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May 21st :: Mercury’s Exterior Conjunction with the Sun in Gemini


Today, May 21st, Gemini Season begins as the Sun leaves Taurus to enter the airy zodiac sign of the twins!

But that’s not what I’m here to write about today. Interestingly Gemini Season launches with Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, entering Gemini at the same time.

In other words, there is an exterior Sun-Mercury conjunction occurring at 0 degrees Gemini (sometimes called a cazimi) – and this is what I previously promised I would discuss when it arrived. I’m increasingly really fascinated by Mercury and Venus’ synodic cycles and have been researching them for a while. My hypotheses are still in development though!

My research question is something like this:

How do the shifting relationships in space between the Sun, Earth, and Mercury, and the uniquely different phases of Mercury’s synodic cycle, contribute to the standard astrological interpretation of a Sun-Mercury conjunction where the symbolism of the two bodies are merely combined?

During a cazimi transit (when Mercury and the Sun are conjunct within the same degree, or within 16 astro-minutes of each other) Mercury is said to “be in the heart of the Sun”, or to “have the ear of the king (aka, the Sun)”. It’s generally considered a very positive position for Mercury and everything that falls within Mercury’s domain, although, I’ve also heard people sometimes describe this transit of Mercury across the center of the Sun as being “in the eye of the storm”, and that strikes me as particularly apt for the exterior conjunction especially.

Straightforward Sun + Mercury interpretations still work (e.g. important encounters and conversations, good ideas, motivation for communication and travel related tasks or paperwork, taking action on the options presented….), and yet personally I don’t always experience these transits as light and as positively as they are often described (especially the exterior conjunction/cazimi).

These Sun-Mercury cazimis can definitely speak to a breakthrough moment – but oftentimes it’s a breakthrough that arrives after a test, challenge, or tension.

When interpreting the combination of the Sun and Mercury as is, simply merging the two archetypes and themes, the correlations are easy to see for sure.

But lately I’ve gotten curious about incorporating greater nuance and dynamism into these interpretations by reflecting on Mercury’s movement and cycle phase in the sky.

My apologies for repeating myself a bit, as I integrate past material and contextualize the transit (which actually in itself is very reflective of this transit!), but if you want to read the entire previous post about Mercury’s synodic cycle and interior conjunctions, you can check out my post from March.

Most astrologers agree that Mercury’s synodic cycle begins at moment of interior conjunction with the Sun during Mercury’s retrograde period (i.e. when Mercury is between the Sun and the Earth – see image above).

May 21st is the midpoint of the current Mercury synodic cycle that began on March 14th, 2019 with an interior Sun-Mercury conjunction at 24 degrees Pisces. Symbolically, the interior conjunction on March 14th was like Mercury’s equivalent of a new moon phase and its related themes of new beginnings. In contrast, symbolically, Mercury’s exterior conjunction on May 21st (i.e. with Mercury on the other side of the Sun) is similar to the full moon culminating point.

Do you see any connections between the two dates, March 14th and May 21st?

Is there something that was conceived around March 14th that is now being tested or refined in some way as we reach the exterior conjunction?

How do the conjunctions (in Pisces and Gemini respectively) make sense for you based on the themes of the natal houses they activated in your chart?

Each Mercury synodic cycle is about 4 months long (or ~116 days) with the interior and exterior conjunctions alternating every two months as Mercury orbits the Sun. The current Mercury cycle will conclude (and restart) on July 21st, 2019 at 28 degrees Cancer with an interior conjunction during the next Mercury retrograde period.


It’s easy to overlook the difference between the two conjunctions, 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 was closest to the Earth, in front of the Sun, with no interference between us (see first image).

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 (like the one occurring TODAY, on May 21st) 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)

In ancient times, the Sun was considered to be a cosmic reflection of the King.

At the time of 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 and again on July 21st) 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 far away from us, behind the Sun?

The exterior conjunction could have about a 48 hour span of relevance; exact on May 21st, but applicable from ~May 20th – 22nd.

These are some of my observations and reflections, based on what I’ve noticed during other exterior Sun-Mercury conjunctions…




Personally, the exterior conjunctions have always been more outwardly eventful and noteworthy for me compared to the interior conjunctions, but I’m not sure that is generalizable. I will continue to reflect on the differences between the two types of Mercurial conjunctions.

