Preparing for Mercury Retrograde from Pisces to Aquarius – 6th Feb to 28th Feb
Agent EI – Andrew Smith
I am sure that you are eagerly looking forward to reading all the cautions about signing documents; losing keys; communication mishaps and delays; and technology getting even with us by frustrating and confusing us even more than it does on any given ‘normal’ day as Mercury prepares for the first of his three retrogrades in 2014 commencing on the 6th February and ending on the 28th February!!
But is the purpose of this thrice annual cycle really to frustrate and annoy us? Is it really all about negative things happening? If so, are the increase challenges during a Mercury Retrograde cycle to do with Mercury itself or the retrograde phenomena. If it is to do with the latter, then why don’t astrologers write more frequently about the retrograde cycles of the other planets in our solar system, especially given the regularity to which planets ‘reverse’. Pluto, for example, spends up to 44% of the year retrograde, so surely the internalisation of your ability to transmutate is as important as the internalisation of thought?
Maybe our collective awareness of Mercury’s inward sojourn has something to do with its ‘personal correspondences’ as opposed to Pluto’s ‘transpersonal’ nature? Perhaps it is Mercury’s media and communications correlations that we notice it more? Maybe it is because it is the third least frequent planet to retrograde, after Venus and Mars and therefore its impact is more pronounced? Maybe it is because it is the second fastest travelling planet that astrologers use after the Moon, therefore its correspondences are more noted? Who know? The one thing is clear though, the silly season is upon us!
Rather than focusing on events that could happen to you, I would like to explain what is actually taking place in consciousness during a retrograde period, so that you can understand what process is invoked during a Mercury Retrograde cycle. Unlike my other articles, this narrative is devoid of creative interpretation and is largely technical in nature.
The Mercurial Planetary Archetype
The Mercurial planetary archetype symbolises all the facets of life experience that enables you to communicate, process, receive and assimilate information, as seen in the bubble map below. It reflects a naturally proactive busy-ness and therefore symbolically indicates the manner in which you rationally think and exchange information with the world around you, so you can make sense of the world!
All modes of communication fall under the symbolism of Mercury; not just verbal discourse, but non-verbal signs and significations as well. The essence of Mercury, however, resides not in the particular language system but rather in the impulse to communicate, through whatever method. For this reason, Mercury also reflects the learning of technique (a sort of language system), through which skills may be expressed (a form of communication). An example might be a carpenter who has mastered the “language” of carpentry: using various tools (its alphabet) he expresses himself (communicates) through the making of a table (his statement; discourse). His orderly, logical approach, based upon learned skills, techniques and the careful observation of data (e.g., measurement of width, height, volume of wood, etc.), also involves the essential Mercury principle of assessing data (measurements and assessments gained through the handling of materials) and expressing ideas (his design or blueprint).
The placement of Mercury in your birth chart indicates the particular style of communication in which you excel and through which you experience your greatest proficiency in communicating. It reveals how you think, process, assess, acknowledge, learn, speak, write and study. How and what you perceive is linked to the mode and element in which Mercury is placed, so too the way in which you filter the information collected from the outer world. Mercury plays a big role in what we call interesting and it describes the extent in which we are able to assimilate information and learn.
By and large we tend to view Mercury in terms of its fast orbital speed – quick, sharp and incisive. However this is not strictly speaking true. There are times wherein our thought process is more reflective and internal and there are those who are born without a strong desire to externalise their thought process, preferring to listen to their vibrant inner voice.
Mercury Retrograde Cycle
The term retrograde essentially means backwards, or inwards and therefore during such a period of time our thought process is naturally slowed, internalised and becomes more reflective, a natural contradiction to the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life. Life coaches and psychologists tend to encourage their clients to take a reflective break every couple of hours, so that the mind and concentration can remain sharp as it would appear to be impossible to keep going without an occasional pause.
