Mercury Means Serious Business


A couple weeks out from our next Mercury retrograde (Oct 21-Nov 10), and we are already within the bounds of its pre-retrograde shadow (i.e., the zodiac zone which Mercury will soon retrograde back through)…

… and while I don't usually stress too much about this sort of thing, nor about Mercury retrograde in general (read my 'alternate take' on Merc-retro from 2006 here), the nearby presence of both Saturn and the Moon's North Node to Mercury does give me cause to pause.

Tomorrow (Tue Oct 8), Mercury in Scorpio will conjoin Saturn, after having just conjoined the North Node this past weekend (exact on Sat Oct 5), a triple-conjunction that advises us to be unerringly accurate and precise in how we represent ourselves through spoken and written communications.

A conjunct Mercury-Saturn bespeaks a need for caution and conscientiousness in our processing and transmitting of information… which, on the one hand, could feel like a constraining hindrance to our normal freer-flowing expressions and/or adroit face-value understandings, but which also rewards our painstakingly careful use of language with both greater authenticity for ourselves and greater lucidity for everyone involved.

The flip-side: When we don't practice such exacting Saturnian care with our sense-making, sentiment-delivering Mercurial business, we will likely encounter consequences to our imprudent handling of communicative matters. Any such fallout is meant to teach us the surprisingly far-reaching power of our words, through how we give feedback to others and through the stories we tell ourselves. We've got to really know what we're saying—especially when potentially sensitive information is involved—and to think about what reactions we're likely to get before opening our mouths or hitting the 'send' button.

Scorpio, the sign of Mercury's retrograde and his conjunction to Saturn, is the carrier of deep and often-uncomfortable truths about the nature of human relations (which is why Scorpios are masters of psychological motivation, and can use this knowledge for transformational or manipulative purposes). Mercury is an investigative excavator in Scorpio, where he rarely settles for the surface or the obvious, particularly if he sniffs out some fact or facet of the story that isn't being divulged. He wants the full understanding, even when the process of pulling it out creates temporary inconvenience or difficulty.

An ideal manifestation of Mercury-conjunct-Saturn-in-Scorpio: Getting real about a complicated, controversial, unsettling or unsettled dynamic… but with a sincere commitment to doing so with both uncompromising honesty and unbounded compassion, for the ultimate integrative benefit of all parties.

If we are not 'real' under this astrology, however, we may end up suffering increasing superficiality in our connections, a devitalizing downward-slope that can unfortunately lead to feeling alienated from others and/or cynically wondering 'what's the whole point' of even bothering to try to relate. If, that is, you're allowed to skip out on the truth-telling disclosures. It's just as likely you'll be called out for your insincere responses or deceptive omissions (and not in the most pleasant way either), by those who aren't willing to let you get away with pretending.

But from the opposite angle, too direct, clumsy, crass or callous a tone to these 'get-real' communications, and real living-and-breathing people can really get hurt. When backed into a corner (or left feeling similarly threatened, even if actual circumstances aren't quite the trap they seem), Scorpio planets are known to lash out with a venomous sting, guided by their keen defense-instincts to that sorest of sore-spots in their perceived adversaries' psyches, where it hurts the worst. Mercury's conjunction to Saturn, therefore, warns against such rash lashings-out. Once the worst is out there, it can't be taken back. Once such painful sentiments are mercilessly voiced, relationships may become permanently damaged.

The further presence of the North Node confirms the lasting potency of any such consequences (the good and the bad), adding an extra fateful-feeling charge to our confrontations with these challenging revelations. Our next New Moon is a solar eclipse in Scorpio (on Nov 3), with the Sun and Moon conjunct Saturn and a retrograde Mercury very closely conjunct the North Node, uniting these energies I've so far been describing with the symbolic chapter-turning impact of an eclipse-period. Because eclipses are said to influence our lives for months or even years beyond their occurrence, this Mercury retrograde promises to bear its imprint on us longer than we might otherwise expect (or prefer).

Apart from the stereotypically anticipated computer malfunctions, traffic detours, paperwork problems and the like, Mercury retrogrades are most notably known to inspire regrettable slips-of-the-tongue or other uncouth communicative accidents. Judging from the extenuating astro-factors affecting this Mercury retrograde, these accidents may well hold greater stakes than they ordinarily would—a conclusion further supported by the fact that Mercury will conjoin Saturn and the North Node twice more, before this whole jig is up. During the retrograde itself, Mercury conjoins Saturn on Oct 29 and the North Node on Nov 2. Then, as he winds back through the post-retrograde shadow, he again conjoins the North Node on Nov 18, followed by Saturn on Nov 25.

If you want to emerge from this one not only unscathed, but actually more authentic and trustworthy than ever, you'd damn well better know your motives before chiming in… and they'd damn well better be on the up-and-up.