What to watch for:
* As Mercury stations in Aries watch for "foot in the mouth syndrome."
* Have you ever noticed how tempting it is when talking to someone to bring the conversation back to yourself? Have you ever noticed how easy it is when talking to start thinking about what you're going to say or how what someone else is saying relates to yourself, rather than listening more deeply and openly? What opportunities do we miss when we listen from a "me first" position?
* With Mercury in a Mars-ruled sign, slowing down, and in a broad but returning square to Saturn and Mars in Capricorn it's also easy right now to speak from a place that is too strong, too rigid, too critical, or too controlling. It's easy to think "I know what's best. I know where this conversation needs to go. I see what's happening here. I know what needs to be said or done. I know what needs to be added, or I know how to protect or defend the right thing in this situation." But what does it mean to be undefended and unprotective in speech and thought? What does it mean to be uncritical but not lacking in discernment? What does it mean to actually listen?
* It's been said that even a fool is full of wisdom if we are practicing the art of deep listening.
* Mercury in Aries slowing down is also indicative of the fact that we usually don't have all of the facts. Often we see something which appears easy to judge on the surface, but rather than listening and really seeing what's going on, we rush to thinking we know rather than continuing to watch and listen, making our most immediate thought, "I am not the knower," rather than, "I see what's going on here, and I know exactly what to make of it or what to do about it next."
* If all of this is going on in our relationships, as well (Venus in Aries), then how in the world are we to expect that anything fruitful will come of our relationships? If we're honest, with so much self-interest dominating our communication with one another, the reality of what we're doing can be rather empty, only feigning an appearance of interest or intimacy.
* On the other hand, Mercury in Aries can help us to stop thinking about ALL of these subtle communication dynamics in favor of a simpler and more direct approach. Ironically, the ego has a tricky way of dominating us by getting us to overthink, overanalyze, and try to perfect our minds, our thoughts, our communication, or our relationships...which is just as selfish as anything else!
* Finally, as Mercury turns retrograde, Venus will square Pluto, which means we are all approaching an opportunity for a deeper understanding of one another in our relationships, especially regarding communication and speech patterns. Wherever there is a toxic buildup of some kind, expect eruptions, purgation, cleansing, and an opportunity to heal whatever has festered. On the other hand, we will also be given an opportunity to heal or release patterns of self-criticism or judgment.
* Sometimes we use our intellects to try to reach a place of truth, light, clarity, peace, or happiness. We think that we can think our way to happiness or righteousness in every situation like happiness is the gold medal of an Olympic sport. We "trust" our mind above anything else because our mind helps us to feel safe and in control. But something amazing happens when we put our minds in the service of the love of the divine. When our minds become open, present, and receptive, then love becomes the most intelligent and unique response to every situation we find ourselves in. Our thoughts become the thoughts of love, and our minds become instruments of love, rather than the double-edged swords we use to try to find, get, give, protect, defend, or ensure our happiness...always ironically harming ourselves and others in the process.
Prayer: We are not the knowers, so please heal our weary minds. Teach us to listen. Teach us to hear. Teach us to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other.