Thanks to Eric for helping me write this week’s piece and making sense of the astrology. Here is a thoroughly informative article from the PW archives on Mercury retrograde.
It’s that time of year again. As Mars wends its way back toward Scorpio, Mercury this week also turns retrograde. The station takes place on Thursday at 1:20 pm EDT (17:19:39 UTC).
The chart for this event is remarkable, and highlights a lot of points — including Mars, which contacts Eris all but precisely in a sesquiquadrate, or 135-degree angle. Also noteworthy is Vesta, which has accompanied Mercury on its passage through Taurus and is just a degree and a half away at the moment in question. This describes many forces of nature and of psyche acting on one another simultaneously. Friction has a way of making fire.
Each Mercury station has its own nuances, but the themes tend to be broadly similar.
We know enough about Mercury retrograde, especially the first few days before, to remind you to use your head, slow down, and be alert and aware. This will save you time and trouble. Also, make backups, perform extra checks and avoid signing contracts.
Eric also suggests you leave yourself extra time to get places. Calculate accurately, including things like parking; and then add on 15 minutes as a buffer. That’s helpful any week, though it will save you inconvenience this week; and the Taurus influence will make itself felt most pleasantly if you make sure there is some ‘you time’ factored in.
Approached with calm and caution, Mercury retrogrades can be a restful and gentle moment. This is especially the case in mellow Taurus, with the mood already set by Mars. Plan, deliberate, think before you speak or act. Then, hopefully, all you’ll need to do is relax and enjoy.
A few thoughts on the retrograde connection between Mercury and Mars
While Mercury will be retrograde in Taurus, Mars — which is lit up like a beacon in Mercury’s station chart — is working its way toward Scorpio. Scorpio is the sign of Samhain, or Hallowe’en: the festival when the veil between the worlds thins out, and when the various Underworld descent myths are most vividly evoked.
Inanna performs the Dance of the Seven Veils (yes, really); Isis rebuilds Osiris; Herakles pops down for a visit (and to rescue Prometheus). Meanwhile, Persephone starts off as a carefree girl and, as we all know, ends up running the place.
Tartarus has a way of turning normal parameters upside-down, of causing miraculous transformations, and of playing host to lost or forgotten items that might just reveal themselves to be the most precious of all.
In the midst of the darkness, we often find what we were missing the most. In terms of the tantric nature of the quest, that might just be our animus or anima — the hidden other within ourselves that once claimed makes us whole unto ourselves, and therefore truly free.
Mars has invited you to participate in your own version of the descent-retrieval-emergence tale. I would suggest that Mercury’s own change of direction (exactly opposite, by the way, the degree in which Mars will eventually turn direct) adds an extra factor of consciousness and judgment to this process. If Mars has set the course, Mercury and Vesta are providing the tools you’ll need: sincerity, devotion and deliberation.
Be prepared to embrace all the facets of your being as you discover them — male, female, Goddess, God, the random fragment from Ganymede, and everything in between. Be patient with yourself, as well as determined, and listen to the wisdom (Mercury) of your body (Taurus).
What matters most of all in the weeks and months to come is that this process of growth and healing is both meaningful and beneficial to you. You deserve no less than to return whole and strengthened into the light, with that divine spark inside you blazing away. May you find all that you seek.