Double Retro Doo-Doo Deluxe


Yeah, yeah, you thought you'd heard it all before.

Mars is retrograde, but you astro-regulars already knew that—physical energies redirected inward, seemingly slower-than-usual forward progress, unfinished business requiring further attention, etcetera, etcetera…

Well, what about Mercury? Mercury apparently wants in on the madness, too. That's why he's shifting into his own retrograde, beginning this Sunday (Nov 13) and lasting until Dec 3. What fun is life, after all, without a Mercury retrograde every few months to mess with our mouths and minds and motor vehicles, whether we need it or not?

Obviously, we must need it since, from this astrologer's viewpoint, the planets are never wrong. And there's also nothing 'wrong' with a planet entering its retrograde period, during which it appears from Earth's perspective to momentarily move backwards through space. Too many astrology watchers freak out at the mere mention of the word 'retrograde'… though it's a natural and regular part of the planetary cycles we observe. What's so anxiety-provoking about looking inside ourselves, instead of out into the world for answers or clues, anyways? Isn't it good sometimes to retrace steps, to reconsider and revisit, to seek respite and recharge?

Notice the re-petition of the 're' in my last sentence. Want a shorthand guide on how to handle a retrograde? Re-member to 're'. Retrograde is a signal to reexamine, refocus, review, rewind, relax, reenergize…

The prefix 're-' means 'to do again.' During retrograde periods, a planet moves back over a zodiac zone it's just traveled through. Then once the planet goes direct (i.e., forward) again, it moves through again, for the third time in a relatively short period of time. And just as the retrograde planet enjoys an extra-long residence in essentially the same place, so too must we spend an extended span of time dealing with whatever that planet represents—and triggers in our individual charts.

Mercury is the most frequent retrograder, so we know what to expect. Since Mercury rules communication and transportation, those are the areas in which we need to apply the 're' rule… reconfirming our arrangements, repeating back what we thought we heard, rereading the fine print, and reminding ourselves that detours and delays are likely so we might as well release attempts to control the length and breadth of the ride.

The double-retrograde effect, produced by the combination of Mercury and Mars (which also remains retrograde throughout Mercury's entire 3-week backward trip), should make it overwhelmingly obvious that this is not the optimal astral opening for initiating new projects or attempting to leap ahead. When such beginnings or thrusts forward cannot be avoided, at least take your sweet time… and expect to have to tweak and twist a few of the finer details later on.

Neither body (Mars) nor mind (Mercury) is operating with normal efficacy or efficiency—though certain surprises (e.g., suddenly remembering something you'd forgotten, having additional energy for 'other' projects or activities) could prove rather advantageous. If you fixate on the closed door, you'll miss the open window. Don't pound. Instead, look around.

Retreat is another 're-' word that'll guide you into a useful application of the astro-climate. Retreat from external pressures to decide or commit. Retreat from budding conflicts. Schedule a refreshing retreat away from it all.

Mercury's retrograde is in Sagittarius, one of the signs of its detriment (or, in other words, one of its least favorite places). Thus, the potential snafus are likely to be caused by overly quick and sloppy thinking, rushing too far ahead without following all the steps, or overlooking the here-and-now in favor of the 'big picture'.

Mercury will also slip back into Scorpio for a spell (Nov 26-Dec 12), indicating that perhaps the full and total truth—you know, the one we think is already full and total—may contain one or two additional gnarly bits from the pits of psychological reality. Mercury retrograde is notorious for 'finally, at last!' revelations of previously withheld or only partially understood information. With Mercury retrograding over the Scorpio/Sag cusp, the info may prove to even the playing field between power-brokers and their supposedly powerless 'peons'. Sagittarius, after all, rules legal and ethical justice.

Include the upcoming Venus retrograde into the mix, and (I repeat) we truly shouldn't expect to make it all the way through the enchanted forest of 'matters still unresolved' until Feb 06. Therefore, this is your license to take care of what's already in the air… and not to take the ambitious stabs and pushes for a little while longer, unless you're prepared for their development phase to lengthily drag on.