This Mercury Retrograde is in the sign of Libra, so the Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) are going to be particularly affected. But even if you are not one of those signs you have all of them somewhere within your chart. For example, I have Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn in the 10th house and Mars in Cancer in the 3rd house. In short. the areas of career and parents (10th), siblings, my neighborhood (daily environment) and communication (3rd) are all affected. And because any chart could easily be compared to a beautiful spider’s web, those areas are linked to many other places within my chart.*
I have to admit, as much as the swirl of daily details not going as expected can drive me a bit crazy, part of me always looks forward to Mercury Retrograde because I have learned understand his secrets and listen to his signs. The first thing to remember is that when a planet is retrograde the energy is turned inward, it is more yin than yang. More receptive.
Mercury is a mischievous archetype and in the modern lexicon greatly underestimated and misunderstood. He is indeed the God of communication and travel but there is so much more depth to him.
In Greek mythology he was known as the way finder, the God who was always sent in to move the story forward when the hero or heroine had become mired in their circumstances. He has wings on his feet and is always in motion.
When you are at an impasse and don’t know which way to turn Mercury is your guy.
Need something negotiated? Again, Mercury is who you would send in to get the job done.
He rules over the crossroads and thresholds. He rules magic and healing. “As Above so Below” literally was his song given to mortals in the Emerald Tablet, a hermetic document so revered as the holding secrets to the universe that countless “scientists” translated it including the illustrious Issac Newton. In alchemy he was represented by the Unicorn and the alchemists were intent on fixing the elusive Mercury Spirit so that they could understand birds, creatures and the secrets of the universe itself. He also rules birds and the ancient Roman practice of Augury - divination from interpreting the flight patterns of the birds.
Looking for an omen? Mercury is your guy.
And he alone among the Gods was the Psychopomp able to travel between the worlds, including to the underworld of the dead without paying a price.
Mercury, the Magician, helps point the way forward and moves us in the right direction but we have to slow down and take the time to pay attention and listen to what he is trying to communicate.
How is he trying to get your attention? If we listen maybe he won’t resort to something like a flat tire or in my case a dishwasher refusing to drain. Water rules emotions, thus I have actively taken a breath and asked what have I been avoiding feeling?
So while I don’t recommend signing a contract, closing on a house or booking a plane ticket, here are the things I recommend contemplating between now and the end of October:
This retrograde takes place in the sign of Libra so no matter where it falls within your chart the mirror of relationships is being activated.
Libra is a sign that among other things is about finding the balance between the self and others. Sumerians called this constellation Zib-ba An-na, meaning "the balance of heaven." Back then the autumn Sun rose in Libra when night and day were in equal measure, inspiring the belief that Libra was about, not partnering, but balance.
How have you arranged your life to encompass your various relationships? What’s your work life balance like? Do you make the time to connect with friends? With yourself? Where have you sacrificed some part of yourself in order to “keep the peace?” What is your relationship to your dreams and desires? How is this reflected within your life?
We long through our Soul to find ourselves in others, because on some level we understand that we are one with all. When we allow our inner sense of the good, the true, and the beautiful to truly touch the world and are moved in response, we heal our soul's painful separation. We are at last in harmony. This is the essence of Libra. As John Welwood reminds us in his Journey of the Heart, "A relationship that has any depth and power at all will inevitably penetrate our usual shield of defenses, exposing our most tender and sensitive spots, and leaving us feeling vulnerable - literally, 'able to be wounded.’"
It's what we do after getting hurt that most shapes our capacity to both love and fully animate our lives. The desire to retreat and harden our hearts is understandable. Learning to live openheartedly one of the many powers of the sign Libra no matter where it lies within your own chart.
I urge you to use this retrograde to explore the thresholds are beckoning you to enter. Are you already standing at one in your life? What new curious horizon is calling you forward? Who can you align with to help take the next step forward? What urge might be hovering just below the level of conscious awareness? This is a great time to do some inner work via meditation or journaling to listen deeply to the voice within.
Get in Motion. Literally. Go for a walk and notice what appears in your path. A dove? That’s a bird sacred to Venus the Goddess of love, beauty and the arts. A dog or coyote (sacred to Mercury in his role as trickster)? Dogs were sacred to Artemis who can be seen in part as symbolizing our connection with the wild within. Maybe your life has felt a little too tame lately and Mercury is urging you to re-connect with your playful side.
Activate the psychopomp and get rid of what is metaphorically dead in your life by clearing some clutter to make space for something new to arrive. Do you have any zombie relationships with others or something that really hasn’t had any sign of life for some time? Let go of the walking dead.
It is a time to look back, reassess, re-organize and reflect. You will be richly rewarded with inner revelation that sets the stage for the time to follow.