Mercury Retrograde: Be a Change-Agent Instead

Mercury is retrograde from July 7th through July 31st 2019

Planet Mercury


As an astrological practitioner I used to think that astrology was a correlative system developed by the ancients to match astronomical phenomena to current Mythos. According to an article by a physicist, astrology is the study of the relationships of electromagnetic fields around planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies. It feels that both are true. However since astrology is a tool, I don’t want to be thought of as just an Astrologer. I work as a Shaman with the tool of astrology in my bag.

Astrology is a tool to help us take charge and be a change-agent especially during the intensity of retrograding planets. Now’s the time, so take charge!

An astrology teacher once advised me not to go backpacking into Desolation Wilderness in the High Sierra of Northern California because of a Saturn transit which indicated a possible fall and broken bones. I told her: “I’ll be careful.” I didn’t fall nor did I break any bones.

I know people that use astrology to justify their fears and stop them selves from doing this or that because of what planet is this way or that way. I call this Victim-Astrology, the use of astrology as a way to curb behaviors as if there were a giant code in the sky that could tell us the right or wrong way to do something.  This could be an example of becoming a tool of astrology rather than using astrology as a tool.

Retrogrades and Mercury Retrograde

The term retrograde is applied to all planetary bodies in our solar system except Earth, the Moon and the Sun.  Retrograde is the apparent motion of a planet that appears to go backwards against the zodiac from the point of view of being on planet Earth.  A retrograding planet is an optical illusion. The planet is not going backwards in the sky (see the link at the end of this report for a visual demonstration and a second link for more information on retrograde motion). During a retrograde motion the planet is as close to the Earth as it will get during its orbit.

Western Astrologers claim that during Mercury retrograding communications become more difficult as if they weren’t already difficult enough. In addition to that thinking, contracts, machinery breakdowns (especially computers and automobiles), and travel snafus are more common during this time. Often times clients will call me to ask if Mercury is in retrograde because communications are off in their lives and more often than not the retrograde is not happening.

The complexity of our culture, the speed in which technology and change occur and the institutions that we once relied on for stability have been for many years have been destabilizing. Climate-change, growth of the power of Corporations, failures of governments are examples of the destabilizing factors. Looking to a phenomena beyond our control is a good way to – at the very least – explain what is happening and at worst is a way to abdicate our sense of responsibility and put the blame on Mercury retrograde.

Are we making a self-fulfilling prophecy when we blame Mercury Retrograde for our problems?  Probably.  If so this is an error in judgment when we blame Mercury retrograde for problems that could happen at any time.  What about all the events that go right during the Mercury retrograde period?  When you look for problems through the filter of Mercury retrograding are you not more likely to find them? Western Astrologers make the problems of Mercury Retrograde worse by playing on our fears. They write about adversity and those wishing to know more feed into these fears and make matter worse. Western Astrology assumes that the energies of a planet in retrograde make the energies go inward. This is deductive logic at work. Communications are difficult as I look for all the examples that make my case.  But logic is does not always reveal truth, for example – if all cops wear blue than if I am wear blue I must be a cop. When we fall victim to astrology, mainly Mercury Retrograde we may unwittingly fall into victim-think. Is it not better to rise to a challenge by meeting it when we feel able to do so, than running away because we are afraid?

Since Mercury is the closest planet to Earth and it is closer still during a retrograde period (usually 3 weeks 3 times per year) it follows that the electromagnetic influences may be more intense than when Mercury appears in direct motion (going forward against the background planets and stars). There seem to be three choices that could be made with regard to Mercury retrograding.

  1. Engage in the intensity
  2. Remain neutral, observing oneself and acting from a neutral base
  3. Retreat, and meditate

I have come to see this as an empowering choice for clients and myself instead of a way to limit our actions due to a certain point of view. And in fact Vedic or Jyotish Astrology interprets retrogrades in the much the same way.

