How the Stillness Becomes the Dancing

In the woods of northern Michigan the trillium bloom is about to burst forth and everything seems to be in a state of tremulous anticipation, while overhead, the planet Mercury has just made its inferior conjunction with the Sun (Monday, May 5, 2023). At inferior conjunction Mercury is still in its retrograde motion, and slowing down. And even though it’s unusual to think of Mercury, the fleet footed messenger of the gods, in a mood of slowness and stillness, that’s the planet’s gesture this week.

Floris, 1st century Roman wall painting

In classical mythology, Mercury is in love with Floris, the flower nymph who has the task of scattering rose petals in the path of the rising Sun. To capture her, Mercury positions himself in the shadow of the dawn, where he tosses the net of Vulcan over the sunrise spot, and awaits the beloved. You can almost imagine him whispering to himself the words of TS Eliot from his “Four Quartets”: I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing. Because, how else catch the beloved as she fleets by like  quickening veil lifted by the dawn?

So that’s how the week begins, in the mood of waiting and anticipation.

Then on Friday, May 5, 2023 there’s a Full Moon, which occurs opposite the Sun where it’s having a meeting with the planet Uranus, among the later stars of Aries. Uranus is named for the ancient god of space, out of which time is born.

So the mood this week can be imagined as one of making time for love, like Mercury at the beginning of the week, so it can blossom like the trillium into all the spaces of our lives, with Uranus, which is how, in Eliot’s words, the stillness becomes the dancing.

From TS Eliot’s 3rd Quartet East Coker:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.


Hear this episode on air Monday, May 1st at Interlochen Public Radio,

or on podcasts everywhere, anytime.