What Lies Beneath?
Mercury stations retrograde in the 18th degree of Aquarius at 3:48 pm GMT on 21st January, one day after the Aquarian New Moon. The Sabian Symbol for this degree speaks of unmasking to reveal true motive and intent. There is nowhere to hide as Mercury journeys retrograde in the coming weeks. Deceptions large and small will be revealed whether we like it or not, not to destroy those who perpetuate them (which we all do to some extent) but to provide a wake-up call which both course-corrects and realigns us with truth and authenticity. We will all have the opportunity to look ourselves in the eye and see who’s really looking back at us, before painting on the face we prefer to show the world.
The power of this Mercury retrograde cycle cannot be overestimated. Conjunct the Moon and opposing Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter in Leo, it resolves to pull no punches and take no prisoners. Nor would we want to be held captive, for the promise of this time is that of freedom from the constrictions that our own deceptions and inveiglements perpetuate. We are speaking here not of intricate scams executed to deceive but of the everyday twists and turns we undertake to avoid coming face to face with who and what we truly are. It is time to illuminate our inner world and look around with eyes wide open to all that we see. To recognise that the parts of ourselves we would prefer to avoid are as much who we are as the bits we readily embrace, but we may be so good at the game of pretend even we don’t realise we’re playing it!
Identity is an issue here: emotional investment in the person we perceive ourselves to be. It’s time to look at the labels we choose for ourselves and why they mean so much. Whether spiritual, political, religious or otherwise, we all adopt them and they can be useful to identify our allegiance in a complex world. But all too often these labels become an identity invested with increasing significance as time passes. How does it feel to drop them, to be label free and simply ourselves for a while? How does it feel to fade into the background, not defined as anything or anyone? How does it feel to drop even our own name and become a nobody: nameless, without identity or substance; empty of meaning?
It is just such an experience that labels and identities seek to avoid. Few things are more unsettling than the feeling of being completely pointless, of no significance to anyone or anything. Inconsequential. Everyone seeks purpose to give life and its ups and downs meaning. It is human nature to do so. But right now the cosmos seeks to blow all that apart so we can experience what lies beneath the ‘I am this, that or the other’ to discover the ‘I AM’ which sustains everything without fuss or fanfare. To embrace so fully our chosen identity we must necessarily cast a blind eye to that in us which doesn’t fit the image. Therein lies the most fundamental deception. In fact we are all things. No one is completely consistent within and without. It is the tension of paradox and the oftentimes absurdity of the human condition which propels us onward in life, seeking answers, meaning and wisdom sufficient to accommodate all that we are. On route we settle for less than authenticity and truth in an attempt to fit in, be acceptable to ourselves or others and garner a sense of meaning and purpose. We become alternative versions of ourselves at different points on the journey into wholeness, but ultimately peace lies at the point where we can be everything and nothing, simply alive and resonant with the energy which ebbs and flows through all things. To identify requires separation: ‘me over here being this and you over there being different’. To drop identification allows true connection beyond the false barriers we build between ourselves and others.
This retrograde passage of Mercury requires a willingness to be nothing in order to be all that we are. It exhorts us to release our most cherished identities, even for just a while, to experience what lies beneath. The more we emotionally invest in notions of ‘I am this type of person living this kind of life’ the more we are likely to trip over our own identity in the coming weeks, not because we are wilfully lying about who we are, but because we are inevitably so much more than any label can allow us to be. The radiant and universal heart is neither augmented nor diminished by identification. It simply cannot be defined in terms that satisfy the human mind so remains outside of our awareness as long as we unwittingly adopt and perpetuate identities which do. In the coming weeks we can step out of the need to be someone, into the sacred field which connects us with all things and renders separation non-existent. When life subsequently demands that we pick up identity again, as it will inevitably do, we can do so with less emotional investment, less energetic striving, secure in the knowing that any self perception is a pale reflection of the vastness of the divine which forms our very essence.
Enjoy this time of Mercury retrograde. Let your self fall away. You’ll be so much more alive for having done so.