Go Home   Dr Z Takes a Look at Mercury Retrograde

“Tricksters preside over moments of passage, rupture and transformation.”
Dr. Ricki S. Tannen

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Home > Astrology > Mercury Retro

Cutting a Deal with Mercury, the Planetary Wheeler Dealer, Mercury in Retrograde

Yep! It would seem that the term "Mercury Retro" has been slowly seeping into popular consciousness and has taken on an honorary role in Sun Sign astrology.

Unless they've been hiding under a rock, the average person knows that there are 12 Zodiac signs and something nefarious called "Mercury Retrograde."

Communication, Commerce, and Everyday Routines
The astrological planet Mercury, named for the wing-footed Roman god of "communications, commerce, and everyday routines," seldom gets much attention in astrology. That is... Mercury seldom gets much attention until those (3 to 4 times) times each year that he briefly turns "retrograde" in the transiting (moving) sky.

Yep! When Mercury turns "retrograde," the archetypal planet of communications, Mercury suddenly gets blamed for just about anything (and everything) that does or might go "wrong."

Retrograde Planets in General
For the "uninitiated," a retrograde planet is a planet that (when viewed from the perspective of the earth) appears to have stopped and then temporarily reverses its regular movement through the sky. The planet then goes "retrograde" (backwards).

After a certain length of time (depending upon the planet involved), the planet then appears to once again stop and reverse its movement through the sky. The planet then goes "direct" and is back on it's normal cyclic path through the sky.

Mercury Retro
The traditional astrological meaning assigned to Mercury going "retrograde" in the sky is that one should prepare for and gird themselves for unexpected delays, frustrations, and surprises in everyday life. This includes everyday routines in commerce, commuting back and forth to work, and in one's communications.

During the (very) approximate 24 day periods when Mercury turns "retrograde" in the sky, in the area of commerce, astrologers generally recommend delaying the signing of contracts and/or delaying any other important life decisions. It is a period of time thought to be better spent in reflection and in the rethinking of things.

However, since Mercury Retrograde generally occurs 3 to 4 times a year, one cannot rationally put everything "on hold" every time mischievous Mercury decides to go "retro." That's why I stated "one should prepare for and gird themselves for unexpected delays, frustrations, and surprises."

The Lighter (or perhaps Deeper) Side of Mercury Retro

There's an ancient Roman saying: “Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.” Called or not called, the god will be there.

Taking heed of and honoring this ancient Roman maxim is so powerful that I've got this plaque hanging next to my front door.

According to astrologer Richard Idemon, the ancient Greeks had a saying that, when passing by the temple of a god, you must honor the god by "offering the appropriate sacrifice at the appropriate time." The point being that one should never offend the gods by ignoring them. Bad, bad, bad form ignoring the gods!

The god Mercury or Hermes (his Greek counterpart) in retrograde is inevitably going to come calling, regardless of our best-laid plans and organizational skills. So... instead of ducking and running for cover - we might as well look further into how to make better use of (and honor) Mercury retrograde's regular visits. How? We offer Mercury the appropriate sacrifice at the appropriate time.


Mercury - the Planet of New Beginnings

"Hermes is the god of the unexpected, of luck, of coincidence, of 'synchronicity.' The ancient Greeks would say: 'Hermes has entered our midst,' whenever a sudden silence had entered the room, descended on conversation and introduced into the meeting another dimension.

Whenever things seem fixed, rigid, 'stuck,' Hermes introduces fluidity, motion, new beginnings - as well as the confusion which inevitably precedes new beginnings." Arianna (Stassinopoulos) Huffington, The Gods of Greece

“Tricksters preside over moments of passage, rupture and transformation.”
Dr. R. S. Tannen The Female Tricksters

Where are you stuck? Where do you need a new beginning? Mercury (Hermes) in retrograde will be glad to help "unstuck" you and provide you with that new beginning.

After all... Mercury (Hermes) is the archetypal deal-maker and broker within the horoscopic chart, and as such he'll be more than glad to strike a mutually beneficial deal with you!

Too Rigid, Too Stuck
Yep! It's normally only when we're too rigid and stuck in our worn out ruts that Mercury (Hermes) in his role of trickster springs out from behind a bush and reveals himself in the guise of a malicious bogey-man.

Mercury (Hermes) - Deep Healer of Soul

“… in Hermes we have a figure who signifies a union between an innate tendency on the part of the psyche to create boundaries and define spaces… He signifies the creative instinct at work in the psyche in a particular way.

A specific type of creator god, he is the creator of new spaces. It is in the creation of new spaces, novel spaces, inventive spaces, especially psychologically subtle spaces that Hermes shows his special nature and genius.” From the 1999 article “Hermes and the Creation of Space” by Murray Stein

And again:
“ Without Hermes, there are no transitions, only endless repetitions, a psychopathology without a God.” In Midlife: A Jungian Perspective, Murray Stein

Wow! That's incredibly powerful news! Hermes (Mercury) is the creator of new spaces, and the god of transitions; and without Hermes' (Mercury's) seeming chaos, there are only endless repetitions!

Let that slowly seep into your synapses!

So... believe it or not, the mischievousness of Mercury gone wild in retrograde - by virtue of getting us "unstuck" and setting us free from endless repetitions - can potentially be a deep healer of soul...

Guide To The Gold
In her book, The Gods in Everyman, archetypal author Jean Bolen uniquely points out that the physical substance of the liquid metal Mercury only adheres to precious metals... thus - metaphorically speaking - the archetypal substance of Mercury can show us the way to spiritual gold...

Dr Z's Rule of Thumb
Whenever Mercury is in retrograde the rule of thumb is that whatever you do in the area of everyday routines in commerce, commuting back and forth to work, and in one's communications - it's not typically going to go as smoothly as you thought it would.

Remain flexible. If necessary, be prepared to "punt the ball." Have a backup plan. In fact, have two backup plans! Breath deeply. This, too, shall pass...

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Gulp! What about those dreaded Shadow Periods of Mercury Retrograde?

Interested in digging a little deeper into astrological Mercury?


Related Books At Amazon:

The Inner Planets: Building Blocks of Personal Reality (Seminars in Psychological Astrology) Liz Green and Howard Sasportas This is my most traditional reading suggestion. Focus of the book is on the astrological planets of Mercury, Venus, and Mars looked at from an archetypal perspective.

Synchronicity : Through the Eyes of Science, Myth and the Trickster Allan Combs

Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art Lewis Hyde


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