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Posts from the ‘News’ Category

Bergdahl: The Perfect Study in Mercury Retrograde

(c) Jim Larsen

(c) Jim Larsen

There’s no need to fear Mercury retrograde. It serves an important function and if you learn how to move with it, to get into the flow, you’ll find that it can actually help you adjust course when needed.

The best way to learn about it is to observe how you function with it. If you have a retrograde Mercury in your own chart, you’re going to have a different experience than someone with a direct Mercury. If Mercury is making an actual contact with your chart while it’s retrograde, you’ll have as stronger experience than when it makes no contacts for you.

Another great way to study it is in the news. As luck would have it, this Mercury retrograde gives us the perfect Mercury retrograde case study. The story of Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl was born on March 28, 1986 in Sun Valley. Mercury was retrograde in Pisces when he was born. Not an ideal place for Mercury anyway. Mercury is about logic and reason and Pisces is about dream states. Astrologers say that Mercury is in detriment there. Even without any more information about him, we know that he is highly susceptible to subtle vibrations, and logic is not his strong suit.

The month before he disappeared, Mercury was retrograde. It went retrograde on his Black Moon which is in Gemini. This is not an actual physical body but an interesting sensitive point that many astrologers use that is associated with loss, isolation, and power struggles.

Bergdahl’s release was announced just as Mercury is about to go retrograde. Up to that point, Republicans like Ayotte and McCain and Graham were calling for Obama to do anything to secure his release. We don’t know what motivated Obama to do it when he did, but we do know that he had just announced that the war was coming to a close. At the close of the war, he was going to have to release prisoners. So we have a convergence of those two streams.

As soon as Obama gets him back, those who were demanding he be brought home changed their tune and now are criticizing his release. Can’t get much more retrograde than that!

So here we are, ready for Mercury to go retrograde in Cancer, and backing up into Gemini (remember this is the sign where it went retrograde just before he went missing), and the media is overflowing with controversy.

As astrologers there is one thing that we can know for certain—we don’t have all the information and it will play out over the coming weeks as Mercury retrogrades, turns direct, and eventually returns to the degree where it went retrograde.

For those of you who are more knowledgeable about astrology, let me point out that by progression, Bergdahl’s progressed Black moon is at the tip of a YOD, with Pluto and Neptune forming the sextile. It’s been set up that way since about 2003, not long after we went into Afghanistan. Very interesting, indeed. If you don’t understand what that means, just know that it means that since the war started, his Black Moon has been highly stimulated and it was triggered by the retrograde Mercury, clouding his already not very linear thinking, just before he went missing.

Here are some key dates to watch, +/- three days on either side:

  • June 19th. That’s the day that Mercury and the Sun conjoin. It is the best window for clarity. Watch for new information around this date.
  • June 26th. This date has some interesting potential because the moon, which represents the public in mundane astrology, is going to conjoin the retrograde Mercury. There’s potential for a lot of emotion from the public or from Bergdahl himself.
  • July 2nd. Mercury turns direct. It will do that opposite Bergdahl’s Uranus. Uranus is about rebelliousness and erratic-ness. It will be important for the people around him to keep a close eye on him during this period. Expect more information in the days surrounding this date.
  • July 15th. Mercury returns to the degree where it went retrograde. Pay attention again. There may be a final release of information, something that ties it all together.

If you are being affected by this Mercury retrograde, these dates will be important for you as well.

If you are just learning about Mercury retrograde, study yourself, absolutely. You are the best source of information for your own response to this. It was a key lesson for me early on. It taught me how helpful astrology is in day-to-day life.

But you can also learn a lot from watching the news and this story is made to order. Pull up a chair and get out your notebook because this story is the perfect case study.


Saturn Return Special

Born between 1923-1926, 1953-1956, 1982-1985? If so, you are experiencing your first, second, or third Saturn return.

Saturn return is when Saturn comes back to the same degree it was at the day you were born and it happens approximately every 29.4 years. It was the last of the known planets until Uranus was discovered in 1781. Because of that, it is associated with the limits and boundaries of physical reality.

