Hermes Psychopompos Rules During This Mercury Retrograde Samhain

Endings and beginnings are written into the stars this Samhain.

Retrograde Mercury plays the part of Hermes Psychopompos, walking into and back from Pluto-ruled Scorpio. Death, sex, money, power—all these emotionally-fraught topics are at the head of the Scorpion’s agenda. So much psychological shadow material simmers beneath this sign. And so much that we wish to keep hidden can so suddenly be revealed.

Mercury has just made the second of its three conjunctions with Saturn this year. The conjunction is still in effect this Samhain. What messages might be coming into your life from the Lord of Karma, the ruler of form and structure? Or, what messages might be coming from those who have passed from this world, who were authority figures in your life?

Saturn and Mercury are close enough to be considered conjunct the Sun and North Node, as well. The North Node represents those lessons we came into this life to learn. It is represented in classical astrology as a dragon’s head. The sun’s conjunction with it can be considered the start of the “Dragon New Year.” I like this, as so many of us Pagans use Samhain as the beginning of the liturgical new year. Expect a year filled with experiences that stretch our comfort zones, especially those experiences that have Scorpio themes.

This is the last conjunction the Sun and North Node will have in Scorpio for 18 years. It was exact on October 30, but its effects linger through Samhain—and even through the Solar Eclipse of November 3. Because this Solar Eclipse happens at the North Node, it also signals a powerful time for new beginnings. As both the Dragon Year and Eclipse are in Scorpio and near Samhain, there is a powerful theme of letting go, as well.

But as Pagans, we know that all beginnings are fed by endings. Seeds grow from the rotted leaves and fruit of last year’s harvest. Their roots dig deep into soil made fertile by years and years of death and decay.

Some cultures memorialize the dead by planting a bush or tree on their graves. The trees roots entwine around the body of the beloved dead. It grows tall nourished by the blood and bone of the deceased.

One of my teachers says she wants to come back as grass whenever a student asks her what she believes life after death holds. Wherever her spirit or energy might go, she says, she knows not. But she knows her body can nourish the earth and its elements be recycled as grasses.

What, then, grows from our past? Where in the shadows of our old lives, those selves we have let die or shed like so many dragon skins, is the seed if our future? And how might we nourish it?

Scorpio–mysterious, contained, and yet, painfully transparent.

Also expect long-buried emotions and wounds to resurface. Scorpio holds the key to understanding those parts of ourselves we keep hidden. Scorpions are desert creatures. Water in the desert is precious. Animals and plants that thrive there know how to find water’s hiding places, how to hold it deep within their tissues. Scorpio is the sign that knows the secrets of life and death, and holds them close. Its emotions are its own, shared sparingly, guarded fiercely as a desert spring.

Expect the answers to your Samhain questions to be mysterious and oblique. Ask the ancestors if that is your custom; expect that their answers might be in riddles that would please a Sphynx. Be open to messages from those with whom you might need healing. Many of my friends have remarked that the veil seems particularly thin this year. Hermes Psychopompos carries messages both ways, from the land of the living to the land of the dead, and back again.

About Kathy Nance

Kathy Nance is freelance writer and green entrepreneur who lives in suburban Missouri. She has a B.S. with majors in mass communications, sociology and English. She has worked as a newspaper education reporter, feature writer and editor. Her freelance work has been published in general circulation and specialty publications in the U.S. and Great Britain. Before coming to Patheos she was a featured writer for Civil Religion, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch interfaith blog. She has organized both large and small public Pagan celebrations bringing together groups from a variety of traditions in the St. Louis area. She leaves offerings to the Fey and to her ancestors, as well as a multi-ethnic family of Gods and Goddesses who so far are content to share altar space. She can be found expressing opinions on a daily basis on Facebook and Google+, or @GatewayGoddess on Twitter.


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