Aside from our own individual inner clock that indicates when we should take time off, there is also a generic time frame where there the Mind of the Solar System also needs to rest or ‘pause’. This arises three times a year, as Mercury retrogrades. The replenishment that naturally takes place when anyone takes time for themselves arises when Mercury re-joins the Sun and fuses with the Light Source at the mid-point of the retrograde cycle. The fusion of these two planetary archetypes symbolises the replenishment, renewal and the ultimate re-birthing of Mind, which is really what is at the heart of this cycle.
Mercury’s reverse motion is part of a cyclical continuum of retrogradations that take place every 116 days or so, largely due to the fact that Mercury is never too far away from the Sun and therefore ‘dances’ frequently around our Life Sustainer. Alternating in intervals between two different types of conjunction of 6 and 10 weeks respectively, Mercury makes his greatest elongation above the horizon in the Western evening sky about a week before turning retrograde. As he disappears into the beams of the Sun, disappearing from view, Mercury eventually passes over the face of the Sun (or at very least returns to the same zodiacal degree of the Sun) synergising with it as it forms an inferior conjunction. Mercury then moves ahead of the Sun and eventually makes his first visual appearance (heliacal rising) in the Eastern morning sky. This is followed by another turn of direction (this time direct), and as his apparent velocity matches that of the Sun some days after this turning Mercury is once again at his furthest distance from the Sun. This is when he appears at his highest point above the horizon in the morning skies.
The February Loop in Time
The retrograde period commences on the 6th February and lasts until the 28th February, but there is a lead in and lead out time that extends the process from the 22nd January through to the 20th March!! The pre-shadow phase, which is the time prior to the retrograde wherein Mercury passes the degree of its direct station, is a time of increasing reflection and one when creative and right brained transformation techniques are heightened (images, dance, writing, music and other divinatory/ intuitive processes). As Mercury makes its greatest elongation in the western sky on the 31st January, it gives us breathing space to really see what thought is singularly driving our internal process. Remember that thought is at the root of all action, so this date is a powerful one to really understand whether the thoughts that are fuelling our reality are really ours, or stem from some external factor (conditioning, fear, media etc.)
As the 22nd January passes, the Cosmic Mind becomes increasingly reflective heading towards the Mercury Stillness. The Stillness periods happen just around the time that Mercury turns direction, (commencing when it is moving less than 40′ (minutes of arc) per day). This is the time when astrologers traditionally suggest to clients NOT to sign anything, since there is virtually no motion in the process of trading. However in terms of spiritual process, this is a phenomenal time to really reflect and meditate, as your consciousness is more likely to be quieter and more receptive to the inner voice.
This commences on the 3rd February, three days before Mercury slows to a crawl then appears to stand still on the 6th February before starting moving “backwards” very slowly until the 9th February, when he is increasingly speeding up as he heads towards his eagerly anticipated coupling with the Sun, on the 15th February.
The celestial fertilisation of the Divine Mind with the One Source takes place on the 15th February, and this is a time appropriate for the insemination of any thought that you want to fuel your life for the next several months (until the June/ July Retrogradation). This can be done by consciously committing your images and ideas to paper and/or taking the first step in manifesting a project.
From the 9th February through to the 25th February Mercury, whilst still retrograde is moving at something approaching its normal speed, but in the wrong direction. This is a time to really put energy and time into the development of the commitment you have made on the 15th February. By the 25th February, we move into a pre-direct stillness, as Mercury starts to slow again, as it approaches the time when it changes direction. This turning takes place on the 28th February and the sensitive climate lasts until the 4th March. We are in a “Yang” time now, and this is all about the dissemination of the ideas that you have seeded on the 15th February. As Mercury’s approaches its greatest elongation in the eastern morning sky on the 14th March, you are in a strong time frame to delineating a plan of action, make concrete and conclusive decisions, signs papers, advertising, act upon your germinated thoughts etc. The task during the post-shadow period, from the 4th March is to “get it out there” by the end of this process on the 20th March.
I will re-connect with you just before the start of the retrograde phase with a less technical interpretation of one possible interpretation of the Piscean/ Aquarian Retrogradation. Until then, thank you for reading or listen and be well.
All rights reserved. Agent EI, (Andrew Smith), 08:02 UT on the 24th December 2013
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