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Mercury Retrograde

Welcome to Star Patterns!!! I’m excited to bring this newsletter to you, fruit of my work with Jyotish over these past years. Every month (I hope) it will come to you, featuring a unique astrological phenomenon that will be impacting your life. You can always unsubscribe below if you are not interested, but stay tuned and read what the stars are revealing for you!

Just as it makes sense to pay attention to the weather report and plan accordingly, so does it make even more sense to attend to the celestial weather.

Knowledge is power! All time is not even. The celestial dance of planets and stars continually weaves its intricate patterns. These patterns create energetic forces that mirror the shifts in our own energy fields. As you understand the ebb and flow of celestial time, you can plan, adapt, surrender or surge forward accordingly. We are all dealt a different hand of cards in life, but it is how we play that hand that makes the difference.

From 5 through 25 October this year, Mercury goes retrograde. Contrary to certain beliefs, this is not a time to fear, although certain precautions are in order. Great benefits can flow from this time, for those who know how to use it wisely. Mercury is a rich and complex planet, and it is definitely an error to see things too absolutely, as black or white.

mercuryAfter the Moon, Mercury is the fastest moving planet. Usually, he flies through a sign in about 20 days. But three times a year he becomes retrograde, and then he slows down and can stay in a sign for up to two months, impressing himself deeply into that place. When retrograde, a planet is close to the earth and very bright. Its backwards movement is actually an optical illusion, caused by the fact that the earth is moving forward faster than the retrograde planet. All these factors make the retrograde planet very powerful.

Mercury retrograde is strong! This means that everything Mercury signifies to us becomes intensified. A retrograde planet swells with his own energy, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. Whether this excess brings positive or negative results depends both upon where Mercury resides in your natal chart and how you respond to this surge of his energy.

Though very useful, the guidelines here are by necessity general. The exact way this energy will impact you personally depends upon the planetary configuration of your birth chart and an analysis of the aspects of the other planets as well. Though only a birth chart reading can provide that kind of depth, everyone can benefit from increased awareness of these shifting energies and harmonizing activities accordingly.

Mercury is the winged messenger: his nature is mercurial. In other words, he is restless, adaptable, changeable and quick. In Sanskrit, Mercury is known as Buddhi, as he signifies the intellect, the discerning mind. He is that quality of mind that processes information logically; he categorizes and analyses, discriminates and judges. Mercury governs communication of thought as well, the ability to formulate ideas into language and insights into mathematical equations. He is the wheeler-dealer, governing business and everything to do with trade and financial markets. Expect increased facility with left-brain thinking during this time, but be cautious not to get carried away by excessive speed. Mercury retrograde can lead to screw-ups.

Above all, Mercury signifies duality, the ability to shape change in all circumstances. Use this time of Mercury’s power to direct his energy wholesomely. As every planet, Mercury’s qualities can serve both lower and higher purposes. With Mercury strong, you could become overly critical and judgemental, finding fault everywhere and looking always to your personal advantage. (Worldly Mercury looks after the interests of the small self.) Yet Mercury strong can also bequeath the highest spiritual gift, the ability to discern the real from the unreal. (Evolved Mercury knows that his real interest lies in the Universal Self, in dissolving the lens that limits consciousness into a personal box.) Mercury is behind the guru and priest same as the trickster and con artist. And it takes a strong Mercury to discern the difference between them!

Because Mercury does not like to slow down, the precise time he changes direction can be dodgy. It is this period that gives Mercury retrograde it’s bad rap. So for a couple of days before and after 5 October, when he is moving from direct to retrograde, and again for a couple of days before and after 26 October, when he is moving from retrograde back to direct, it is prudent to avoid entering into any activities where a well-functioning Mercury is required. This is thus not a time to sign contracts, to undertake any activities where a specific outcome is strongly desired, or to make important decisions. It is a time to be cautious with travel and communications, because systems can often breakdown when Mercury is changing direction.

