Mercury in Retrograde – what does it really mean?

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OK, we all know Mercury is retrograde for the next three weeks.  But what might this really mean?

The general consensus is that at least on the surface when Mercury is retrograde communications of all types go awry – letters go missing, phone calls remain unanswered, misunderstandings arise – and oh yes, do expect delays.

In horary (a type of astrological divination as well as lost and found), retrograde Mercury suggests a change of direction.  Business deals near completion are renegotiated.  Friends and associates have a ‘change of heart’.  Ideas we thought absolutely brilliant before Mercury switched gears now lose their appeal.

The thing to remember with Mercury, is that he’s not his ‘own man’.  As Liz Greene put it, in terms of psychological astrology Mercury has no goals or purpose of his own, he’s always in service to another – and that other is usually the Sun.

Our astrological Sun is akin to our personal ego – it gratifies our existence and gives meaning to our lives.   It is (more or less) conscious of the path we’re meant to take toward individuation.  Like a lighthouse beacon shining bright into the night, the job of the Sun is to steer us clear of the rocky shallows into which we’d otherwise surely stray.

On this mission, Mercury plays an important part.  Like an advance scout, Mercury scours out the information necessary for the Sun to do the job right.  Most of the time, the focus of Mercury is strictly outwards – into nitty-gritty of commerce in the ‘real world’ of men.  Hence Mercury is in charge of all types of exchanges – language, travel, contracts, and even the Royal Mail.

But when Mercury goes retrograde, his attention turns inwards to bridge the layers of our consciousness.  No longer concerned with that which is obvious and visible, retrograde Mercury slips into the unchartered territory of our unspoken thoughts and dreams.  It’s as if Mercury’s energy has been redirected from our ego to our unconscious, which, according to many psychologists, is really in charge.

So when Mercury is retrograde, don’t just despair when you miss your train.  Take the space so inconveniently provided to jot down how you’re feeling, read that interesting newspaper article you’d otherwise have had to skip, or strike up a conversation with the person next in line.  Who knows where it might lead?

When Mercury is retrograde use your time and energy to research, review, re-edit, re-negotiate, reconcile, and reunite.  The message of Mercury retrograde is to stop pushing forward for a time and instead ‘go back and try again.’

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