Mercury Retrograde Meditation
and Upcoming Guest Shawn Nygaard


As Mercury is currently slowing down to station next to Neptune in the sign of Pisces it's a good time to reflect upon the themes of this upcoming retrograde cycle. Below you'll find a special Mercury retrograde meditation called "Revising our Escape Plans: A Meditation on the Sign of Pisces."

In the meantime, we are sending out a reminder that this Monday, February 10th, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, eastern time, we will be hosting the first speaker of our Winter Speaker Series. Astrologer Shawn Nygaard will be visiting with us via live (and recorded) webinar to speak about astrological archetypes in Film and Television. If you're a fan of film, fantasy, and theater, then you don't want to miss this illuminating talk on the presence of the planetary themes on the "big screen" and how these themes reflect the various collective dramas we are all participating in all of the time!

Blessings and Light,

Adam Elenbaas

Shawn Nygaard On Astrology, Archetypes, TV & Film
this Monday, February 10th
7:00 - 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Via Live Webcast
Suggested Donation: $15 - $25
Audio/Video Available if You Can't Make it Live!
email us at to register
or click "donate" here


Astrology, Archetypes, TV & Film

Astrology is an archetypal language of the soul that gives meaning to the moment. The soul speaks through the imagination, expressed creatively through stories, images, poetry, art, music and culture. In this way, listening to a favorite song can transport you back to the time you first heard it; the song brought meaning to that moment.


In this webinar, archetypal astrologer Shawn Nygaard will look at how current and recent astrological archetypes are showing up quite strikingly in the movies, television shows and books in western popular culture today, and what they may be communicating. There will be time during the webinar for questions and short discussions.



About Shawn Nygaard:


Shawn Nygaard has been an astrologer for over a decade, having begun the study of astrology and archetypes after twelve years of being a peer counselor. In addition to private readings, Shawn has created and taught a number of astrology classes and webinars in the Twin Cities (Minnesota), focusing particularly on the in-depth meaning of the astrological symbols. He recently spent a year working for an astrology hot-line service, doing readings for a wide variety of clients from around the world, as well as hosting the internet radio show "Imagine That!" about archetypal astrology. He is a graduate of the CMED Institute in Chicago, where he studied archetypes and symbolism with Caroline Myss.

Revising our Escape Plans: A Meditation on Mercury Retrograde 
and the Sign of Pisces


The Moon is in Taurus today, applying to aspect Mercury and Neptune. Mercury is stationing in the sky within a degree of Neptune to begin its retrograde. As Mercury is stationing with Neptune, both in the sign of Pisces, it's a good day to reflect upon the subject of addiction and escapism.

During the recent transit of the Moon through Pisces, beloved actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose. Today the CNN headlines announce that four people have been arrested in connection with his death. Yesterday the headlines were piecing together his last hours before overdosing...the desperate trip to the ATM, meeting with his dealers, etc.

Why is it that people with so much talent so often become self destructive? In the sign of Pisces the answer is complex. Put simply--because "stars" reflect the collective drama. Stars embody, absorb, act out, transmute, and transfigure collective energies. They "become" the zeitgeist, they shape shift through collective dreams/projections and mythologies. They are open wide to the power of the planets, astrologically speaking, especially the outer/transpersonal planets, and their lives therefore reflect the theatre of the soul to the masses. 

The sign of Pisces is like this for all of us really. In one way or another, through the 12th house in our natal chart, or through the presence of planets in Pisces, or strong Neptune aspects, we are like sponges to the waters of the collective: the dreams, atmospheres, feelings, myths, and narratives floating through the psychic commons. We are therefore often acting out dramas that are not our own. We are often swept out to sea by voices, visions, and dreams that belong to something far vaster than ourselves. And as a result it is very easy to sometimes lose ourselves in the "madness" or "illusion" of these currents. 

One of the reasons Pisces is connected with monasteries, hospitals, prisons, and retreat centers has to do with the fact that these are places we go when we have been ravaged by the collective...when the "public" dream becomes toxic to the soul and we need to remove ourselves from the world to regain a simple "center." We need a "sanctuary." In fact in the old world if you were a criminal or if you were being hunted unfairly by the mob you might "claim sanctuary" in the church....a place of high vaulted ceilings, stained glass, and stoney echoes. 

Image: A taoist monk looking down from the cloudy mountain at the city below.

Pisces points to the need to escape from the "overwhelm" of the world. The need to "cleanse" the senses from over absorption. But this same desire to "get away from the insanity" (which Piscean/Neptunian people are especially prone to) can drive us into escapist fantasies or unhealthy substance abuse or even different forms of deprivation.

With Neptune and Pisces prominently featured in Hoffman's chart at the time of his death, this was no doubt a part of what "dissolved" Hoffman right out of his body and out of this world. 

When the pain and suffering of this collective "dream time" is so overwhelming that we desire to escape it at all costs, we often reach for poor substitutes. Alcohol is probably the single most escapist substance on our planet (speaking now only to actual physical substances). Sugar and caffeine are nearby. Because the collective nightmare can make us feel either heavy and lethargic or anxious and paranoid, we reach for "uppers" and "downers." We would be so much better off learning how to take a day off, learning how to meditate and breathe, learning to build better boundaries, committing ourselves to participating only in the collective myths that we feel "alive" in, etc. One has to wonder if Hoffman's ability to embody tortured souls, while clearly such a gift, wasn't an intense burden that he carried? Hoffman had recently relapsed after many years sober, and he was on the record about it publicly. And for many people with strong Neptunian/Piscean traits, this is how it is...the struggle is a life long struggle. This same struggle is why we have such a strong tradition on our planet of "heading to the hills and mountains" to find peace and to disengage from the madness. It's also why we have such intense acts of public suicide in front of us lately, and it's also why drugs and escapisms of all kinds permeate our "glamourized" culture.

We talk about "happy hour" because we hate our jobs. We talk about "I need a drink," because we are overwhelmed with life itself. We talk about "give me that piece of cake" or "I'll have a triple espresso--it's been one of THOSE days," because we simply don't know how to cope with the massive amount of energy streaming through us all the time. 

Image: The Taoist monk among the clouds, gazing peacefully at the city below.

We have to find the monk inside of us right now. With Mercury stationing with Neptune, we need to put our needles down, whatever variety we use, and we need to find the peacefulness of isolation, contemplation, prayer, meditation, or nature. Whatever that might look like for each individual--it's our job to find it right now.

To deprive the senses, however, is not the same thing as cleansing the senses. To deprive the senses, based on a principle, based on a higher/holier judgment of the collective, is to create another form of escapism. This is also highly Neptunian. Instead of reaching for the bottle of wine to keep our head above water, we deprive ourselves because, oddly enough, deprivation can also make us feel "high." We think of the monk as having reached the "better" place, and then we quickly forget that most stories of monks necessarily involve trips back into the cities. We mistake "we are of this world but not in it," for "we are in this world but not of it." 

As Mercury stations with Neptune right now it's a great time to cleanse our senses if they are overwhelmed. It's a great time to get clear about any addictions or escapist tendencies we have. It's a great time to see the difference between deprivation or starvation and mindful participation (moderation). 

Prayer: cleanse my body of all the drugs, delusions, and songs of victimization. Help me to find the refuge rather than the quick escape. Help me to accept the pain and suffering, and help me to feel the quiet solitude of your voice. In the wind and the waters, in the mountains and hills...and in the valley below. Your light is with me in dark places. I pray for peace and surrender to enter the hearts of all people everywhere. Amen.

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