Mercury Retrograde

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I LOVE MERCURY RETROGRADES! There. I said it. So here we are again with all the drama from people about how their lives are falling apart and everything is going wrong, simply because it’s another Mercury Retrograde period. This is when — for three weeks, three times per year — Mercury appears to be going backward in the sky from an earthly standpoint. (Currently it is the period from May 19th till June 11th). All over Facebook right now you can see comments like: “OMG!!! When will this retrograde finish! Can it get any worse?” or “Help! Merc Ret! Think I’ll just stay in bed!” To read all these remarks, you would be forgiven for thinking that the entire universe was involved in a conspiracy against humans (and pets, according to some folks!) in order to destroy them each time there is a Mercury Retrograde! Headlines on astrology articles don’t help, such as “How to Survive Mercury Retrogrades”. What in hell is going on? Are we so under threat from the Universe that we have to have some kind of survival plan?!? The question I have to ask is “Why do people zone in only on the potentially negative aspects (and selectively too) of this astrological phenomenon instead of seeking with wisdom the beauty in the event”. Yes! The Beauty of the Mercury Retrograde! For that’s how we should think of it. Now there’s an idea to scupper so much popular thinking on this issue!

I used the word “selectively” above because the potential negativity of a Mercury Retrograde has been taken entirely out of context. First, one cannot generalise by saying it’s all about delays, screw-ups and missed appointments, breakdowns in communication, life disasters, etc. for every single person. For in order to ascertain how one could possibly be affected by a Mercury retrograde, one has to know which of the twelve astronomical “houses” the planet occupies. For example, if the planet is retrograding in the 4th House it could principally affect domestic aspects. If it is in the 12th House it could principally affect hidden spiritual or psychological aspects of one’s life. One simply cannot generalise by characterising a Mercury Retrograde as an unmitigated disaster in one’s life. Second, it always seems to be assumed that a Mercury Retrograde is A BAD THING. It isn’t. To assume that is pure Drama Queen territory and a complete misunderstanding of the significance and purpose of seemingly adverse happenings in this life.

Before even thinking about what a Mercury Retrograde is all about, one needs to acquire some essential wisdom about any form of adversity. Put simply, when seemingly “bad” things happen to us, it is ultimately for a good purpose. Until we discover this, we will only wallow in self-pity and play the victim. Whenever adversity strikes, the first thing we should do is ask two questions with great calmness and dignity: 1) “Why is this happening to me?” 2) “What am I supposed to learn from it?” You see, if we don’t ask those two questions but merely bitch and complain then we will most likely continue to be stuck inside the negative aspects of that adversity rather than seeing it with new eyes as *a potential learning experience*. Now we can begin to see the beauty of a Mercury Retrograde.

Let me say that during a Mercury Retrograde the Universe is not beating us up and hanging us out to dry — that is just Drama Queen paranoia! — but is providing us with an opportunity to take some breathing space. Remember that the planet is not *actually* going backwards but only appearing to do so. Similarly, we need to look behind the mere appearances of adversity in this life or during a Mercury Retrograde. Mercury is often a connecting or intellectually illuminating principle on steroids. Whoosh! Spark! Pow! That is cool when we need it. But there are times when we also need to be reflective, introspective, interiorish people instead. Mercury Retrogrades provide us with just such an opportunity, according to the areas covered by the House in which they occur. It is so uninformed and deeply ignorant simply to associate Mercury Retrogrades with “everything going wrong”. That is a silly caricature. And even if they are going wrong, this merely provides us with an opportunity to become wiser — to learn more about ourselves and how we respond to adversity (either as hysterics or stoics, cowardly or courageous, foolish or far-sighted). Frankly, people should be embarrassed to complain loudly on social media about how bad their Mercury Retrogrades are. Such complaining certainly shouldn’t garner sympathy. For all it does is demonstrate how good we are at playing the victim, not to mention how narcissistic and immature our responses are to the trials of life. In truth, if we only see a Mercury Retrograde as a time of disaster, then we are much more likely to have a disastrous time. “Woe is me!” brings woe on me.

So, before the present Mercury Retrograde ends on Thursday June 11th, let’s take the opportunity to shake off all these detrimental, defeatist, ominous ideas about this astronomical phenomenon and never go there again. Let’s begin to see the beauty of Mercury Retrogrades and, if some things do go awry or off-kilter, we’ll see this as the gift of a learning experience and a time for quiet reflection rather than an occasion to sound off publicly about how messy we have allowed our lives to become.

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