Standstill Week

Late last August (30th) in the New York Times magazine, there was a "First Words" piece with the title "Standstill". In it the author, Sam Anderson, explores the two ancient Greek concepts of time; Chronos which is" the vast, inhuman, infinite stretch of time" (in other words the years, months, hours, etc.); and Kairos which is defined as a decisive moment- where "magic" happens and some event becomes charged with meaning. Kairos is god's time as it transcends Chronos with its calendars. This Kairos time event suddenly changes the whole picture; and is often remembered complete with emotional component many years later.   

Anderson goes on and helps us understand that we live with both concepts of time, but we crave and are addicted to Kairos-those magic moments when something happens which is so potent and so charged that we sense and can make sense out of the ordinary and humdrum. Living in perplexing times such as we do, these peak moments when Kairos intervenes helps us to make sense of at least a moment-if  understanding the whole era seems to daunting.

Standstill is defined in Websters as "a state in which all activity and motion is stopped".  Anderson wrote about learning to discern the "moments" whether it be in a political campaign, in an acceptance speech, a blunder on TV or in social media, where someone is "having a moment".  But who gets to decide whether this moment or that one has the Kairos quality of everything being at stake?  When does a significant moment (Kairos) just dissipate into Chronos time that grinding, monotonous, unglamorous time? Interesting questions without answers.

As astrologers or planetary cycles scientists we understand time (Chronos) by watching the planets cycling around the Sun.  Some planet orbits around the Sun are inside the Earth's and some are outside. Mercury orbits inside the Earth's and Mars orbits outside ours.  This week and for the next few weeks and months these two planets are doing a dance as observed from Earth which gives rise to the title of this blog and the New York Times article.

Mars the reddish planet began its retrograde pattern on the 17th, when from earth's perspective he came to a standstill, staying in one degree of the zodiac for the entire month. Usually Mars takes 3 weeks to go 15 degrees; in this part of the cycle it will take him 8 1/2 months to travel those same 15 degrees, appearing to go back and forth over the same area 3 times. That in itself is really all you need to know.  You may make decisions and plans on how to navigate and manifest your vision, only to have to change your direction, not once or twice but perhaps 3 times.  So advice--GO SLOWLY. 


Mars will appear in the east at sundown on the 22nd of May, rising as the Sun sets.  This is the 1/2 way mark. He is as bright in the sky as he gets and is at his closest pass to the Earth. (Please do not think Mars will look anything like a Full Moon). Around this time Mars slips back into Scorpio and we must get a handle on the true motives and passions that are driving us.  It might be gut wrenching work; some dirt and old baggage wants to come out and be exposed to the light. Scorpio demands intensity. You may find yourself going backwards, or returning to some work you have done before, or to someone you been with before.  It does not necessarily mean that that situation will continue on into the future.  It is not all unlikely that at the end of this Mars retrograde cycle June 28th-but final closing August 22nd when new territory is reached- that you will completely change your direction, goals and visions for the future.

At the same time Mercury is also at a standstill this week starting his retrograde cycle on Thursday the 28th.  He will take a long time to go 10 degrees, going back and forth over the same area of Taurus and moving more slowly that usual.  Taurus has to do with what has value to us-what we are worth what anything is worth to us, capital costs, hidden costs, and secret matters around money and property,or artistic valuations. Expect these issues to come forth in your world and the world around you.

One more thing of great interest is that the Mercury station (standstill) at 23 Taurus this week is opposite the Mars station (standstill) on June 28th at 23 Scorpio.  That means that what is occurring this week (especially as regards finances) is and will be connecting again at the end of June. Whether you use your own resources or someone else's be sure you read the small print and have the whole picture.  Mercury can be a trickster especially in his retrograde phase, which lasts until May 22nd again.

Lastly, through this whole period of Mercury and Mars standstill and retrograde, when the planets themselves are behaving differently than the normal (both in direction and speed,) you might be more sensitive to experiencing those out of the normal personal Kairos moments, when the magic happens and the beauty of life is undeniable.