Here are some things to watch for:
* The last time Mercury was retrograde in Leo was the summers of 2011 and 2012. Look back to that time, and look at the whole sign house of Leo in your birth chart to see what topics were active. Take note of any changes, revisions, delays, setbacks, that were happening. Ask yourself the question, “How was my life path unfolding during that time relative to these topics?” This exercise may give you some good hints to prepare you for the path ahead.
* Remember that retrogrades are normal, and remember that retrogrades signal that a planet has lost its apparent “secondary motion,” and has fallen back into the greater “primary motion.” You can therefore always think of retrograde planets as having lost some sense of autonomy, or possibly experiencing breakdown or frustration. A retrograde planet is also an indication that a planet has been subsumed by the wheel of fortune, or that a planet is surrendering into a force greater than itself. These conceptualizations can help us to each surrender and trust the process with retrogrades, and this is why one of the most common side effects of retrogrades is “frustration and delays,” while the most common advice is to be careful not to push your agenda too intensely.
* Remember that Mercury/Hermes is also the guide of souls or the psychopomp. As Mercury turns retrograde, Hermes is also preparing to take us into the underworld, which means there is a theme of mental, intellectual, or communicative depth available to us. We can change our minds. We can reconsider, evaluate, and release what is no longer working, especially surrounding thoughts, ideas, technology, learning, writing, thinking, etc.
* As Mercury descends into the underworld, it is also changing from the evening star to the morning star, which means that Mercury is becoming more “yang” in its disposition. A morning star Mercury, which we will see later in August, is more of a firebrand, a whistle-blower, an evangelist or public preacher, whereas evening star Mercury is sometimes more poetic, nocturnal, liminal, relational, aware of public perception, and more “yin,” in general. So you may notice that your entire way of thinking and relating to others, or the mood and mode of communication in the next weeks, is about to become somewhat less diplomatic and progressively more fierce, bold, and authoritative (especially in the Sun’s sign!).
* Over the next few weeks you should be especially careful of the tendency for aggressive, forceful, or proud communication to get the best of you. As Mercury changes positions it will also be consumed and “burnt up,” by the light of the Sun, which may be particularly intense given that Mercury is also already in a fire sign. (ps–this should become very obvious in the news, too!)
* Finally, remember that wherever there is a breakdown, there is always an opportunity for a breakthrough. When something doesn’t work, or when something is delayed, or when something is “reversed” unexpectedly, we can either rail against the wheel of fortune (a fruitless endeavor), or we can get curious about what is happening, making the assumption that the divine intelligence doesn’t make mistakes, and taking the opportunity to return to our chairs and become students of our own lives again! In the sign of Leo, much of this may revolve around our relation to fathers, men, or authority figures in general (Sun’s sign), or to our own pride, ego, and sense of “rightness” (again, Sun things!).
* A sign of greatness is the excitement we feel when we are humbled. We can and even “should” feel excited when we are humbled because being humbled is a mercy that returns us to ourselves, to our true size and place in the Universe. It’s only from the place of our authentic spiritual position, one little but sacred part of the whole, that we may fulfill our actual destiny. We stand no chance to find our spiritual calling in life if we are constantly stepping outside of ourselves, living in the midst of a puffed up chest or in the white noise of our most prideful complaints. Why be excited when we are humbled? Because its a sign of respect that the Universe would prefer us just as we are, simple, beautiful, children of the divine.
Prayer: Show us the way you prefer us. Teach us to be excited about that. Let each “no” we experience be more than a “no,” but also the most amazing reminder that the divine source we come from is actually speaking to us, which, regardless of whatever it is saying, is just plain awesome.