This Memorial Day 2008, both planets Mercury and Neptune go retrograde. My IT friend calls Mercury retrograde his “favorite superstition”. When Mercury goes retrograde, we enter a period of remembering, recycling, re working, revealing and re-visiting. But Mercury retrograde is blamed for wREaking havoc on the communications industry, for blips and glitches and unintended deletes.

My take on the retrograde Mercury has always been to look below the surface. But maybe that’s because my natal Mercury is in a water house, which gives it a “below the surface” quality anyway. It’s good for psychic tuning, not so good for spelling bees.

When Mercury is retrograde, double check appointments, assume nothing and backup all files. Roughly 15% of the population breeze along when Mercury is retrograde because they were born with it, so they thrive when routes seem less direct. What’s arresting about May 26, 2008 is that the planet Neptune is also going retrograde. When this occurs, we are all invited to spend a period of time with our innate intuition, our soul’s evolution, our natural resources for inspiration, without caring as much what the fashion zines tell us.

It makes me think there is tremendous opportunity for reflection on Memorial Day 2008. It’s interesting to note it was first declared a national holiday on 5/5/1868 to take place yearly on the 30th of May. But the Confederates who had honored their dead by decorating the graves refused to be part of a national day declared by the Union government. It wasn’t until WWI when the revered dead expanded beyond the Civil War that the Southern states were willing to be a part of the US’s day of recognition.

At that time the Indy 500 was already utilizing Memorial Day for their races. The first time they did this was in 1911 when the Sun was in Taurus conjunct Pluto and in opposition to a Scorpio moon. Pluto/Sun in Taurus oppose Moon is very much about the earthbound engaging in the dance of mortality. Mars was in Aries conjunct Neptune, enhancing the illusion of the heroic warrior with a square from Uranus (revolution). This guaranteed that the races would be hallmarked by unexpected events (ensuring their popularity).

The 1868 inception chart of Memorial Day shows Neptune/Venus/Moon in Cancer opposing Uranus in Capricorn. The yin (passive) energy of Venus/Moon was supported by the nebulous quality of Neptune in the sign that symbolizes home/hearth. This placement is at continual odds with the cold decisions of the enterprising Uranus. Although the roots of Memorial Day were to remember the dead, the horoscope of its beginning points to an unwillingness to eschew aggression which can sometimes be at odds with real power (Neptune/Mars square Pluto).

With Neptune symbolizing the hidden, sacrifice, victims, it is sobering that the veterans of the Iraq War have a high rate of suicide attempts(reported over 12,000 a year)

Because of medical technology, more veterans are surviving, but with injuries that take a toll on their ability to cope with returning to civilian life, and in some cases, an inability to fund their care. Since Neptune will be retrograde through the beginning of November, we can expect questions about health care to continue to haunt the US presidential nominees.

This May 26, 2008 also has the planet Venus in hard aspect to Saturn in the sky, showing an emphasis on lack: lack of time, resources and love. Perhaps this Memorial Day juxtaposed with racing cars will emphasize the contrast of spewing oil for entertainment and soldiers losing their lives for a stake in the Middle East. Even veterans who enjoy the races may not want thunder stolen on the day designated to remember their fallen brothers and sisters. Only last week, the veterans’ plan passed to strengthen education benefits for US soldiers, not updated since 1984.

The opposition feared that soldiers would opt for education rather than a return to war. When I look at the chart of forging Memorial Day I see a fire Jupiter (expansion, education) in harmonious aspect with Saturn (the disciplinarian, limits). I’m wondering if educating the US military and all its citizens is the true honoring of the fallen on Memorial Day. Because the more educated the citizens and military, the better their decisions. Just a few things to reflect on this May 26,2008.