This Mercury Retrograde Is A Good Time To Say, "No, Unless..."


Let Pisces energy be your guide

We can talk about Mercury Retrograde like we always do; we can begin with the usual recommendations: no new contracts, no new plans, no new lovers, hell—no new friends. Then, we get to—we must—examine our impulse to say no. We're deep in Pisces season, and a Pisces doesn't like the word "no" unless they're the ones saying it—and a Pisces rarely says no without following it up with a caveat.

So, no new contracts, readers—unless you need to make a new contract with yourself; what you owe the person you're becoming. No new plans, seeker—unless what you plan is the culmination of a year's long work or a return to tie up loose ends. No new lovers, dear-heart—unless those lovers are already part of the story of your ever-widening universe. No new friends—unless the ones who find you now are the ones you've been waiting for; champions of your solitude and your singular vision, twin spirits who love to be in relation, to touch briefly and be touched in turn.

Remember, when Mercury is retrograde in the sky under the stars of Pisces, what is said is only the surface of what is happening. Like a body of water, Pisces offers us familiarity first, a soft glinting reflection of our own faces punctuated by glimmers of fish in schools or a horseshoe crab weaving her solitary path. We look at the aquatic world as if we know what it means: how it thrives, how much power we have over it and it over us. Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, has been stationed in Pisces and will grace Mercury with illusory power. Our attempts to recognize ourselves in the ocean are not dissimilar to our attempts to know and study our emotional foundations. It works when we focus our energy, it works when we strap on the tank and dive deep down to the uncomfortable limits—when we dive into the wreck. Otherwise, what we have is the illusion of closeness, of nearness to knowing what is unknowable about the ocean, each other, and ourselves.

In the human world, Pisces energy is both convivial and emotive. Under a Sun saturated by Pisces, we have emerged from winter's cave to seek out company and collaboration that offers us emotional resonance and reciprocity. It's no coincidence that every Pisces (and Pisces Rising, Moon, Venus, Mars) you know is texting you now, asking how you are and where you've been, wondering out loud where they've been, and whether you'd like to visit them in their watery lair to spend the afternoon getting misty-eyed about language, its impossible yearning to construct a shared meaning.

This instinct is not relegated to Pisces placements alone, we all feel it, we all reach out, we all want to swim gently together through cloudy water toward refracted light. To imagine peace, even if it exists only in our imagining. Mercury in Pisces is a cloud of tiny fish nipping at your feet reminding you that joy and discomfort can naturally occur in the same moment. It's the sun reaching through clouds and making the whole sky a blinding soft gray. Pisces energy is indirect and all over.

Mercury Retrograde has been advancing over us for weeks, and it will work over for a few weeks more, but these collective rivers of consciousness and the time it takes are always moving over us. Everyone knows, in their own way, how time works. One hour passes and then another; days go by, months, years. We gather time on ourselves, we wear time, and we wear what we have collected through it. To wear what is dead is an act of mourning and it can be a beautiful burden. This is how we grieve our loved ones, our elders, our animals, and our dreams. Grief teaches us that our lives have limits. It also teaches us that our hearts are limitless. This is the gift of love: the reflection it offers us. Grief gets lighter when it is enacted out of honoring and ritual, it becomes a small emblem on our jacket, a stone in our pockets: This is mother I lost, the sister I miss, the lover whose smile I remember when I see a hawk's feather, the career I wanted for myself when I didn't know myself, the song that I stopped singing so that I could sing the one I was dreaming of. Grief anchors us to the ground when we use to shame ourselves and refuse time. To let go of what is gone, you've got to believe that there are more hours ahead and that our days on this Earth are as mysterious and abundant as the ocean is deep. Because they are.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO

"And now our watch has ended"

In a thoughtful tribute on Instagram, actress Emilia Clarke said goodbye to Game of Thrones, and her character, Daenerys Targaryen.

Clarke posted a gallery of photos including some group shots with the rest of the cast, as well as a closeup of Dany's intricately braided hair, and a still from the show. "Finding the words to write this post has left me overwhelmed with how much I want to say but how small words feel in comparison to what this show and Dany have meant to me," she wrote, continuing to say that "Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor, and as a human being."

"The mother of dragons chapter has taken up the whole of my adult life. This woman has taken up the whole of my heart," she wrote. "I've sweated in the blaze of dragon fire, shed many tears at those who left our family early, and wrung my brain dry trying to do Khaleesi and the masterful words, actions (and names) I was given, justice." She also gave a nod to her father, who died in 2016, saying that she wishes he was still alive "to see how far we've flown."

Clarke finished by thanking her fans, telling them that "without you there is no us... I owe you so much thanks, for your steady gaze at what we've made and what I've done with a character that was already in the hearts of many before I slipped on the platinum wig of dreams," she said. "And now our watch has ended."

Photo courtesy of HBO

Don't reusable cups exist in Westeros?

Apparently, no one could keep their drinks off-set during the final season of Game of Thrones. The show, which has been known for its meticulous editing, has featured a Starbucks coffee cup in an episode, and now, a plastic water bottle. Someone get these characters a reusable cup!

Yes, in the final episode of the series, there's a disposable water bottle hidden in plain sight in one of the scenes. If you look closely enough, you'll see the bottle peeking out from behind Samwell Tarly's leg in a scene where many characters were arguing about the fate of Westeros.

Another water bottle was spotted by someone else, hiding behind Ser Davos Seaworth's foot.

It seems that everyone was too parched on the set of the final episode to worry about a misplaced water bottle making it into the final shots. Some are speculating that the team left them in on purpose as payback to the writers for the series' ending.

