This week, so many people are feeling the mercury retrograde! From communication breakdowns to illness to delays to the past rearing its ugly head, this cycle has proven to be formidable indeed. The part no one tells you about getting to a place of safety and stability in your life is that your soul takes stability and safety not only as an excuse, but also as permission to heal all the unhealed parts within you. And when there is no external adversary, there is no further distraction from the adversary within. As per usual, this cycle of healing is happening in tandem with the planetary cycle we call the mercury retrograde (which we are in the middle of by the way).
In the new age, spiritual and astrological community, mercury retrogrades have a bad reputation. In fact, as many of you know it has become a joke. In the astrological community, anytime a series of unfortunate events happen you’ll hear someone say, “mercury must be in retrograde”. Those of us who have suffered from the influence of mercury going retrograde find ourselves torn between wanting to know when they are coming so we can prepare for them and not wanting to know when they are even happening. You’ll often hear the saying “I just want to hide under the covers until it is all over. But fear not, mercury retrogrades are only frightening when you don’t know how to use their energy to your advantage.
Before coming into this life, you chose to adopt the planetary frequencies as part of your reality. That is part of choosing this life, in this particular solar system. You knew the planets would be an influence in the same way that you knew your parents would be an influence. You knew these influences would lend to your individual expansion. You picked the specific astrological arrangement for your life experience in the same way that someone would pick an arrangement of specific food items off of a buffet table.
The planets influence us, but it benefits us to think of this influence as more of an offering. When the planets shift, the energy being offered from them to life on earth also changes. And some of these shifts and cycles are particularly intense and prone to create contrast for life on earth. We can either let that energy hit us and suffer because of it or we can learn how to use that energy and those cycles to our advantage.
A planetary retrograde is in fact just an illusion. Planets never reverse in their orbit around the sun; but because of our vantage point on earth, it can appear as if planets are traveling backwards through the zodiac. The mercury retrograde happens about three or four times a year. Since earth is further away from the sun than mercury is, there are times of year when it appears as if our transit surpasses that of the planet mercury and from our perspective, it looks like the planet mercury slows, stops and reverses. A good way to understand this is to think of driving on the highway. If you and a semi truck are traveling along the road, but you are traveling faster, there is a point when you pass it that the semi truck will appear to be going backwards. The truth is, you are still both traveling the same direction on the road. It is an optical illusion. It is very important to understand that retrogrades are just that… an illusion; because this tells us a lot about the actual retrograde period that we are experiencing. We will be confronting our own illusions. Anything that we suffer from is at its core, an illusion. It is something the ego has erected in front of our true self. When we have not felt resolution or integration about people, events, beliefs or ideas from the past, they will re surface during the mercury retrograde. This can lead to a sudden break out of “madness”. Meaning that mercury retrogrades can make it feel as if you are crazy and everyone you know has gone crazy.
Mercury retrogrades are famous for effecting electronic equipment, and causing travel delays and cancellations. Mercury is the planet of communication, so mercury retrogrades cause breakdowns in communication. You might notice things getting lost in translation, pieces of information going missing, the inability to finish sentences, arguments arising out of nowhere with seemingly no provocation, and the inability to form a coherent thought. Retrogrades can create some serious confusion. You may notice things getting lost and luck may seem to be against you. In fact, you can think of the mercury retrograde as the planetary manifestation of Murphy’s Law. Meaning that it can feel as if everything that can go wrong… is going wrong. Mercury retrogrades are famous for causing delays and postponements in all areas of life and this feeling of fighting upstream can lead to a sensation of severe restlessness and frustration. Mercury also particularly effects a lot of industries like publishing, writing, editing, advertising, sales, public relations & anything to do with transport, like airlines, the post office & cabs so if you have to interact with any of these industries, you can expect some mix ups to occur. Mercury retrograde can be a particular time of difficulty (or should we say opportunity) for anyone who enjoys control. If you are a person who needs to feel as if you have your life neatly organized in a predictable way, mercury retrograde is going to come in like a tornado and not so gently turn things upside down. Mercury retrograde is a metaphysical tornado entering your life. The good news is, you can ride out this tornado and use it to dig up things that are buried. Mercury retrograde offers us a huge energetic push to re-examine areas of our life that are not benefitting us.
Mercury retrograde is perhaps the very best energy for enhancing reflection. It gives us energy to reflect back on anything we have been avoiding or suppressing and see things from a new perspective. Because of this, we can use it to tie up loose ends. You can use it to re organize your life. This is really what it is asking us to do. It is asking us to clear away things that no longer serve us and re organize our lives to make way for new things to take their place. Mercury retrograde asks us to practice the art of flexibility and allowing and lets face it; it is the only way to really survive the intensity of a mercury retrograde period. If you resist it in any way, you will amplify the chaos it causes and it will feel like destruction instead of clearing. Take some time and go slowly. We all go through cycles of movement in our lives. The mercury retrograde is a time to draw your energies in towards yourself and re-visit the things that need to be revisited and cleared. Do not expect yourself to be productive during the mercury retrograde. It is not a time to forge forward, it is a time to nurture and be kind to yourself and others. The gift of the mercury retrograde is the gift of inner revelation. This is in fact the reason why mercury retrograde causes so much upheaval. You could see the upheaval as the necessary condition for us to be able to recognize and receive the gift of revelation. After all, our greatest revelations come when our lives are uprooted to some degree.
Here are some tips, which will help you to utilize the energy of the mercury retrograde to your advantage
People feel the need to control their lives. We think that controlling our lives and creating our lives is the same thing, but it isn’t. When we feel the need to control our lives, we want to dictate what does and does not happen in the external world. We are in a state of resistance against what is unwanted. We are at war with the world. Creating is the opposite. When we create, we allow both wanted and unwanted things into our life because we learn to use both wanted and unwanted things like clay. We learn to shape and mold both to our advantage; because of this, we are at peace with the world and we see all things in the world as a gift. This is the mindset the mercury retrograde asks us to assume. If we can use the period that mercury is in retrograde as a time to practice this mindset, we can learn how to find the eye of peace within the storm of chaos.