surfing on through the skies
Retrograde means that a planet appears to be going backwards – in reality planets don’t go backwards, it just appears like they do. One way to think of retrograde is like you are sitting on a train and it starts to move slowly, yet it seems like the train next to you is moving backwards. An illusion.
Mercury is named after the winged Roman god of the same name, and is the fastest moving planet in the solar system, darting around the Sun in an eccentric type of way. In Greek mythology, planet Mercury was Hermes who had much to do with speech, commerce, travel and communication. Read more about Mercury on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(planet)
In astrological terms Mercury is related to communication, translation, thinking, wit, the mind, facts, bits of information, trickery and deception – I sometimes think of Mercury as a little bit of a naughty child when not handled with grace. Mercury rules everyday communications of all kinds -speech, letters, phone calls, emails, translating. It also is related to cars, the local neighbourhood, siblings, short trips and magicians, perhaps due to a perceived trickiness. Physically, Mercury is related to hands, fingers and nervous system – including the brain. Mercury is a very cerebral “thinking” energy and is somewhat detached emotionally, or has a tendency to intellectualise emotions.
So when Mercury appears to go backwards in the sky, what can we expect? Often astrologers will say to check facts, don’t sign contracts, expect your phones, faxes, computers, cars, travel and conversations to take an unexpected turn of events, break down, or disappear altogether! All of this is possible when Mercury is retrograde. Sometimes things which appear during a Mercury retrograde period will ease up or disappear once the retrograde period is over, only to re-appear during the next Mercury retrograde.
However, there are other ways of considering the energies at play during this cycle. During it’s retrograde phase, Mercury is “slower” and closer to the earth than other times. It backtracks through the zodiac signs. So we might find we are going over old ground, that plans and current initiatives seem to have stalled, things we thought were finished might flare up again (like arguments) and require dealing with. People from the past might reappear in our lives.
Personally I love the Mercury retrograde periods. They are opportunities to consider how far we have come and to prepare ourselves for action on all fronts when Mercury turns direct. It is a period when we have an opportunity to pick up things we might have missed and the chance to rectify them. Remember during this period, Mercury is closer to the earth than at other times. Mercury matters might therefore be emphasised strongly, and not always for the worse. Sometimes it’s a period when we don’t seem to have control over things and “fated” events can occur. So really during this phase it is wise to be alert, exercise caution if you must do things like sign contracts (re-read them several times, or better yet, get a professional to do so), and go very lightly and curiously through the waves which seem to be carrying us backwards for a bit.
If you know your astrology chart, take note of the house/s which Mercury is transiting through. It’s likely some of the above manifestations of Mercury retrograde will apply to the area of life emphasised in your chart by this transit.