Other Planets Retrograding or going Retrograde / Direct in 2019

Jupiter remains retrograde until August 11 at 6:37am PDT at 14 Sagittarius 30

Uranus goes retrograde August 11 at 7:2 pm at 06 Taurus 37

Saturn remains retrograde until September 18 at 1:47am at 13 Capricorn 55

Pluto remains retrograde until October 2 at 11:39pm PDT at 20 Capricorn 38

Neptune remains retrograde in Pisces for the remainder of 2019

Mercury retrogrades on October 31 at 8:41am PDT at 27 degrees 58 seconds Scorpio

Mercury goes direct on November 20 at 11:12 am PST at 11 degrees 38 minutes Scorpio


An animation for retrograding Mars:

Animation Gif of Retrograding Mars


Journey with a Spirit Guide: The Redwood Tree


I love and honor these beautiful  & wise beings we call redwoods.

In 1990 I was with a group on a retreat at an estate – a Swiss Chalet nestled in a valley surrounded by Mount Tam (Tamalpais) in Mill Valley.

We took a break on Sunday afternoon.  I went hiking along a fire trail near some redwoods.  I stepped into the sacred grove of trees and put my hands on a redwood and closed my eyes. I felt waves of peace enter my mind and body. My heart was at peace.  I put forth a question:

“What are you here for?”

Some people were talking nearby and I was distracted and embarrassed and moved my hands away from the tree.  I didn’t want to be seen as a tree hugger.

In March or April of 1991 I was hiking the upper trails at Jack London park in Glen Ellen when I was drawn to the redwoods there. I closed my eyes and put both hands on one of the trees.

We hold up the sky.

The tree seemed to have responded to the question I had asked in September of 1990 to my surprise and astonishment.  A deep love flooded my heart.

I did a vision quest to find a new place to live in mid 2000. On Thursday November 30th, 2000 I moved to the City of Sonoma. Exhausted from moving I put my futon on the living room floor and slept there overnight.

Around dawn I had an interesting dreamtime dream:

My spirit was standing inside my own body trying to get free. I was looking down at my sleeping body on the futon. A woman’s spirit body sailed in and told me how to fly free of my corporeal form. I flew up the street in the dusk light and careened into a friend’s apartment. She mistook me for a ghost and batted a broom at me and I sailed out of there into another apartment of a working couple and their children getting ready for work and school. I zoomed around there and found myself twelve to twenty years in the future.

I was in the house of a good friend surround by luminous objects that had been gently placed in chairs and couches in her living room. Her body had died and her happy spirit was lighting up her favorite objects upon her departure.

As the dream ended I felt reeled back into my body.

Many months later I felt the wisdom of the smallish redwood tree in the front yard just outside the front windows, about 40 feet high.  This redwood tree created a wandering vortex in my living room where I did all of my healing sessions with clients over the phone and in-person.

Here this Redwood became my teacher.

In the parts that follow I will share another remarkable story about the nature of reality, redwoods that sing and the teachings of the redwoods.

In March 2001 it was my custom to sleep until 8 or 8:30 am, meditate for 20 minutes, eat breakfast and start my day seeing clients. One particular morning I had a dream about my therapist. In ordinary reality she had said that she would refer me to anyone in particular need of my services.


In my dream I was standing directly behind her as if we were standing in-line and I said in rather demanding way –


“You’ve always said that you would refer someone to me, but you never have.”


She turned and shouted. Into my face:

“I just did!”


I woke up with a start at 8:15 am.


Five minutes later the phone rang. I let the machine get it. It was a new perspective client.


She began the message with. “I was referred to you by Susan R-” my therapist.


I picked up the phone. The woman – prospective client had just moved from the Santa Cruz mountains to San Rafael. She explained her situation, I told her about the dream. She needed work right away, so I scheduled her after my regular clients for the early evening at 7 pm. It was to be a phone consultation.


I began the prep work at 5:45 pm. The nature of the work – removing alien implants was a tricky procedure. Though I had never worked this kind of case before I felt spirit – and in this situation my Redwood Guide had brought this work to me. I invited all of my highest spirit guides to assist me in preparing the space where I would be making interdimensional contact with the client.


Making sacred space is important in all work with clients whether they are in the room with me or thousands of miles away. Forty five minutes later I had completed the initial work, about 6:30 pm. A curious thing occurred. The space collapsed – the vortex fell over. I put it back up. Then I saw – closed eyes – with my third eye that they’re tears in the space-time continuum.


“What do I do about that?” I asked them – the Guides.


