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Mercury Retrograde In Leo: Reorientation Of Self-Expression & Aspirations

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Mercury began the latest edition of its retrograde process today.

  • Reflect On:

    How you can use this time to tap into the deeper purpose of Mercury retrograde discussed in this article.

Mercury began the latest edition of its retrograde process on July 25th/26th, which will last until August 18th/19th. In the weeks and especially days leading up to it, known as the ‘pre-shadow period’, we start to notice its influence as Mercury slows down and comes to a stop before moving the other way. This specific retrograde is happening during Mars Retrograde and during eclipse season with a very potent Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius occurring less than 2 days after this retrograde begins. You can find my content about those here.

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If you have read my previous Mercury retrograde articles, the first two sections of this article are nearly the same and you can skip to the third section if you don’t want to re-read all the general themes associated with these periods. The other sections are more specific to this edition of it.

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Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Some people even get headaches near the beginning of it. We could experience some challenges, misunderstandings, and errors around our communications, numbers/details, and commerce, as well as changes, cancellations, or delays in our schedules. We may also feel more challenged when we are doing excessive analytical work without using our internal guidance.

Although there is a higher probability of experiencing more of these problems during this time, they won’t necessarily apply to every situation. Some people may not notice these energies as much, depending on what types of things they are doing and how the astrology is playing out unique to the person’s astrological blueprint.

Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to revisit or redo tasks, projects, ideas, or anything else that was initiated in the past. It can give us a different perspective or shift in thinking that can help us to approach these things in ways we wouldn’t have done so before. This may also be a period of reconnecting with old friends, family, sometimes lovers, or others you haven’t seen in a while.

The Deeper Purpose of Mercury Retrograde

Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to recalibrate our minds and certain areas of our lives. It is a period in which we may receive important insights and see things in a new light. In most cases it can be mildly transformational, but in some cases it can facilitate more major transformations depending on how it corresponds to your personal astrological chart.

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During and following the retrograde, certain areas of our lives can go through changes or shifts, or we can experience a reorientation of some sort. In the 2 weeks afterwards, known as the ‘post-shadow’ period, we move forward with some sort of new awareness and adjustment.

The things that you have been doing or circumstances in the two to three weeks leading up to this period could determine how and where this energy plays out. It is also possible that there could have been changes put in place at that time which may go through a sorting out process during this time. Perhaps in that period there could have been unknown variables, both positive and negative, that were either unseen or hadn’t been conceived yet, which may become apparent over the coming weeks.

The sign(s) and element(s) in which Mercury retrograde travels shows the energy we are re-orienting ourselves with. Also, to go with that, if you are more familiar with your natal astrology chart, your house(s) or any planetary placements being affected will show more specifically what areas of life you will be experiencing its energy in. For the astrologically literate, it began at 23 degrees of Leo and will retrograde all the way to 11 degrees of the same sign, before turning forward again.

This One Is Occurring In Leo, Part of A Series In Fire Signs

Mercury retrograde always occurs in one element for more than a year. It is currently occurring in the Fire element which is about passion, creativity, instinct, inspiration, assertiveness, courage, confidence, and spirit.

This Fire period is about re-aligning ourselves with these themes and expressing them in new or revamped ways. This ‘Fire process’ began in the spring of 2017 as it was transitioning out of Earth signs, with the first Mercury Retrograde to be completely in Fire occurring last December.

This one is more specific to a reorientation around Leo themes, which is about heart centred self-expression, creativity, radiating love, and influence. It is the performer, the leader, the creator, and seeks to find joy in expressing itself in those ways. It is about vitality and also rules children, fun, and romance. It can be courageous and generous.

Expressed negatively, Leo energy can also be egotistical, dramatic, and demanding of attention or respect. This sign at its highest expression is about shining in our own authentic way and inspiring others. The North Node, the next Solar Eclipse (and previous eclipses) are also in Leo which emphasizes a push towards the themes of this sign.

