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Mercury Retrotrades, and Boy Does It Ever

Woof! I spent the last 36 hours in tech hell and framily heaven. First I dropped my Airpods in the bathtub, and managed to recover them only through the magic of a Youtube tutorial and my hairdryer. Then my Macbook completely died–and lest this passive voice seem suspicious, trust me when I say a jar of dill pickles sailed out of a cabinet and landed on said Macbook with the might of a thousand dybbuks. With it died 11 months of writing because I hadn’t been properly backing up since Covid began.

Note that I’m not defending my sloppiness; merely reporting it with no small measure of chagrin.

But as frustrating as the breakdown of my devices has been, things could be so much worse. I am beyond lucky to have such lovely, generous, patient friends willing to share their amazing range of skills and savvy and resources with me, and I am grateful for this reminder. Not to mention: This kerfuffle comes right on time because Mercury retrograde begins tomorrow, enforcing the break we all need from our 11-month reliance on tech since it is taking place in Aquarius, which rules technology and networking.

Retrogrades tend to be most disruptive at their beginnings and ends, so over the next two days and from February 19-21, all things transportation and telecommunication may get especially fritzy. The good news? This forced reboot will also reboot our overtaxed, completely traumatized central nervous systems.

So why not lean in? Yes: it’s extremely annoying that our phones, tablets, computers, wifi and cable connections, and social media will likely go on the fritz over the next three weeks. But during this time, give yourself permission to unplug as much as you want. “Just say no” to Zoom. Sketch. Make music. Go for walks. And nap whenever you wish.

When we let them, Mercury Retrogrades enable us to more deeply connect with ourselves and each other. As my man Obi-Wan is wont to say: Trust the Force, Luke.

Space Crone Solar Return (I Am 50)

Today is my 50th birthday and, oh, I had big plans for this day. I had planned to have sold my book, fixed my bad back, and bought a shack in the mermaid woods.

I’ve always carried out my plans, having learned super-early to transform shit into gold. But with respect to Elizabeth Warren, 2020 showed us we make plans, God laughs—and sometimes shit is just shit.

You’re thinking: No shit, Sherlock! But recent financial and physical hardships have taught me I was treating the Universe, Allah, HaShem, the Force, the Flow, the Morphic Field of Resonance, the Divine Feminine—whatever you call God—as Santa Claus. That my faith was contingent on the granting of my wishes—an un-evolved if common approach to spirituality.

The bigger truth is sometimes there’s no payoff to our shit except for the enormous payoff of accepting what is, rather than what we want. And the only agency we really possess is the choice of whether to embrace the divine mystery in its fullest, starkest form. Only then can we open the door to true magic, which is this beautiful thing called life.

So as I reach this milestone age, I admit I am knee-deep in disappointment and regret. But registering this shit allows me to also register the beauty I don’t need to dress up at all. My beautiful permakitten and city and solitude. The beautiful many who have reached out with gelt, gifts, and good advice, company, and wishes—not just today but over the last 50 years. In this morning’s meditation I flashed on my Grandma Alice—a green witch who died a day before my 18th birthday and has protected me ever since. Just then, a green painting flew off my wall.

The point? We each live in a network of care and practical magic even when we can’t sense it, and it supports us even when it can’t stop bad things from happening. So as I transition from puella to space crone—from starry-eyed young woman to middle-aged broad living in the stars–let me say the Stones were right. We don’t always get what we want. But we get what we need. I’m so lucky I get you.

Long May He Reign

Martin Luther King Jr was a sooth-sayer above all else, and what drove him was love. But a clear-hearted love–empowering, not pandering. He embodied that Dr. Cornel West phrase: “Social justice is what love looks like in public,” and it says everything that he is the only 20th century leader whose birthday became a national holiday. Too, it says everything that even the most craven and evil members of the GOP pay lip service to his legacy (though they do not deserve to utter his name). In his work and in his words, Dr. King shone a light that has never been turned off–no, not even when he was brutally murdered by agents of the same American malignancy that’s boosted Donald Trump. It is the light of a different America–one that values the needs of all who value others’ humanity; one that values equality over entitlement. May we honor that light today and every day–not just in our words but in our daily labor for the first truly multiracial democracy in this country’s sordid history.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy