So let’s take a moment to do our 3x yearly reminder of why Mercury retrograde isn’t something to freak out about, and let’s try to discern what this particular retrograde cycle is all about…
First a few reminders about mythic Mercury:
* The symbolism of Mercury, Hermes, and the messenger of the gods is inseparable from the pattern of planetary retrogradation. Mercury retrograde isn’t about Mercury “going crazy and messing up our lives,” it’s actually as simple as Mercury being Mercury. The back and forth and back and forth of the retrograde cycle, in general, no matter what planet we’re talking about, is in keeping with Mercury’s core characteristics: changeability, flightiness, messages, thinking and the mind, ideas, conversation, circuitous routes rather than linear ones, deception, double meanings, quicksilver, androgyny, etc.
* Mercury is similar to the Moon in many regards, and in fact both have associations throughout the history of astrology with the 3rd house and 3rd sign of the zodiac (Gemini). Mercury is sometimes called “the moon of the sun,” and generally (like the moon) takes on the characteristics of what it is near, in aspect or dialogue with, etc. This is also an insight about the changeability of the body and the mind, the moods and thoughts of the human animal. As Mercury was considered by traditional astrologers to be an “inferior” planet, it is a planet closer to the earth, or closer to the Moon we might say. There is something common about Mercury…like the way we speak or act or think when we’re not in a formal setting..when we’re “on the street,” so to speak. Mercury retrogrades are periods of time where lots of “common” things become vehicles for uncommon insight or wisdom…like our mailman is starting to deliver divine messages (or maybe divine bills!) rather than just advertisements or bills from the electric and cable companies.
* Mythic Hermes was a bit of a trickster. There is no quicker way to invoke the wrath of the trickster than to try and “plan” for his appearance. Delaying major contracts, purchases, or decisions might be wise during the stations of the retrograde cycle especially (when Mercury isn’t moving much), but don’t be fooled…Mercury can deceive and dupe us no matter what part of his cycle he’s in, all year round. Retrogrades of Mercury (in my opinion) are better suited to attentiveness, double thinking, reflection, and careful revision than lots of brash forward or impulsive movements, but that doesn’t mean that Mercury can’t suddenly present us with some very special inspirations that we will indeed need to act upon during the retrograde cycle (especially when Mercury turns direct again). In fact, during retrogrades its often the case that Mercury will introduce things through our reflections that we can begin to implement right away…things may change a few more times in any process, and Mercury often symbolizes nothing more than the changing nature of plans and expectations.
A few pieces of advice about Mercury mess ups:
* Slowing down usually helps
* Just because something is messing up or not working or delayed doesn’t mean its bad..in fact lots of times something won’t work because something else will actually help us a lot more if we slow down and examine what we’re doing
* Don’t bitch and moan about Mercury retrogrades too much and especially not publicly…it encourages lazy astrological understanding
* Mercury isn’t causing anything too happen…think about that as often as you blame Mercury
* Meltdowns and delays are messages, study them rather than facebook posting about how Mercury is screwing you up…share the message rather than just the empty sounding fact of Mercury’s retrograde
Where did the saying, “Don’t kill the messenger come from?” Maybe it came from Mercury retrogrades!
What does this Mercury retrograde have in store for us?
* This particular retrograde in the sign of Gemini will square Neptune twice more, and also conjoin Mars and the Sun in Gemini as it also loosely opposes Saturn in Sagittarius. This t-square alignment is powerful and emphasizes mutability and the mind.
* We are facing a philosophical transformation. Perhaps a bridging of several modes of thinking is occurring, or perhaps we’re trying to reconcile one philosophical or mental tendency versus another. Dispersion versus organization of thought and activity. Mystical receptiveness versus spiritual rules and regulations. Debate and argumentation versus open exchanges and shared wisdom. Altered states of consciousness and transcendent realms versus realms of logic and structured thought. All of these themes are in the astrological air right now.
* The environment of Gemini, including the Sun and Mars is conducive to rapid dispersion and activity, while Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius is comparatively contractive and limiting. Meanwhile, Neptune in Pisces is cold and moist and receptive to both influences. It’s as though a highly receptive and relaxed monk is listening carefully to the arguments of two very different philosophers, vying for the victory. The laid back monk sees through both sides of the argument…sees the world both arguments create…maybe tends to get pulled along by one side or the other back and forth…ponders whether or not synthesis is possible or even desirable…might need to consider that the decision isn’t just philosophical but also personal and environmental and aesthetic (stylistic).
What if the radical idea of the moment is that the imagination comes before and after “truth?”
Who are we when our ideas are less about objective truth and more about the kind of world we want to create–the style, the images, and experiential qualities? For some this is an intolerable idea. For others its the ticket to spiritual freedom.
There is a temptation in the air right now to sacrifice some essential ingredient of our philosophical character. Sometimes people make us feel like inconsistencies of belief or thought mean that we’re doing something wrong or that we’re immoral. That’s not always true. On the other hand, sometimes we need to call a spade a spade and learn to walk our talk, or at least discern what our walk is compared to our talk and get the two on the same page. Sometimes this fairly demands sacrifices be made.
Other images: martyrs, journalists, thinkers, saints, sages, philosophers, mystics, fuzzy thinkers, deceivers, and die hard believers…
These are some of the core archetypal issues reflected in our retrograde cycle right now.
Prayer: Help us think things through as things think through us…