One of the problems in writing a blog is being concise enough to be informative, yet not overwhelming the reader with information overload. This is daunting, when dealing with a complex subject like Mercury Retrograde (now known as Mercury Rx). Regardless, on September 7, 2009, astrology websites across the internet will begin to echo the reminder that “the trickster planet” has gone retrograde. I’ve written volumes about the effects of Mercury Rx – what I intend to explore here is the natural process of reflection inherent in the configuration to provide deeper understanding of our natural rhythms of life.
What is Mercury? For those that do not have an astrological language, Mercury represents our understanding of life. He is the planet of education, communication, discussion, documents, papers, television, radio and the information you search for on the internet. In Greek Mythology, he is known as Hermes the swift footed communication God and the protector of commerce and industry. Unlike the other planets, Mercury is rather unique by appearing to move backwards 3-4X per year. The retrogradation process is notorious for causing problems with communication, technical problems, plan hassles, and it is not wise to begin anything new or make vast changes during this period.
The Greek Hermes was a two-fold deity as astrological Mercury rules the two signs of Gemini and Virgo. On one hand, Hermes (Mercury) is the messenger of the God’s and the God of crossroads (periods in our life, where we do not know what decisions to make?) and mental connections. He appears in our lives when we suddenly understand something with new clarity and new comprehension. However, Hermes was one of the few deities (along with Hecate and Persephone) that were allowed to traverse the boundaries between the upper world (consciousness) and the underworld (unconsciousness). In his underworld guise, he serves two primary functions. He ushers the souls of the dead down to their final resting place, and in a few instances used necromancy to bring the souls of the dead back to the land of the living. His role of the psycho-pomp, I believe gives us the deepest understanding of Mercury Rx.
In astrology, we can take Mercury’s passage through the zodiac as a cyclical period. Every so often, Mercury turns around and moves the other direction creating a more introverted tone to the mainly extroverted planet. Since I believe astrology is instructional, Mercury sends us a message that we need to turn “inward” and review the past period of direct motion. (To an extent, I believe all the planets when they go retrograde urge us to reflect on certain areas of our lives colored by the sign the planet goes retrograde in) Mercury’s last direct motion was from May 30, 2009 – September 5, 2009.
Activity 1: Get out a piece of paper. Write down the events and circumstances that you have found meaningful or distressful from May 30, 2009 – September 5, 2009. Explore as many areas as you can. Take a look at the significant areas of your life – financial, professional, and relationships, and write down how you feel about these particular areas. What did you experience? Once you are done writing, fold up the paper and continue reading.
Another tool we can use to amplify Mercury Rx is through the tarot Major Arcana card of Judgement. One of the best decks that I have seen that conveys the deepest layers of the Judgement card is the Mythic Tarot. The card makes use of Hermes role as the psycho-pomp, at what appears to be the entrance to the underworld (unconscious). Beneath him are the sarcophagi with three mummified figures reaching up towards Hermes. Many astrologers consider Mercury Rx to be a time where unresolved issues from the past come back to be resolved. Likewise, I believe the Judgement card represents rewards for past efforts, and a deep understanding that we ourselves “create” our own future through the actions and decisions that we make in life. In many ways, we truly ‘reap what we sew’.
Taking ownership of our current circumstances is a powerful healing mechanism. It allows us to take control of our lives, and provides us with the opportunity to make better choices and decisions that create our future. Mercury Rx can provide us a cyclical period to examine our past actions, behaviors, upsets and joys and understand the deeper side of our personality. We may find parts of ourselves that may need improvement, parts we need to work on, and parts we really like. We can use this time to make great inner change! Looking at the Judgment card once again, we can visualize the mummified rags on the corpses as symbols for the parts of our lives we would like to change. Underneath those rags of the past, might be the butterflies for our future tomorrow.
Take a look at the figure of the Judgement card for a few moments. Now close your eyes. Imagine yourself in the room with Hermes. Talk to him and ask him for assistance in helping you understand the aspects of your life that you would like to change. Take note of any feelings or messages that you may have received.
Take out your piece of paper in Activity 1. Re-read it and make note of how you feel about the past few months. What do you believe you need to change? Print up the black and white version of the Judgement card. Now, get out a pack of crayons or colored pencils and color in the figure of the Judgment card. Use any colors that you wish to reflect your current situation, and the events of the past few months. Use the three figures in the sarcophagi to reflect areas of your life that you have new insight about, or wish to change. Take a look at the figure you have created. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in the room with Hermes. Talk to him and ask him for assistance in helping you make the changes that you need to make in your life. Ask Hermes to provide you with the information necessary or tools he can provide you with to assist you in your tasks. Take note of any feelings or messages that you may have received.