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Mercury is retrograde, now through the end of the month. Here are a lot of words about this curious little trickster:
Astrology has been creeping back into the mainstream media for decades. For instance, people joke around about their horoscopes, or they wonder about the affects of the full Moon – whether tides, human behavior, criminal activity or hormonal cycles; if these influences are true, then astrology is apart of our daily lives, whether we know it or not. We are influenced by sun spots and eclipses as well as the gravitational and possibly electro-magnetic fields of the planets. (Not to mention the lineages of mytho-poetic knowledge, passed down from generation to generation regarding the planet’s stories, and their affects upon humankind.) This includes Mercury, the fastest moving planet, which is zipping around the Sun at about thirty miles per second. Due to Mercury’s rapid orbit, it tends to go retrograde several times a year. Here are some thoughts on this potentially challenging trickster going “backwards in the sky,” according to our perspective.
The planet Mercury is associated with many aspects of life, and as technology continues its hyper-driven march into the 21st century, more and more gadgets will be falling under Mercury’s influence. Electronics, especially having to do with communication (email, phones, computers, servers, PDAs, etc); local travel (cars, buses, traffic, reservations, etc); personal communication – discussions, authentic listening and even letters and packages; siblings and relatives – brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins; education especially K – 12th grade although higher institutions are not immune to Mercury Rx; and the central and peripheral nervous systems in the body – everything just mentioned falls under Mercury’s persuasion. The only exception to this rule is that Uranus ( sometimes considered a “higher octave” of Mercury) shares some rulership with a few of these items. However, at the moment, the planet Uranus is also Retrograde, indicating additional delays and challenges.
People in the know might cringe if you tell them Mercury is about to go Retrograde. Or, they say, “Ohhhh… Mercury is Rx, that is why traffic was so bad…” Personally I do not believe this has to be the case. Considering I practice choice-centered, frequency-based astrology, nothing is written in stone. However, I would estimate that the majority of people in the U.S. are not aware of every Mercury Retrograde cycle, so whenever we do something that involves others, then we are easily subjected to their delays and potential absentmindedness, especially when we are all under Mercury Retrograde’s influence. Here is an example – we might normally mail a bill so that it arrives the day before it is due. However, if Mercury is retrograde, especially during several other heavy transiting aspects, then we should consider popping that bill (or letter or application) in the mail early.
Due to the omnipresent fickle nature of human communication, conversations might be a little more challenging when Mercury goes Rx – to truly listen to what the other person is saying, without judgment and to respond in a rational, clear and kind manner is already a task that requires mindfulness. What I mean is that we project so much onto certain individual’s words and body language, that if they are having a rough day (say they were stuck in traffic that does not normally exist), we can easily misinterpret what they are trying to get across. So take an extra deep breath while you are conversing, make sure you ask about anything unclear and try to follow the Dalai Lama’s suggestion about thinking before we speak so that our words are clear, kind and honest. In fact, I would recommend taking a deep breath whenever you think of it – couldn’t hurt, right?
In addition to what I just mentioned, here is what I recommend: schedule extra time for yourself when Mercury is Rx – leave a little early to drive to work, spend more time relaxing and resting down – pencil in meditation time if you have to, do whatever it is that you know helps you to calm your mind and ground your thinking process. We might be an additional 5 – 10 percent distracted – which is why there tends to be slightly more fender benders during these periods – so take extra time to ensure mental clarity, then we will not lock our keys in the car or forget the cake for our grandmother’s 90th birthday party (on taking a break from writing this draft, I passed a guy in the parking lot trying to unlock his truck with a coat-hanger…).
About one in seven individuals, including yours truly, are born with Mercury Retrograde in their birth charts. Supposedly, these people have an easier time coping with the semi-annual retrograde periods. From my own experience, when this little orb stations and then turns back in its course, I am generally tempted – distractions become stronger and a tendency to procrastinate gets strengthened. Now there could be several factors leading to this conclusion (for me personally) – but I believe one main “cause” of this is my Progressed Mercury is in my 8th house, which can be a challenging time of introspection on its own, and it is in Pisces – which is nice when Mercury is in this nebulous, mystical, fantasy-loving sign by itself. However, my chart already has a plethora of Piscean energy swimming about – leading to a tendency to give in to my mind’s yearning.
To me, the most important aspect of Mercury retrograde comes down to the choices we make – do I take a walk or watch that ball game? I feel the need to meditate, but… I have not seen this movie before… Or, I reaaaallly need to study, but I can look around the internet for a few more soccer videos. I think you get the point. Choices – do we take the path of self care and gentle-loving-kindness, which might mean we sacrifice something we were really yearning for (comfort foods, that second glass of wine, watching extra TV, being alone when we could be stretching ourselves in good company, etc). The take home message here is to get good rest, drink plenty of pure water and practice quality self-care. Literally – take a hike, go swimming, meditate, go to that yoga class you have been putting off, etc. Get your busy mind under control. And I will end with this final paragraph about the outer planets and retrogradation, if you are interested:
The outer planets (Jupiter through Pluto) are basically retrograde (Rx) a solid three to four months per year, with Jupiter having the shorter time and Pluto being Rx the longest. Mars is Rx about once every two years for about two months plus. Venus is Rx the least due to its orbit being closest in time to ours (225 days), but it still goes Rx for about six weeks, five times every eight years. Because Mercury races around the Sun (88 day orbit), it goes Rx three times a year, for about 21 days at a time. Therefore, if you count them up, there are eight possible planets which are able to be retrograde, however, all of these planets are Rx for a minority of time, anywhere from 7 % for Venus and 44 % of the time for Pluto. According to many authors, people with many planets retrograde in their horoscopes tend to be late bloomers. With my own chart having five Rx planets, I certainly fit this mold. In my limited experience, that is having done more than a few charts professionally, the most Rx planets I have seen in a horoscope is six (not counting Chiron). And on the opposite extreme, some people are born without any planets being Rx (quite rare).
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