by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mercury Retrograde: Small Planet, Big Effects

Asemic grafitti: an abstract calligraphy painting by Matox (Nuno de Matos)
(photo credit Matoxvisual, Oct 2010) 

Have you ever wondered why Mercury retrograde is such a big deal? It’s the first astrological item I ever heard being discussed by news anchors.

Anchor #1: The 405 Freeway is a mess….

Anchor #2: Well, it’s Mercury retrograde – what do you expect?

Is traffic really worse under Mercury retrograde? Or given the Mercury retrograde tendency to ‘hear’ our own thoughts…(hopefully to review them, not that such a thing always happens)…are we just more prone to wanting to project our opinions on how life should be on the world?

This isn’t such a far-fetched concept, if you look at the many charts of successful people which have  Mercury natally in retrograde. We’re used to thinking of Mercury retrograde as a time to go back over our ideas. When we should take time to ‘straighten things out,’ whether what’s being ‘straightened’ is the course of a relationship, our thoughts on something once we do a little reading on it…even our closet.

Writers often have Mercury natally retrograde. I don’t have a collection of programmer charts (not tagged as programmers, that is), but I’ll bet that programmers and all sorts of people in the kind of ‘design’ job which requires testing viability (like engineering) have Mercury in retrograde.  

Retrogrades are the energy of the planetary symbolism turned inward. In other words, we’re not interacting with someone else or some external entity on something, we’re dealing with ourselves.

So for those who want to go around talk to themselves, I can think of nothing better for you than Mercury retrograde.

For the rest of us? Well, it’s kind of ‘meh…’ You know...tolerable, but maybe a bit inconvenient? During Mercury retrograde, time seems to slow down. Things seem to take forever. But since time doesn’t actually slow down in the big sense, what causes that sense of would it hurry up, already?

That must be us. And that’s exactly what’s going on. If the Gemini concept of Mercury is the mental part and the ‘getting things in order’ part of Mercury is the Virgo part, we ‘hear’ ourselves wanting things to get into order. During Mercury retrograde, we will hear our thoughts…and goodness knows, we may even listen to ourselves!

And through that…sometimes there comes a revelation. A greater or deeper understanding of ourselves. Or how maybe someone out there isn’t just bizarre-o…maybe they’re reacting to something in us.

Lots of things change during Mercury retrograde. And though they may change out in the world (yes), the more important things are probably those which we change in our own head, self and lives.

The first of 2013’s three Mercury retrogrades (some years have four, this one only has three) begins on February 23rd, which happens to be your astrologers birthday. (Yes, I have big Mercurial doings planned for this year!) Mercury’s average retrograde being twenty-one days long, this one is going to be a touch longer than average, as it doesn’t end until March 17th (which will make this retrograde 23 days long).

Probably most important to all of us, this retrograde is wholly in Pisces, the sign of all things which provoke, evoke and try to get us to feel our feelings so that we can become aware of why we feel the way we do about things.

This is not some cosmic trick. Pisces is not about trying to emotionally yank the rug out from under you. Pisces is the sign which brings us back to our humanity at isn’t most humane (and sometimes inhumane) point: our emotionality.

People live in their emotions. We like to think we don’t, but we do. And it’s really only to the extent that we are comfortable with our emotions - and emotionally comfortable with our life (which is an entirely different thing) – that we are able to harness our abilities and create the life we really want.

You know, the one which would be emotionally satisfying.

People who can’t handle their emotions are constantly on the run. Constantly rejecting others for fear what they feel will create a need to (gasp!) feel something emotional. Or (heaven forbid) show compassion.

And yet, among the arcades of the great, those who have shown they can make the tough decisions in spite of being a caring person who touch us most deeply.

As human beings, we know we need to feel. We know we need to be okay with what we’re feeling and why we feel that way and why we do or don’t value things …and other people as we do.

One of the hardest things we ever face is trying to understand how someone who does something incredibly heinous can like bunnies. I know that the first time I found out that some of the Nazi architects of the ‘Final Solution’ had kids and dogs and liked gardening, I was left gasping in my agog-ness.

Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac. Like the other three 4th quadrant signs (Aquarius and Capricorn), it’s a sign about universality which only works in our individual lives if and to the extent that we understand the universal need or right or feeling. Those who fail the Pisces test often retreat from life. Or get abandoned by it. Pisces is the sign of the hermit and the guru, addiction and incarceration, solitude and loss, loneliness and nirvana.

Some of those things are great. Some are terrible. And every item on that list is the cause or effect, the provocation or manifestation of emotionalism gone right or gone wrong. And it’s really as simple as this: we love the guru for caring about us and taking the time to teach us. We pity the addict (whatever they may be addicted to) and loathe the criminal for not understanding the value, the need, the humanness which caring about others is.

That’s Pisces.

