Mercury Retrograde 101
The next Mercury Retrogrades ARE...
October 31st - November 20th, 2019 -
late Scorpio to mid Scorpio - water element
☞ What attitudes and moods have you inherited from your family that impact how you perceive yourself and the world?
☞ How do your perceptions and thoughts shift when you surrender to the inherent mystery and uncertainty of life?
☞ How might your desires - especially unacknowledged and suppressed desires - impact your perceptions and thoughts?
February 16th - March 9th, 2020 -
mid Pisces to late Aquarius - water & air elements
☞ What are your (night & day) dreams teaching you?
☞ How do your perceptions shift when you enter a vaster experience of mind and heart?
☞ Which individuals & groups of people inspire and enliven you, and what does that teach you about who you are... and who you are becoming?
☞ What do you wish for humanity, and how does that longing impact your thinking?
The physics of Mercury in retrograde:
Astrology is a geocentric art-science, which means that all calculations are based on how things appear from the perspective of planet Earth. Earth is whirling through space, on an elliptical path that circles the sun. So is Mercury. Sometimes, based on where the Earth is in its ellipse, and where Mercury is in its ellipse, it looks like Mercury is traveling the opposite direction that it usually travels. That is what we call Mercury in retrograde motion.
The Hovering Effect: Toss a ball straight up in the air. Just before it reaches its apex, it will slow down. When it reaches the apex, it will hover motionless for a moment before it begins to descend. Once it begins to descend, it will take a moment to get back up to full speed. This same process occurs when a planet stations retrograde, and when it stations direct. See "Note the specific days of Mercury's station" below to learn more about how this affects you.
The metaphysics of Mercury in retrograde:
Every planet "rules" certain aspects of mundane reality. Mercury's mundane rulership includes short distance transportation (getting around town, as opposed to traveling long distances) - this also includes devices we use to transport ourselves, such as cars, bicycles, buses, trams, etc. - and communication - which includes all communication devices, such as phones, computers, walky talkies, etc. When a planet is in direct (normal) motion, the mundane expressions of its energy function smoothly.
Every planet also "rules" certain aspects of the mind. Here, Mercury rules perception, and our ability to make connexions between different ideas, thoughts, memories, and experiences.
When Mercury is in retrograde motion, its mundane expressions don't work so well. That's why we tend to have communication and transportation break-downs during Mercury's retrograde periods. But it's during Mercury's retrograde cycle that the aperture of our perception opens, and our ability to make connexions between seemingly disparate events and ideas increases. Basically, we are primed to LEARN, but we must be willing to let go of how we usually think, and go with the sometimes irregular flow of events because Mercury - named after the trickster god Hermes - is a trickster planet, and is at its most trickster-y during these retrograde periods.
Surrender to the Trickster:
Tricksters don't play by the usual rules. They live in a realm where anything goes. They are creative. They adapt and innovate, and that's just what we need to do during Mercury's retrograde periods. Think of Mercury as your trickster-friend, who wants to wake you up to a truer way of perceiving, understanding, sharing, creating, and moving through this world. You'll be better off for it. In those most frustrating of Mercury retrograde moments when you miss your ferry, and your cell phone falls into a gutter, and your sinuses swell up so you can only hear in one ear, let go, and ask yourself:
What can I learn in this moment?
Plant medicine offers support during Mercury retrogrades - marshmallow root for a go-with-the-flow attitude and fennel seeds to help assimilate new perspectives.
Frequency and timing:
Mercury seems to like three's. Mercury retrogrades about three times per year, for about three to three and a half weeks each.
Note the specific days of Mercury's "Stations":
There are two days you should particularly take note of: the day that Mercury "stations" retrograde, and the day that Mercury "stations" direct (See The Hovering Effect above). Those days, and the couple days before and after those days will be the stickiest times of the entire retrograde cycle, when your commutes are going to take the longest, and your communications are going to make the least amount of sense. A lot of people actually feel tired on those days.
This means that you might feel Mercury's retrograde begin a couple days before it actually changes direction.
This also means that once Mercury stations direct, it will be about one full week before it is back up to its normal speed. Even though it will be in direct motion, its mundane expressions will be a little sludgy at first.
Note the sign & Element:
Mercury retrogrades occur in a portion of one zodiacal sign, or in a smaller portion of two zodiacal signs. Each sign is associated with one of the four elements used in astrology. Both the sign and the element will color the experience of each Mercury retrograde.
Fire signs include Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Fire signs are associated with the spirit, and with creativity and intuition.
Earth signs include Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Earth signs are associated with the body, and with all things material and tangible, including accomplishment.
Air signs include Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Air signs are associated with the mind, with a rational perspective, and with human relationships.
Water signs include Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Water signs are associated with the emotions, and with all subtle, felt senses.
How to get the most out of Mercury's retrograde periods:
Although Mercury's retrograde periods have a bad reputation, they can be fruitful times if you embrace them. A planet is a much larger body than a human, so its gravitational force is stronger than us wee beings. Things go better for us when we follow their lead. Here's how:
In the few weeks before Mercury's retrograde, do these things:
1. Back up your communication devices - phones, computers, tablets, etc.
2. As much as you can, finalize your plans for the time during Mercury's retrograde. Take note of any plans that seem to resist these efforts. Those will usually require flexibility during the actual retrograde.
3. Fix any outstanding issues in your vehicles. Patch flat tires. Change oil. Replace brakes. Etc.
4. Deal with any outstanding loose ends that could create problems for you. Forward your mail. Catch up on your paperwork. Return your library books. Etc.
If you do all of that, you'll leave more space in your mind for those A-HA! moments that Mercury retrograde periods offer. You'll be glad you did.
Being in the retrograde zone:
Once Mercury stations retrograde, adapt an attitude of flexibility, and make choices that enable you to maintain that attitude of flexibility.
Leave early when you need to get from point A to point B.
When transportation issues arise, surrender to them.
What interesting and unusual people and situations are you being exposed to in those moments, and what can you learn from them?
When communication goes awry, keep your mind and your heart open.
What can you learn?
How can you communicate more effectively?
How can you listen more and better?
What assumptions are getting in the way of your ability to get your point across?
Tidying up afterwards:
Once Mercury is in direct motion again, you'll be able to tidy up any situations that got messy during or prior to the retrograde. If you made your preparations ahead of time and surrendered to the trickster flow during the actual retrograde, you will have learned a lot that you will now be able to put into action in your life and relationships.
Too much information?
What this all amounts to is:
Slow down, be flexible, and keep an open mind during Mercury retrogrades.
Or schedule a private consultation to see how the next few retrogrades will affect you specifically. Here's wishing you insight, peace, and openness of mind and heart, Rae