Becoming an astrologer was not part of my life plan. The shift came for me during a shamanic journey at a dream workshop, cues that my life plan, as such, had already taken some strange turns.
In this journey, I met a being who introduced himself as Mercurius and said I needed to know him better. His face and clothes alternated in pale gold and silver, like a figure from the ancient Commedia or a Venetian carnival. He was beautiful, compelling, and mysterious.
Mercurius is an alchemical name for Mercury, or Hermes, the androgynous trickster of the classical world who crosses many boundaries. I soon learned that Mercury plays a central role in my birth chart. Through him, I began developing shamanic relationships with many of the planets in the specific guises they assumed for my birth.
These relationships have deepened my personal insights and informed my astrology. While most of the journeys have taken place comfortably indoors, the growing-together of shamanism and astrology has changed my experience of the world. I have a more acute awareness of what is happening in the sky, from the familiar cycles of the Moon to the longer, less visible circuits of outer planets. Visiting ancient sites, I have a deeper appreciation for what they represent and what our ancestors knew and accomplished.
It has been my privilege to work with each of the authors in this series. Donna Woodwell and Dana Gerhardt are colleagues and friends whose work I knew. I met (virtually speaking) Cayelin Castell and Tami Brunk through this series and look forward to exploring their work more deeply.
Each offers us a view of the world that is shamanic. And magical. We can discuss at length how magic and shamanism overlap and where they differ, but the key here is epistemology—how we understand the world and its knowledge.
Both shamanism and magic experience our world as alive and ensouled. This world is neither dead nor mechanical, nor is it merely a resource for our consumption. Rather, we live surrounded by beings with lives, souls, and agencies of their own, some of which align easily with ours, while others are very different indeed.
Having sensed this many-souled world, shamans and magical folk want to engage. We want to interact, explore, work, and play in the amazingly multiple realities.
How we define exactly what we do will depend on our heritage, the traditions in which we’ve trained, and the places our journeys and allies have taken us. What we share is the deep knowledge of the vibrant life around us.
Mercurius is a figure of the crossroads. He glories in connections and networks, in transcending boundaries of all kinds. In a time in history that seems so divided, he invites us to transcend divisions and find the common thread. As long as we keep our fingers on that thread, we can find the way out of any labyrinth.