Astro-Curious: I Survived Retrograde Season

My connection between my rational mind and emotional body has strengthened tremendously over the past year or two, and as a result my intuition has become more clear. I can often feel intuitive calls to action (or non-action), and even when I consciously decide to ignore them, I can note what my gut was trying to tell me and examine the results of going another way. Every time I heed my intuition, it becomes louder, as if each time I validate its advice through right action it grows more confident.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. -William Shakespeare

I’ve always discounted astrology because, in my view, it’s more exoteric than other introspective practices. I relate well to Tarot, because it’s easy to understand how my unconscious mind can use the cards to speak to me, but the idea of celestial objects dictating my life felt too external and dogmatic. I didn’t understand how the position of planets in relation to constellations could affect energy fields, and therefore human behavior, on Earth. As I explore ideas from other post-materialists, I’ve found that some people not only believe in astrology as a damn-near hard science, but there’s a theory that the Sun and other Heavenly Bodies are conscious themselves. It’s a little trippy to think that as much as we love the Sun, it could love us back. No wonder the Egyptians worshiped Ra and built obelisks in his honor. 

Whether or not planets and stars have a sort of consciousness, it’s easy for me to entertain the idea that they have energetic spheres of their own that influence each other and us. Furthermore, I believe there is a feedback loop between collective manifestations into reality and subjective experience. When I combine this philosophy with my personal observations of my consciousness expanding and contracting, my mood oscillating between depression and anxiety/mania, and my energy levels being highly sensitive to the time of year, I start to become very curious about astrology.

I had a rough time last month. My birthday is in August, and with Mercury and the Sun both in my sign and Mercury and Mars both retrograde (until the 19th and 27th, respectively), my energy levels blew through the roof and scattered all over the lawn. I was a social butterfly (which is not usual for me), was highly emotional, put my foot in my mouth about a dozen times a day, and made some reckless decisions.

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. -Theodore Roosevelt

I had attributed the exaggeration of the extroverted aspects of my personality and overly charged reactions to “birthday mania,” as I’ve taken to calling it. [My birthday last year was pretty epic, too: I viewed the solar eclipse from the path of totality, floating on Kentucky Lake.]

The sky on the day I was most manic. The “R” means retrograde. I find it comforting to blame my crazy on planetary positions.

I’m fascinated with cycles and because of this feel drawn to astrology, so you may be reading more about what’s happening in the sky and how I feel about it in future posts. (I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.) Mercury is still in my sign (Leo) until September 5th, which is supposedly means that my communication skills are experiencing a bump. I figured I should write a couple things before and after it moves out and see if there is any change with how well the words flow. It’s also interesting to note I didn’t write a damn thing* while Mercury was in retrograde from July 25 to August 17th, and I also got called into the HR office for my “attitude” (what-the-fuck-ever). *I still kept a journal and tried to write, but nothing came together.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. -Oscar Wilde

The North lunar node is also in Leo until November 6th, which calls on us to focus on family and courtship. This is relevant for everyone, but for me it’s strikingly pertinent as I left a five-year relationship, have enjoyed being truly single for the first time in my life, and started casually dating during the 18 months this node has hung around. While Mars was in retrograde (from June 26th to August 27th), my life in general and love life in particular were pretty chaotic, and until Mars went direct and the Sun moved into Virgo, I just could not collect myself, find resolve, or concentrate on anything. It all came crashing down during the Sturgeon moon (August 26th), and now I feel “spent” — subdued, balanced, tired. Is all this coincidence? Maybe, but I’m curiouser and curiouser. 

Since I admitted that I’m dating again, I may as well share those adventures and reflections with you. Without knowing it, I began dating someone new when Mars entered retrograde (June 26) and broke it off when Mercury went into retrograde (July 26). Furthermore, he is one of three Aquarius (Aquareses, Aquarii?) I’ve been attracted to in a row this summer.

Aquarius opposes Leo, so it’s also a fixed, masculine sign (□+) but with the air element instead of fire. Historically, I’ve been most attracted to Sagittarius and Gemini (◯+), butted heads with the other fixed sign I dated (a Leo who was exactly one day older than I), had one-sided romances with Aries and Libra (Δ+), and had horrible experiences with Cancer and Capricorn (Δ-). I’ve never dated a Pisces, Virgo (◯-), Taurus, or Scorpio (□-), but my brother and best friend are both Taurus, and I have had rewarding friendships with Virgo and Pisces. If you’re reading this, Scorpio, why can’t we just get along?

Hoosier Mystic Astrology
A snapshot from my journal. Key: =fixed, =mutable, Δ=cardinal, +=masculine, -=feminine, yellow=air, orange=fire, blue=water, green=earth. Signs clockwise from Leo (+): Cancer (Δ-), Gemini (◯+), Taurus (□-), Aries (Δ+), Pisces (◯-), Aquarius (+), Capricorn (Δ-), Sagittarius (◯+), Scorpio (□-), Libra (Δ+), and Virgo (◯-).

These are anecdotal observations with extremely small population sizes (n=1 or 2) only considering natal sun position, and my science background obligates me to admit as much, but a couple trends do seem to emerge. I’m attracted to masculine energy (+), get along well with mutable signs (◯), and irritate the shit out of cardinal signs (Δ), except maybe for Capricorn. I have two close goat-people friends I adore.

My experimental nature and innate curiosity makes pairing astrology with dating really fun. Right now, Aquarius and I have lunar nodes in our signs (the nodes are always in opposing signs). The South node in Aquarius speaks to addressing old (like, 20 years old) trauma or challenges concerning groups and community. The nodes move to Cancer and Capricorn on November 6th, so it will be interesting to see if the chemistry I have with Aquarius changes or even fizzles out.