The interior conjunction during Mercury’s retrograde period can also grab a megaphone… as it transitions us from one Mercury cycle to the next, marking an ending and a new beginning.

As I noted previously, on a global scale, during the last interior conjunction around March 14th, Mercury showed up vividly – Facebook, and Instagram were very glitchy with prolonged outages; the college admissions scandal in the United Sates was exposed; Boeing grounded their entire fleet of Max airplanes on March 13th, thereby creating major travel backlogs after a tragic plane accident in Ethiopia a few days prior; there was a highly publicized Brexit-related vote; and there was a horrific white supremacist terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Sun and Mercury cazimis can bring many good things forward into the light, but I think it may depend on the content that Mercury carries in a particular person or situation. IF Mercurial thoughts, intentions, beliefs, and programming, are really positive and good, then bringing them into the light will be cause for celebration.

Conversely, if they are contaminated, broken or problematic in some way, bringing Mercurial content out of hiding into the light of the Sun, which is charged with the energetic capacity and motivation for action, could be shocking or challenging. The Sun could illuminate some matter that needs to be addressed, fixed, resolved.


For example, I believe Boeing has now resolved the software issue with their airplanes, but it is awful that it was a crash that brought the technological issue to their attention and made them take action to fix it. The tech error (Mercury) certainly decimated their reputation in the industry (Sun), and they are now trying to redeem themselves in the public eye.

I have also observed that these cazimis (interior or exterior) sometimes align with acts of violence that result in public headlines discussing the impact of poisonous political, social, and religious rhetoric shaping people’s perception, thoughts, and beliefs (Mercury) and their consequent actions (Sun).

The harmful and destructive potential of our thoughts and words is important to illuminate, publicly highlight, and address – but it is not okay that it is often the shock of violence that forces these conversations into the mainstream.

It is worth pointing out that as we arrive at today’s exterior conjunction, the culmination of the Mercurial synodic cycle that began on March 14th, it is being reported that the perpetrator of the Christchurch tragedy who is facing 51 counts of murder, has just been charged for engaging in a terrorist act (this is the first time someone has been charged under this act in New Zealand’s history).

With the exterior conjunctions in particular, the Sun, a symbol of power often associated with ancient kings, authority figures and government, is in charge here. The New Zealand shooter is being held accountable by the country’s legislation.

In response to my Instagram story question I posted many months ago regarding events of the last exterior conjunction on January 29th  (@ 9 degrees Aquarius), some of the responses I received included:

someone’s boss (Sun) forcing employees to travel to work (Mercury) despite cold weather shutting the state down; fights with siblings and several strange manipulative encounters with exes (symbolized by Mercury); emergency construction on the street (Mercury governs everything related to daily travel) in front of someone’s apartment with jackhammers for 24 hours straight (aggressively making street issues public – Sun); energetic singing outbursts (Sun) from roommate (Mercury); tech and stock market issues (an inhibited Mercury); having a (really good) therapy session in the dark because the electricity was out (still pondering the symbolism of this, but it’s an interesting example of working with the hidden parts of the psyche buried behind the Sun/ego!)

As I mentioned before, at the previous culminating point of Mercury’s synodic cycle on January 29th with the exterior conjunction, 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 a variety of creative projects in ways in which I felt rather taken for granted. I love these people, but it was an odd culminating moment where they all asked at once, each one with an urgent deadline.

At the beginning of that synodic cycle with the interior conjunction a couple months prior, I had begun working on my own personal creative projects in new ways. Now at this culmination point I had to reach deep (reaching past the Sun) to access the power of my voice (Mercury) and assert some boundaries so I could invest in my own projects!

It did feel a bit like a test – how strong was my desire to develop my own creative projects?

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. That’s one of the potential gifts that can emerge from the exterior conjunction – precisely because there is an element of testing, tension and struggle creating a catalyst for growth.

Additionally, within 24 hours of the exterior conjunction in group-oriented Aquarius on January 29th, I had someone write me to request that I remove their contact information from a post where they were listed as the volunteer coordinator for a group on a website I manage, because they had recently accepted a job where this position would complicate their employment in the same field.

At the same time, I also was notified by an umbrella association, under which I co-chair a volunteer network, that I needed to change the handle on the network’s email so that it would not be confused with being the email of a paid staff member of the association.