2014-09-19 09.18.20-2This transition period is a time of liminality. It resembles dawn and dusk in the diurnal cycle, and the full and new moon in the lunar cycle. The type of activity best suited to this period is spiritual work, so this is the time for stepping up your meditation, contemplative reading, aimless walks in nature, pujas, prayer and rest. It can also be a fruitful time for creative pursuits such as painting, making music or handiworks, just as long as your intention is open-ended, exploratory rather than focused upon a specific purpose.

Once Mercury settles into his retrograde period, he has the power to deeply impress himself upon the sign he is sojourning through and the house that signifies for your chart. He brings incredible strength to these areas of life, for good or ill. It helps to know where this is for you, because it is always possible to channel this energy towards growth and abundance. The powerful influence continues as long as he remains in the sign, though his direct motion lessens it somewhat.

Moreover, for any given 12 month period, Mercury will retrograde always in the same element. For this upcoming period, Mercury retrograde will straddle two signs, Libra and Virgo. This is particularly significant if one of these is your Vedic ascendant, or your Vedic Moon or Sun resides here. Mercury entered Virgo 30 August. He leaves Libra 25 November. That makes for a total of nearly 3 months in these two signs of earth and air, with the retrograde period right in the middle of it, from 5 to 25 October. Earth and air issues will become prominent for everyone, expressed in a multitude of forms for different individuals.

Mercury is exalted in the earth sign of Virgo. Here his ability to discriminate is most acute. Intellectual powers (Mercury) are sharp at this time, particularly as they are applied to practical purposes (earth). Technical projects, marketing, communications, and design all will receive momentum with this energy. This is a good time to consult with a financial advisor, an architect or a techie. It is a good time for decisions that require shrewdness, sensitivity and discernment.

In Libra (Air), Mercury resides in the sign of his friend, Venus, a congenial placement though not nearly as strong as his placement in Virgo. Through Libra, Mercury becomes more social and charming. The air element highlights his connectivity, making this a good time for networking. Here Mercury’s intellectual prowess is best applied to matters of law and justice or to humanitarian concerns. It is a good time to launch charitable projects or anything to do with personal enhancement.

Also, as Mercury retrogrades three times a year in a specific element, that will be a certain house pattern for you, and thus a specific area of life will be highlighted, making it a feature for your entire year. That house could be associated with dharma (purpose), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), or moksha (liberation). But no matter what, you can be sure that the issues of that particular aim of life will be up for you while Mercury is retrograde therein.

To complicate matters even more, for part of this retrograde period, Mercury will also be combust, which means so close to the Sun that his power is overwhelmed by the Sun’s greater light. During this time of combustion, it is important to be aware that Mercury’s energy will be compromised. Try to avoid any of the above activities for which a specific outcome is strongly desired.

Because Mercury is never more than 20° from the Sun, he becomes combust quite often. Thus, he tolerates this state better than any other planet. Do not be overly concerned about his combustion, but exert prudence as well. If at all possible, do not plan events for this combust time that require a full-functioning Mercury. Favour instead spiritual pursuits, creative activities, research, and right-brained thinking.

In addition, October brings two eclipses. That is another discussion altogether! But definitely avoid important decision making during the total lunar eclipse on 8 October and the partial solar eclipse on the 23rd October.

Below is a calendar of these energetic shifts for you to follow. But please remember that you are a unique lens that filters this energy according to your particular astrological patterning. And the aspects of the other planets figure in significantly as well. Only an analysis of your birth chart can determine exactly how this energy will affect you. But for general purposes, mindfulness of these weather patterns can bring much benefit:

30 August Mercury direct moved into Virgo
21 September Mercury direct moved into Libra
5 October Mercury turns retrograde in Libra
8 October Total Lunar Eclipse
11 October Mercury retrograde is also combust in Libra
17 October Mercury retrograde/combust moves back into Virgo
23 October Mercury no longer combust but still retrograde in Virgo
23 October Partial Solar Eclipse
26 October Mercury turns direct in Virgo
5 November Mercury direct moves into Libra
14 November Mercury direct and again combust in Libra
25 November Mercury direct combust into Scorpio,  a water sign

Here ends the sojourn of Mercury in earth and air for this autumn.
Respect his moods and feel the benefits uplift your life!

Om shanti

One thought on “Mercury Retrograde”

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