The planet Mercury has gotten rather famous in recent times. It seems a whole lot of people know the term “Mercury retrograde” and they believe it means something ominous. So, I decided to shed a little light on this planetary phenomenon.
Mercury went retrograde here in the eastern part of the United States at 9:01 pm on Saturday, August 12, 2017. It will go direct at 7:30 am on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
In the astrological world, the planet Mercury symbolizes mind, thinking, communication, interpretation, intelligence, reasoning capacities and the ability to perceive relationships and gather facts.
The Mercurial qualities include being adaptable, intellectual, attentive, perceptive, clever, versatile, inconsistent, hypercritical, argumentative, sarcastic, cynical, excitable, impressionable, nervous or prone to worry.
Mercury narrates, talks, argues, debates, writes, analyzes, memorizes, studies, travels, sells, reflects and expresses itself through the hands as well as the tongue.
In Greek mythology Mercury (Hermes) is known as the “Messenger of the Gods.” All communication is ruled by this planet – speaking, writing, educational capacities and manual skills.
Mercury is especially active in the astrological signs of Gemini or Virgo. Ask someone who is talkative if their sun sign is Gemini? A good chance you are right. If you know someone who is very analytical, they may have a Virgo sun sign. The energies displayed in any person’s astrological chart are complex and interact in a myriad of ways, so this isn’t always true. Often it is.
All planets from time to time appear from our vantage point here on Earth to move backwards in the heavens. This is retrograde motion. When we look up into the night sky we see the fixed stars and the wandering stars or planets. If you become an astute observer of the sky you will notice the wandering stars move along a path relative to the fixed stars then, at certain times, they appear to stand still and then appear to retrace their path – they appear to go backwards – they retrograde.
Have you ever been in a car going 70 miles an hour down a highway and a car moves up right beside your car. Now you are both going 70 miles an hour, side by side. Then the car beside of you begins to go slower than your car. It can be disorienting for a moment – you feel like the second car is going backwards! It can be a visceral feeling in your body. You feel like something is wrong. You can feel confused. That’s a good metaphor for a retrograde planet. Likewise, in the sky the planet is still going forward, but due to its position relative to the position of the Earth, it appears to go backwards.
In the case of Mercury, it goes retrograde three times a year for about three weeks each time.
So, with all that background, how do we humans here on Earth experience a Mercury retrograde time?
I think of it as our mind and our thinking and communication abilities are slightly off line. We may be indecisive or our plans may change. We may be certain we have thoroughly analyzed a situation or planned a strategic move only to find out all sorts of balls were dropped. Anything you must do at a retrograde time requires you check, double check and triple check your facts, communication with others and analysis.
It is a good time for research, planning, examination of resources and completion of projects already begun. Avoid beginning new projects during this time, if possible.
Since we can’t all put life on hold three times a year, a great way to navigate your way through a retrograde period is to rely more heavily on your intuition. How does something feel as opposed to what do you think about it? I believe this is one of the purposes of Mercury retrograde time. We get to practice tuning in to our intuitive selves. Let our intuition lead and give our mind a chance to take a secondary position.
Since we are right in the middle of a Mercury retrograde time, you might want to consider practicing tuning in – how do you feel about the challenges you are facing right now? What does your gut say? How does your heart feel? Or, the small voice inside that never steers you wrong – what is it saying?