I think relationships between signs experiencing lunar nodes have the potential to be really productive, either creatively or financially. If you are Cancer or Capricorn, I encourage you to reach out to the opposing sign when the nodes move, take notes on your interaction, and report back! For example, if you’re a Capricorn artist, collaborate with a Cancer, if you’re an entrepreneur Cancer, team up with a Capricorn, etc.

From doing a little research, I know that Mars will enter Aquarius on September 10th, so Aquarius will have some added vim and vigor until it exits November 15th. My amateur prediction is that he will begin a creative project around the 10th (he’s a musician and artist), and my support will be helpful to him, but between the 6th and 15th of November, when the lunar nodes and Mars move signs, we’ll realize we’re better as friends in the long-term. Although I don’t see a lifelong romance developing, I think we’ll learn a lot about ourselves, discover intricacies of interpersonal relationships and social inclusion, and hopefully enrich each others’ creative pursuits.

[Update: It’s 7/12/2019. The Aquarius in question squandered his creative energy on partying and didn’t, to my knowledge, grow very much from our interaction or record any new music. I, on the other hand, learned a powerful lesson in discernment, boundaries, and cutting ties with toxic people. While we were dating, a mutual acquaintance informed me he had been banned from a record store (so that’s why he didn’t want to go to that show…) for grabbing butts without consent. He was expelled from his social group and music community, which is a perfect illustration of Aquarian energies misaligned.]

What do you think about astrology? Did anything crazy happen to you during retrograde season? I’d love to hear other people’s’ perspectives and experiences, because as I stated, this is a new interest of mine and I’m still skeptical but very intrigued.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. -Vincent Van Gogh


Written by Jessie Browne
Originally published on Hoosier Mystic
Copyright 2017 CC BY-NC-SA

4 thoughts on “Astro-Curious: I Survived Retrograde Season

  1. Howdy there… thought I’d chime in with some of my own experience around ways in which people go amiss in trying to get a handle on astrology…

    It is too simplistic to equate people with, or characterize them by, their sun sign. Including oneself. This only leads to confusion and a superficial idea about what astrology is, or can be. It’s understandable, of course, since this aspect, the sun, is so over-emphasized and broadcast within popular mass astrology, and it is naturally the first thing we tend to hang our identities on. But the sun represents only one constituent of our birthright or bestowed personality makeup. And depending on how planets are aspected, and their houses, and many other things, a particular planetary position in a natal chart can assume greater or lesser significance.

    I noted you mentioned that astrology struck you as something external, something imposed. I do not experience it this way. Instead, I see it as a powerful introspection tool. But it demands putting in time to gain a really personal meditative imagination about things like what Mercury or Jupiter or Libra or Water means. After one does this, to some degree, then putting it all together to gain a tableau picture of how all elements of a chart piece together is an artistic project, although there are analytic elements. (which you like)

    Several astrology buffs have mentioned that a key initial thing to think upon when wanting to get an overview of a personality from their birth chart is to study the cluster: Ascendant/Sun/Moon. Doing this for many people will begin to give you a feel for how things work. Of course, specific points can really shine out. My 5 year old has Scorpio in Mars for example, and damn is he ever the epitome of willfulness and competitiveness! We just recently learned the hour of his birth which will allow me to both pinpoint his moon and establish where the houses intersect on his zodiac signs.

    Anyway, I recommend this lady’s youtube videos. She has a real feel for psychology within astrology analysis. And is entertaining to boot:


    1. It took me a while to digest this, but you couldn’t have been more right! One reason astrology turned me off was that I didn’t relate to Leo’s brash confidence. I’m introverted and used to be painfully shy. I’m coming into my own and am less shy, but my sun sign is still a small fraction of my personality.

      I’ve since done my natal chart, and damn if I’m not a full-on believer. Moon in Scorpio, Libra ascendant. 🙂 And my Venus in Cancer explains a hell of a lot about former attachment issues in relationships (which I feel like I’ve finally investigated, accepted, and released)!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment! It spurred me to research more deeply and I’m glad I did.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. oh that’s great Jessie. Glad you took time and considered. That is a wonderful mental habit of yours. (Mercury placement?) Moon in Scorpio is interesting, but much depends on house and aspects too. I have sun&mercury in Scorpio. The main thing about astrology I’ve found is that it becomes a deep imagination tool for self-investigation after you develop individualized concepts about what the various planets and signs signify. And this can really only be done by studying other people (and knowing their natals), and takes time to iron out contradictions. Lately I am trying to understand Vnus in Virgo, knowing several who have this placement. Oddly, when I began researching Youtube astrologers, four or five people whose depth of insight intrigued me for one reason or another turned out to have this placement — a pretty strong ‘coincidence’. But, I ramble. 🙂


  2. Mercury in Leo, along with Mars. ^_^ It’s actually not a natural tendency, the stepping back before responding, but one I’ve been training. As far as studying people, I have been doing exactly that. I have five pages in my journal full of my friends’ and family’s natal charts! It is pretty interesting. Combining my analytical science-mind with my intuitive nature makes this a really fun and endless endeavor. I actually don’t have a single Venus in Virgo in my charts as of yet. I’ve been attracting a lot of Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer. My nephew, I think, is a really special addition to our family (he’s five) as his chart is so different from the rest of us. I mean, I always knew he was special (proud aunt puff-up), but the stars he was born under make him prone to change the way my family relates to each other for the better: more deeply and openly (Sun in Virgo, Moon in Pisces, Mercury in Libra, Venus in Scorpio). I love chatting about astrology. Ramble on. 🙂


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