Mercury is going retrograde at 19 Pisces a degree which is all about the success or failure which comes of grappling with this need to be human and to live a life which is equally humane to yourself as to others. There are texts which speak of 19 Pisces as being specifically a degree which tests our materialistic limits. And to that end, we may now be seeing (or you may be experiencing) critiques or outcomes which have to do at some level with the balance in your life between ‘things,’ ‘money’ and human need…or the need to be human (depending).

With Mars just behind and asteroids Photographica and Amor just ahead, there would seem to be a bit of a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ quality attached to this moment, but that probably depends on personal charts. But for sure, for sure – with this 19 Pisces station being in trine to the North Node at 20 Scorpio there is something about a ‘should’ in relationships which life is calling your attention to.

On the other hand…if the North Node is at 20 Scorpio, that means the South Node is at 20 Taurus. And if the North Node is a trine to Mercury’s station, the South node is a sextile.

And lookie there…Sedna’s sitting right there at 22 Taurus. How cute. How quaint! How ‘do I do what I want…or do I WANT to do the thing which will work long term?’

No, not cute at all. Mind pretzel-ing? Maybe. But cute? Probably not. After all, Saturn just went retrograde as the Sun entered Pisces, the tale of which was told in the last three posts. (Yes, life is apparently a celestial soap opera.) The (Sun in Pisces) emotional (Saturn) repercussions or consequences for what we’ve done right or wrong in our lives is still rattling our mental cages.

And caged or not, you can’t say ‘mentality’ in the astro-world without getting into the whole Mercurial soup.

With Mercury going retrograde on Saturday the 23rd at 9:42 in the morning UT/+0 (which will still be Friday night if you happen to be in Hawaii or some equivalent time zone) there is a going into/coming out of station effect to consider…and given our two days before, two days after rule that would take us back to Thursday the 21st (do your own time zone warps, please) and forward to February 25th.

And that Saturn thing? Saturn having gone retrograde late on Monday the 18th (UT/+0) would give it a ‘station window’ which extends to February 20th.

Are you getting where I’m going here? Let’s remember, we’re trying to fit giant celestial things into little man-made boxes. Days…hours…time zones…do we really think the universe gives a twinkie about those things?

What I’m getting at here is that the Saturn Station Effect may very easily overlap the Mercury station effect. Especially since Mercury’s ‘run up’ to its station tends to feel ‘pressured’ anyway (the human race being so very prone to acting like White Rabbits in Alice in Wonderland anyway)…the whole of this week would seem to be a-sloshingly awash in water sign doings.

Sun in Pisces. Saturn going station/retrograde in Scorpio. Mercury going station/retrograde in Pisces.

And on the other side of the Mercury station we’re headed into…just over yandrow there’s a Full Moon in Virgo.

So if you were thinking things were going to get less emotional once you get through the weekend, maybe not. They may change tone, yes. Virgo is, after all, an earth sign.

Some of us will no doubt hit the mental bricks this weekend and figure a few things out. Others among us will do their darndest to dart by problems like tiny fish avoiding predators in a tropical reef. A lot of the who-does-which about this having to do with your natal chart, it’s a pretty likely bet that whose who DO have major water sign placements (including you Cancer types…what, you thought you could sidle off and go eat a coconut?)…the water sign folks are going to be doing the breast stroke or dog paddle or simply hitting an undertow (sorry if that’s the case) before the weekend of the 23rd/24th moves through.

But then comes a week which, staring with that Full Moon moment, is likely to grab all those who hung ten when the surf came in.

(Yes, I’m doing a whole kowabunda recitation here.)

Let me just put it this way…by the end of this week, the Sun, Mercury, Mars and Neptune are all going to be in Pisces with Saturn coagulated in Scorpio. Next week will see Venus join the Pisces party, which means we will then have SIX planets in water and two in retrograde.

Which two? Saturn and Mercury. And by the beginning of March, Mercury will have retrograded back to the point where it’s trining Saturn not just by sign but by orb…then (on March 6-7) by degree.

This is serious stuff – literally. When linked astrologically, Saturn and Mercury equal “focusing on the idea” …or possibly the situation. With both in water signs, the first thing which jumps to mind is Matters Fiscal. For those of who are in business, this is prime time territory for discussions, negotiations and doing whatever it takes to get your business house (or life) in order, lest you get caught with your proverbial flippers down as Mars moves into Aries just before Mercury goes direct.

Remember: where Pisces is concerned, the most important thing is getting on an even and realistic keel with yourself. Your smooth sailing depends on your understanding not just why you’re doing what you’re doing with/in your life, but that you really agree with those ideas right down to your spiritual DNA.

Above all, don’t kid yourself. Don’t play games, don’t put on airs, don’t make excuses…this is the time to get honest with yourself. And yes, maybe others.

But first, think it through. That’s the Mercury Retrograde in Pisces thing to do!

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