You heard me. I know what my last post was about. And I know what this post is about. But this doesn’t change anything.
We all know the drill. Every so often, you have a conversation with a friend, and they start talking about how their train was delayed for an hour. “Well, you know, Mercury’s in retrograde, so blah blah and dippity doo dah and hocus pocus and ring around the rosy!!” You might respond, “Oh cool, that means nothing to me and you’re insane.”
Retrograding Mercury is one of the most widely known astrological concepts in pop culture, right up there with cusps—a bullshit attempt to seem more interesting—and Saturn Returns—which completely suck, because we’re kind of idiots regarding knowing who we are and stuff.
Traditionally, Mercury retrograde warns against starting new projects, signing contracts, and communicative mishaps. The problem with that, and life, is that Mercury retrogrades for three and a half weeks, three times a year. Counting the shadow periods these cautionary phases last roughly half of our entire existence.
Not rare. That’s about as common as encountering a will Zubat on Mt. Moon. It’s going to happen, it’s going to be annoying and confuse you with Supersonic, and you might as well accept it.
I’ve looked at these periods through various lenses. There’s always the natural course of avoiding what must be avoided, carefully tiptoeing around a minefield of… I guess, bad things. Because, Mercury retrograde is “bad,” right? Perhaps it’s healthier to look at these periods as part of the natural course of life, just as death, suffering, and un-responded-to text messages might be. You know, unavoidable.
Say you want to close on a house during a Mercury retrograde period—i.e., sign paperwork. Any astrologer worth their salt would say, “Don’t do that, you fucking moron,” just as the meteorologist will tell you to stay out of the ocean during a hurricane. The house might secretly have termites, or your planned marriage will fall through, or you’ll find yourself unable to make payments. You might simply not enjoy it as much as you thought. There would likely be some sort of perceptive or communicative hindrance.
But, that doesn’t solve the issue. Mercury, ever the trickster, isn’t just poking you with his pitchfork for shits and giggles—well, actually, he is—he’s drawing attention to some part of your life that you’re decidedly ignoring. And that’s what retrogrades are about; rather than avoiding, incorporating.
Mercury is the first planet from the Sun, maybe the most personal of the natural spheres. The teachings that come up during this period are utterly subjective. Therefore, it’s impossible to draw conclusions about what it might mean to the restaurant when the computers break down. The bear will react differently than a hawk to a fallen tree. The subtle differences in experience make up the intricacies of our individual respective reflections. We’re all beautiful snowflakes.
Instead of telling my client, “Just wait a few weeks to buy the house,” I might ask, “What’s making you want to buy the house?” Maybe it becomes clear that they’re unsettled in their marriage and feel that making a big move will charge up the relationship. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t matter when the house is bought—that conflict will still be there.
Mercury, the master of the mind, trumps these hidden truths that we so skillfully manipulate ourselves out of admitting—or so we think. Annoyances and hiccups occur during Mercury retrograde to draw our attention toward these issues that we feign resolved.
Duh, technology breaks down. That’s a no-brainer. We spend way too much time distracting ourselves with toys and electronics when there is a living, breathing human that wants to process emotions, face themselves, de-stress, and for Christ’s sake, heal. Louis C.K. couldn’t illustrate this point more clearly.
When an annoyance, miscommunication, or contract appears, simply take a few moments to stop everything, focus your attention inward, and go over your intention. What are you attempting to accomplish? Is your wish fueled by the mind or ego? Asking the question is enough; you don’t need an answer.
Last week, Venus stationed direct, drawing the curtain on an elaborately dramatic retrograde period in Capricorn. She’ll rise in the east with the Sun for most of the year, igniting our days with fiery passion and valued warmth.
Mars will retrograde March 1st, one day following Mercury’s station direct. This will likely be an extremely challenging period for those stuck in reoccurring cycles—Mars’ engaged heat will be turned up a notch all the more to get you out of the funk. Ultimately, these periods are here to help you, and Mars is especially outwardly aggressive to the ego and its tendencies. This is your warning notice.
My best advice for these retrograde periods occurring now until May is honestly to stop thinking about it. Attention is being drawn inward. Go with the flow. Seriously, just give up. Pick your battles—or, more wisely, take solace in the shadows and act the puppeteer. Accept the loss. Take a moment to check your order, retrace your steps, and above all else, breathe. Everything is going to be ok. Self-reflection is only as rough as you want it to be.
As the wise Jedi Master Yoda once said, “It is pointless to resist.”