Mercury Retrograde Square Jupiter In Scorpio

One of the most prominent aspects of this specific Mercury retrograde is its square with Jupiter in Scorpio. Jupiter recently began moving forward on July 10th after being retrograde since March 8th. Since then, we may have begun to move forward with Jupiter themes which could include education, travel, exploration, beliefs, or anything to do with marketing, publishing.

With Mercury retrograde in a square to Jupiter, some of the Leo related adjustments could be connected to any of these things. For example, we could be sorting out some of this stuff or making plans, adjustments. Perhaps following your hearts desires around travel, education to help you be a better leader in your field, or using your creative expression for marketing or publishing. These are just some examples. We need to be cautious that this aspect can also make us scattered and more easily overlook details. However, it can also be a time of tremendous learning which can aid in the insightful process of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury Retrograde Timeline

*Below, are some of the dates and information for some of the major astrological configurations during this retrograde. However, I also regularly post about other astro energies happening on my social media via Instagram and Facebook, you can follow those platforms for more forecast content.

Earlier dates are for those in Western part of the world and later dates for those in the East.

July 25th/26thMercury begins its retrograde at 5:03 am on July 26th Universal Time. The days surrounding this period are a time in which complications may be amplified, but you may also start to get a better sense of the themes for you which may have been building up since July 7th.

July 27th/28th Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius conjunct Mars and Square Uranus. This is a bit of an intense eclipse which could come with surprises, anger, impulsive or rebellious actions, or perhaps things breaking apart. At best it can be liberating. However, not everyone will notice its energies right away, and parts of it it could even manifest in the weeks/months following. Some of the stuff connected to this eclipse could be about letting go of what is not serving us to help us step more into the Leo energies that we need to embody more as pointed out by Mercury, the North Node, and next Solar Eclipse.

August 1st/2ndMars retrograde square Uranus. We may notice the Lunar eclipse energies mentioned above very strongly at this time.

August 4th/5th Mercury quincunx Pluto. Circumstances around power, control, desires, deep issues, secrets, or shadow qualities of ourselves or others may create challenges at this time.

August 7th/8th Uranus goes retrograde. The weeks surrounding when Uranus goes retrograde is when we notice its energies the most, and especially in this case with the Lunar Eclipse and Mars triggering it. Issues and developments surrounding originality, freedom, innovation, technology,  along with some of the stuff mentioned above are strong at this time. Instability can also be a theme for some. It is in Taurus so we may notice some these energies or perhaps other shifts around possessions, money, physical things, food, and values.

August 8th/9th Mercury conjunct the Sun, with Moon in Cancer forming a grand trine with Jupiter and Neptune. This is that halfway point of Mercury retrograde and can be a period of increased insights yet complications can also be stronger at this time depending on how you are applying yourself. Ideas and thoughts that are seeded now may develop over the coming months. This can be a time of heightened intuition, compassion, increased passion, emotional connection, spiritual growth, and expansive developments.

August 9th/10thMercury quincunx Neptune. Confusion, delusion, deception, flakiness, and in some cases tiredness or lack of energy may create challenges at this time.

August 10th-12thSolar Eclipse in Leo conjunct Mercury, both Square Jupiter. The energies of this eclipse accentuates the Leo themes and ‘Mercury square Jupiter’ themes mentioned earlier in this article. The effects of Solar Eclipses influence the following 6 months, however, we have been experiencing Leo eclipses since last year and has been almost a process lasts in a total of more than 1.5 years. I will be putting out more content about it when we get closer to it. You can join my mailing list here to be notified when I release new work.

August 18th-20thMercury sextile Venus, Jupiter Trine Neptune, and Mercury Goes Direct. Mercury ends its retrograde with a few pleasant aspects happening simultaneously.  Firstly, Mercury is in a sextile with Venus in Libra which excellent for developments or enjoyable occurrences around relationships, love, social lives, money, creative expression, or any aesthetic applications. Jupiter is in a sextile with Neptune which has been building up in the week leading up to this and is still present in the week following. This may accentuate the creative energies of Leo, and also has similar themes previously mentioned under ‘August 8th/9th’. With Mercury beginning to move forward now and Mars also ending its retrograde 8 days later, things will begin to move more smoothly and with greater clarity over the coming weeks.

