Living in Season
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My Season: Summer in Seattle
When I relayed this story at a housewarming party I attended, one of the women present who runs the local farmers markets said that everything is six weeks early: cherries, peaches, tomatoes, lettuce. We all wondered what this would mean for the end of the summer while we looked forward to the early arrival of vegetables and fruits we usually dont taste until late summer.
I wonder if it is Spring where you are, and how that smells?
Living in Season: Mercury Retrograde
Heres how it works: Two or three times a year, the planet Mercury appears to move backward, from our perspective on earth. I cant tell you if this is actually visible in the sky, as I rarely see Mercury (one of the disadvantages of living in a big city where light pollution clouds the night sky and in Seattle, we often have clouds as well). An old encyclopedia of astrology explained the apparent retrograde motion of the planets (which cant really move backwards) by comparing it that illusion you sometimes get when youre looking out the window of a fast train and seeing the slower train on a parallel track which appears to be moving backwards.
For astrologers, this backwards motion is called retrograde and indicates that there may be some glitches in the areas governed by the planet Mercury, particularly transportation and communication. I dont expect things to go smoothly while Mercury is retrograde and, perhaps because of this expectation, I often find evidence to support this notion. In April of 2004, when Mercury was retrograde, my car overheated and a spambot sent infected attachments of my entire mailing list. At the time, my web host was out of town so we basically shut down the list for several days before he came back and set up new controls to prevent this from happening again. During the last Mercury retrograde in December, my computer slowed to a crawl under an onslaught of spyware and adware. Granted, these things happen all the time, but the repercussions were most noticeable during the retrograde periods.
Some astrologers issue stern warnings about Mercury retrograde. You are advised not to sign contracts, not to send out promotional materials, not to open a new business, not to make major purchases. If youre traveling, expect delays. Communications break down including misplaced messages, lost packages, missed appointments, phones breaking and people misunderstanding what you said.
Other astrologers take a more gentle approach, counseling you to take it easy during Mercury retrograde. Schedule more down time. Expect to get less done. Allow for delays. Review, reflect and research instead of starting something new. Sometimes people or things from the past return. Often, when you treat this transit with respect, you will find that Mercury retrograde is a productive time, rather than a total loss.
For years, Ive been using Mercury retrograde as a reminder to take care of essential business. I just sent out a proposal for a book on Slow Time to an editor at Conari/Red Wheel/Weiser. Knowing that Mercury was about to go retrograde and would stay there for six weeks gave me the extra push I needed to complete the work. Ill take the next six weeks to revise the manuscript so its in good condition if and when she asks to see it. I know I should back up my computer daily or weekly, but I dont always do that. I do always back it up before Mercury goes retrograde.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because Mercury is about to go retrograde on March 19th. In fact, you may have already noticed the effects as early as March 5th (thats because Mercury will move back to the place it was on March 5th before moving forward again). Although Mercury begins moving forward (going direct) on April 12th, the effects may linger as it retraces its trajectory across the sky and doesnt reach new territory until April 30th.
The effects of Mercury retrograde are affected by the sign in which it occurs and also by where Mercury is placed in your birth chart. This Mercury retrograde is in Aries, the sign associated with rashness, assertiveness and taking action. You may find yourself speaking out, saying something you later regret or committing too quickly to a new project, without getting all the facts.
Mercury will also go retrograde in July and November. You may start to feel the effects of the July retrograde (which is in Leo) as early as July 4 but the retrograde motion officially begins July 22 and ends August 14, although the effects may linger until August 29. The November retrograde begins on November 13 when Mercury is in Sagittarius, but it will be tracing its steps all the way back to where it was in Virgo on October 26, so you may notice some slowing down then. It will start to go forward again on December 3 and finally emerge from the territory which its been revisiting on December 21, just in time for Winter Solstice.
For an amusing article on one astrologers experiences with Mercury retrograde see this light-hearted article about appliances gone amok by astrologer April Elliott Kent.
The explanation of retrograde motions comes from
Also see the lovely pages on making pysanky, including symbols and colors and a featured egg design at:
She also lists places to buy supplies:
And provides step-by-step instructions for creating simple and advanced designs:
Heres another great tutorial, complete with photographs:
For those of you who dont have the special tools needed to make pysanky, you might be inspired by the sophisticated patterns shown at this website which were made using the simple technique of dipping a pin into wax:
For inspiration or just amazement, check out the stunning examples of pysanky from the Kolomiya Museum of Hutsul Folk Art
View an artists variations on this traditional craft:
And no feature on decorating eggs for Easter could be complete without referring to the Queen of Seasonal Crafts, that is Martha Stewart, whose web page showcases several suggestions including marbleizing eggs, glittered eggs (very classy), stenciled eggs and various imaginative ways to display them. Click here for Martha's eggs.
This site also has egg designs that can be printed to be used for coloring.
Holiday Packet: Spring Equinox/Eostre
I've reproduced the pages on the sacred meaning of dyed eggs, and on my Ukrainian egg decorating ritual from the Eostre packet as free samples on the website. You can download this free PDF file here.
The print version is $14; please allow 10 days for delivery. An email version is also available for $9. It will be sent to you as an attached Word file within 24 hours. Order here.
Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.
Signs of Spring
I love getting a glimpse of the season in so many different places. Send me the signs of the season where you live, and I will post them here.