My Mercury Retrograde post got a surprising amount of attention, even though I was really just babbling about it not being a big deal to me, but it and the conversations it inspired made me realize how unfamiliar a lot of people actually are with Mercury Retrograde and the Shadow of it I mentioned.
Now as I begin, in honour of Mercury Retrograde (being confused and meaningless communication) after loving harassment of my friend Psyche (who has four websites so I didn’t know which to link to or should I link her twitter?) I have finally broken down and have decided to give twitter a try, so you can follow me here under the name Blueflamemagick. As far as I know I’ll be using it mainly to mention blog stuff, and to share interesting articles/links that don’t deserve their own posts but are fascinating none the less. This apparently gets me into this century.
Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging. I was surprised that a lot of people who dread Mercury Retrograde don’t even know what it is, much like a Saturn Return. Simple put Mercury Retrograde is when Mercury goes backwards in the sky. Obviously the planet doesn’t actually start to travel backwards but that is what it looks like from Earth. Why? Because we’re both orbiting the Sun at different distances and different rates and that creates the illusion of it travelling backwards. Have you ever been in a car and as you pick up speed that car ahead of you gets closer and then once you overtake it that car looks like it is travelling backwards? It’s the same illusion; Mercury just looks like it is going backwards because we “lap” each other in the race around the Sun.
So why does this disrupt our lives? I don’t know, it’s astrology, I find it works but no known mechanism, moving on. What it represents is everything about Mercury going backwards, against the flow of things. So it tends to be a time of travel issues, technological hiccoughs, miscommunications and the like. Now essentially all the bodies used in astrology go retrograde, so why does Mercury get all the glory? Mercury is a personal planet, which means it moves fast and affects people in more individual ways than a slower planet like Saturn does, but because it moves so fast when it goes Retrograde it “hits” a lot of other planets. When Mercury travels backwards it covers around a dozen degrees and if there are any planetary aspects in that range they get a touch of Mercury Retrograde. This is why it seems to hit people so much, Saturn hits around 8 degrees when Retrograde and it takes almost half a year to do it, so when it does affect something it is a smaller range, so less people are likely to share in the experience. Mercury is also an interpersonal planet, it’s communication, it’s commerce, it’s about you and other people, so it seems like it hits more people because by its nature it is a shared experience.
What is the Shadow of Mercury Retrograde? It’s a fancy name describe the time before and after retrograde when it is in the affected degrees. So right now Mercury started at 24 degrees of Aries and will go back to 12 degrees. So this area of 12-24 degrees is the shadow period. March 31 to April 23 Mercury is travelling backwards, but on April 23 Mercury will be in the same spot in the sky it was on March 17, and on May 12 it will finally be as far ahead as it was on March 31. So while March 31-April 23 is Mercury Retrograde, March 17-March30 and April 24-May 12 are the Shadows of Mercury Retrograde. They aren’t nearly as bad but share some of the same influence. One way of thinking of it is the first shadow is like walking on uneven terrain, retrograde is when you actually stumble, and the second shadow are your first few shaky steps as you catch your balance.
So what is the lesson of Mercury Retrograde? Like I said in the last post all retrogrades are about re-doing that planetary influence, and turning it inwards. Mercury you have to rethink, replan, rewrite, recommunicate, and such. While life must go on if you can avoid it never start something during the retrograde planet associated with it. That would be like a certain blogger who stupidly decided to upgrade Windows during Mercury Retrograde and has spent the last two days trying to get everything functional again. When you can’t avoid something in a retrograde people, always try to “re” it over in your head. Mercury Retrograde is commonly known for miscommunication, so when sending that important email or letter take time to reread, and revise it because now is the time where mistakes can appear more easily. Other than that, sit back, and relax, it is only Mercury Retrograde, it lasts for a short while and then you’re safe…for three months.
(Disclaimer: All spelling and grammatical errors are the result of Mercury Retrograde, milk the excuse while you have it.)