Mercury Appears To Be Flying Backwards
Mercury, that Winged Messenger of the Gods, seemingly turns on its heels three times a year for a period of three weeks each time. What’s going on here, and what effect can this possibly have on us earthlings? We’re about to begin one of those ‘retrograde’ periods on January 28th.
First it might be helpful to understand what we astrologers term Retrogradation. Remember, we are here on planet Earth, therefore we are perceiving everything else in our Solar System from a geocentric point of view. As the other planets come closer to our Earth in their movement around our central star, the Sun, they appear to be going in reverse. Think of it like this: if you’re on a train traveling at high speed, and you pass another train, parallel to you, going at a slower speed, the slower train will present the illusion of moving backwards.
Since Mercury, however, is going faster around the Sun than we are, as it comes closer to us it still will appear to be going backwards as we view it against the backdrop of the fixed stars. As soon as it begins to swing further away behind the Sun, it will appear to be going direct, once again.
Again, what does this really mean? That’s the question I’m sure you’re most interested in. Well, years of observation by countless astrologers have resulted in certain conclusions regarding this ‘phenomena’. Mercury has come to symbolize all areas of life connected with mental activity, including thinking, communicating, talking, and writing as well as various forms of movement, including air and land travel, as well as commerce in general. That pretty well sums up our modern way of life, doesn’t it? After all, the Industrial Age got it’s big dream started with a conjunction of Neptune and Pluto in the sign of Gemini (Mercury ruled) in 1892.
So during a Retrograde period of Mercury you can expect things to—–yes!—–slow down. If you try to keep the same hectic pace, what is likely to happen? Mistakes. Indeed?!! The key buzz words for this three week time period are: review, re-vamp, re-do, re-think, re-evaluate, re-word, re-pair, re-new, re-peat,re-plenish, re-prise, re-peal……..Go ahead and think of some re- words yourself. It’s fun.
I like Mercury Retrograde periods, because it’s good to step back and take a breath or two, and sort things out, slow down the pace, and get re-flective. Inner work is great during this time such as journeying, dream-work, or working on a serious writing project. Pondering something, and solving problems is good to do at this time.
It’s a wonderful time for repairs of all kinds. Get everything fixed now: equipment, old shoes, garments, cars, you name it. Take everything to your local repairman or woman. They thrive during Mercury Retrograde periods. Yes, get your teeth fixed too, It’s not a bad idea to sometimes schedule certain kinds of surgery during this period, however be aware that technical errors may occur.
Editing type jobs are excellent during this three-week period. Getting things polished and refined makes sense. I would say, in general, that the more Virgo-an qualities of Mercury need to come to the fore during the Retrograde phase. Solving problems is a natural for our Virgo friends. This is their time.
Travel? With air travel think delays. Funny glitches in scheduling can occur. Luggage is perhaps more vulnerable to getting lost. The solution to all this seems to be how you plan. It’s a good idea to just be prepared and arrive at the airport earlier, or bring a good book, in case your plane is delayed. Allow plenty of time for the unexpected. I believe most of us do, anyway, in todays world of constant air travel.
Traveling by car, truck, bus, etc. think traffic jams, gridlocks on freeways. They can occur, but this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more accidents unless Uranus/and/or Mars is involved. Car-wise just make sure there’s plenty of gas in your tank, air in your tires, and oil in your engine before taking off, and allow extra time for arrival at your destination.
Buying and selling: please don’t try to buy high-priced electronic equipment during Mercury retrograde periods. You may have to return the item, or some part of it may not function properly. Especially avoid buying a used car. Yipes. If you buy a new car, at least there is some kind of warranty to protect you. I wouldn’t even advise that, but sometimes we just have to do what we have to do, right?
There are so many ‘do nots’ for Mercury Retrograde. No one really wants to hear such admonishments, especially self-directed willful types. I have found, however, that there really is something to it. So why try and push the river when it’s current is going against the direction you want to go in? Why not use it for what it is intended? Slowing down and paying more careful attention to all the details and nuances of what perhaps alluded you when you were tripping along at high speed.
Contracts seems to be particularly bothersome during these time-frames. Something may have to be re-done or mistakes may be made. Be exceedingly careful and read all the fine print if you do have to sign something important contractually during this period.
Office work can often be where this retrograde motion has an impact. I can remember many a struggle with our fax machine. It just never seemed to want to cooperate. Computers. This is the time when most astrologers will warn you to get everything backed up before ole Mercury turns on its heels into reverse. Mailing letters and packages: send valuables insured and important documents or payments certified. Don’t take chances with this ‘Mercury-dominant’ service.
Finally, does everyone experience the Mercury Retrograde as troublesome or annoying? Probably not. I really think certain types of people are more sensitive to it than others. I would only suggest that you start to really observe yourself and your day-to-day activities during this next three week period. See if any glitches occur more than normal. See if you can really enjoy the process of becoming more reflective and slowing down your pace a bit to gain insights that otherwise might blip on by.
This current Mercury Retrograde will last from January 28th through February 18th. Mercury will be in the sign of Aquarius during this period. Spend some time synthesizing. It will actually be an excellent time to brain-storm with others and collaborate on projects where planning and team-work are called for. Any type of planning for future long-range projects can also come together during this time. The action can then be taken when this time period is finished. And friendships? Why it’s a wonderfully rich time to ‘hang out’ with those you love. Re-new those old friendships and get re-acquainted.
Here are a couple of excellent books on Mercury for those of you who always want to learn more: The God Between: A Study of Astrological Mercury by Freda Edis, Arkana, Penguin Books.; The Inner Planets, Building Blocks of Personal Reality (Seminars in Psychological Astrology Volume 4) by Liz Greene & Howard Sasportas, Samuel Wiser, Inc.
I hope some of you will comment on your experiences with this Mercurial journey. I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of possibilities.