What IS all the fuss about Mercury Retrograde anyway?
I was asked this question by a new friend I met this past weekend. I promised her I’d explain it more than usual in my next post! So here you go Susan!
Let me tell you the story behind Mercury, what IS Retrograde motion, and how this 3-4 times a year occurrence seemingly affects our lives.
Mercury – is the planet that represents Communication, how your mind/brain thinks and learns, the knowledge you like to collect and how you share it. Mercury rules the mutable air sign of Gemini and mutable earth sign of Virgo. This combo brings forth the following:
- How you relate with your daily folks – roommates/household persons you live with, your neighbours, local vendors and friends you interact with.
- Collection of data and information and what you do with it – do you hoard it or do you share it with others? What types of data/information do you latch onto? What interests you, that you later converse about with others? Perhaps contractual information will be taken on here.
- Local travel – how you travel in your locale – using your car, transit, or walking.
- Processes – how you ‘see’ them within work settings, with co-workers, and your own life. The Rules of Engagement – the HOW of DOing, anything.
- Perfectionism – wherever Virgo resides in your birth chart, this is where your ‘bar of excellence’ resides and you expect this level of perfection not only from yourself – but from the people you work and live with too. Here we all carry a high level of EXPECTATION from performance – Within and Without. This is also where we can worry, and carry the Big Stick of “I’m Not Good Enough!” and beat ourselves up with it – and others.
Retrograde (Rx) – is the seemingly backward-moving motion of any planet. The Sun and Moon never move Rx. Similar to driving in a car, and the car next to you speeds up – it seems your car is moving backwards when really the other car is going faster than you. The planets do the same within their orbits around our Sun – at certain times of their orbital cycles, compared to Earth, they seem to go Direct (move forward) or go Rx (slow down and go backward). It is all relative to us looking up and out from Earth.
In Astrology, the seemingly Rx planets’ energy that is usually Direct and forward-moving OUTSIDE us, is now directed Inward, Within us – creating a sense of ‘taking things personally’ and/or circumstances and people in our lives seem to BE personally in our face for a time. All in aid of learning something NEW about ourselves that we didn’t know we needed to know. If we are open to this learning, we grow Within Self. If we don’t (when our Ego-brain can get in the way with resistance to change) the next opportunity to grow that comes our way will seem to be BIGGER and LOUDER (and more in our face). It’s all about free will – Will I or Won’t I, this time round?
Mercury Rx – occurs 3-4 times a year (2016 and 2017 are the 4 times a year occurrence) where Mercury, that planet of communication + thought processes, seems to take a vacation from the logical left brain side and spends that vacation within the right brain’s creative “thinking outside the box” problem-solving side. Yay us!
Mercury rules all the technology that runs our communication – now more than ever – hence phones, cell phones, office communication machines, computers, cars (more circuit boards therein than ever) etc. Everything to do with communication and local travel in other words.
During Mercury Rx timings, Expect the Unexpected from machines and cars and plans and contracts and goals – Mercury isn’t going Direct in a straight line, so why should anything else? Mercury likes to bring in more humour and play to show us just how serious (Virgo) we can be, stuck as we are in our daily routines and processes. So Mercury Rx shakes things up – and sometimes is what I like to call “The Gift That Keeps on Giving…sometimes weeks, months and even years into the future!”
What I LOVE about Mercury Rx timings:
- I find out information that I didn’t know I needed to know! Truly – sit back and watch this happen in your life within this upcoming Mercury Rx timing. I promise there WILL be something that shows up for you – a missing piece of key information you didn’t know you were missing.
- Expect the Unexpected! This is where Mercury’s humour shows up – to presumably trip us out of ‘taking life too seriously’ and remind us that humour is the best remedy – no matter the situation. Traffic jams, detours, computers crashing (mine did during the Mercury Rx session 2 days into December 2015’s timing and I’m still dealing with the aftermath 15 months later), office machines acting up more that usual, cars not starting or working as well – all to alert us (seemingly all at the same time!) that perhaps we’ve not been as careful with maintenance / nurturance of these THINGS in our lives. OR, to BE more patient…as in there’s a traffic jam and I’m late for a meeting with a friend – I always find, especially during Mercury Rx, that I’m delayed because my friend is too! And when we do catch up with one another guess what? We’re right on time! Here Mercury is showing us to CHILL (!) and take a long breath – there is ALWAYS a reason – be patient and you’ll find out what it is…refrain from honking on the horn or shaking your head at so-called dumb drivers – they are actually assisting you.
- Clearing Clutter! Yes siree, ’tis time to clean out those closets, garages, drawers and trunks folks. Yay! Here’s the Virgo portion of the program – clarifying what to DO with stuff and creating new processes of how to handle it all in future. With our logical brain out of the way for 21 days, the creative brain brings forth NEW bright ideas of how to handle our STUFF – try it out and see. What seemed like an arduous task prior to Mercury Rx will seem easy-peasy now. And you’ve got to take advantage of ‘Spring Cleaning’, right?
