Mercury, the Retrograde and the Light-Speed ahead
Mercury is a zippy little planet. Being closest in proximity to the Sun its orbital period is only 88 days. From our geocentric perspective it never really appears further than 28 degrees away from the Sun. Therefore it can only ever occupy the same or an adjacent zodiac sign. This is pretty significant when we try to understand Mercury’s function.
If the Sun is potentially our most rational, decisive and conscious sense of self, then Mercury is his facilitator. Hovering as our Hero’s closest acolyte, acting as his “eyes and ears”, Mercury is constantly feeding the Main Guy with a steady stream of information. Therefore, the primary function is that of communication. Essentially the Sun makes all the decisions, whilst Mercury provides the necessary clues and know-how.
Spinning around at such high velocity, Mercury, ruler of the mind, is able to gather local data and relate it back to our Hero by bridging the distance between two points. Its proximity to the Sun indicates just how clear the subject matter will be to our Hero, who relies as heavily upon Mercury as we rely upon our five senses (and our mathematical ability) to work out what is going on around us. Of course, sometimes our mind plays tricks on us and we must really stay ‘with it’ to avoid any misunderstanding from occurring. Information is one thing, intelligence to clearly discern and use it creatively requires consciousness and awareness of the present.
This makes Mercury’s communication role instrumental to our Hero’s overall ability to achieve good, clear, conscious bearings on what is happening, what is desired of him, and how to go about expressing himself with a sense of certainty and creative purpose.
Scouting about so closely to the Sun, Mercury appears (from earth) to be darting ahead then swinging backwards (or retrograde – Rx) until it disappears behind the Sun, only to reappear to the other side. Like a pendulum, it seems to swing from left to right in rhythm with every step the Sun takes forward. Whilst most useful at its greatest distance, Mercury often appears too close to the Sun’s orb (within 8-17°), becoming highly agitated ‘under the sunbeams’ and its effect is increasingly diminished as it gets closer in orb. Its function is said to be most debilitated when ‘combust’ (<8° conjunction) but this is mostly on the material level. In truth, it is the spirit of Mercury (or any planet ‘flying’ too close to the Sun) that is infused into our Hero’s expression. Therefore, we find the Sun dominating the communicative functions that Mercury would otherwise perform, often rather assertively or authoritatively, as a teacher or a spokesperson would.
Mercury’s Rx period usually lasts around 3-4 weeks, during which time a period of pensive retrospection begins to occur. Delayed, more reflective responses are common for our Hero, not to mention the experience of the sensation of mayhem that commonly sends lines of communication haywire and transportation into all sorts of disarray. These are usual on the physical dimension, but internally it can be a very useful time for reflective meditation, review and inner contemplation of the journey thus far, allowing our Hero to slightly repose and make any necessary realignment of his thoughts, perhaps have a look at things from another perspective.
Mercury spins backward into the aura of the Sun’s beams, becoming briefly obscured entirely by the Sun (cazimi) at which point it is farthest from the earth. Yet its function is so deeply potent through the Sun’s piercing rays that with enough meditative presence it can manifest as a genius-like quality. Many of us have access to this, but how many of us are born with the ability to still the mind and focus purely on the objective without any interference? This is the primary goal of meditation. To still the mind from feeding us information which might be tinged with points of view, thoughts and opinions which are not relevant to what we are currently perceiving. In retrograde we succumb into greatly subjectified ideas that are great for reflection but not ideal for immediate perceptiveness of the situation. Hence we lose our slight edge on the pulse. Needless to say, meditation is most important during retrograde periods to keep us centred.
It takes a full 5-6 weeks for it to draw out of its own retrograde shadow, after which it hurtles forward, this time in front of the Sun. The entire precession is a necessary part of the Solar-consciousness experience, occurring no less than three times a year, and invoking much development in the evolution of the native’s thought complexes. Naturally, if the mind is not being used effectively (excessive dull activity) it has an adverse outcome, especially as the individual progresses with age, manifesting in the breakdown of the brain’s interconnective functions. Exercising the mind creatively keeps this process working in good healthy order, and so the retrograde period serves more as a spiritual respite to allow a sort of digestion of the voluminous influx of mental input generated by our busy sensory processes.
Mercury’s 2016 Retrogrades
January 5 – January 25, 2016 …………. starts in Aquarius, ends in earth Capricorn
April 28 – May 22, 2016 …………………. in earth sign Taurus
August 30 – September 22, 2016 ……… in earth sign Virgo
December 19 2016 – January 8, 2017 .. in Capricorn to late degree fire Sagittarius
This year’s set of retrogrades are primarily in earth signs. Since the earth element governs the physical realm, we can expect a review of the practical, tangible processes feeding to the Soul. Those souls who are more governed by their bodies and the material world will experience this as a time to step back a little and perhaps give their bodies a rest. Many of us have noticed the shifting energy gradually raising our consciousness, but what does it mean if we cannot earth it in a way that is physical and structured?
A good time to reflect, to look back, particularly about how much your practices are altering. How has your thinking changed the way that you practically function around others? With yourself?
If you kept journals or diaries in the past months, observe how your whole thinking process has changed. Has it become more focused on identifying the negative, self-defeating thought patterns and has it aimed at dispelling these? Have we become better equipped to identify those who are creating negativity around us?
It has been a period where many have at least become reminded of how detached we are becoming from our humanity, particularly due to our increasing dependence on networks and technological gadgetry. Perhaps you have discovered this consciously and decided to be more physical in how you regulate and put to practical use the endless streaming deluge of random data it funnels into your life. Perhaps you have consciously chosen to touch base with some of those contacts that were largely cerebral during 2015’s AIR-SIGN retrogrades. Or perhaps these are forcibly becoming crystalised around you.
Depending on how conscious we are about our choice of sources, we are either finding our world of ready-made, on demand information is either helping us grow in consciousness or it becomes a tiresome, sensory overload to the central energetic intelligence within – the psyche.
Once upon a time Nature only produced the odd Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Lao Tzu or Jesus figure once every thousand years or so. They all spoke and taught with true mindfulness and expressed their words from a place of conscious awareness. In the last 50 years there has been a huge growth of enlightened masters in both the eastern and western cultures. As communication grows faster, with improved, wider education and more access to information, so does the ability for teachers to connect with students.
Soon, as more and more of us learn to get over our ego hang-ups, tune in and channel directly through the pure intelligence within, there will be a veritable explosion of buddhas all over this planet. This could not happen without communication, and since the pace and volume of the good Word is growing exponentially, the potential too to spread the Word will grow to reach a critical mass.
In the beginning there was the Word. This Word was relayed by Mercury, ruler of the mind and communication. Slowly, through the ages, the Word has picked up pace and started pelting towards us from all directions and at lightning speed. It stands then, that mastering Mercury is a critical element in the alchemical process that is occurring to humankind today.
As Mercury goes into retrograde, it is a perfect time to review and reflect upon our thought processes. How much does our personal, inner ‘newsfeed’ facilitate our ability to see clearly, and how much does it sometimes sully the true picture?
© All rights reserved, Ang Stoic 2016
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