“H.O.P.E. and Mercury retrograde” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (May 20-26, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of May 20-26, 2015

H.O.P.E. and Mercury retrograde

There’s no denying it: by the time you read this, the planet Mercury has started its retrograde motion, affecting transportation, contracts, language and our many forms of communication. This phenomenon is what we astrologers call “Mercury Rx” by way of shorthand.

Take note that this is only an apparent backward movement for the next three weeks, because it just looks that way if viewed from the earth. This second out of three Mercury Rx periods this year will last from May 18-June 11, bringing with it some delays, miscommunication, missed meetings, scheduling reshuffles, and computer glitches — among other possibilities. Now is a good time as any to create backup copies of your files, clear your system of computer viruses, and control your privacy and account settings.

In my little part of the world, here at the Jackson Triangle in Hayward, California (Alameda County), I have already personally heard the crash of metal-on-metal on a couple of vehicular collisions a few days before Mercury Rx became exact. I didn’t exactly “see” the accidents as they occurred but I’ve heard the engines brake and the metal crunch. Of course we’ve also had the Amtrak accident in Philadelphia last May 12 at around 9 PM EDT. These motor accidents, admittedly, belong to the “shadow period” of Mercury Rx, meaning that even before the degree and date become exact (May 18, 2015 at 13 degrees Gemini), the effects of the Rx can already be felt a few days or a week beforehand. It’s similar to what we can expect after June 11, meaning that we’re not out of the Mercury Rx woods yet until at least a week later.

Here’s what I wrote in this column for the first Mercury Rx period during Jan. 21-Feb.11, 2015:
“If you listen to conventional wisdom about Mercury Rx, you’ll find yourself unusually hampered by a lot of warnings: don’t sign contracts, don’t buy anything electronic, don’t get married, don’t travel – among others. However, hiding yourself for three weeks every time Mercury Rx periods hit is neither productive nor desirable. True, the apparent backtracking of this quicksilver planet does symbolize and urge a slowing down of some sort, but surely not a grinding halt. Life does go on, right? There are contracts to be signed, electronics to be bought, destinations to travel – although I personally draw the line at getting married during a Mercury Rx period. Here is what famed astrologer Linda Goodman said about this in her “Linda Goodman’s Relationship Signs”:

Mercury rules language, our intellect, and all things contractual. The planet’s motion, when retrograde, can cause delays and misinformation since its movement is contrary to best astrological results. Things become complicated and confusing. When I think of Mercury Retrograde I think of Re. Re-do, re-organize, re-figure, re-write, etc. Yes becomes no. Reservations, correspondence, and travel get fouled up. Who wants this for a wedding date? Or a move-in date? Thankfully, Mercury is Retrograde a few times a year. Avoid it if you can. Work around Mercury Retrograde and your important days will be memorable for the right reasons. Why fight it? (Goodman, L. “Linda Goodman’s Relationship Signs,” p. 441) Anyway, the point is, Mercury Retrograde may not be the right period to do certain things, but it is ideal to accomplish others. If you read the more upbeat astrology blogs, you will be directed to tend to deeper things during this period like: restore, replenish, rethink, reinvent. We are exhorted to do some introspection to figure out where we can improve our lives.”

If you check out this week’s horoscope in this paper’s B section (page B6), you’ll find that I wrote a reading for each Sun Sign so that the natives know where to channel their energy, talent, time, and attention for the next three weeks that Mercury is retrograde. The weekly mantras may resonate with you as the quick-and-dirty takeaway from the equally brief reading.

Now, since some keywords for this period are “remember” and “reminisce,” then let me tell you about “Hands-On Poetry for Everyone” or H.O.P.E. This was the poetry-writing seminar I conducted as the main resource person at the University of the East-Caloocan in October 2008. I was invited to give this talk by my former University of the Philippines-Film classmate Ms. Olivia (Olib) Alalayin who was an English professor there at that time. I also met Dr. Eleanor Javier, the Dean of the UE College of Arts and Sciences, and Caryl De Jesus, then-president of a student organization called CARTS (Communication Arts Society), of which Olib was the adviser, of course. We discussed the villanelle because that was the format I used on my grand prize-winning poem for the international competition of the International Library of Poetry (ILP) in Las Vegas in 2006, entitled “Villanelle of a Retired Overseas Filipino Worker.” I used Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” as villanelle examples. We had so much fun, teachers and students alike, at that poetry seminar in UE-Caloocan! One of the faculty members there, Prof. Diana Galaura Cabote (a brilliant poet, by the way) was inspired enough to share her poems, one of them scribbled and composed right before she took the mic.

I coined the seminar title of Hands-On Poetry for Everyone (H.O.P.E.) because I want to convey to my audience of idealistic and talented students that, yes, anyone could write a poem. Yes, I stand by this principle and I refuse to succumb to the jaundiced judgment of a poetry snob, thinking that only certain “gifted” people may write poems. Well, I think that poetry is an equal opportunity employer. What I mean is that it will not discriminate against any of us based circumstances of birth, upbringing, ties to whoever is in power, religion, sex, ethnicity, race, level of education, financial status, caste, or involuntary personal attributes such as disability, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Once you feel that you have a poem bubbling or even bursting out of you, then write it down. Keep a poetry journal, whether in a tickler or in your computer. When you feel brave enough, read your poem aloud to a friend and ask for some feedback. If you want, you can send me a copy of your poem and I’ll email you my thoughts. I don’t want to call it a critique because it may sound judgmental. But I promise to share my thoughts about your poem.

Finally, upon my invite to my readers to submit limericks of their own, I actually had very promising responses. However, some of them felt too shy about having their verse published, so I only have one poem to share with you for now. This poet explained that he was “smitten” by the cover photo of the Manila Mail a couple of weeks ago, showing boxer Manny Pacquiao being prayed over by his mother, Mommy Dionesia, leading JAH to compose this:

Would not we silence the rabble
As we prepare to go into battle;
Its then—
The devil throws us a scare.
We turn to our moms to guide us in prayer. (JAH)

Thank you very much, JAH, for your lines of verse! I appreciate input from my readers. I don’t put my email address at the end of my column just so that it could fill up space. I’d like you to use that email addy to reach me. I welcome feedback from you, my loyal readers. Thank you in advance. Now, to sweeten the deal, here are a couple more limericks, which in general, come to think of it, reflect the reversals and confusion of a Mercury retrograde period. Are limericks the Mercury retrogrades of poetry?! You tell me.

There once was a lady in Oakland
Majorette in a cool marching band
But nobody foretold
In the rain and the cold
She would lose both baton and her hand.
(Bles C.)

There once was a sweet man from Venus
Starry-eyed for a lady in Uranus
An expensive romance
Lots of wine, bling, and dance
He broke it off in a mad stroke of genius.
(Bles C.)

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings (fee required), email me here: blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

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