I don’t like getting heavy with astrological stuff, but I also want to provide you with the most useful metaphysical info you can get your hands on so…
I’m talking about Mercury Retrograde today.
You’ll find lots of information out there, but my personal understanding of Mercury (messenger of the gods, planet of thinking, ideas and connections) turning retrograde (reexamining, reevaluating, revisiting) is that it compels us to think about how we think.
This is different than most of the surface skim we hear about mercury retrograde: that it messes with your technology, your transportation and travel plans, along with most kinds of communication, but especially electronic.
The idea I’m putting forth is that when these things go wrong, in the form of a crashed computer, delayed train, or undesired “reply-all,” it’s actually the retrograde trying to loosen unnecessary mental knots that have become habitual. By derailing your mind train, Mercury is urging you to pick up each car, assess its functionality, and consider whether you even want to put it back on the track, and if so, in what order.
Problem is, with everyone so amped up about avoiding the undesirable aspects of a Mercury Retrograde (which makes sense because they suck) the focus is shifted away from making the most out of the transit. Everyone’s looking for ways to anticipate or deal with all these things–backup your computer, buy travel insurance, and don’t sign any big agreements–but what happens when your best laid plans get knocked on their mercuric booty?
The trick is to remember that all the road blocks and snafus are designed to direct you back to yourself - and not just in an existential touchy feely way. The problems are here to shift your focus to the series of ideas, associations, behaviors and beliefs that are defaults for you - trajectories along which your sense of self has grown.
It’s funny, because I just spent way too long looking for a place to finish this post - I wanted to give you numbered steps to follow and so much good advice - but literally everywhere I went with my laptop was closed or impossibly full of patrons.
First I got annoyed. Then I got hangry. Then I tried two more coffee shops that were also completely jammed. I was starting to go totally insane and then…
I stopped. I was like, “Why is this happening to me? What am I not seeing?”
And all of a sudden I got the message, “You think you need to spend all this time and way more energy on this piece and be so damn thorough and say everything that has to be said. But… you’re probably being obsessive (as usual). You can probably, if you’re being real with yourself, just make the point you need to make and be done with it.”
I won’t bore you with all the buttons that were pushed, all the pressures and processes that were unravelled and challenged when my plans were thwarted and I was confronted with an opportunity to reflect on my motivations. I only want to draw your attention to the brief and beautiful space that was created by these seeming snafus.
Cuz that’s all you get. A little bit of time, a little bit of space when stuff is supposedly going wrong or breaking down. Even though retrograde lasts for 3 weeks with effects that are said to be felt for 3 weeks before and after (about 9 weeks total) this is a momentary opportunity, and one that will pass like quicksilver.
So how will you meet this retrograde?
You could flip out and lose your mind whenevs. You could knowingly chalk everything that happens that is annoying up to the retrograde. Or you could just stop.
When you feel like you’re losing your mind, just stop. Ask yourself “Why is this happening to me?” “What is Mercury telling me I need to look at?” “What can I rethink, reimagine or reexamine in this moment, right now?” “Which of my habitual signals is being jammed?” “How am I being?” “Is there another way?”
I’m hoping these questions will help you to cultivate some adaptability and ease: useful all the time, but especially in a retrograde.
Also, try to remember that astrological cycles are nothing to freak out about. They’re neither plagues sent by God, nor new-age tests that you get graded on. PLENTY OF PEOPLE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ASTROLOGY AND THEY’RE FINE. The cycles of astrology are there to give us context and guidance if we choose to read the signs, but keeping up with them is by no means obligatory (there’s new moons and jupiter retrogrades and all sorts of other stuff happening up there right now that we are not talking about. Do you lose at astrology or life because you don’t know everything right now? Heck naw!).
Retrograde will end and all this shit will supposedly go back to normal. Maybe we’ll think about what happened. Maybe we’ll think about how we think. Or maybe not. Learning and evolution will occur whether or not we’re focusing on it, but by bringing our attention to (and hopefully seizing) opportunities for growth, the pace and power of evolution quickens. All you gotta do is stop.
Funny, huh, that stopping can actually make things speed up? Not acting. Not reacting. Just stopping. Sometimes it seems like that’s the answer to everything.