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Astrology: Surviving Mercury Retrograde

astrology Jul 27, 2017

What exactly is a retrograde planet?   A planet is said to be in retrograde motion when it slows down in its orbit enough, that other planets are passing it by as they orbit.  It would be like you driving in the slow lane while other cars are passing you, "driving so fast it makes you look like you are in reverse".    This gives an illusion that a retrograde planet is moving backward for a short period of time. 

What does retrograde mean?  
When a planet goes retrograde it means that the energies it represents are pulled inward.  A planet in direct motion is expressing it's energies outwardly, whatever those energies are.  A planet in retrograde becomes more reflective in contrast to its extroverted direct motion.  

What is the big deal about Mercury Retrograde?  
Mercury is the trickster in archetypal astrology.  In Greek mythology he is also the patron god of thieves and liars.   Much like Loki, he can be a bit of a trouble maker, so when he goes into retrograde motion, there are certain things that one needs to consider about his shiftier side.  
Mercury is the planet of communication.  When in retrograde communications tend to get mixed up and confused, so it's kind of a good idea not to believe everything you hear during his RX motion.  It's probably also not a great idea to have important  life changing conversations until he moves forward again as well.  The retrograde motion is not for outer activity, it is designed to force you into a state of inner reflection.  So if you find that things are going very much awry during his RX motion, it might be because you are fighting the tide too much.  Give yourself permission during the RX phase to slow down, take a breath and "reassess" before making another action decision.  This is a time for re-evaluating what is not working and eliminating things that do not serve.  This is also why it has become common lore that you shouldn't sign legal documents or make agreements if at all possible during a Mercury RX because chances are, you may not have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.  Papers get lost, things get lost in translation, and in general misunderstandings tend to occur. 

Mercury is the ferryman. 
This is his underworld disguise, and it is his job to get souls to the land of the dead from the land of the living; and as well to guide initiates on their path to the underworld and back out again. Paying a coin to the Ferryman for safe travel through the underworld is a custom in ancient Greece.  The introversion cycle of the RX motion of this planet can sometimes feel like you are sojourning through an underworld experience.  This is a time to hole up, take good care of yourself and give yourself some time to hibernate if you need it. 

You may want to be mindful about your travel planes during the RX phase as well.   This can be a time for fender benders, and technological malfunctions.  So some strategies for "surviving" the RX phase of the trickster is to plan ahead.  Before the RX phase, and make sure you car has had it's oil change, and your brakes have been fixed.  Usually we often have warning signs leading up to those frustrated experiences when things break down, but sometimes we ignore those signs.  The inconveniences we face is usually a result of not paying attention in many cases, when we should have.  So if you make it a habit of being more aware of the way things around you are functioning, or if they need your attention, you can make a RX phase easier on yourself by having planned ahead.  If I know I have to travel somewhere during a RX phase, I'll take my car in for a check up before that RX phase begins if at all possible and make sure everything is in working order. Because if it's not and I missed something, sure as hell... if it's going to break down, it's likely going to do it during that phase in the middle of my road trip.  So I'm always extra careful during those Mercury RX phases and try to get my ducks sorted out and lined up before he goes backward.   
It's also not a bad idea to make sure your bank balance is in order, so you don't bounce those forgotten about checks that have not cleared.  Do what you can to amp up and give yourself a little cushion.  Preparation is the best cure for this tricksters antics. 

The next retrograde mercury phase starts on August 13, of 2017 and will last three weeks and a couple of extra days, going direct again on September 5, 2017.  For the majority of this cycle, he will be in the sign of Virgo, so remember the devil is in the details this time.  It might be best to wait and book those doctor appointments before or after the RX phase to avoid any technical mishaps with your prescriptions, paperwork or anything else.  Things at work could get a little stressful, and your general sense of order might get out of whack if you find yourself in a state of chaos.  Try to hold your tongue and refrain from being too irritable or touchy, as your patience may be tested during this cycle.  Virgo is not happy when things don't go according to plan, and Mercury loves to make things NOT go according to plan in a RX phase.  It's best to just surrender and try not to need to control things too much.  The more you can relax with this cycle, the easier it will be.  Acceptance, patience, and introversion is sometimes the necessary ingredient to sail through without too much difficulty.  And remember instead of forcing a situation, step back instead and see if a re-assessment needs to take place, or something needs to be done differently.  

Those who were born with Mercury RX in their natal chart usually have smooth sailing during these cycles, because they are already attuned to the natural energy of it.   But for the rest of us.... take a deep breath and leave a few coins outside the door on the street as an offering to those wayward thieves.  Stay home if you can get away with it, and read that book you've been wanting to read for so long.  Put yourself in alignment with the introversion cycle and you might actually enjoy it instead of dread it!

Copyright July 2017
Monique Lockhart





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