Gemini Mercury Retrograde
19th May at 012:50 to 11th June at 21:34 UT
by Andrew Smith – Agent EI
Mercury is about to retrograde yet again, this time for the second of three loops in 2015!
I’m sure you are eagerly anticipating more warnings concerning signing documents; losing keys; data disappearing into the cloud; electricity outages; communications mishaps and delays! But is the purpose of this thrice annual cycle to frustrate and annoy us? Is it solely about negative things happening? If so, are these increased challenges the sole domain of Mercury approaching his Inferior Conjunction with the Sun? If a planet in apparentreverse creates mayhem and strife with your gadgets and hinders your ability to sign anything legally binding, then does the rarity of Venus reverse create more challenges in your social life?; Mars with your sex life?; Jupiter with your weight; and Saturn with your skin?
It is very common that there is a planet retrograde at any given stage of the year and simply stated a Retrograde is a normal phase of an overall process in the life cycle of a planetary archetype. In fact Mercury is neither the most nor the least frequent retrograde planet in our solar system. Those honours go to Pluto and Venus respectively.
|Planet||% of its cycle Retrograde|
So why is Mercury Retrograde so commonly spoken of in negative and fearful terms? Has it got something to do with Mercury’s symbolic connection with the media and communication in general that we ‘notice’ it more? Perhaps it is easier to fathom the internalisation of thought (Mercury Retrograde) as opposed to the internalisation of your ability to metamorphosize (Pluto Retrograde)! Mercury, after all, is technically visible in our skies, whereas Pluto is not visible without the aid of a powerful telescope, therefore suggesting to astrologers that its archetype belongs to the realm of the transpersonal and not personal. Who knows? 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 within consciousness during a Mercurial Retrograde Period, so that you can understand what process is actually invoked during this cycle.
The Mercurial Planetary Archetype
First and foremost what does the astrological Mercury mean?
Mercury symbolises all the facets of life experience that enables you to communicate, process, receive and assimilate information, as seen in the bubble map below (figure 2). 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
Retrogradation is the period of time during which a planet appears to be moving backwards against the backdrop of the stars, as seen from Earth. In psycho-spiritual terms it refers to an internalisation of the planetary archetype in question. Life coaches and psychologists tend to encourage that you take a reflective break every couple of hours so that your mind and concentration can remain sharp as it is impossible to mentally keep going without an occasional pause. During the thrice annual Mercurial Retrograde Period, our collective thought process is naturally slowed, is internalised and therefore becomes more reflective.
Mercury’s reverse motion takes place every 116 days or so. 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. 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 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 May – June Mercurial Process
Mercury is technically retrograde from the 19th May until the 11th June. However, if you are exploring the psycho-spiritual process related to this celestial phenomenon, there is a lead in and lead out time that extends the Mercurial Retrograde process from the 6th May through to the 24th June!!
This entire process refers to the time prior to the retrograde wherein Mercury is at its furthest distance from the Sun in the evening skies until the time that it ascends as far away from the Sun as he possibly can climb in the early morning skies. As the process is begins, Mercury slide towards his embrace with the Sun is symbolically seen as a time of increasing reflection, one wherein creative and right brained transformation techniques are heightened (meditation, dream/ image-work, dance, writing, music and other divinatory/ intuitive processes). Since philosophy teaches us that your way of thinking is at the root of all your actions, as Mercury makes its Greatest Elongation in the Western sky on the 6th May, a breathing space in consciousness is created to enable you to reflect (West/ Yin) on the thought forms(Mercury in Air) that currently underlie your internal process.
As the 11h May passes, you will feel increasingly reflective as Mercury heads towards his Stillness. In general a Stillness period happens just around the time that Mercury turns direction, (commencing when it is moving less than 40′ (minutes of arc) per day). This happens to be the time when astrologers suggest NOT to sign anything (due to the fact that there is virtually no ‘apparent’ motion in the process of trading (Mercury)). During the Geminian Retrogradation that will take place for the ENTIRE duration of the retrograde cycle – between the 19th May to the 11thJune. In terms of spiritual process this is a phenomenal time to reflect and meditate, as your consciousness is more likely to be quieter and more receptive to your inner voice.
Mercury gradually regains his motion as he heads through the beams of the Sun before coupling with the Solar Logos on the 30th May at 8 Gemini.
The celestial fertilisation of the Divine Mind with the Light Source is a time appropriate for the insemination of any thought that you want to fuel your life for the next several months (until the Sept/ Oct Retrogradation). This can be done by consciously committing your images and ideas to paper and/or taking the first step in manifesting a project.
Mercury’s turning forward takes place on the 20th June and this reflective climate lasts until the 24th June. This is a “Yang” time now and is all about the dissemination of the ideas that you have planted on the 30th May.
As Mercury’s approaches its greatest elongation in the Eastern morning sky on the 24th June, you are in a strong time frame to delineate a plan of action, make concrete and conclusive decisions, signs papers, advertise, and act upon your germinated thoughts etc. The task during the post-retrograde period, from the 20th June and June 24th is to “get it out there”.
All rights reserved. Andrew Smith, 13:27 BST on the 2nd May 2015