The spirit of the Redwood outside my front door answered. I was to reach out with my index and middle fingers of my right hand, not my literal fingers but plasma or spirit fingers (I am right handed). The index finger of the right hand represents the active principle of intention. The middle finger of the right hand is the active principle of balance and responsiveness.


I reached out and put my two fingers inside the tear of the space-time continuum and pulled the reality and healed the rift I the vortex. The Redwood guided me to know that 99.999% of reality is belief and the rest the 0.001% are Newton laws or physics. Normally we think of beliefs as constructs of the mind that we create, and while this is true beliefs span a wider scope. They include the underpinnings of beliefs as created by biology, genetics, culture and cultural agreements, the technologies of language and how perception is created and filtered through agreements that become beliefs.

 Bend physical laws and alter reality.   So says Redwood.

At 7:40 pm I was still having difficulty holding the space when the phone rang. It was the woman calling to say that she wanted to cancel the appointment. I was irritated with her decision. I told her about the Guides and my preparation and my intention to start at 7 pm after getting a bite to eat. She changed her mind again and said she would call me back at 7 pm.

I ate and waited for her call, which didn’t come. I waited until 7:20 pm. Stupidly I didn’t have her phone number. When I was talking with a friend the client called back and left a message.

I called her back. “Why didn’t you call me at seven as we had agreed?” I asked her.

“I was waiting for you to finish eating.”

I told her that I had let go of the space. We set a time the next night and the Guides and I were successful at removing the implants.


What is Peace?


There are many groups that promote peace by helping to resolve conflict without violence and while these are noble and valiant efforts towards ending overt violence, however they do not speak to the intrinsic nature of peace.

If we begin to approach the subject of peace from a Buddhist perspective – or logically as if we were speaking about peace as an inherent characteristic within then peace takes on a richer meaning. If we assume that peace, justice, love, compassion, happiness and enlightenment are inside each of us from birth and that ego usurps and obscures these inner aspects through attachment then we can begin to immerse ourselves in experiences of peace. We need ego to manage the world. The ego’s way of living negates the inner world and makes us live to pursue happiness rather than to know we are already happy. We continually make the assumption that some “thing” in the future will make us happy and so we pursue this. We may feel happy for a time but this happiness fades and the pursuit for happiness begins again. Perhaps this is both a way to grow within a finite ego-based reality and it is also a way to become addicted to some “thing” person or event in the future. Peace becomes a fleeting emotional experience based on the promise of future events.

What would peace feel like? While this experience is most likely different from person to person it also may change from one experience to another. Since we’ve established that peace is our birthright and comes from within when we let go of attachments of ego, then peace is a process or an unveiling of what is already there within us. It cannot be coaxed, cajoled or poked into revealing itself.

It seems clear that when we feel connected to ourselves and our immediate environment as well as the connection to nature then feelings of peace begin to emerge. Peace is not merely a feeling of calmness. Included in the calmness is a sense of well-being. Being is and does not do.  The feeling of peace while inside it seems normal – due to the subtleness of the experience. Springing from being peace is a deep compassionate heart connection to all beings biological and non-biological.

My first experience with Vipassana Meditation was on a 10-day silent retreat in May 1981.  After several days Bhante – the Dharmawara Mathahera then in his early 90s told us to go off by ourselves that afternoon to meditate alone. I went into the woods with a small blanket behind the mansion. The mansion was part of Claymont Court and was built by George Washington’s nephew – Bushrod Washington in West Virginia in 1820 from land owned by George.

I spread my blanket down, sat cross-legged and closed my eyes and began to breathe, paying attention to my in-breath through my nose into my body and out through my mouth. Flies landed on my bare arms and tickled me, mosquitoes landed too – and they didn’t bite.  I giggled a few times. Soon I became aware of three presences near me. I opened my eyes a slit to see. Three small animals – a rabbit, a skunk and a squirrel sat in a semi-circle in front of me. I thought there was nothing unusual about this and I closed my eyes and continued to meditate. When I finished the animals were gone, I stood feeling peace and a heart connection to all nature.


In later years I used my house cleaning business as both a way to make money and further my spiritual practice and placing love and light in the homes I cleaned. I used questions as a center of gravity. One of the questions I used was:

“What is peace?”

