My Personal Mercury-Direct Tongue-Untying


I have been blocked in my communications with you these last few weeks, dear reader… and as such, I sincerely hope that the stationing of Mercury today (Tue Jul 1), which ends a near-month-long retrograde and returns him to direct motion, can help untie my tongue.

I wouldn't say my longer-than-usual silence qualifies as the much-dreaded 'writer's block', an obstruction of creativity I'm lucky to say (knock on wood) I never really suffer. I've always got something to write about.

Rather, it's been more a slow creep through some backed-up checkpoint—a border crossing—where I'm not permitted to move freely beyond the gates until I first put in lag-time, and then fulfill the prerequisites for passage. I occasionally experience this sort of backup when I'm giving a consultation, if an urgent insight burbles into my consciousness (from wherever such mystical stuffs are housed) and I'm not able to attain a 'click' of mutual understanding of that point with my client. When I'm unable to successfully communicate an important piece of wisdom to someone who has sought my guidance, my intuitive momentum stalls in its tracks. It becomes essentially impossible to continue further, into any deeper territory, with this person until I sense a sign they've connected with what I'm telling them. Rare though such occurrences are in my practice (for I'm both pretty good at trying multiple different pathways for communicating a critical concept and pretty stubborn), you can imagine how awkward it feels in a rare disconnect, to politely bide time while (and/or less-politely draw attention to the fact that) the rest of our session is bound to stay at this intimacy-hindered distance. There's no going forward without acknowledging the thing.

As far as my writing process is concerned, I'd like to go forward now, along with Mercury… and so I, therefore, must offer my acknowledgment.

I have spent the last several weeks grieving the loss of somebody dear to me. My ex-partner Michael, with whom I shared six years of my life, passed away in mid-May at the age of 40. He was exactly two weeks older than I am. Since receiving the news, I've yet to return to feeling 'normal'. Very few days have gone by without a teary moment or two. Should I momentarily forget why that drab overhang of shadow is shading my light, I needn't worry. It won't be too much longer before, driving down a crowded street or walking up that familiar hill, I'm again sideswiped by a sudden drizzle or downpour of tears and I remember, oh, yeah, it's because Michael is dead.

Grief interjects itself in uneven doses, erratic jolts and quiet noxious leaks. We might convey an uncomfortably frosty, unimpacted affect during that tender moment when everyone else in the house is wet-eyed. We might fall completely apart over the slightest thing—a scent, a song fragment—at an inconveniently happy occasion. That's why grieving leaves so many of us feeling so self-conscious. Grief's inconsistencies don't allow us to deal with it by any standard cookie-cutter process, leaving us perpetually to wonder whether we're doing it right, enough, too much. How long should it take to grieve a loss? for instance. How do we emote, but not wallow? Honor, but move on? Love, yet let go? Which are the most socially accepted, rightful methods for this? What a chilling irony that loss is one of life's most universalizing experiences, and also one of its loneliest.

With this particular loss, which will undoubtedly prove in retrospect to be one of my most significant ever, I am even more acutely self-conscious about my grief. This was not my current spouse, my best friend, a parent. He was an ex I broke up with more than ten years ago… a problematic and complicated main-character in my life-story, someone who I deliberately kept at arm's-length and had seen only a handful of times over the past decade because I didn't trust either of us to behave respectfully to the other, though never stopped loving, as a family-member and shadow-twin and hilarious-and-fucking-brilliant-mind, during that whole span. There was no regular contact between us to mourn, only an ever-present awareness of how powerfully influential he was on my developing into this person I've become… an awareness which had just recently been amplified by our last interaction, an uncanny in-face meeting over dinner and drinks only the week before his passing which also ended up devolving into the most intense and challenging exchange we'd had since shortly after our breakup a decade earlier. I tell you: No regrets; an everything-happens-for-a-reason magic. But still so upset all these weeks later, I remain incredibly self-conscious about the specifics of my grief for this complicating character. I've stayed fairly quiet and alone about it all.

My solitude during this grieving process was eerily compounded by the fact that I heard this bad news while traveling on extended sabbatical, having already purposely dislodged my daily life from its reassuring moorings and set off seeking inspiration and perspective. When I found out about Michael's passing, I was alone in Vancouver, BC. For the succeeding week-and-a-half, I encountered not a single other person I knew. I wandered through Canada, without a hug. Sure, I ran up quite a bill from resting on loved-ones' telephonic shoulders across a national border, but I was pretty much on my own… except for, thankfully, my doting pooch JoJo who licked the tears off my face and kept me in the world on our daily walks together. Alone, upset, and on the road, I mainly concentrated on grounding myself in usual mundane habits: these dog walks, my meal preparations, horoscope-writing, calisthenics. Only once I returned home to SF just a couple weeks ago could I even begin to loosen the practical grip my inner survivalist had insisted I hold extra-firmly onto, so as to not lose my shit hundreds of miles away in the great north. But as soon as I returned, my partner Ricky left for his extended trip, and so again, still, it's just me and the dog.

I haven't been able to write you a complete thought in these few weeks, dear reader, because it's felt yucky. I'd start, but then I'd have to stop in the middle and sob. I'd half-wanted to try to just shift gears and put together some pithy little article about Venus in Gemini… but, seeing as I'm in the integrative business of treating the whole person with my astrological musings (even those—bleck!—messy human parts), there really wasn't a way forward for me until I wrote through my grief to you. I'm not cocksure enough to claim any competent grasp on this wintry mix of emotion—the loneliness, the frustration, the disappointment, the grief—but I detect a gentle lifting-and-lightening, enough so that today I was finally able to untie the written tongue and get back to what I do.

I'll also be getting back to astrology in the days ahead. But just in case you think I've left you hanging on a thread as far as important astrological developments are concerned, let me reassure that even my absence has been all right on time. July 2014 is the first moment in quite a while when we can actually expect to feel a significant energetic shift from these many incessant months of pretty steadily unsteadying turmoil. Coming up this month: Jupiter's changing signs for the first time in a year! Mars is finally leaving Libra! Something different will finally start to happen!

And, of course, Mercury is now direct again—a perfect day to flip my communicative switch back to 'on'.