6 of Swords - Burdens and Hope
Gosh, I hate to be that witch who plays into the whole Mercury retrograde hullabaloo...but as I relinquish my own will to the guidance of the cards and humbly accept my role as a steward of their messages, here we are. The 6 of Swords is the home-base Tarot card for the astrological placement of Mercury in the second decan of Aquarius (approximately January 30-February 8). So no fun minor aspect journeys today, just straight up - Mercury is currently at 26 degrees Aquarius and goes retrograde tomorrow (January 30!!) morning at 10:51am EST.
In case you couldn’t tell, I consider today’s card to be wildly synchronistic.
For anyone who knows me personally, probably one of the things that annoys you most about me is how much I love shadow work and other generally “unpleasant” psychological, physical and spiritual processes that lead us to freedom. This includes the fact that I approach astrological retrogrades like a freaking extended holiday. Especially Mercury if only for it being the astrological equivalent of a social pariah.
Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius (and a bit in Pisces)
I love Mercury retrograde!
I love that shit gets fucked up with technology - “good!” I say, we need to remember who we are without our personal assistant robots working perfectly.
I love that communication gets glitchy and we have to actually tune in to deep, radical presence in both expressing ourselves and also receiving others expressions.
I love that we are forced to slow down. I’m someone who can totally ignore my inner guidance and spin out kinda regularly. Mercury retrograde tells me that it's ok, nay, necessary to zoom in and slow down. To take off my glasses and get my face all up in the details of the aspects of my life that feel like they’re glitching will remind me that the retrograde did not create the glitches, it’s just highlighting them and giving me a means to access them.
You’ve got a bunch of shit in your life that really bothers you, right? But you don’t want to deal with it, right? Because it’s easier to get stoned on the couch and watch Schitt’s Creek all night, right? But maybe lately you’ve been finding yourself a little bored or agitated with even your favorite TV families? Your attention sucks, you feel despondent and end up scrolling Twitter until 4am but not even really reading anything? Yeah, me neither.
So tomorrow we can start to change all that. In fact, we have to, because the 6 of Swords is going to block us from doing anything other than taking a really important and life-altering journey.
Mercury is the god of quick but completely life-changing trips. Specifically, this card traditionally infers a journey similar to that of Mercury escorting the souls of the dead across the river Styx to the Underworld. While one might not consider 3 weeks (the amount of time Mercury stays retrograde - going direct on February 20) to be particularly quick, it’s a flash in the pan when it comes to getting shit done.
I love that the Rennenkamp Tarot depicts a figure choosing to ascend this staircase that appears to be floating over nothingness and disappearing into oblivion below a crescent moon. I consider this to imply the level of agency and sovereignty required for shadow work to actually work. It’s a long staircase, and we can see pretty far, but we can’t see all the way - we forge ahead nonetheless, knowing that what awaits us is the life-death-rebirth cycle. What else could there be?
Way More Than Just a “Communication, Travel and Thought” Retrograde
There’s also this really important component of long-term vision. Overlaid with Aquarius, it would serve us well to see our personal journey as a component piece of the larger journey of social groups and causes that are particularly important to us. How can we possibly serve these visionary and long-awaited causes if we prolong departure on our own journey? If we fear and resist the life-death-rebirth cycle microcosm within ourselves, we can never contribute to the societal quantum-leap dream vision that we’ve been jibber-jabbering about with our sister witches for the past 3+ years.
Another name for this card is the “Lord of Earned Success.” I accept this moniker as an invitation to work my ass off over the next 3 weeks- to cross that fated river, to embark on ascending that mysterious staircase. Will you join me in (re)committing yourself to shadow integration by any means necessary? Even right now - can you access the feeling of a “final reward” like a radiant gem inside yourself, even if you don’t have words to describe exactly what it is?
Astro-Glyph and Invocation Sigils
As you can probably infer from today’s article, the sigils interspersed through this article are not just for today, they’re for the next 3 weeks.
Our astrological glyph sigil is simple - Mercury and Aquarius symbols only.
Our invocation sigil will serve us as an amplifier to alignment with the Life - Death - Rebirth cycle.
Build Your Intuition With The Tarot
If you’ve enjoyed today’s column, I invite you to join my weekly email group where we practice the mystical art of scrying with Maria DiStefano’s Circle of Life Tarot to improve our psychic senses and deepen our relationship to the Tarot. You can also get email notifications for this very weekday Tarot-Astrology collective readings posts that you’ve just read. Last but certainly not least, we use Lettie Jane Rennenkamp’s Many Queens Tarot for all of our weekday readings this year which is the source of the beautiful images in these posts. If you enjoy the sigils, you can purchase my sigil coloring book "Collaborative Magic" and join the coloring book coven in amplifying universal healing.