This was interesting to me since both requests speak to a dynamic where clarifying Sun themes were highlighted – where outward presentation, appropriate role designation, and proper formality took precedence over convenience in the realm of communication (i.e. Sun positioned in-between the Earth and Mercury with the exterior conjunction).

The Sun rules Leo, and similar to this zodiac sign, the Sun (an authority symbol) can be very conscious and concerned with how it is perceived, regardless of the sign it is in.


Those are my some of my reflections on the recent Mercury interior and exterior conjunctions. I’m still digesting the quality of this moment in time as we navigate the current culminating conjunction point at 0 degrees Gemini, but I have some thoughts already.

A couple small examples:

Yesterday I was finishing up an instructional drawing book I’ve been working through (titled “Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain”). The last exercise is to draw a self-portrait to compare to the self-portrait I drew two years ago when I first started working through the book. I see the relevance to the Sun-Mercury exterior conjunction in that I was wrapping up my work with the book (an exterior conjunction culminating point), I was drawing and copying (Mercury) my physical reflection (Sun), assessing how accurate it was in imitating the original template (my face – Sun in front of Mercury), and comparing it to a previous drawing (reflective of the twinned nature of Gemini).

I’m an incessantly restless Gemini-Moon person and I often use fidgets to help me stay focused when I need to do sustained desk work. I have high standards for fidgets (a Gemini/Mercury phenomenon for surrre), and I recently emailed the toy supplier to find out where to get more of a particular wire fidget I’m obsessed with (ironically called “the celestial orb” 🙂 ) – they told me today that they no longer sell them! My favourite Mercurial fidget has been replaced by fancier, flashier toys  (Sun overwhelming Mercury).

Here’s some other Mercurial-Sun stories I’ve observed so far in the past 36 hours in my life and around me…


    • being offered an apartment and submitting official acceptance
    • in another situation, trying to decide how to tell a roommate one is moving out, without causing conflict
    • communicating a difficult diagnosis to family members
    • in another case, suspecting a cancer diagnosis when called in to the doctor’s to review test results – only to find out that the test results showed everything was fine
    • sibling confrontation after building tension
    • supporting a roommate through a life crisis
    • reconnecting and clearing the air with a friend after an extended, confusing time of distance
    • finding an ideal job opportunity in education, yet needing to monitor the energetic capacity for commitments
    • under a deadline to confirm which 100 applicants will be chosen for an event, by the end of the day
    • officially transferring the ownership of a vehicle from parent to son via legal paperwork as part of a “gifting” process
    • in another situation, realizing a recent vehicle purchase had overstretched the budget
    • an inner struggle related to adherence to long-standing religious beliefs and their outward expression

(*Mercury’s realm includes communication, paperwork, education, siblings, roommates, friends, cars and modes of travel)


What have you noticed?


If Mercury’s exterior conjunction is bringing up some external or internal tension in your life, here are some reflective questions you could try…


  • Whose voices are not being heard? What voices need to be amplified? In what ways do we need to be more assertive with our communication? In what ways do we need to deepen our listening?
  • What voices are defensively ego-driven and making so much noise there is no room for anyone else?
  • In what ways are we afraid to make our thoughts and ideas heard and visible? In what ways do we doubt the value of what we have to share? How can we courageously come out of hiding and encourage others to do so?
  • What deep-seated beliefs and worldviews need to be re-evaluated?
  • Are our thoughts and beliefs harmoniously aligned with our actions, or is there an uncomfortable dissonance between the two? How can this be directly remedied or addressed?
  • What is our relationship to authority/parental figures and symbols in our lives? When do they deserve our respect and obedience, and when should we retrieve our freedom, power and control?
  • Is there a conflict of interest situation emerging, and if so, how do we ethically navigate it?
  • When is protocol, formality, and matters of reputation and representation appropriate, and when is it cumbersome and inhibiting?
  • What needs to be said, what information needs to be brought into the light, so that clarification or reconciliation can occur?
  • What arrangements can be mutually agreed upon in a complex situation where there is disagreement or competing needs and desires? Where is reasonable compromise beneficial?
  • How can we carefully mend, what the Sun has revealed to be in need of repair?


I hope you all survived that emotionally exhausting Scorpio full moon last weekend… and that you find fresh courage to steadily climb that Capricorn long-game mountain of gritty, Pluto-Saturn transformation… and I pray today’s Sun-Mercury cazimi showed up in your life with iridescent, brilliant, break-through clarity!



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