Mercury will be retrograde from September 17th, 2015 to October 9th, 2015 in the sign of Libra. During these weeks, you will experience a powerful shift in your consciousness pertaining to harmony, balance, and diplomatic relations (Libra). These themes will have more context depending on what house Libra is in on your natal chart. Even without these details, suffice it to say that this time will pull you into a dimension where you will be required to bring your consciousness up to a new level, lest you find yourself bound up in entanglements.
Have NO fear! Rise to the occasion, remain receptive and prioritize peace of mind. For any survival tips you may feel you need, read up on Wu Wei.
The Mercury retrograde is the most commonly recognized astrological concept outside of sun signs. However, recognition does not indicate a depth of understanding, for most popular astrology resorts to advising people to stop all activity and assume that all technology, transportation, and communication are perilous games to be avoided. Let’s move away from that, shall we? Archetypally speaking, Mercury is a psychopomp, meaning he enables communication between the overworld and underworld (conscious/subconscious) while dancing in between the sharp edges of logic and the frayed ends of ancient wisdom. It is this dance that allows him so much freedom from morality, for he delights in deception and thievery, laughing joyously at other’s expense, while somehow being of irreplaceable and undying service to all. Mercury’s game seems complex, but his intention is simple. He wants you to know more than language and commerce.
He wants you to remember your origins in the Protogenoi, and so he whispers in your ear to evoke the haunting vision of the Chaos that preceded all form. He does so out of genuine love, for “…one must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star…” (more on how harmony can be found in the surrender to chaos)
“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.” – Freidrich Nietzsche (Thus spoke Zarathustra)
As Mercury retrogrades, which happens three or four times a year, it is not a sabotage of all you are trying to accomplish. Rather, this is Mercury’s time to modulate the key of his hypnogogic song so that you will become more receptive to your primal creative power and your own poetic genius which channels the essence of dancing stars! In Libra, Mercury’s retrograde will allow you to carefully sort through your thoughts, for they are the shadows of deeper feelings. In other words, this retrograde encourages subconscious material to rise to the surface of your conscious mind, which smooths your path and softens your resistance to change. Meditate on metamorphosis, finding that you are both the light and darkness; the emptiness and the form.
Please, enjoy the Mercury Retrograde for what it is: a passionate dance with the primal forces of creation!
In the Romantic era, William Blake created an entirely original mythopoeic cosmology, which was the inspiration for both his poetry and his visual artworks. His poetry blended with his sumptuous watercolors and engravings to create an artistic effect that was cinematic before cinema was even conceivable. Blake’s vision of the world was fiercely independent of any dogmatism from the rational or spiritual conditions of the Enlightenment era and his astounding collection of illuminated poetry gives the modern reader a visceral experience of the ‘‘Poetic Genius’’, which Blake believed was the essence of creation itself.
What makes William Blake such an important archetype for the Romantic era itself was his zealous pursuit of freedom, his passion for revolution against tyranny and how he prioritized creativity above all other pursuits in life. Regarding his motivation to live as an embodiment of creative imagination Blake said, ‘‘I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare. My business is to create!” (These were direct references to the Enlightenment era methods of Sir Isaac Newton and the philosophies of John Locke)
William Blake was not a gentleman artist, but was in fact a tradesman in his craft who worked as an engraver. He was commissioned to bring many textbooks and classic works of literature to life with small, yet meticulous illustrations. Therefore, Blake depicted as many familiar scenes and characters as he depicted radical new ones. For example, Blake was commissioned to illustrate John Milton’s, Paradise Lost, and so we can examine Blake’s version of Adam, Eve, and Satan in the Garden of Eden, which is unlike any other depiction in the whole of Christian art.
His religious art contains esoteric symbols that allude to Blake’s mystical revelations. A prominent example is found in Blake’s use of spiral imagery. Blake’s depictions of these scenes remain unique.
(To the left) Blake paints Adam and Eve under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, with Adam’s back turned as Eve is enveloped in the serpent’s body, which spirals around her nudity and delicately feeds her the forbidden fruit in an open mouth kiss of original sin. The effect is extremely sexual, yet Eve is not the typical Western nude made object of desire. Rather, this image feels biological.
Again we see a spiral used by Blake to depict the stairway to heaven, that Jacob dreams of in the Book of Genesis. This story has been widely explored in Christian art as well, yet the staircase has always been a straight ladder stretching up to heaven. Blake, in his striking originality, shows us a spiral stair winding up to heaven in a diffusion of starlight and celestial splendor. Blake, as the Poetic Genius was expressing more in his imagery than a simple retelling of Bible stories.
Blake’s Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden tells a story far removed from the traditional one. In Blake’s cosmology, God was an androgynous primeval entity named Albion, which became sexual when it split into four disparate parts or “zoas”. These four zoas catalyzed a life form between them, which was a man named Adam, who had a spectre or shadow named Satan and was joined by an emanation of his consciousness named Eve. (William Blake and the Myths of Britain, 1999)
According to Blake, life began as source energy (Albion) which emanated a holy trinity of life: Adam emanates a female aspect, Eve, and then sends his specter, Satan, to seduce her into a permanent division from Albion.
