Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mercury Retrograde in 2007

February 15 to March 8 2007 - Retro 10 Pisces/Direct 25 Aquarius
June 16 to July 10 2007 - Retro 11 Cancer/Direct 2 Cancer
October 12 to November 2 2007 - Retro 9 Scorpio/Direct 23 Libra

SAY WHAT? Mercury is the planet that has rulership over our thinking processes and communications. It rules the signs Gemini and Virgo. It highlights our ability to express ourselves verbally and in writing, therefore on an everyday level, it influences correspondence, electronic communications, meetings and conversations. It also rules, commerce, transportation, young people, books, magazines, short courses, written and verbal contracts (especially the small print which can contain hidden or double meanings), electrical appliances and, on a larger scale social level, unusual disruptions such as industrial actions.

HOW? At least three times a year, Mercury appears to slow down, station and then move backwards through the sky, and this period lasts for approximately three weeks (see above for precise timeframes throughout 2006). Of course, Mercury is not actually moving in backward motion, because this is physically impossible. What is happening is that the Earth moves faster than Mercury and in closer proximity, which then creates the classic optical illusion that occurs when two trains are running side by side. If one starts to move more quickly than the other, the latter looks as if it is going backwards. In astrological talk, the term for this is “retrogradation”, and all planets, except the Sun and Moon, are capable of this phenomenon. The most potent times are the actual dates that the “station” takes place i.e. the beginning and end dates. The time in-between is the phase of integration and digestion of events and thoughts. The beginning is the dragging of the undertow while the end is the thrust forward, which can be a powerful experience if there are other significant astrological indications to accompany the surges.

MEANING? Back on Earth retrogradation has quite an impact, especially in the areas listed above. Confusion and misunderstandings can occur that are significant enough to create havoc in our lives where previously all has been plain sailing. However, this does give us a chance to see if that situation or project is really worthwhile, and we can reconsider points that are not satisfactory or that we hadn’t been clear upon. Astrologers generally consider these periods to be poor for starting projects, buying important items, or for signing contracts – perhaps because our conscious minds are saying one thing but our unconscious is saying another. Chances are something will have to be changed or we will receive further information or we may even change our minds once Mercury resumes its normal direction. There is usually a lot more information that needs to surface during these phases that will put another slant on what we already know. On another level, anything that we do undertake during one retro period might considerably be affected during the next, or perhaps we see flaws in what we had initiated during a previous retro phase. Oftentimes, one retro period is linked to other times, sometimes even years ago.

On an everyday level, electrical or mechanical items bought at these special times have a reputation for breaking down or needing new parts, so it is wise to put off purchases of this sort until a later date. With regard to communications, transportation and everyday devices, we may have problems trying to contact people, or people have problems trying to contact us. Answering machines go on the blink, computers develop a mind of their own (avoid upgrading or changing the way the computer is set up if it is running well), the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, timetables go awry, travel plans fly out the window, washing machines and fridges break down, messages are undeliverable or undelivered, and letters go missing. Sometimes if we have been caught in the crossfire of what we think we want and what we really need, this can be a blessing in disguise – for example if we scribble out a letter in anger and then post it but it gets lost, after we have calmed down we might be glad that the recipient didn’t receive it after all! We might find that we had our facts wrong in the first place and we find ourselves at the wrong end of the stick. There are no guarantees during this phase!

HELP! So, what are the positives and what can we do to minimise disruption? When you stop to think that Mercury rules the discriminating sign Virgo, you’ll see Mercury as an efficient little cosmic secretary concerned with purely analytical, stocktaking tasks who comes in from time to time to remind us that order and review are needed in some area (usually the position that transiting Mercury is in our chart and the area it rules and occupies in our birth chart). These periods can be highly constructive and creative times where we are given space to reshuffle and reclassify – but we must slow down and allow this to happen in order to avoid experiencing the less comfortable side of this energy. These phases are also wonderful for reflection and analysing, and for planning new strategies for the time when life resumes its normal rhythm (the end date). We can use this time to tidy up, sort, mend and reorder, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. By allowing plenty of space and time in matters, especially those that are apparently unavoidable, we can minimise future confusion or present delays and misunderstandings. We can avoid having our well-laid ideas unravelling and coming apart at the seams because of one loose end. Adopting a flexible attitude will lessen the stress created by the prevailing fluctuating circumstances. This is the perfect time to do without doing.

If we make a note on our calendar of the days when Mercury turns retrograde and then, three weeks later, direct again, we will observe that we often feel as if we are in an intellectual void of some sort during the week leading up to the change. We may feel restless, bored, dissatisfied, and we may think our world does not provide the stimulation we need. It simply does not seem big enough. This is a temporary phase where the intellectual and the unconscious are merging. The energy, both inwardly and outwardly, is assimilating itself in our psyches and it can be most exciting when we realise that this is the most discernible and most obvious sign of a change in consciousness that we can experience directly from the cosmos – basically it is as tangible proof as we can get that our solar system really does include us, that we do not stand apart from the fluctuations – this is astrology in action.

These phases always pass, and we would do well to put off acting too hastily on the inner blank we have arrived at. Something is happening but at a level we cannot see. At other Mercury retro times, life moves along at a furious pace, everything seems to happen at once, and perhaps major decisions are made for us that we can’t always control. And again, we might just need to allow ourselves to be swept along, for who knows, we might have left an important life-changing decision unmade if it hadn’t been for the bizarre combination of events. Again though, we might keep everything as flexible and open-ended as we possibly can, for often life will change again further down the track leading us to yet another avenue that we least expected. After all, Mercury is known as the “trickster” and “prankster”. Expect change.

WHAT’S MY SIGN? Are you a Gemini or Virgo? Mercury retrograde periods affect everybody at the same time, some of us are born during these peculiar phases, but the signs Gemini and Virgo are affected more than most through Mercury’s rulership over these dual signs. Virgoans and Geminians, being nervy signs anyway, fare better by holding yourselves back in the world of ideas and communications, for often you are woolly headed and for once lost for words, if not clarity. You are more likely to make mistakes and misjudgements then. You can use these periods to take a mental holiday, to stop thinking so much, to allow other inner states to take over for a while, for your signs are intellectual and analytical by nature, life is experienced through your brain.

WHEN WAS I BORN? For those of you born during a Mercury retrograde phase (ask your astrologer about this), you might find that despite your unique brand of genius you are regularly misquoted and misunderstood by others, and that your communication style is very different (what don’t they understand about the word “no”). Often you need to take a long, leisurely way to get to the point, arrive at your destination or make yourself understood. You could often be involved in mix-ups and muddle-ups that take an inordinate amount of time to sort out (why does it always happen to me?). During these phases each year, you are in your element (ha, so that’s where that phrase originated from). Suddenly, because everyone else gets the chance to experience life the way you do suddenly you’re understood and don’t have to repeat everything! You can also get a great deal done during these phases from writing to sorting out the office to getting bills organised and letters replied to.

Have fun!

© Tracey Rizvi, 2001

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