- People From Your Past Show Up! Yes – this does happen – more often than I can count. Perhaps to rekindle friendships/relationships/partnerships. Perhaps to mend fences – revisiting past conversations that ended badly – Mercury Rx gives you a chance to say it BETTER this time. I love this do-over aspect of Mercury Rx. Gives us TIME to think things over, talk about it more, then decide better when Mercury turns Direct once again. Cool, eh?
Now let’s get down to brass tacks – this second round of Mercury Rx in 2017 occurs as follows:
- The actual Rx (Retrograde) portion of the program begins April 10th and ends with Mercury stationing Direct May 4th – a little over the usual 21 days.
- The celestial longitude of WHERE Mercury is moving backwards/retrograde in the Astrological signs is from 04 degrees of Taurus 50′ back into Aries to 24 degrees Aries 17′. If you have your birth chart handy, take a look at which House or Houses of Life Experience will be activated / affected by this round of Rx action (do-overs, rethinks, chances to speak again etc.).
- For instance, this Mercury Rx timing begins in my 9th House of We Speak – communication with others – connecting with my Moon + South Node (emotional/intuitive insights + unresolved issues from my past) re HOW I interact with others while seeking my higher purpose. And will end in my 8th House of business partnerships, Ego fears and shared money/resources. Interestingly, I just completed 4 days of working with a lovely group of people for the Advanced Polls of the current Federal By-Election here in Canada. I was one of 2 Information Officers who greeted each and every voter, and I learned more about many of my co-workers from all the mini conversations we had during the lull times. AND I met a woman who was a year ahead of me in Junior and Senior High school. Talk about meeting up with someone from my past.
- But wait a minute Laurie Rae – it isn’t April 10th yet! How come this seemingly Mercury Rx info is already occurring for you? Because there is always a PRE-Rx Shadow timing AND a POST-Rx Shadow timing. Huh? Meaning first Mercury was DIRECT, moving forward from 24 degrees Aries 17′ before stopping and going BACK the way it already came. The PRE-Rx timing began March 26th. Talk about being ‘right on time’.
- Then Mercury goes Rx from April 10th to May 4th, going back out of Taurus and into Aries, retracing its steps it had already taken since March 26th – hence do-overs, rethinks, and new opportunities to chat again, do again, think again…along the way. Get it?
- When Mercury turns Direct again, May 4th, it will be at 24 degrees Aries 17′ and by May 20th will be right back into Taurus where it was when it turned Rx back on April 10th. Do you ‘see’ the zig-zag back and forth path Mercury makes when it goes Rx? And the analogy of first having conversations, interactions, travel, etc. that seemed normal, only for it to be re-visited somehow yet again, only this time more personally and perhaps perplexing as to WHY again? There was something you missed the first time – to say, do or know – and once Mercury goes Direct again May 4th (and further along, out of the Shadow by May 20th) what once seemed confusing or impossible is now perfectly clear sailing ahead.
Bottom line? The Pre-Rx Shadow time gives us a taste of what’s to come from when Mercury truly is Rx. The Post-Rx Shadow time gives us answers/solutions we may not consciously have been aware of needing/seeking until Mercury went Rx. The themes we’ll experience this time round come from the fixed earth sign of Taurus and the cardinal fire sign of Aries:
- Taurus brings issues around values, worth and money. How tactile and hands on we need to be with our personal talents and skills that assist us in bringing home income/money for those things we value. Taurus also heightens our senses – what we see, hear, feel, touch and smell. And how creative “I” can be with all I’ve got going for me – to be working, paying my bills, etc. Being fixed, Taurus can be “as stubborn as a bull” re: change…just saying…watch out for Ego resistance to changing your processes or language or habits. Worthiness issues will show themselves here. Self-confidence + self-esteem too…
- Aries brings issues around independence (vs. co-dependence), asserting self (vs. aggression or bullying), having the courage to try something NEW for our lives (that Pioneering spirit) that shows how “I am unique in the world and it’s OKAY to show it!” This is where drinking from your Cup of Courage comes into play to CREATE something NEW (cardinal fire). Yeah, I’ve been THINKING about it, perhaps TALKING about it – but where’s the ACTION, eh? Watch out for impatience, irritability, just wanting to LEAP before THINKING. Great timing on Mercury’s part to slow us down, seemingly putting obstacles in our way – to take TIME to think, talk and mull it all over more than once. Cool, eh?
Here’s your chance to really get at some of the roots of the WHY and HOW of things that have been getting in the way of making money (Taurus), finding work (Virgo), networking/making friends (Gemini) and starting something NEW in your life (Aries). And take the TIME to suss out what is truly right for you!
Photo Credits: by Laurie Rae Rezanoff – pictures taken at Nose Hill Park 2016, Luxor, Egypt 2011 and Neck Point, Nanaimo, BC 2012