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Mercury Into the Rabbit Hole

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” my Jyotish mentor warned me. Just like in the parable of the blind man and the elephant, you can’t know the whole from touching only a tiny part. When I first discovered Vedic Astrology, I knew I’d found a subject to challenge me for the rest of my life. The more I continue to investigate it, the more complex and mind-boggling it becomes. Truly, this learning has no end, because “the mood of God”, which an astrological chart mirrors, remains ultimately unfathomable. It’s as nuanced and contradictory as the human nature it depicts. Yet that does not stop the Jyotishi from probing deeper and deeper! 

I’ve heard people say they’re afraid to get a reading, afraid of what they might hear. Sometimes it’s the traditional language itself that can mislead. But rather than avoiding certain loaded words, I prefer to qualify them for deeper understanding. Words like exalted and debilitated, strong and weak, benefic and malefic . . . these terms seem to imply “good” and “bad”.  But it’s not so. Surface meanings deceive. Everything depends upon the context! (For example . . .weak is “bad” for confrontations with adversaries; it’s “good” for the proliferation of cancer cells.) So when you hear you have a debilitated planet, don’t jump to the conclusion—which many novices to this science make—that it’s bad. Likewise, don’t think your exalted planet is necessarily good. As Shakespeare said, “There’s nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” 

All karma, actually, is “good”, because it provides the lessons you are meant to learn in this life. Every happening nourishes your spiritual evolution, even though it might not seem that way at the time. A reading expands your awareness about what your life is all about. It shows you how to walk the path of understanding, personal growth and abundance.  So let me affirm it now: there’s nothing to fear! Knowledge empowers you, always. What follows is a brief forecast of just one element of the cosmic weather you’ll see very shortly in the heavens. 

On 26 February, Mercury moves into Pisces, where he’s debilitated. Usually, Mercury breezes through a constellation in three weeks. But when he turns retrograde, which happens three times a year, he can stay in one place for a few months. This spring, Mercury turns retrograde in Pisces—though his retrograde cycle becomes complicated because he travels back into Aquarius too. The dates for these significant shifts are as follows:

After entering Pisces on 26 February, Mercury turns retrograde on 6 March. He then moves back into Aquarius on 16 March; he turns direct again on 28 March. Thus, his retrograde period spans from 6 to 28 March, partially in Pisces and partially in Aquarius (and coinciding with the run-up to Brexit!). 

Travelling direct from Aquarius, he returns to Pisces on 12 April, where he remains until 4 May. So from 26 February until 4 May, Mercury is not clear of Pisces.  Except for his sojourn out from 16 March until 12 April, Mercury resides in Pisces, where he is debilitated, or “in fall”. His exact point of debilitation happens at 15 degrees, which will occur around 24 to 25 April. So what does this all mean for you? If you know your birth chart, see where Mercury was at the moment of your birth. His sign and house will tell you something (but not everything!) about what this transit indicates for your life. 

Despite what some people think, Mercury retrograde is nothing to dread. So don’t get agitated. Rather, understand its significance and use this unique energy appropriately. When retrograde in a particular constellation, Mercury intensifies the qualities that constellation signifies.  He becomes slippery only when changing direction. These are the times to be on alert. Mercury governs the intellect, the thinking mind that judges, discerns, qualifies and quantifies. He promotes communication, business, technology, writing, language and marketing. These matters get disturbed when swift-footed Mercury slows down and changes direction—no matter where in the zodiac that may happen. The few days around the shift are thus not auspicious for business decisions, signing contracts or tackling technology. Just wait, because during the actual retrograde period, Mercury grows strong for whatever he denotes through the medium of the constellation he inhabits. So pay attention to his retrograde position so that you can direct that Mercurial energy towards its best possible use. So what can “Mercury debilitated in Pisces” be good for? What happens to a planet “in fall”? Where is the “good” in what sounds so dismal? 

Basically, a planet becomes debilitated when it sojourns through a constellation whose medium is antithetical to whatever that planet represents. In Pisces, Mercury enters foreign territory. He loses his ability to function according to his natural indications, that is, to analyse and manipulate details for worldly purposes. (So hold off on those big tech projects or revisions of your accounting systems when Mercury is in Pisces). In Pisces, Mercury “falls” into the cosmic realm. As the last sign of the zodiac, Pisces is the place of transcendent consciousness, unconditional love, expansion, devotion, imagination and vision. The medium of Pisces stops the “bean counter”  in his tracks. Mercury functions optimally in Virgo, an earth sign signifying materiality, and Gemini, an air sign signifying intellect. But Pisces is a water sign, signifying moksha or liberation. Pisces is water as steam—diffusive, ubiquitous. Here the mercurial mind dissolves . . .  into intuition. Here consciousness merges into the infinite and eternal. 

Mercury debilitated supports the breaking down of traditional or limited thinking patterns.  Significantly, Jupiter from Scorpio aspects Pisces this year, shining grace and luminosity on Mercury debilitated. The great light Jupiter is called Guru in Sanskrit, and Scorpio is another water and moksha sign, so this is a very positive aspect under most circumstance. In fact, benefic influences upon Mercury in Pisces characterise the birth chart of Albert Einstein, whose visionary mind intuited the ultimate nature of time and space—yet it’s said the great scientist couldn’t match his socks.  . . . Yes, vindication for all of you out there with a debilitated Mercury! Einstein too has Mercury in Pisces. So never assume debilitated Mercury means an inferior intellect.  

Mercury’s debilitation in Pisces coming up this spring will affect all of us differently, depending upon so many factors individual to each chart. It’s impossible for me to say anything specific for you without analysing those elements. However, for most of us, this period supports spiritual advancement. So ride the wave of cosmic momentum and recommit to whatever discipline you follow. Deepening into your spiritual practice can never be a wrong move. As Krishna says in the Gita, any effort upon the path of yoga is never wasted.  So Carpe Diem. And reap the benefits of Mercury retrograde and debilitated in Pisces!  

Om shanti