Eleven Degrees Scorpio to Twenty-Five Degrees Libra

"Mercury retrograde disposited by Mars retrograde, 'nuff said." Ha.

The Sewers, 2 years, 2 weeks ago*

This part of the zodiac doesn't get a lot of love, to be honest. Or a lotta light. But every four to eight years or so.. I was doing my business, making my rounds. Once the Combusta ends it tends to get quiet, dark and swampy before the subtle awe and glow takes over in Sag. But this time you could see some candlelight from way back. Cazimi does that. This here psycho tries to leave that pomp to itself though — Inanna gets to be a real fright if you pass by without offering food and water of life, even if you're not part of the ritual.

And that's when I trip. The thousands of years I've run through this passage, I know every stone and pebble, even as they rotate through. This though? It was curved. I reach down in the mire and pull up what seems like a woomera or a metal plantain — with a woman attached to it.

Look at you.. A lady of royal mien, but sooty and with blackened arrow wounds still showing through her fair robe. An air of Brimo and days long past. My heart softens. Loving an Arkadian was the worst thing she coulda done, but she still did.

"Haven't seen you since...the eclipse." The total eclipse, that is, not this summer's. The big broad swath 'cross America. But here? Less than a full moon from the cazimi and Luna all the way over in the Hyades? This should have been the first to doff months ago. What's it doing all the way down here in the sewers?

"That's funny. You ran by just when they were readying the meathook."

I forgot. Homer's quibbles are real, but otherwise Venus speaks through all the gals, even Psyche (16).

"What? That there thing?", I say pointing to her tiara. "Hoping you could hook a big fish with it all the way down here? The Whale's on the other side of the circle."

"Ha ha. But still, you don't miss me? We had..." She leans over my shoulder at the route ahead. "..quite the involved tȇte-à-tȇte last time."

I look where she looks — and then I look up. "Heeeey, chief! Didn't see you..." And then a snake pops out from the shadow behind the 83,000-mile-high Gas Giant. Waita...I thought I'd just passed Serpens, ever looking to devour Corona Borealis.. Where do I....Apep. No time for dawdling, 'specially not when I'm sure Zeus has messages. Off I go on a wild serpent-hunt.

The Starry Glade, 1 year, 11 1/2 months ago**

.....which would be better if I didn't start getting slow-legs for a turnaround. (ratzin-frantzin! I could outrun even you NEAs on my best day, easy! Ever see The Flash race to the Sun to apply a much-needed wormhole at the last second? Wheredya think he got it from, huh?)

But then, this gave me an opportunity to play catch-up before...well, what happens in the underworld stays in the underworld. 11 degrees in a month for a Main Belt denizen — no mean feat.

"κούρη Φλεγύου! There you are!" The dame seemed peakèd, but not piquèd, lips and arms drawn tight, despite it being the hour of the crow. I look a few degrees beyond her and catch my breath. Jupiter again and...mmph. That time of year for Apollo to have his yearly performance review with Big Boss Man. One of those circumstances I've never been happier to see Zeus in all his power and on his home turf, even if I'm also there.

"Catch up with you on the flip side, lovely. If you need to, apply to Pallas."

I could hear the tenor in her eyes change. "Ares just gave me a position." I nod curtly and take off like Androcles.

The Starry Glade, 1 year, 10 1/2 months ago***

The hardest part about turning direct is going from the Right Stuff to Double-Stuff. But it's still a rebirth (even if she won't know it til a couple years after the fact). Getting up to speed is the worst, but at least this time, by the time I catch up to her, my satchel is loaded from Jupiter trailing in the distance and she's just gotten out from under the beams.

"My lady! Thrice-time's the greatest!" She turns with a notable sigh of relief. "Walk with me here," I say, curving an arm behind her. "Now, princess, what I wanna know is: what're you playing at? You knew the rituals: buck naked, no pride of place down there."

Her stance shifts: placid charm filling her eyes with a sultry lilt. "Maybe it wasn't for me, Dotor Eaon. I'm only now getting to those degrees this year."

I gape, my knuckles tapping my hip. "Well...that makes a little too much sense, now doesn't it?"

She allows her shawl to drape behind her elbows, shoulders thrown back. "Do you remember our discussion from the eclipse, Diaktoros? You promised to deliver a message for another one in our tȇte-à-tȇte."

"Honey, that was over a year ago and I'm on a name-only basis with 22-thousand-and-counting. Do you know how big my Inbox is?"

"Zero, Mekhaniotes. Or do you forget your gift of gab?"

At this point I'm gettin' flabbergasted, not enough short-and-quick energies in this place for my liking. "Well... well...excuuuuuuuse me, princess!"

We both can't help but chuckle. We've all seen each other through the signs so many times..

