Mercury, Retrograde and Tangled


It's Mercury retrograde time again, babies. Starts early a.m. on Monday (Sep 7) in California, lasts through the end of the month (Sep 29).

Though Merc-retro is not something I usually make too big a deal about, this one gets all tangled up with Saturn, Uranus and Pluto… not an indication of ease, to be sure, especially if we're trying to attain amenable agreements under pressures to innovate and evolve or else.

'Too far, or not far enough? And to what end?' These are the questions Mercury's being cornered into answering—and, poor guy, he's just trying to get his facts straight. Can't a guy grab an extra moment or two to step away from the bargaining table, review the research, append a couple missing details, and regather his wits?

In this cerebral battle of watertight analyses, the chances are slim that anybody will be granted a free pass rescuing 'em from the one disruptive question that'll knock out the supports upholding the reasoning. No matter how well thought out one's position may be, there's always an angle left out. Leave it to circumstance to deliver us just this angle… by adversary, lightning-strike or destiny.

This Mercury retrograde is tied up in repetitions of the same aspects that already made for an exhaustingly dynamic past few weeks—a Saturn conjunction, a Uranus opposition, and a Pluto square. Mercury's essentially playing a game of 'connect the dots', integrating Pluto into the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition… to paint a preliminary picture of the big T-square now beginning to form between these three heavyweights, which will be at its tightest by the middle of 2010.

Mercury revisits the Pluto square first (Sep 17), in the opening degree of cardinal signs (Libra and Capricorn, respectively), pushing us to rethink any recent offers or assurances that just didn't feel right. This is where the 'to what end?' question comes in. Why did So-and-So appear so incredibly accommodating? What's in it for them? And where, you might ask yourself, have I been reciting the 'appropriate' rhetoric—instead of being honest with myself about my 'less appropriate' desires?

That same day (Sep 17), Mercury reverses out of Libra and returns to Virgo, an astro-clue that more rigorous number-crunching and data-dissecting is in store before a final satisfying compromise is likely to be reached. It's okay to postpone further interactions until we, as individuals who must do our own mental legwork or risk being swayed by sweet-sounding solutions that logistically fall short, are ready. In contrast to popular impatience, delays often prove to be godsends.

Mercury then moves back into the crosshairs of the Saturn-Uranus opposition (Sep 22-23), yet again presenting us with that dicey balance of 'too far' vs. 'not far enough'. Mercury conjoins Saturn in another diligent effort to reconcile the statements, line up the columns, and remove careless risks. A Mercury-Saturn conjunction in Virgo is nothing if not a conservative influence, likelier to tighten the rationale and reaffirm the pattern than throw back all the tiles and start with a clean slate.

Yet, the simultaneous opposition to Uranus poses its nonconforming response… a rebellious rejection of the traditional thinking that undergirds Saturn's risk-averse approach. As opposing forces, Mercury and Uranus seek to break us out of the same ol' ways of considering situations that keep us stuck. Some of their ideas contain visionary brilliance; others are merely contrary, for the sake of reactionary-style controversy. 'Which are which?' is the conundrum at the heart of Mercury's present position—do we hold ourselves back by resisting eye-opening alternatives that may shock our systems but ultimately liberate us from stifling paralysis? or are we threatening ourselves with excessive chaos by attempting to make too radical a jump of logic from here to a strange new world, gambling with whatever stability we do possess? Such questions merely beget more questions, no clear answers in sight.

The usual Mercury-retrograde warnings ought to be heeded: Beware of mechanical malfunctions and electronic outbursts, detours and detentions, mixed messages and misplaced memos. When in doubt, walk away for a few moments. Turn your attentions elsewhere. Breathe deeply. So many of the worst Mercury-retrograde manifestations are our own fault for refusing to go with the diverted or delayed flow, insisting our transmissions and transactions should move at a particular rate (fast-paced, no doubt)… inadvertently creating our experience of the computer crash or traffic jam, mailing the wrong check, not giving complete instructions or saying what should've been kept quiet, just because we're out of sync with the altered astro-environment.

With all the heavy-duty interaspects, the worst effects of this Mercury retrograde could result from interpersonal hassles flustering our own sense of personal capability. When someone else's sense of urgency, superiority or correctness bears down on us, we just might accidentally send out the draft version of the email or hit the 'delete' key. When we suspect an ass-kisser type of insincerity, we may (unconsciously or not) seek to expose 'em, baiting their discontent with mistake after mistake. And if an outsider's opinion or formal order scrambles our heretofore organized outlook, we may have to dig deep to find gratitude for fate's directive to edit and rearrange. Hate to say it, but we probably needed a few revisions anyhow…