We have all heard been warned about the Mercury retrograde. The question is, what is it all about?

Spiritualists and astrologers alike are often puzzled by the mishaps and misunderstandings of the phenomenon of Mercury retrograde. Like clockwork, those three to four times per year when Mercury goes into retrograde, we are sure to experience some chaos! Whether the chaos is external or internal, there is almost always a sense of circumstances being shaken up.

To understand the nature of the warning of planets being in retrograde, we can seek out the meaning of “retrograde” itself. What does it mean? We use the word “retrograde” to describe a planet’s motion.  At certain times during the year, Mercury appears in the night sky to be going backwards. Of course the planet is not actually going backwards as it has a steady elliptical course that it treks. What it does mean, however is that it appears, from Earth, to be heading in a backwards direction relative to the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Because the planets, including Earth journey on an elliptical path, at certain points in their revolutions around the sun, they will appear to be going backwards from one planet to another. Mercury is not the only planet that appears to be going backwards from Earth, however it is the planet with the most frequent retrogrades as it is closest to the sun. Its revolution course is much shorter relative the other planets in our solar system. Mercury goes retrograde between three and four times per year, whereas the rest of the planets’ revolutions take longer therefore have fewer retrogrades. And when we look at the revolutions of the farthest planets such as Saturn and Uranus, we can note that they go retrograde far less frequently than do the planets closer to the sun. In fact, some only go retrograde every couple of years. And instead of the duration being three weeks as Mercury’s is, theirs can be over six months.

According to astrology, each planet has its own set of spiritual aspects. Each planet has both a strong gravitational pull on us as well as a strong counterpart in our consciousness. This is to say that each planet has its individual set of characteristics that resonate with us on different levels. One such example is Mercury.  Mercury’s characteristics include; the planet of communication, messenger planet of the Gods, speech, travel, early learning, writing, conscious though, intellectual capacity and logic.

When we couple the characteristics of Mercury with the concept of retrograde, we can begin to see the origin of the apparent chaos. When we refer to energy, we can note that a planet’s seemingly backward motion might have a “backward” type aspect. This is to say that when we couple the backward energy of the retrograde with Mercury’s characteristics, there is a recipe for chaotic disorder. During this disorderly period, we may find that important documents go missing, that signed paperwork must be re-evaluated due to mistakes and we may lose important items. There is also a heavy emphasis on being cautious when traveling. This is due to Mercury’s connection to travel. And when Mercury “goes backwards”, there is often opportunity for missed connections, lost travel tickets, malfunctioning electronics… you name it!

In addition to all of the potential external struggles of Mercury retrograde, there is also an important connection to the potential inner chaos that some people experience throughout this retrograde.  Retrogrades of any planet are a time to go within and reflect. Within any retrograde, there is a string potential to grow. But growing takes work! During the time of the retrograde of any planet, we may experience a resurfacing of old wounds, negative emotions and frustrations. This, for sensitives, is normal. The challenge of looking within during the retrograde pushes us to examine what aspects of ourselves we must work on in order to heal and grow.

Often, the feeling of this push can feel like we are muddling through a swamp. Each step can feel so draining and exhausting. Each thought can be distressing. We may even feel like we do not want to get out of bed in the morning. We may feel as if we are having a healing crisis- and some of us very well may be. Specifically regarding Mercury’s retrograde, we may feel an inability to communicate effectively or progress on any projects. But though these feelings are deep and heavy, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Because Mercury’s retrograde is only three weeks long, we can rest assured that these heavy feelings are short-lived. We can rest assured that we are not alone in this struggle, as many of our friends and colleagues are undergoing similar trials at the same time. And it may help to talk to them about it!

When the retrograde of any planet happens, we can let it get the best of us. But we also have another option. We can recognize that this is the perfect opportunity to take the time to look within and analyze ourselves from a higher perspective. We can utilize this opportunity to make a concerted effort to let go of that which no longer serves our highest good. With this knowledge and understanding, we are sure to be successful!


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