Blake’s version of the Garden of Eden story sounds like a poetic depiction of the process of cell division, now known to molecular biology. The story is about sex, but there is none of the Christian shame in Blake’s version, for all are the progeny of Albion. Blake’s version can be read as a deeply shamanic vision that depicts the elegant process of DNA twisting genes together through the union of chromosomes to create physical form imbued with life force. In this cosmological view, all mankind is woven together with a unifying consciousness that was purposely individuated from Albion in order to experience the subjective Self. Original sin is absent from Blake’s view, for differentiation from the original essence appears to be the cosmic order of things which is to be accepted and experienced, not resisted.
Blake’s visual depiction of spirals (snakes, stairs, flames) must have been inspired by his visionary experiences of transcendent truth, which binds imagination to expression in the physical world. The spiral is at the very core of being, just as DNA is the language that we are translated into the physical world through. William Blake was a revolutionary explorer of inner space and sacred experience came naturally to him. His observations compelled him to share his wisdom within beautiful poetry that embodied the profound insights he had into the cosmos. “To see a World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.”
The spiral is a common symbol found in art from the majority of cultures around the world and it is the primary shape found in environmental structures of the universe. Blake, like other mystics, intuited that the spiral was an essential aspect of consciousness and physical form.
By the 20th century, science found through its instruments of study that both galaxies and DNA are expressed in a spiral formation, and particles follow fractal waves of motion rather than straight lines. The spiral rules the micro and macrocosmic, the internal and the external worlds. The 20th century anthropologist, Jeremy Narby studied the phenomena of the spiral in Western and indigenous consciousness claiming, “Both shamans and molecular biologists agree that there is a hidden unity under the surface of life’s diversity; both associate this unity with the double helix shape (or two entwined serpents, a twisted ladder, a spiral staircase, two vines wrapped around each other); both consider that one must deal with this level of reality in order to heal.” (The Cosmic Serpent, 1998)
In addition, the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung said that spirals represent “cosmic force” and that the upward spiraling of Kundalini serpent imagery symbolized “the urge of realization (which) naturally pushes man on to be himself”. (The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, 1932) Jungian analysis would interpret the intuition of Blake as a communion with the collective unconscious. Interestingly enough, William Blake’s concept of the Poetic Genius is not too dissimilar from Jung’s collective unconscious and so it is fitting that Blake was so in tune with deep cosmic imagery and that he infused the Bible with this consciousness. One of William Blake’s most famous revelations about the cosmos is summarized in this quote from his poem, TheMarriage of Heaven and Hell,“…If the Doors of Perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
“Principle 1st – That the Poetic Genius is the true Man, and that the body or outward form of Man is derived from the Poetic Genius. Likewise that the forms of all things are derived from their Genius, which by the Ancients was call’d an Angel & Spirit & Demon.” (William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books, 2001)
This quote is an excerpt from a William Blake tract entitled, All Religions are One, which was written in 1788. (read full text here) This work of many principles and assertions is prefaced with the phrase “The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness”, which is a quote from the Bible repeated by both the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist as they each proclaimed the salvation of the world through the coming messiah. Blake is equating himself with these men, by asserting that his words are prophecy, which contain a message of salvation. In Blake’s time, this salvation would have been from the strict Enlightenment era empiricism and from the dogmatic religious tyranny that restricted the experience of what he terms, “the Poetic Genius”.
Blake’s concept of the sacred sought to find a unifying principle of religious experience, which he distilled down to an energy called, “Poetic Genius”. This reference to the “Poetic Genius” appears in many of his works as the ultimate source of prophesy, art and of the imagination, which provides mankind the impetus to express their spiritual experiences. In Blake’s perception, because this energy defines the truth of man, then this realization of the source of spiritual experience was one that was liberating and unifying for mankind. In this poem, Blake is postulating that this source of creative energy is the also the source of the physical form, which is the primary essence of life, rather than the empirical or religious experience. He also asserts that the entities called angels, spirits and demons throughout history are also emanations from this energy and need not be discounted as illegitimate experiences, despite the lack of empirical observation that could be applied to defining them.
William Blake was a mystic in his own time and his legacy, in the realm of spirituality, is one of radical and romantic ideals which transform traditional beliefs associated with science and religion into a more holistic and interconnected consciousness. William Blake devoted his life to finding and expressing the essence of religion, unbound from the societal structures which would impede free thought or vibrant experience. Throughout this search, he certainly displayed the behavior of one who believed in spiritual beings.
Blake’s conclusions about religion are similar to what anthropologist, E.B. Tylor found in the 20th century. Tylor defined the essence of religion, not as Poetic Genius, but as animism, which he argued was the foundation of all religious practice and complex belief systems. The difference is that E.B. Tylor approached this revelation about the source of religion with disdain for religious experience, considering it to be a primitive aspect of mankind.
On the other hand, William Blake exuberantly experienced his time and place in this world through a perspective that included a connection to the realm of the spirit and yet bore none of the restrictions of superstition or dogmatism. His philosophy was one that provided much of the energy for the Romantic era, which was a time of liberation and rebellion against tyranny in all its forms.
From Blake’s point of view, all of his life’s work was divinely inspired and this perception gave him the freedom of mind to express compassion and love for all of mankind as his equals in the realm of the Poetic Genius. As he says here in the same poem, “As all men are alike (tho’ infinitely various), So all Religions & as all similars have one source. The true Man is the source, he being the Poetic Genius.” (William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books, 2001)