An Alternate Take on Mercury Retrograde


I'm not one of those astrology aficionados who use our sacred art as a crutch, refusing to leave the house when the Moon is void-of-course or other such nonsense.

Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do at this very instant, no matter what the planets are 'telling' you. Otherwise, you become a feeble victim of the very tool that's supposed to be helping you.

Mercury retrograde is perhaps the commonest astro-event to which we humbly bow down, likelier than not in fear, rearranging and reconfiguring our ordinary matters of business to allegedly alleviate potential difficulties, which may or may not surface.

That's not to say there's nothing substantive about the ol' Merc-retro stereotypes—missing documents, injured electronic equipment, transportation pitfalls and other such error messages. Sure, that shit really happens… and much worse during certain retrogrades, when the specific zodiac position triggers something in our natal chart.

But setting aside all important deeds and decisions for 3˝ weeks at a time (the average length of a Merc-retro) is certainly as annoying and disruptive as many of the actual scrambles, slipups and snafus we're trying to avoid would ultimately prove to be.

On that note, I've defiantly decided to acknowledge Mercury in his backward-appearing movement… and still continue ahead with the many pressing biz items that are calling my attention now, rather than waiting 'til Jul 28, when Mercury stations direct. I offer these thoughts in honor of my (wise? foolish?) audacity:

What if, during Mercury retrograde, all my normally twisted and tangled thoughts on a given topic suddenly straighten themselves out and grant me some much-desired clarity?

What if, during Mercury retrograde, that thing I've been struggling to find the right words to express abruptly pops out my mouth, with very little effort, and frees me from a previous inhibition?

What if, during Mercury retrograde, the disorganized mess of papers and files I haven't previously found the wherewithal to organize spontaneously arrange themselves into the proper positions?

What if, during Mercury retrograde, the finicky-and-fussbudgety equipment (the car, the phone, the copy machine, et al) I usually must finagle into functioning finally surrenders to my mastery… or I finally trade it in for something that works?

Since this Merc-retro has begun, I've had great luck in (of all things) reorganizing all my communications equipment. I've replaced my home phone, and plan to get a new cell phone in the next couple weeks. I'm switching over from one laptop to another, complete with lots of downloads and backups and reformats. (And in a happy Mercury-related surprise, my new laptop is powerful enough to pick up the wireless signal from the café across the street, which I've been quietly trying to 'borrow' for a few months now… but no worries, I always buy a coffee there every day I use the signal.) I'm also cleaning out cupboards, putting stacks of folders into appropriate cabinets, and gathering my literarily-aspiring scrap-paper scribble-notes in one place. And I'm making lots of future business plans (yes, dear Mystic, even travel plans to come see you in Sydney).

These are all the sorts of activities an astro-textbook would tell me to postpone, right? Well, this time around, I say, 'Screw it.'

All the retrograde period of a planet does is reverse its regular traffic pattern. We expect our communications to flow easily on a normal day, so during Mercury retrograde, we presume it won't flow as easily. We typically plan on smooth sailing with no traffic, and bitch at Merc-retro when the highway's bumper-to-bumper packed.

Why, then, can't the converse also be true—that the usually busy expressway is strangely deserted or traffic sparse when Mercury's worming its way the opposite direction?

My personal experience with Mars's most recent retrograde (Oct 1-Dec 9 05), for instance, totally threw me for a loop by actually increasing my physical energy… not necessarily what I would've predicted. I had greater-than-ever endurance and speed in my workouts, which I guess says more about my everyday Mars-direct energy levels (i.e., sluggish) through the contrast with Mars retrograde than anything else.

Many astrologers (myself included) believe that folks born when Mercury was retrograde actually operate more easily and effortlessly during Merc-retro periods. It's like life starts, for a limited time, to groove more to their frequency.

Don't take my word for it, though. Explore Mercury retrograde with an open mind (and a lot of patience, of course). I, for one, have great hopes for the productivity of these couple weeks. I'll let you know if my hopes end up being dashed by the planetary trickster's dastardly deeds…