The Quality of Mercy ~ April 10th-16th,2017

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown…”

– The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I


The astrological conditions this week are quite heavy. With Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn all in retrograde motion, the gravity of these planetary influences will pull you into a more yielding and contemplative state of mind. Within this quiet clearing, a process of internal alchemy can begin to take place.

At the beginning of the week, the Full Moon in Libra will offer you a challenge to your ethics. Think of this as a test rather than an assault. Whatever the conflict may be, the Libran influence asks that the situation be handled fairly through compromise, compassion and the quality of mercy.

Over the weekend, the Full Moon in Libra’s planetary ruler, Venus, will be stationing direct in Pisces. With Venus changing directions in these emotional waters, this culmination period may feel like the most disorienting time of her 6-week retrograde. Once again, you’ll have to pretend to know the way through the secret places of the heart, where memories are flooded with tears.  

This period of the retrograde is the ideal time to receive the merciful healing offered by Venus in her sign of exaltation. But it is also the most challenging time because it asks that you deepen your ability to love by finding a way to forgive both yourself and others.

As all spiritual traditions teach, forgiveness, compassion, and mercy are the qualities that transmute the darkness into the light.

“The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven . . .”

This speech from the Merchant of Venice is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s greatest passages. In the play, these words are spoken by Portia, while she is disguised as a lawyer named Balthazar.

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, the context of this speech is strange, offering a glimmer of great spiritual truth within a complicated knot of duplicitous behavior and cross-dressing. But the many layers of eccentricities in the narrative are quite fitting for a week where Mercury and Venus are in retrograde.

The quality of mercy is exalted in Portia’s speech as something that is accepted as the gentle rain. This is an excellent way to understand how to connect to Venus in Pisces, whose wisdom is meant to be gently received rather than strived for. Like the divine feminine, the quality of mercy is yielding, but that does not mean that it is weak. It takes much more courage to forgive than it does to punish. 

Portia’s speech continues by declaring that the strength of mercy becomes the throned monarch better than his crown meaning that the ability to restrain one’s wrath is the sign of a true ruler. Thus, mercy is understood to be the most valuable quality in a powerful person.

Anyone who wishes to have sovereignty over their own life must come to know that the quality of mercy is the greatest demonstration of their strength. 

Monday/Tuesday: We Do Pray For Mercy

The week begins with the Full Moon in Libra. Considering that Libra is the sign that seeks harmony between opposing forces, expect to feel an internal pendulum of emotions swinging back and forth, pushing you to the edges of your ability to cope and then pulling you back to your comfortable center, only to push you over the edge again. This is the motion of testing your limits.

Despite the emotional strain that you may under, remember that forgiveness and mercy are not something you must strive for. The healing you need will naturally flow from within once you soften your discontent and allow yourself to become receptive.

The benevolent message of the Full Moon in Libra is that peace and harmony are your soul’s inheritance. And it is through the quality of mercy inherent within your soul that you have the power to transmute fear into courage and hatred into love.

Wednesday/Thursday: That Same Prayer Doth Teach Us All

The middle of the week is characterized by the conjunction of the Sun and Uranus in Aries. An aspect between the Sun and Uranus brings a restless excitement and an explosion of wanderlust. However, with so much of a deeply internal focus created by the retrograde planets, this Uranian impulse may create some dissonance. You may feel tossed between the temptation to veer off into chaos and the earnest desire to reach new heights of divine inspiration.

If you are prone to nervousness already, this is a very good time to take relaxing exercise very seriously. Any physical movement that consciously moves energies through the body will be incredibly helpful.

Remember that from an alchemical perspective, the energy that is raised by anger and frustration can still be used for the process of transformation. Thus, use the middle of the week to practice harnessing whatever restless energies you may experience by channeling them into something that brings you peace of mind.

It Blesseth Him That Gives And Him That Takes

On Saturday, Venus finally stations direct at her highest degree of exaltation in Pisces. But because Venus will be stationing in a conjunction with Chiron and a square to Saturn in Sagittarius, the mystifying powers of attraction offered by this exalted position will be more oriented towards underlining the hard lessons of this retrograde.  

Some of those feelings of isolation or frustration may linger like heavy clouds.

But even in this challenging position, Venus newly direct in her degree of exaltation will bring blessings. The square with Saturn will summon a newfound resolution to maintain healthy boundaries in relationships. In addition, Venus will illuminate the brilliance of your dreams and Saturn will enhance your willingness to work hard to achieve them.

After this weekend, let your life become soft once more, brimming with beauty and gentleness. The real secret of Venusian splendor is derived from the fountain of love and compassion within. So as Venus goes direct in Pisces, allow yourself to be twice blest by the graceful magic of mercy.