"Look around right now — all the way around. Mars, Chiron and Hygiea. Apep and my son. At our meetings one after the next: the two firebirds and now...this." She reaches behind the rim of her tiara and extracts a carefully-rolled strip of paper, offering it. "Here."

"Granted we're in Sag now, but is this any time for a doobie, princess? Woulda been better while I was headed the other way." I take the paper, unfurling what's sure to be...I take my breath.

Great American Eclipse 2017
Monday, 21st August 2017, 18:30:00 UT
"What am I supposed to do with this?"

She falls solemn. "You'll know when we meet next, Herald. Please burn it at cazimi. It's already there and will leave further details."

I have real difficulty breathing. She continues. "Our meeting seals the will of heaven by Juno herself. It boomerangs to me, witnessed by Grey Eyes."

The news this year leaves more questions than answers. The first official cases of COVID-19 are noted from November/December 2019, except for a Spanish outlier from March 2019. Outliers tend to be outliers for a reason, and what may never be revealed is the exact temporal origin of the virus, but I can't help but wonder how far back the original virus' fermentation goes. As for the message? Much like the planets, the asteroids are multivalent and amoral. There isn't necessarily one single application in any chart, but, for as vague as that sounds, it doesn't eliminate the fact of the asteroid's presence, either.

The Sewers, 4 weeks ago

It's like relay races. Every year I about-face for a few weeks. Everybody gets aalllllll in a tizzy. But I don't see why they have to. I go, do my thing, drop my marker for next time around. That way, when I get back to it, I knows to turn arounds again, y'know? I'm a pretty regular guy. (and just between you and me, it's a good thing, bein' in Scorpio right now 'n all, eh?)

Only this time? I trip. Again. But this time hard. So much so I sprawl flat on my back like a Vitruvian Man or somethin', seein' stars. Seven...seven..septentrionalis. And then I drift backwards.. "Did you like my little show this spring?" Koronis? No...she'll be with Ares.. Little I can do about that mess now, I'm at their mercy.

But then what I thought were seven became hundreds, no, thousands flashing downwards in threads of gold. "Zeus and Hades made a point to not drift too far. They bounded it quite nicely, or at least Allen would think so." Dandleledandlele... I blink. Or wait, yeah, those really are stars. Back to seven, curved like a peasant dish, twinkling steady, one bright and bold and singing of me and...Kythera. Gemma?

I sit up, rubbing my talaria, scanning for whatever made me take such a dive. "Did you hear me?"

"I did, I did. Just lookin' for my lost shaker a' salt." That's when I spy the glint. I reach for it, prying the emerald from the clay. It's her marker. Again. 't's kinda hot still. The next time she steps back for 40 days and 40 nights on these grounds, that's where she'll start.

"Hey! You put that back, Pheletes!"

I blank back a couple a'years: where she did start, roughly. Nothin' rough about this here precious, though. "Nuh-uh, no Pheletes here. Only Hermeneutes." I hold it up to her twinkle light and she sparkles something unintelligible through it. I peek around the side. "There're too many a' you. Why does it seem like I'm always talking to the same being nowadays?"

She twinkles, flashing eyes and words. "We are legion."

"Don't make me come up there, Clarence.." I push myself up, pressing the marker back in the dirt, but as soon as I step back to balance another bauble bobbles me. "There it is!" I lift my marker: a 1918 Winged Liberty.

I give the silver a quick flip and polish (for good luck) then look back up. "So what is this? We're keepin' pace with one another again? Where was your last? What degrees?"

"21 to 5 Twins."

I check next year's itinerary: "Yup, sounds about right. What what that phrase we use? Put your money where your mouth is?"

"I thought it was put your mouth where your money is?" She glints and I feel green round the gills.

"I'm not swallowing my marker. Not when I don't know where it's been." I'm at the lead-up and heading back now. Something about this route I need to re-examine..all these Koronis details...and more.

"Not that.. You'll soon be back in-house!" These larger things, it's best I stay out of. Not fond of where these cycles went, but maybe I can find more missed steps..

"Waitasec, there's something I gotta check-out.." Mouth! Follow the money!

Station Retrograde Inferior Conjunction Station Direct
Venus Oct 05, 2018
10 ♏ 50
Oct 26, 2018
03 ♏ 07
Nov 16, 2018
25 ♎ 15
Mercury Oct 13, 2020
11 ♏ 40
Oct 25, 2020
02 ♏ 48
Nov 03, 2020
25 ♎ 54

* October 27, 2018 07:28 UT
**  November 26, 2018 07:47 UT
***  December 28, 2018 15:06 UT

To be continued as we get down to brass tacks tracking asteroid Phoinix...in much less opaque detail.