Coping With and Maybe Even Inviting Mercury Retrograde

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This morning, Mercury has stationed and, from our perspective here on Earth, is just about to turn to retrograde motion. The words “Mercury retrograde” can often muster feelings of panic in people who know something about astrology. But we must be careful not to turn our expectations of this phenomenon into a superstition. Yes, Mercury retrograde is a period of roughly three weeks that is suitable for reflection and review. That does not equate to life-as-we-know-it falling apart.

Among other things, Mercury rules communication and short-distance travel. In this stationary retrograde phase, think of Mercury taking some time to get off the couch. He’s not zipping around in his normal manner. Communication, then, may take a bit more effort, and travel may experience some delays. The benefit of communication requiring more effort is that we are forced to ponder what it is that we are really trying to say. Delays in travel can be a sign that we need to experience our present surroundings rather than to be in a hurry to change them.

Over the next weeks, Mercury retrograde symbolism suggests that it is a great time to go back over previous learning. We end up absorbing things to a greater depth. We see things another way. We can use this time to brush up on our current knowledge of issues in order to be better equipped to make advances later on.

Mercury is a trickster. Over these next weeks, we may find ourselves needing to do things a second or third time. Notice if you forget to save an important file on your computer and have to re-create it. Notice if you misplace items. Notice if you have snags with printers, photocopiers and phones. Think of Mercury tapping us on the shoulder, snickering that we’d better have another try. In having to do things over again, we can discover that we have an improved grasp on things as a result of the repetition. I suppose the key here is to be patient. But in our society that wants things now — if not yesterday — this can create some apprehension indeed. Ah well, it won’t last forever.

Mercury rules sales and marketing. The word “merchant” comes from the same word as Mercury. If we are making any major purchases over the next three weeks, a good piece of advice is to make sure we know what the return policy is. There may be something that just isn’t quite right with the things that we buy now, and there is a greater chance that they may need to be adjusted or replaced.

I’ve read that the ratio in which Mercury is in a stationary or retrograde phase compared to being in direct motion is roughly equivalent to the ratio of our number of hours asleep compared to our number of hours awake. Apparently one of the best things we can do to retain knowledge is to sleep on it — literally, to read or study and then go to sleep. There is something about sleeping that lets knowledge settle in our memory. If we think of Mercury retrograde as a kind of sleeping phase during the year, then we shouldn’t be so anxious to keep bombarding ourselves with new stimulus during this period. It is not time for that. We need time for previous experiences to settle in.

It might be wise to note that the retrograde symbol — that R with the cross through its tail — was adopted by the medical community as the symbol for prescriptions. In early days, Mercury retrograde was thought of as a good time for healing. It is a time to stop, to rest, to rejuvenate. Once Mercury is back in direct motion, we can move ahead with matters in a more confident fashion. We’ll be more awake and ready to tackle a new day.

So let’s carry on through this Mercury retrograde period, not with fear that life is going to be a mess, but with appreciation that we deserve some mental downtime. The Universe is suggesting that.

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