25 Sep God is Dead ~ Mercury Retrograde in Libra
If Aquarius is the shaman and Gemini is the trickster, Libra is the artist—representing the refinement of human achievement through the perfect balance of intelligence and intuition, developed skill and raw talent, the will to power and the will to love.
In the circus of air signs, where Aquarius is the contortionist and Gemini the clown car, then Libra is the tightrope walker—effortlessly crossing the precipice between animal and divine, not even bothering to gaze into the abyss because they’re doing the whole thing blind folded with a cigarette dangling from one side of their mouth.
In alchemy, operations of air are those of separating and sifting the mind from beliefs and ideas that ensnare it in repetitive patterns and rigid dogma. It signifies the death of old ideas and the birth of new values.
The air element has been a main feature for Mercury’s 2021 retrograde cycle. In addition to Mercury Retrogrades currently taking place exclusively in the air sign triplicity, a new epoch of the air element was initiated in December 2020 when the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn took place in Aquarius.
The two giants’ conjunction in Aquarius was monumental for a number of reasons. The first is that Jupiter and Saturn only meet once every 20 years, an astrological transit known as the Great Conjunction. However, for the last 200 years, they met almost exclusively in the triplicity of earth signs. The Great Conjunction of 2020 initiated a new 200 year cycle of the transit taking place in the air sign triplicity.
The sign of Aquarius is one of three attributed with the final alchemical phase of the Great Work known as coagulation, when the alchemist’s labor crystallizes into the Philosopher’s Stone. Dennis William Hauck describes the dawning Aquarian Age as a time when, “Hermetic truths become self-evident.”
If the Great Conjunct of 2020 saw the hour hand of the cosmic clock strike midnight to carry us into a new astrological epoch of the air element, then the Mercury Retrogrades of 2021 are the 3-2-1 countdown to showtime… and that means that this final retrograde cycle in the cardinal air sign of Libra means it’s showtime.
The time has come for humanity to cross the abyss that separates its animal nature from its Divine Self—to once and for all transform from man into superman.
In the words of the late great standup comic Bill Hicks, it is time to evolve.
Power of Three
Hermetic cosmology sees three worlds—heaven, earth and the underworld (divine, human, animal)—all connected by the axis mundi.
The axis mundi has been depicted in mythological traditions as a tree (Yggdrasil of Norse mythology) or mountain (Mount Olympus of Greece). It is the pillar that holds up the entire universe and connects the human world to one that is at once animistic and divine.
It is through Mercury, we learn our ancestral wisdom and divine origins in equal measure. Mercury’s Grecian counterpart Hermes was the only god granted the power to travel the full range of the axis mundi, from the heights of Mount Olympus to the depths of Hades.
When he turns retrograde, Mercury descends below the horizon. He transforms from the Winged Messenger into the psychopomp, the guide who carries departed souls into the underworld.
In Hermetica Triptycha Volume One: The Mercury Elemental Year, Gary P. Caton describes the visual phenomena of the Mercury Retrograde as a “disappearing act,” writing that it appears Mercury is “switching skies, appearing in the same degrees three times: first as evening star, then becoming invisible and making the inferior conjunction, and finally crossing for the third time as morning star.”
The Mercury Retrograde is an invitation for you to switch selves—to transform from ordinary consciousness to unconscious reverie, from a rational being into an irrational creature. You are being asked to switch patterns and change perception, lest you become a “victim” to the alteration of consciousness naturally underway during the Mercury Retrograde.
You may hear an invitation from Mercury the trickster to switch worlds. It’s an invitation to go within to discover the source of your discontent with others and the world-at-large, rather than point your finger like a heat seeking missile at an easily identifiable enemy. You are being called to break free of rationality, to embrace the irrational and see reality as it truly is (or at least seems to be).
Libra is the domain of Maat, the Egyptian goddess of truth & justice, balance & harmony, law & order. Due to the fact that when retrograde, Mercury assumes his duty as psychopomp, a useful myth to meditate on is the Weighing of the Heart.
In the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were weighed against the Feather of Maat in the Hall of Two Truths. The feather was considered an essential distillation of all that Maat ruled over on the earthly plane: truth, justice, balance, harmony, law and order.
