What Is Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury Retrograde. You’ve heard about it a million times. The dreaded time of the year when you should back up our computer and watch what you’re saying.
Mercury Retrograde has gained a negative reputation, but if we really want to understand what Mercury Retrograde is really about, we need to go back to basics and do what our ancestors were doing for thousands of years: look at the sky and observe.
Mercury is perhaps the most misunderstood personal planet. The close proximity to the Sun makes it difficult to observe and interpret.
If you look at the sky, you will notice Mercury in the evening sky, only to see it after a few weeks appearing to fall towards the Sun. Mercury would then appear again in the morning sky and slowly climb away, just to fall back in again towards the Sun. Mercury never strays far from the Sun!
When a planet is at least 15° away from the Sun, the planet can express its qualities freely, unobstructed by the rays of the Sun. Most planets spend most of their cycles far away from the Sun.
But not Mercury. Mercury spends most of the time so close to the Sun, so close to its rays, that it is literally invisible in the sky. Its energy is blended with the energy of the Sun.
Mercury And The Mind
And what does Mercury stand for? The Mind. What does the Sun stand for? The Self. That’s why it is so natural for us humans to identify with our mind. It is so close the connection between Mercury and the Sun (the Self) that we literally believe that we are what we think. We are one with our mind.
Mercurial energy is the most familiar energy to the Self, but ironically, at the same time, our biggest blind spot. The Messenger God is our constant companion, active in our thinking, planning, worrying, speaking, shopping, writing, moving from one place to another.
And what happens when Mercury is retrograde? It gets even closer to the Sun, it comes even closer to us, it merges with us.
If you have difficulties with Mercury (your mind, your thoughts, your communication) when Mercury is direct, you will have even more difficulties with the Mercury stuff when the planet is retrograde.
But we only experience difficulties when we resist the energy of Mercury, when we resist change, shift and growth.
If we are not “awake”, if we don’t live with awareness, during Mercury Retrograde we are usually forced to “wake up” and take care of what we’ve been neglecting.
The Two Phases of Mercury Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde has two main phases.
The 1st retrograde phase – Analyze: From Mercury Retrograde until Mercury conjuncts the Sun – approximately first half (the first 10-11 days) of Mercury Retrograde
During this phase, Mercury is contemplative, introspective and seeks inner meaning. This is the time to reflect on how the previous Mercury cycle has affected you.
This phase is great to “analyze” what you did in the past 3 months. Are you unhappy with the results? Now is your chance to start again. Are you unhappy with the results? How can you take what you have learned and make it even better?
The first half of Mercury Retrograde is a great time to analyze, reflect and ponder on the past.
The 2nd retrograde phase – Observe and Insight: From Mercury’s conjunction to the Sun until Mercury goes direct – approximately the 2nd half (the last 11-12 days) of Mercury Retrograde
Mercury is now “born again” with a clear sense of purpose. When it meets with the Sun, Mercury brings its qualities and puts them into the perspective of the Sun, the Self. The Mind becomes one with the Self, in full alignment with the purpose of the Sun. Mercury now takes what he has learned in the previous cycle and brings it to the “next level” of awareness.
This is the perfect time to initiate something new related to Mercury. Although you may want to wait until Mercury goes direct for those big changes, you can already outline your next initiative. You are ready for something new.
Is Mercury Retrograde a Bad Thing?
Mercury Retrograde is not a bad thing. When retrograde, Mercury actually travels faster than the Earth (that’s why as seen from Earth it appears to go backward) so its energy is intensified. Like any other planet, Mercury has a goal – its goal is to make you aware of what is really important in your life.
If your computer crashes during Mercury Retrograde, is maybe because you need to stay away from distractions and pay attention to other things. If you get stuck in traffic on your way to an important meeting is maybe because that meeting was not that important, and Mercury wants you to be honest about what really matters.
Pay attention to those thoughts that come to you right now. Whatever it is, however unpleasant, requires your attention. Listen to what your mind is telling you.
Keep your mind open when Mercury is retrograde. Be willing to question yourself and to dig deep to get to the Source of things. When you open your mind to new ways of thinking, being, and doing – this is when you will not only ‘survive’, but thrive during Mercury Retrograde.