I placed this question in my second chakra.  Naturally my mind manufactured many ideas about peace but it was the deeper knowing – a body knowing that came to know peace on a deeper level in a place of knowing where there are no words.

I invite you to contribute to this discussion about your own experiences of peace.



Forget New Year’s Resolutions


Actually forget resolutions all together. Who needs a resolution when you have a solution?

—  — — — — — — ——  — — — — — — — — — — — — — —  — — — ——  — — ——  — — — — — Of course the word resolute has a meaning that is different than solution:

determined, purposeful, resolved, adamant, single-minded, firm, unswerving, unwavering, steadfast, staunch, stalwart, unfaltering, unhesitating, persistent, indefatigable, tenacious, strong-willed, unshakable

And used in a sentence: He had been an early and resolute opponent of fascism. – from a dictionary.

— — — — — — — — — — — — —  — — — —— — — — — — — — — — — — — —

But to be a slave of a linear time based reality – example – the Gregorian Calendar. Let’s face it – time as we know it is an invention and language too. We are bound by the constructs of linear time. Grammar, sentences and words are symbols of reality and time is a convenient construct used to manage our daily lives. All sentences have a beginning, a middle and an end. Linear time is this way too.

We could choose another calendar system to base our resolutions on. The Gregorian Calendar isn’t particularly connected to a natural cycle as is a lunar calendar or the Mayan or Toltec calendars appear to be.

But why do we need resolutions anyway and who in us makes them and then breaks them later? Where does our resolve go?

  1. We resolve to make a change based on a calendar that was a course correction on a flawed Julian Calendar (inventing leap year every 4 years to make the correction) Also when the Gregorian Calendar started Pope Gregory XIII and his commission suspended the calendar and had 15 non-days or dates before restarting the dates. Maybe the anniversary of our birth may be a better day to make a resolution or a promise to ourselves.
  2. Before making restarting “a promise” to ourselves on January 1st we could look to see if we are living up to the philosophy of our own life. A friend of mine in a college doctoral program did a study on 6th graders – those children about 11 years old, asking them about their philosophy of life – the rules they aspired to and were they living up to those rules? Most were not. When I first outlined my philosophy of life in 1979 at the suggestion of What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles. It spurred me to get work and transform the path of my life. The three principles of my philosophy at that time were:

– To be a student and teacher everyday

– To live from my heart

– To live as if each moment were my last

The first two I aspire to realizing that learning is a part of life and one cannot always be in one’s heart with the amount of suffering that is all around. I dropped the last one.

  1. I have come to see that the part in me that makes a promise (or a resolution) is not the same part in me that breaks the promise. The “I” that makes the promise may or may not be aware of the part that breaks the promise. The “I” the breaks the promise is often not aware of the promise-maker because that “I” is child-like and acting on whim. Better to understand our entire “Beingness” before making and breaking promises and then another part, another “I” feels guilty and gets into blaming and shaming ourselves.


On Pain and Suffering

I never knew what the long term effects of physical pain could bring until I experienced it myself. As a healer I have encountered many with physical pain as well as emotional, interdimensional and multidimensional pain and worked to help heal this. Acute pain is more easily healed than chronic pain and yet chronic pain can be healed as well – through alternative methods. The healing process for our lives is always evolving whether that pain be emotional, somatic, spiritual or combinations.

Pain and suffering if not visible is not readily acknowledged by people without pain and is sometimes dismissed as not real by people who are relatively pain free.

As a result and the nature of pain and inflammation tend to isolate those that are experiencing pain. The natural response of humans towards pain is the avoidance of pain. When pain is severe enough the avoidance of pain is part of our survival of it. Pain management whether by supplements, medications, surgery, stem-cell treatments, physical therapy or alternative healing techniques begins to take up space and time in our consciousness and begin to limit mobility and tends to isolate those in pain.

Two reasons why people in pain isolate: the pain itself and the meta-response of others to pain.

When we see someone in pain whether that be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual there seems to be two responses: to move away or to move towards. The desire to help those in pain usually falls into two groups: fixing pain and bearing witness to pain.