If the heart was lighter than or equal to the weight of the feather, the departed was said to have lived an honest and just life, in harmony with the laws of nature and the order of the cosmos, and would be permitted to pass into Aaru, the heavenly paradise presided over by Osiris. But if the heart weighed heavier than the Feather of Maat, it was eaten by the demon goddess Ammit and the soul was condemned to remain in the underworld for eternity.
To die with a heart weighed heavy by falsehood, injustice and disorder is to condemn your soul to an eternity of pain and suffering. But in the topsy-turvy world of postmodernism—where war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength—how can you find the truth to assuage your heart of falsehood? How can you balance the scales of justice in your own heart in an unjust world? How can you create order within when chaos rules the world without?
The postmodern world is a tightrope walk across a great abyss—and you must resolve yourself to make the journey through chaos and uncertainty to discover a new order of human waiting to be born inside of you. And to maintain your balance in this down-going, you must cast away the baggage of the old world. The dogmas that have dictated your beliefs, the doctrines that have structured your reality, and the institutions that have made the world safe for you all must be thrown on the burning bridges of the old world.
A Dancing Star
On the morning of October 9th, Mercury will make his inferior conjunction with the Sun at 16 degrees Libra. This transit is otherwise known as Cazimi, translating to “In the Heart of the Sun.” The image given here is one of a messenger entering the throne room of a great monarch.
The Cazimi is a great seed moment. In this cosmic temple beyond the limits of space and time, you may commune with the divine and bear witness to a greater plan for your destiny. And with the Cazimi conjunct Mars (who will also be at 16 degrees Libra), it is ripe with the potency to cut ties that no longer serve you.
The Cazimi will take place in the second decan of Libra, a face that is associated with binding contracts, oaths and obligations. Mercury is strong in this decan, as he is able to facilitate open dialogue.
The Sun and Mars, however, are both debilitated in Libra. While in Libra, the Sun must accept the dying of its light and cross the threshold of a profound ego death. And Mars, the will to power, must sheath its sword and surrender to fairness and justice.
While this configuration might seem hopeless, it is far from it. With retrograde Mercury mediating the trial, it is a time when you can cast off unwanted burdens, break long overdue karmic contracts, and swear an oath to value your own personal sovereignty above the dogma and doctrine of the past.
The Tarot card associated with the second decan of Libra is the Three of Swords. In The Book of Thoth, Aleister Crowley writes:
“This card is dark and heavy; it is, so to speak, the womb of Chaos. There is an intense lurking passion to create, but its children are monsters. This may mean the supreme transcendence of the natural order.”
The Cazimi heralds a time to cast off the burdens of a dying world—to transcend the natural order, be consumed by passion to create something new, and give birth to a dancing star.
To aid in this journey, it is advised to embark upon a directed mythological study and magical practice. As Caton writes in Hermetica Triptycha, “To keep the passages between worlds open, and our basic self and non-rational worlds integrated, we should dedicate at least one of these three periods each year to taking a conscious descent into the worlds of magic and myth.”
God is Dead
A perfect text for meditation during the Mercury Retrograde in Libra is Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Zarathustra is Nietzsche’s best-known work, and is perhaps known best for its inclusion of his most famous aphorism.
God is dead!
This is arguably one of the most misinterpreted philosophical aphorisms of the last century. It has been seen as both the ultimate blasphemy by zealots who are always on the lookout for a new witch to burn and the supreme rejection of religious dogma by fedora-wearing atheists who are always seeking validation for their eternally recurring teenage rebellion.
However, neither interpretation could be further from an accurate grasp of the complexities of this simple statement. After all, Nietzsche had his natal Sun and Mercury in Libra, so it’s likely that he was trying to hit a more subtle and well-balanced note of the intellectual palette than either extreme of zealotry or atheism could comprehend.
Nietzsche was responding to the state of the world at the end of the Age of Enlightenment and the dawn of Modernity. For millennia in the Western world, God was not only the center of religious thought, but the cornerstone of all moral law, social order, and personal happiness. The metaphysical dualism of body and soul inherent in Christian doctrine, where in the impure body must be rejected for the salvation of the eternal soul, had been the driving force behind Western Civilization for two millennia. These Platonic ideals were the source of the West’s totalitarian control over sovereignty of the individual.
