non-judgement.
So much gratitude for these Mercurial friends!
Have you noticed natal placements or transits involving Mercury, aligning with animal-related tendencies or events?