Those that work to fix pain offer advice etc. Bearing witness to pain without doing anything to fix it does something to us and we connect to the other in pain. When we connect to another in pain via an emphatic response we share a small part of the other’s suffering. As we do this it reminds us of our own pain and suffering and the experience can be painful.

Those that turn away from suffering – especially those that encounter loved ones that “don’t get better” and harden their hearts making the suffering one a victim. The one in pain – a brother or a sister, mother, father, son or daughter, colleague etc., it’s somehow their fault they are not getting better. The denial of suffering is an easy way to feel safe an insulated from other’s suffering and pain and begin to establish an “us versus them” dynamic.

By softening and opening our hearts to others pain and suffering while acknowledging our own and bear witness we can begin to release it somewhat.

Home Remedies for Stiff or Sore Muscles

Something Soothing…

teal on ceramic cup with spoon

  1. You will need a sock – long tube socks or knee-highs are good.  If you are going to treat a larger area -like your back you may want to consider a pillow slip – and in this case its good to sew channels or baffles in the pillow slip to keep the uncooked rice or beans from bunching up.


  1. Uncooked rice, garbanzo beans, pinto beans or split peas / lentils are good.


Fill the sock or socks with the materials from #2. Remember to leave enough room so you can tie off the sock so the rice or beans won’t spill out. If you’re using a pillowslip sew the slip in advance and then fill with rice or beans, carefully fold it over before the next step.

Once your pillowslip or sock(s) are filled with uncooked rice, lentils, peas or beans and closed


off put them in the microwave oven and heat from 1 to 2 minutes. If your microwave is more powerful start with a lower time and work up…

If your neck is sore or tense put the sock underneath you neck as you sit in a chair or lie down on your bed.  Lay the pillowslip down flat on your bed and lie face up positioning your back on the heated pillow slip.

It helps.

September 14, 2015 original date of publication on the old blog

Work of the Heart

I am a man of the mind – my origins.  When I was 29 I came to the realization that I needed to work on the opening of my heart.  A week after this realization my first astrology reading indicated the same.  It made me laugh heartily.

As I have worked to open my heart over these 30 years or so I have found that there have been heartbreaking wounds that have wrenched my being apart.  And the healing continues.  To open to the compassionate heart has been and continues to be painful and richly rewarding.

Love is its own reward.

In my work with mental health clients who have been homeless I find that the compassion never seems to stop even when they screw their lives up and come back for more help.  Like I said – Love and compassion have their rewards.

I used to think that if people were inspired they could lift themselves up from an economic bottom rung and live free of inner demons. While inspiration is a great gift it does not necessarily sustain a person nor can it be regenerated without a good self-esteem grounded in self-love. I see that offering a person love and compassion that may or may not reach them is never wasted. They may feel it or not feel it. If they feel it – it is the connective tissue of caring. If not: It is one’s choice to receive love and compassion in the midst of suffering. That choice when honored is a gift and honors the person as with integrity as an equal.

Comfort from suffering can happen in small doses and love and compassion is the fire that fuels this comfort.

I work to open my heart remembering that it automatically closes for protection from being overwhelmed and ineffectual in the face of humanity’s suffering. The choice to open’s one’s heart is one of inclusion rather than exclusion.

Love is the connective tissue that allows all beings to be connected.


Originally published in December 13, 2009


The Holidaze

Here in California snow is treated differently than in New England where I spent the first 30 odd years of my life.

In New England, snow and cold icy weather was a fact of life where we navigated as school children dropping books in the snow, making snow angels and snowball fights.  Christmas was almost always white – well until global warming when Christmas was cold and wet and maybe no snow. Later driving in snow and icy before anti-lock brakes was filled with skids and spins and learning to steer out of them.

One of the reasons I thought to move to California was the elimination of snow. It seems now snow is a distant memory.  Those that want snow drive to it, get their fill of it and return to rain and /or sun.  Snowboarding or even cutting a Christmas tree in the snow and other romantic notions makes snow into a “something”  like gold or silver to buy or sell.  Like surfs up for the weekend.

Christmas songs still talk about snow, movies have snow in them.  Its entertainment unless of course your slogging through it.

So it seems ironic to me that on a Christmas night we huddle by the fire and hear the rain on the roof and wake to a 50 to 60 degree day and no snow.