Next to sun signs and ascendents, Mercury retrograde is one of the best known concepts of astrology, and one of the most feared. But there’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to Mercury retrograde. Less sensitive people with well developed routines often sail through it blissfully unaware. Some worry themselves to a standstill. Let’s take a closer look at this mercurial aspect.
The planet Mercury, of course, never reverses direction. Mercury retrograde is an optical illusion. That’s key to understanding the Mercury retrograde experience, which is about reversed perspectives.
Famously, during Mercury retrograde we can expect mysterious malfunctions, breakdowns that require repair, missed or misunderstood communications, delays, unexpected detours, going back to fix mistakes, and introverted moods. Don’t sign important papers with this aspect, many astrologers advise. Don’t start new things. Don’t buy anything important, you’re liable to get a lemon. But Mercury retrograde isn’t merely the universe pranking its inhabitants.
Work that has been left undone or postponed can end well during Mercury retrograde. Returning with a fresh perspective to problematic areas can bring breakthroughs in healing and communications. Patience, thoroughness, preparation are rewarded while impatience, cut corners, and aggression may attract the more troublesome qualities of this aspect.
Transiting Mercury retrograde asks you to revisit the area of your life indicated by the house and sign it occupies. You will be asked to go back and reconsider. Perhaps there is a deeper lesson to be learned? Perhaps formerly ignorable details will demand immediate attention. Try to treat detours as adventures with a message. Appreciate getting another chance at something you missed.
By taking extra time, and taking extra care, Mercury retrograde can be a tranquil, liberating and constructive experience, when creativity, that mysterious inner dialogue that leads us to form our world, speaks with special clarity.
Spring cleaning, organizing ignored areas of your life, the discipline of doing everything you do with a calm and thorough focus, meditation, empathy and, perhaps paradoxically, detachment are some of the activities favored by Mercury retrograde. But if all you want to do is drift and dream, Mercury retrograde is a good time for that, too. Valuable insights may result.
It’s easy to misinterpret the cross purposes and misunderstood communications of Mercury retrograde, and to overreact to them. What we view as an outrageous assault on our integrity is more likely the result of misalignments of purpose and opinion. Told not to take it personally, we will take it personally. Manipulation, suspicion and jumping to conclusions can lead to especially difficult confusion during Mercury retrograde.
Above all, don’t be like so many others who dread Mercury retrograde and when something goes wrong they blame the aspect, charging themselves with expectations of more chaos to come. Is it surprising when their every action seems to unleash more confusion?
Mercury retrograde is a good time to begin the recollection meditation recommended by Pythagoras. At the end of each day before you sleep look back on the actions of the day. See where you may have done things differently. Be honest with yourself in your review and your life will improve.
Treasure happy accidents, serendipity, and synchronicity. Look for neglected treasures, find lost messages, give attention to what is neglected, and you may learn to look forward to Mercury retrograde.
Excerpt from Spiritual Mysteries, a book in progress.
Photo by Tamra Lucid