The Enlightenment-era advances in scientific rationalism had, in Nietzsche’s view, killed God and, in effect, brought an end to the institutional control that the Church exerted over humankind. However, rather than a celebration punctuated by an exclamation mark, God is dead is more of a question punctuated by tragic irony.
If God was the supreme ruler of reality and His church the cornerstone of Western civilization, and if God is now dead and His church all but dissolved, then whose shoulders does this responsibility fall upon?
If it is our shoulders, then we must ask ourselves, are we at all worthy to undertake such a monumental task? Have we evolved to the point wherein we can rule with sovereignty over our personal lives and maintain the social order of the civilized world? And were we even worthy of killing God in the first place?
While Thus Spoke Zarathustra does not contain an answer key to these and other questions on humanity’s final exam, Nietzsche does provide a study guide of sorts. One of the guideposts is found in the Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit.
Nietzsche categorizes the human spirit as evolving from beast of burden (the camel), to beast of prey (the lion), to the Superman (the child).
What is heavy?
The first metamorphosis is that of the camel.
“What is heavy?” asks the camel, “that I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.”
The camel asks, is the heaviest load “…to humiliate oneself in order to mortify one’s pride? To exhibit one’s folly in order to mock at one’s wisdom?”
The second metamorphosis begins with the lion, who faces off against the great dragon. The dragon is covered in “gold and glittering” scales, each one bearing the mantle Thou-shalt. But the lion is the “holy Nay” against the thousand years of values enforced by the dragon. The lion says I will.
By rejecting the Thou-shalt of the dragon, the lion embodies the will of the individual. The lion creates freedom itself and engenders a new system of values that even he does not yet fully understand.
But the will is a blind force and, if not tempered by love, will constantly seek dragons to destroy. This is why the third metamorphosis begins in the child.
…a holy Yea.
“Innocence is the child,” wrote Nietzsche, “and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea. Aye, for the game of creating… there is needed a holy Yea unto life: its own will, willeth now the spirit; his own world winneth the world’s outcast.”
It is time for humanity to evolve from the beast of burden (slave to its masters), beyond the beast of prey (slave to its own desires), into the Superman (the master of its destiny). And it is during the Mercury Retrograde in Libra that a portal in time will open that will allow us to make this leap.
Between the Animal and the Superman
Mercury will station direct on October 18th in a tight opposition to Chiron in Aries. The tightrope will be drawn and the time to cross the abyss is imminent. With the wounded healer in the sign of the warrior, you will hear the voice of Zarathustra calling to you:
Behold, I bring you the Superman! The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!
When Nietzche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, it was at a time in history when the Age of Enlightenment and its bastard child the Industrial Era were birthing their incestuous spawn Modernity. It was a time when the anachronistic institution of the Church clutched its pearls of dwindling power over the Worldsoul. This was still during the 200-year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn meeting in the earth sign triplicity, when the bottomline of the collective imagination was cold hard materialism—and Nietzsche saw it as his duty to awaken the world from its delusions about the great-hereafter and alert it to its responsibility to the here-and-now.
The Church would have you deny life in order to save your eternal soul, but Nietzsche asked what good is your eternal soul if it was smothered to death while you were alive? He was trying to upgrade consciousness from one imprisoned by an otherworldly asceticism (with its mortification of the flesh) into one liberated by personal gnosis rooted in the body.
But in the ensuing century since Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the Church was assimilated into a faceless technocratic neoliberal globalist order that was swift to capitalize on the death of God and recuperate it into a new program for total control over the hearts and minds of all the world’s people.
Science, social movements and political institutions have usurped Christianity’s power over the people. Trust the science is the new faith in God. And just like faith in God, the modern scientific authorities would have you deny life in order to save it.
The new asceticism denies not the body but the mind—dictating what you are allowed to think and say, where you are allowed to go and with whom you are allowed to share these things.
But the Mercury Retrograde in Libra is your call to break the chains that bind you to the postmodern world—to cross the abyss between the animal and the Superman.
It is time to cast off the burdens of a world driven mad by reason, reject its toxic ideology to follow your True Will, and become the Divine Child you were born to be.