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Looking for insight on how this period is affecting you? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. Join my MAILING LIST here to be notified of my upcoming astrology articles and other content.

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Our Biology Responds To Events Before They Even Happen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.

Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that.  After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)

The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.

It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.

For example, a study (meta analysis) published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.

Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).

As HMI explains:

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The Results

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)

It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)

The Takeaway

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.

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Consciousness

Studies Show That Writing In A Journal Can Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being

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If you have read any of my previous articles, you may already know that I am a huge advocate of keeping a journal, or diary or notebook – whichever term you like best to describe the act of writing out your thoughts on paper, or if you prefer, typing them out on a screen.

Personally, journaling is something that has helped me get through some really tough times in my life and is also a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

Scientific Evidence To Prove How Journaling Helps

Psychologists from the University of California were able to investigate the effect of journaling by inviting 20 volunteers to visit the lab for a brain scan before asking them to write for 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Half of the participants wrote about a fairly recent emotional experience, while the other half of the participants wrote about something neutral.

Those who chose to write about an emotional experience showed more activity in the part of the brain called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. In turn, this relaxed neural activity that is linked to strong emotional feelings.

According to Lieberman, men seemed to benefit from writing about their feelings more so than women, and writing by hand seemed to have a bigger effect than typing on a keyboard. That’s an interesting note: could men benefit from journaling more because in general they tend to keep their feelings to themselves? A journal can certainly act as a safe space for emotionally deprived men to vent.

“Men tend to show greater benefits and that is a bit counterintuitive. But the reason might be that women more freely put their feelings into words, so this is less of a novel experience for them. For men it’s more of a novelty,” Lieberman said.

Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.

A study conducted in 2013 found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes a day journaling for three days in a row before a scheduled medical biopsy were fully healed 11 days later. On the other hand, 58% of the control group had not yet recovered. The study concluded that just one hour of writing about a distressing event helped the participants to better understand the events and reduce stress levels.

Lead researcher on expressive writing at the University of Texas and author of Writing To Heal, James W. Pennebaker, has found that by translating our experiences into our own language by writing it out, we are able to make the experience more comprehendible.

Pennebaker says: “Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are — our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves…writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”

The Most Efficient Way To Cope With A Big Life Change Is To Journal

Journaling will help you to get over a break-up or cope with other up and down relationships in your life. While it may seem to be overanalyzing, studies have shown that venting about a past relationship actually helps to speed up emotional recovery and can help build a stronger sense of self-identity following a break-up. I don’t know about you, but this is something that I wish I would have done after break-ups that leave you feeling lost and like you don’t know who you are anymore.

By venting I don’t mean to your friends. While this certainly can help, the act of writing, with a pen or pencil, will provide you with the most health benefits.

“Writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert, told Fast Company. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit, and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

Journaling Can Provide Long-Term Benefits

Journaling helps you to cope with the experience at hand but it can also help to prepare you to face similar experiences in the future.

“Journal therapy is all about using personal material as a way of documenting an experience, and learning more about yourself in the process,” Kathleen Adams, a psychotherapist and author of Journal to the Self, told the Huffington Post. “It lets us say what’s on our minds and helps us get — and stay — healthy through listening to our inner desires and needs.”

The process of journaling allows you to get to know yourself through your feelings and experiences. It’s just plain and simply writing out your feelings. This is different than just thinking because it is more streamline; you aren’t going back and forth or writing the same thing down over and over again.

You can start right now, or the next time you’re feeling particularly stressed about something. It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined! Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to look back at the big events that happened in your life in 20 years or longer and see how you were able to deal with the situations? It could even provide you with some insight on how to handle situations you are faced with in the future.

We are constantly being faced with challenges. This is what life is all about, but our reactions to those challenges is what defines who we are. Are we strong and capable or are we weak and playing a victim? The choice is ours!

Much Love

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Consciousness

Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says

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Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

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