as Mercury retrogrades
you’re not in control
full moon in Pisces
dreamy and intuitive
invites you to surf
How humans tend to handle being out of control
In the 19 years I’ve been engaged in the sport of flying trapeze, I’ve watched hundreds of first time flyers take the leap. They grab the fly bar, they step off the platform, they swing out into the air. Sometimes they let out a scream.
Once they can focus their attention, the instructor on the ground calls out instructions: legs up, hook your knees. Hands off. Arch back. Smile. Breathe. Hands back up. Legs down. And then the hardest part:
The Fear After the Leap
I recall the first time I was in this position. Until this point, I had been doing something familiar — a traditional monkey-bars move, albeit on a moving bar. Now, I would have to venture into unfamiliar territory: I would have to travel the distance between the bar and the safety net below me.
I would have to let go.
Most of my flying for the past decade has been without safety lines. But I still remember that moment in my first time: not knowing what to expect, how it would feel to let go of the bar and fall to the net.
How We React to Fear
In the nearly 2 decades since I experienced that moment, I’ve learned a lot about how the body holds fear and how we instinctively react to uncertainty. I’ve watched what first-time flyers tend to do in this critical moment:
As they let go, they instinctively grab hold of their safety lines.
If you consider this rationally for even a moment, you’ll realize it makes no sense. The safety lines are attached to you, and being controlled by the instructor on the ground. Grabbing them does not give you any actual control of your descent to the net.
But this is not a rational, pre-planned action. It’s a habitual, instinctive response to the feeling of falling, which is one of the two natural fears (the other is the fear of loud noises).
In times of radical uncertainty, our base instinct is to seek control of the situation, to cling to what’s real — or at least to what’s tangible.
Finding Joy in the Untethered Moments
My nearly 2-decade journey in the sport and art of flying trapeze has been in part a practice of learning how to let go, how to trust, and indeed, how to find joy in journey between letting go of the bar and landing in the net.
And there is joy here.
That’s the fly time, the moment when I’ve won the fight against gravity, the magic moment.
The journey of flying trapeze is in part a journey of trust: early on, it was about learning to trust the people who were pulling my safety lines. As I have progressed, it’s become about self-trust. Without safety lines, I am responsible for my own safety. When I release the bar, it’s just me and the air, until I land in the net.
Every practice asks me to confront the question:
How do you respond in the face of radical uncertainty?
Do you grasp for anything you can find that looks solid, or do you trust yourself to navigate flight and land safely?
Astrology’s Mirror: Full Moon in Pisces and Mercury Retrograde
This question comes to mind today with the confluence of two major astrological signatures: the start of Mercury Retrograde in Libra, and the Full Moon in Pisces.
Libra is an air sign; Pisces is a water sign.
Both air and water are elements that do not offer us anything to hold on to. We cannot root into them.
When the Ground Shifts Beneath Your Feet
To be sure, there is earth involved here too. The full moon in Pisces reflects the sun in the earth sign of Virgo; Mercury will eventually retrograde back to Virgo.
But Virgo is a mutable sign; a sign of changing seasons. Here, the earth is not solid. What is tangible is still shifting, like the safety lines. There is nothing to grab on to.
This is the gift, and the invitation of this moment.
Mercury Retrograde: Loss of Control
When planets are retrograde, they present the illusion — from our vantage point on Earth — of going backward. Mercury is the planet of communications and technology; when retrograde it often gets blamed for technology snafus and communication mishaps. It’s a reminder that we are not always in control of how things unfold. The best laid plans can get derailed.
The practical side of it is that it’s a time for review and reflection. Mercury retrograde often reveals to us what’s not working, what needs to be adjusted or discarded.
Mercury retrograde is inviting us to consider:
How do you react in the face of radical uncertainty, in a place where you realize you have no control?
Full Moon in Pisces: Go With the Flow
The full moon in Pisces offers a response. Pisces is a sign that is intuitive and dreamy. This full moon is sitting next to Neptune, the planet that dissolves and erodes all boundaries.
This full moon invites us to go with the flow, to let go and ride the waves.
You cannot grasp the water. There is nothing to hold onto, except your faith.
This is where we learn to listen to the voices within, to cultivate self-trust, strengthen intuition. This is where we learn to surf.
And as Mercury retrogrades over the next few weeks, it invites us to reflect and review, and to find that tangible anchor within ourselves.