Modern life depends more than ever upon a wide variety of modes of communication and travel, areas of life that are ruled astrologically by the planet Mercury. The more we depend on these things, the more we are affected by Mercury traveling retrograde. All planets except for the Sun and Moon retrograde, but other retrogrades don’t have the same impact or occur as often.
Planets of course don’t really move backwards, but they appear to change direction from our perspective on earth depending on where the earth is in relation to that planet and the Sun.
Mercury/Hermes rules both Gemini and Virgo, and in ancient times was associated with the Magician (as in the Tarot Magician) who unites the realm of the mind with the realm of the craftsman. He is connected with the principle of alchemy, and in mythology he was the one who crossed borders (or dimensions) in order to carry the messages of the gods from one to another. He was the only god that was granted free passage in and out of the Underworld. Mercury therefore depicts our journey from the world of spirit to matter and back again.
A facet of Mercury is self-reflection: our ability to examine situations and the way we are affected by them. In alchemy, Mercurius intervened in order to unite two opposites by transforming each end of the opposition into the other. In this way we use our mind and consciousness (Mercury) to balance oppositional forces within the chart, or in our lives. Mercurius was envisioned as standing between Sol and Luna, or between Spirit and Soul, providing a mediating function between yin and yang.
In the sign of Gemini, Mercury represents the ability to take in all points of view without judgment and is able to entertain two opposite ideas without a sense of contradiction. But in Virgo, where Mercury is currently located, it is more discriminating and separates one thing from the other. In both cases, the flexibility and adaptability of Mercury helps us to process our experiences – to learn from them and to integrate them into our understanding. Retrograde Mercury helps to facilitates this process.
When Mercury is retrograde, it’s a time for reflection and assimilation rather than movement. Mercury retrograde is a great time for:
- Go back and review your journals or goals from past years.
- Begin a journal or a creative writing project, especially if it’s a memoir or family history.
- Edit or re-write a book or article.
- Rebalance your stock portfolio
- Examine your business or work life and see where improvements can be made.
- Call an old friend that you haven’t seen for a while.
- Review and re-do your will or other agreements.
- Update your website.
- Meditate more.
- Clean out closets, garages and basements.Be cautious when:
- Writing and be sure your backup your files and computer.
- Double check and confirm appointments
- Installing new software or phone or email system.
- Beginning a new regime of some sort – diet, exercise etc.
- Entering into contracts of any kind.
- Planning travel or beginning a trip
- Making a major purchase or investing in the stock market