by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mercury enters its Shadow

The image of Mercury used here is from a photo taken
by NASA's Mariner spacecraft.
It’s an interesting testimony to how human life functions…ask any astrologer and they’ll tell you that they get more questions about Mercury retrogrades than anything else.

And those questions tend to come in two varieties…the ‘when is it going to start?’ question which comes with an expression of concern, and the ‘when is it going to end?’ inquiry which more often than not is liberally coated in frustration or angst.

But it does make sense. After all, Mercury is the symbol of our mentality, and humans are think-a-lot critters. Even when we’re not thinking about what we should be thinking about, we’re thinking!

Retrograde shadows have applications when we talk about any planet or asteroid, which here we have to reference in purely technical terms as the Sun and Moon, though known as ‘planets’ in the astrological sense, never go retrograde.

Still, never in all my years of studying astrology have I ever had anyone ask me when the Uranus shadow is going to begin. Or when Neptune is going to exit it’s shadow. Having looked at such things (I’m such a curious creature!) I’d vote for discussions of Neptune as being perhaps the most interesting. And yes, perhaps perplexing.

But then, that would be Neptunian, wouldn’t it?

The idea of a retrograde shadow is that it describes an arc or ‘umbrella’ under which certain events happen, are on your mind, on your plate to be taken care of, or when you’re trying like the dickens to get them done, but for whatever reason they get held up. Maybe you don’t have all the information. Or maybe you’re having to wait on someone else before you move on.

This shadow-retrograde-direct-shadow process has become famous, almost infamous with people – so much so that people seem to think Mercury’s retrogrades are the do-all, end-all of astrological functionality. But that’s not exactly true. That you might think it’s true is more or less all about how you think…and THAT’s Mercury.

So don’t blame the retrograde, okay? In fact, don’t blame anyone – just think it over. That, Mercury retrograde periods (complete with shadows) are very good for. Asking questions, considering choices, doing research, preparing something which you will move forward with as Mercury either goes direct or exits its shadow (either may be appropriate)…the process and seeing to the ‘propriety and efficient effectiveness’ of what you’re doing or taking time to read (or think through) life’s ‘fine print’ is the Mercurial thing – not whether you do or don’t do.

Now with that said, there are certain things lore tells us are not advisable to do under Mercury retrograde: signing contracts, tendering or responding to marriage proposals (a different sort of ‘contract’), buying cars, phones, computers, sneakers – anything to do with the transporting or communicating of you or your ideas is a ‘Mercury thing.’

The 'date diagram' for this round of Mercury retrograde.

HOWEVER….the real issue is whether what you’re doing is the ‘end of the line’ – or whether you are dead set on the choice du jour being the end of the line as you make some sort of Mercury choice. It was pointed out to me long ago by a qualified astrological type that there are those who buy houses for the purpose of flipping them under Mercury retrograde. And that’s a perfect example of a contract which - providing you read it, do the numbers and leave proper contingencies and all such (you know, the common sense stuff) – may be perfectly okay to sign under Mercury retrograde.

Why? Because the purpose of the contract is not to create permanence.

I’ll give you another example: a Certain Member of My Family (who shall go unnamed here) has a knack for taking jobs under Mercury retrograde. But the job they take, which is to say that particular position, never lasts. Either there’s a mutual parting of the ways at the end of the standard probationary period in this person’s profession OR they get offered a different and better position once they’re inside the organization and Ye Olde Honchos can see their true native aptitudes for themselves.

Another Mercury fallacy: nothing can be ‘in the works under Mercury retrograde or it’ll be done wrong.’ Not true. Let’s say you’re a hot rod enthusiast and you want your car totally tricked out and given a paint job to make Michelangelo jealous. PROVIDING the designs and the bids and all that has been comfortably (that’s the key word here) gone through with no rush involved prior to the beginning of retrograde, your waiting while the paint-and-body wizards do their thing under Mercury retrograde would be totally apt.

Processing per se, is fine under Mercury retrograde provided that no one has ‘rushed’ to get things under way.

And that’s the issue with the shadow. Especially as the date of retrograde (June 26th) approaches, people are likely to feel rushed. That’s when you don’t want to push things. And yes, you are likely to feel pressure – everybody does prior to Mercury’s station/retrograde point, and that too is about your mentality. LIFE is not suddenly becoming more pressured…life is asking you how well you deal with mental pressure.

Think of it as a ‘leak test’ for your brain. If there is a leak, the added pressure of Mercury nearing its retrograde station will cause a blow-out.

Mercury is all about making sure we keep ourselves and our lives in order. So things which you want to do can get jumbled up with things you need to do or which you should do (but maybe don’t want to) and that’s where Mercury retrograde brings in the snafus, bollixes and breakdowns which everybody knows is about their not having done what they should have done in the order it needed doing.

Hey, blame it on the planet, you say?

More precisely, such issues would be blamed on the orbital relationship between Earth and Mercury, as it’s the relative difference in speeds and orbital positions around the Sun which causes Mercury retrograde (or any other retrograde) to begin with.

But noooooooo…! We don’t want to DO that, do we? If we did that, we’d be taking responsibility for the fact that Mercury retrograde is all about OUR relationship to the world and to our mental willingness to cope with the various vacillating vagrancies of life…which is all about our mentality.

Like I said as I started this chat…Mercury retrograde is not about what happens in life – it’s about how we mentally cope with what happens.

Or don’t cope, depending.

This particular retrograde is part of a giant long epic (and Mercurial) transit of Cancer. Beginning on May 31st, Mercury is going to be in Cancer until August – a goodly long time for us to deal with all our most personal and native issues.

Or not – again, depending. But since Cancer is all about the many ways our native experience of our own emotionality functions, we are likely to experience and be confronted with many a situation which tangles our habits, challenges our priorities and points out the cracks in our mental foundation.

Or which points the way. It does sort of all depend on how you use this time. And as always, as we of the astrological ilk say, you can use the time…or have the time use you.

 Another way to visualize the process....

One other thing to bear in mind here, and that’s the idea that Jupiter will be entering Cancer on the day that Mercury goes retrograde. Call it a recipe for flipping life’s pancakes or the brewing of change – call it anything you like. But in this thought process, the one about the shadow leading into Mercury’s retrograde, the primal importance of Jupiter reaching Cancer on June 26th (as Mercury goes retrograde) is that Jupiter will be mushing it’s giant red self through twenty-nine critical degrees of Gemini during those very days which are likely to feel pressured anyway.

That amps the issue ten-fold, at least!

Gemini being Mercury’s primary mental (as opposed to functionality) sign of rulership, we’re likely to experience some ‘overblown’ Jupiterian decisions or thoughts our outbursts or choices during this time. Some of us – to be sure – will achieve great things now based on having come to a time of achievement or culmination naturally through prior or previous diligent step-by-step effort.

But let’s be real: this is a recipe for haste, so think before you speak and look (both ways) before you leap, walk, or take anything for granted!

This may be a really interesting time for many of us. Mercury-Jupiter can be a great force for learning, even if not all the lessons are exactly what we might want to be learning at the moment. Jupiter’s association with the media, with justice, with ‘things foreign’ (to us, anyway) fit well with Mercurial dynamics. And with Mercury in Cancer and Jupiter leaving Gemini for Cancer, topics like where or how we live, national populations, family and culture and our native regard for land and life all come up as nominations for personal – and group experiences.

Whatever happens, evidently we need to learn it now so that we can have a bigger, more knowledgeable tomorrow…which I guess amounts to ready, set, know! 

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