And so it is in our lives. It pushes us to the limits of our physical boundaries. We’re often called upon to put a shoulder to the grindstone, to push our limits. We feel fatigued or depressed and we ask ourselves if we can go another step. Sounds awful, and if you’re going through this, you know just what I’m talking about. But it has a function. It’s forcing us to look at and accept our limits. It’s asking us what we need to eliminate from our lives, and what we need to take on. It commands our attention and it demands our discipline.

At the first Saturn return, which we can start feeling at around 27 and can continue to feel until nearly 30, it’s about letting go of our childhoods, once and for all. We are now the adults we were going to grow up to become. How’s it looking to you? What do you need to stop and what do you need to start to be that adult you want to be?

The second Saturn return happens as we approach 60. Another boundary. It’s a referendum on what we learned back when we turned 30 and how well we incorporated those lessons. We’re coming to the end of our work lives and confronting our satisfaction or dissatisfaction around that. We often return to the interests and passions we left behind when we took up the mantle of adulthood at the first return. There is a confrontation with the finiteness of our lives and often experience a sense of determination to live the next Saturn cycle in a more personally fulfilling way.

The third and final Saturn return happens if we make it to our 90th year. The finality of life is tangible, if not already embraced.

Saturn return is the number one reason why people contact an astrologer. They want to know what’s going on and how long it’s going to last. But an astrologer can also help you identify the underlying issues, so that you can have more clarity as you navigate this major life turning point. If you’re in the middle of your Saturn return, you could use a break. For that reason, if you were born in any of the years above, I’m offering a Saturn return discount of $30. If you’re a Scorpio, Saturn’s been transiting your sun, which feels a whole lot like a Saturn return, so you can take that same discount. Let me help you navigate this important life transition.

For more information about consultations, click here.

New eLearning Courses

The eLearning site that was associated with this site is now going away as we launch Astrology-U with Beginning Medical Astrology with Marcia Starck. Marcia is an internationally respected medical astrologer with 40 years of experience working with clients and teaching. This course is adapted from her correspondence course and utilizes eLearning technology. We are delighted to kick off this new website with an astrologer of Marcia’s caliber.

Other courses now available include: Introduction to Astrology (free), Basic Astrology: Planets, Basic Astrology: Elements, Modes & Polarities, with more to come.

To find out about new classes as they go online and live webinars are they are scheduled, sign up for our free newsletter. If you don’t receive your confirmation email, check your junk mail – and be sure to add us to your contacts so you won’t miss announcements of new classes. Our privacy policy is simple: we will not sell or share your email with anyone.

It is our goal to bring the best of astrology to you. If there is a course or a teacher that you would like to work with online, send us an email. We’ll see what we can do to arrange it for you.

You can access the course catalog through the eLearning tab on this site, or you can go to . Your feedback is both welcome and appreciated.


Heaven & Earth

“Keep your eyes on the stars,
and your feet on the ground
-Teddy Roosevelt

Image (c) Jim Larsen 1974

When we talk about astrology, people immediately think that we’re talking about the stars. But astrology is as much about the earth as it is about the heavens. It originated when early men and women huddled together under the night skies. They survived by paying attention to small signs of changing seasons, connecting what they saw in the sky with what they saw around them on the earth.

I believe that astrology works because there is no separation between what happens on a cosmic level, and what happens on a personal level. We are all reflections of our own moment of time, and it is our job to live that moment to the best of our abilities.

Astrology, well applied, helps us work within our own natures, in harmony with the natural cycles. It helps us align heaven and earth, spirit and matter, to find what physicists call the path of least action, and what shamans call the path of the heart.

Astrology Classes

“Astrology is a language.  If you understand this language, the sky speaks to you.”  Dane Rudhyar

(c) Jim Larsen 2010

Intro to Astrology class beginning in April.

Wheel of Life. Ongoing class at the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena, CA.


For more information and to sign up, see my Meetup page. Or send an email to


Photograph (c) Jim Larsen 2010




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