We just really hope that everyone in the series recycles. If there are disposable cups and plastic bottles available in the fictional world, we hope that there's an ethical way of disposing of them. Otherwise, well, it might be more disappointing than the series finale itself.


Think about all the ways you've begged for ruin

I'll admit I can get a little possessive about full moons; I was born on a full moon, you see. I'll admit there's something that makes people go mad over a full moon and there's something in that madness that situates me, gives me a place to drop my anchor. I see the full moon, her one wide open eye, and think of the first gods—the cyclops and the titans—how they betrayed each other. The full moon reminds me that each of us walks this life having inherited the stories of the lives that brought us here, we carry moments of great suffering in our DNA and we carry moments of great joy too.

A Scorpio full moon is especially prone to these sorts of reminders, dancing partner to the Sun in Taurus, since both these stars are so devoted to the past, since both like to mine a wound just to see how deep it goes and how much they can stand to endure. It's true, too, that Taurus is the sign linked to the Hierophant in the Tarot. The Hierophant is a figure in service to Mysteries: guarding and teaching the sacred. The Hierophant is pre-occupied with devotion and desecration and so is Taurus. Steadied by worship and undone by violation, a Taurus knows that a cycle is a cycle, there's always a hunger that thrives in the devotional figure, that seeks to be defiled and, in that way, tested. What better consort, what better polarity, for an Earth sign like that than the watery depths of Scorpio? Scorpio, the sign of transformation, of the occult, of karmic debts, fertile and secretive darkness. Scorpio, the snake that eats its own tail, our sexual power and our sexual shame. Scorpio rules money and Taurus loves to feel wealth, to sense abundance, to roll around in the rich black dirt.

While the Sun goes down under the star of Taurus and Uranus activates Venus, so the planet of love can pour her light over the bull's horns, the Moon rises in Scorpio and we are tasked with acknowledging the many ways we begged for ruin. Is there a heaviness on your heart, dear reader? Wasn't there a time when, green as a new stem, you begged the world to give you something real to experience, to bring you to your knees with wonder and revelation? You must have known that you had to break the bud to bloom, you must have sensed—somewhere in that ancestral memory of yours—that to love something, to pour your life into something, is to prepare to lose it. That's the deal we've made with god, or what governs time.

Have you left a cup out overnight and awoke to find it brimming with memories of betrayal, of loss, of something you felt was owed to you and never retributed? You can drink from the cup of the past searching only for the taste of it, seeking only to sate your thirst for bitterness. It's your right to feel everything you feel, to remember everything that happened to you and everything you set into motion, everything you did. But, listen. The sun is warm and generous, calling new life out of the ground. You move over the Earth like a cloud heavy with emotion and memory, threatening pour, while night waits on the other side, smelling like freedom—sweet, sharp and ineffable—full of poison blooms. You can hold the truth of this wild living world, its sacred promise to consecrate you with beauty and ruin you with it too. You can sip from the cup of the past with gratitude for your past self—the one who gave her life so that you could rise again, three times as powerful and wise.

Asset 7
Screenshot via YouTube

It's so good

Lana Del Rey released a cover of Sublime's 1997 song "Doin' Time," and she made it completely her own. That means it's the perfect combination of trippy melancholia and full-out lust.

According to Rolling Stone, the cover will appear in an upcoming documentary which will "[outline] the history of the iconic California band." In a statement, Del Rey said, "Not a day goes by that I don't listen to at least one Sublime song. They epitomized the SoCal vibe and made a genre and sound totally their own."

Bud Gaugh, a member of the band, "We are so excited to be collaborating with Lana on this. The smoky, sexy, and iconic sound of her voice breathes new life into one of our favorite singles." It certainly does.

My personal favorite part of the cover is the fact that Del Rey doesn't change the gender of the person the song is about, like so many musicians often do. Instead, Del Rey's intonation of "me and my girl, we got this relationship/ I love her so bad but she treats me like shit" is gay rights.

Listen to Del Rey's cover of "Doin' Time," below.

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

Sounds fake, but okay

In a new interview for Australian Vogue, Kendall Jenner makes the claim that being associated with the Kardashian name was a setback in her modeling career. Hmmm, that's funny, because power and influence usually works in their holder's favor.

In the interview, Jenner addresses skeptics who doubted that she would make it as a professional model. "A lot of people assumed that because I came from a 'name' that it was a lot easier for me to get to where I got, but actually it's the completely opposite," she says.

"I've always been the person to prove [critics] wrong, even when I was younger," she says. "I've always been a hard worker: that's in my blood. My parents raised me and my little sister to be that way and the rest of my sisters, too." In the profile, it's revealed that Jenner used to attend castings "simply as 'K' or 'Kendall' to distinguish herself from her famous family."

But keeping her name off her portfolio wasn't going to fool anyone, really. Her face has been on television for years, and it seems unlikely that a casting agent wouldn't know who she was even if Kendall didn't come out and say it. Perhaps Jenner was more closely examined and more readily criticized by people who doubted her, but I'm not sure I believe that she had a harder time gaining a modeling platform or booking big jobs, even if she didn't use her last name.

After all, Jenner was likely able to get into those big casting rooms right away because of her family's connections, and she was able to devote her time to pursuing that career because of the wealth they have. She would've had a much harder time making a name for herself if she didn't come from an influential family. She probably wouldn't get to be so selective about which shows she walks, and she definitely wouldn't be the highest paid model in the world.