The meaning of Mercury in Cancer: May 28-August 4, 2020

Mercury, the planet of messages and information, is typically in a sign for less than a month, but because of the upcoming retrograde it will remain in Cancer until August 4th.  Any retrograde Mercury period is important since a retrograde planet applies greater emphasis and tends to dominate the astrological influences. This year, however, when Mercury turns retrograde on June 18th it will  just one of five planets in retrograde (followed by Neptune a few days later for a total of six).  You may want to catch up on this article about the summer of retrogrades.

But back to Mercury in Cancer.  Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the luminary that governs our emotions and our secret inner selves.  To understand Cancer you need go no farther than the Crab which is one of Cancer’s symbols.  With a soft tender shell in their youth, the Crab is very vulnerable and tender, caring deeply for others and for the world as a whole.  However if the Crab is hurt or wounded it may develop a hard shell in later years making it difficult to express those tender feelings.

Mercury is typically objective and seeks a certain amount of order in our thinking and transmission of information, but in Cancer the need for an open mind can be subsumed by feelings and sensation.  Cancer thrives on a sense of being at home, both physically and with our families or our tribe – the people with whom we feel more at home.  Much is being written these days about our “quarantine tribe” – the people that we are closest to and choose to spend time with even while in quarantine – this is a Cancerian question.  With whom do we feel safe?  Who do we want and need to care for in times of crisis?  The inner world of Cancer opens up the mental faculties of Mercury in new ways and encourages us to be a little less objective and rely more on our instincts and trust our feelings.

This will be easier for people with watery charts who already live in the realm of feeling, but those of us with a lot of air and fire may find ourselves feeling a bit lost in the watery depths, especially when Mercury is retrograde. On the plus side though, Mercury in Cancer connects us more deeply to our rich inner life, the life of the soul. Turning off some of the noise of the mind and tuning into the heart will help us to get the most out of Mercury in Cancer.

While in Cancer, Mercury will have a bit of a stressful ride as it bounces off against the other planets in cardinal signs (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto in Capricorn; Chiron and Mars in Aries).  Here are some of the bumps along the road:

  • Mercury in a challenging square to Chiron (wounding and healing) on June 5 – potential eruption of emotional or psychological wounds which require healing and release, but Mercury also begins a series of harmonious sextiles to Uranus, the planet of innovation and disruption, helping us to get unstuck from old patterns and facilitate all of these alignments.
  • Mercury turns retrograde on June 14th, with a week or so on either side when Mercury’s movement slows down for the change of direction.  This shines a focus on the mental realm, and the need to find integration between the impulses of the instincts (Cancer) and the objectivity of reason (Mercury).
  • On June 30th  we see the second phase of the harmonious sextile from Mercury to Uranus facilitating integration.
  • Mercury retrograde in a challenging square to Mars in its own sign of Aries on July 8th.  The story of Mars in Aries in 2020 deserves a post of its own, and will get one.  But we are in the Mercury story now, and the retrograde square from Mercury to Mars is likely to open up old resentments and fan any flames that may be smoldering.
  • Mercury turns direct on July 12th, but will take a week or so to pick up its normal speed.  While Mercury is stationary, which again is for about a week before and after the change of direction, mental patterns and focus take on more prominence.
    • HOWEVER, note that Chiron will have turned retrograde on July 11th, and since IT TOO is stationary there is an infusion of transformational energy to bring up and release habitual patterns that have kept us stuck and unhappy.  This process is not altogether comfortable, but always useful.
    • AND Mars aligns with Chiron on July 14th, pouring accelerant on the flames of emotional transformation to create a bit of drama.
  • Mercury returns to the challenging square to Chiron on July 21st, completing any transformation work and helping to integrate it in the mental realm.
  • And then, happily, Mercury aligns with Uranus in a harmonious sextile on July 22nd to support and facilitate change and energetic realignment.
  • On July 27th there is one last challenging square from Mercury in Cancer to Mars in Aries, but with Mercury now speeding along this aspect will last only a couple of days and will not have the same impact as the earlier phase on July 8th.
  • Mercury opposes Jupiter (expansion and confidence) and trines Neptune (creative spirituality) on July 30th for a few days of letting go and a burst of inspiration and optimism.
  • On August 1st Mercury will oppose Pluto (intense transformation) which could take us into some dark places in the mind for a couple of days. Alternatively, it could assist in the solving of problems in which we have become stuck!
  • On August 3rd Mercury opposes Saturn (tests and challenges) for a couple of days of hard work and self-discipline.  Saturn is productive but not often cheerful, so this time will be good for focused efforts rather than partying.
  • FINALLY on August 4th Mercury moves into Leo.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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