by Robert Wilkinson
Yes, it's THAT time again! Three times each year, Mercury goes retrograde, throwing many people and circumstances into a whirlwind of over, under, sideways and down. But does it? Just what is Mercury retrograde, and how will this one affect us?
When you're done here, you can find out a whole lot more about the general meaning of the phenomenon known as Mercury Retrograde by checking out the article, Mercury Retrograde - A New Look at the Guide of Souls. It may serve to help you pierce through many of the superstitions and suppositions concerning this repeating phenomenon, and how it works in our lives. That said, let's examine our current Mercury Retrograde period.
This Gemini Mercury Retrograde period starts 8:48 am PDT May 26 (May 27 in far east Asia) and ends 7:31 am PDT June 19. This retrograde moves from 22 degrees Gemini back to 13 Gemini, with the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun occurring at 18 degrees Gemini at 8:27 am PDT just before Mercury conjuncts Venus as it conjuncts the Sun.
This retrograde beginning at 22 Gemini retraces ground we covered May 10-26, and the degree is "Dancing Couples in a Harvest Festival," symbolizing "richness of life in associations based on natural instincts," and "warmth of simple living," Rudhyar also says this degree "stresses the value of rhythmic, healthful activity in a natural setup... (leading to a) much needed process of bioenergetic rebuilding," and finding a greater harmony with natural processes where our mind and "natural emotions" can be active and balanced. It is in the Span of "Restlessness," and the counterpoint degree in the Emotional-Social-Cultural level of "Exteriorization."
According to Dr. Jones, creator of the Sabian Symbols, it is a degree of fulfillment in and through everyday community activities shared with others. Its formula is Manipulating, Practical, Ingenious, Generalizing, Social, and Sensitive. He offers the keyword GREGARIOUSNESS, and says it's a degree where "Richness of living comes from an uninhibited sharing of everyday potentialities, together with a... happy give and take" between individuals.
We also find that it offers "an ability to plunge into major and rewarding experiences without the least self-reservation," which to me shows it's time for all of us to get out and dance with various members of our community in whatever activities float our boats. Just be alert to those who turn to superficialities and petty indulgences for self-satisfaction or self-assurance.
Of note is that at the time Mercury goes stationary retrograde, the Sun is in the Gemini zone of the Grand Irrationality, triggering that on-going configuration and making it an active part of the Mercury retrograde lessons for this period of time. It seems that every Mercury retrograde of the past year has something triggering the Grand Irrationality. From the January 2008 Mercury retrograde article:
... This stationary degree is conjunct Neptune and septile Pluto and Venus, thus triggering a long term "Grand Irrationality" effect. This is yet another in a string of Mercury sensitive points that are triggering this long wave global irrationality.
A look back at previous Mercury retrograde articles discusses this more extensively, but in just one example, Mercury's RX station in October 2007 at 10 Scorpio put it biseptile Neptune's stationary RX point of Spring 2007. This stationary point is within the "hot zone" created then that will be triggered continuously by Neptune and Pluto throughout 2008-2009 as they respectively biseptile and septile this Scorpio point.
This would indicate that whatever "threshold" lessons, ideas, and perceptions the October-November 2007 Scorpio-Libra retrograde held for us will help us move into our Higher Destiny over the next two years each time the Grand Irrationality pattern is triggered by transits, including the Moon. As a result of deepened relationships and connectedness with life, expect opportunities to teach and be taught how to manage feelings and social-cultural experiences. This will help many to find a group work where they can embrace higher ideals and activities creating a better world on whatever level that group operates.
You can reference Spiritual Astrology in May-June 2008 Pt. 1 - Retrograde Jupiter Bringing Rewards for Courage Dancing With Saturn Direct at the Threshold of A Liberating Ordeal to learn more about the weird larger atmosphere of the Grand Irrationality that is affecting all of us from time to time throughout the year. Due to the Sun activating the larger irrationality pattern, expect Leo-related things and people to go through choices and changes marking a fork in the road of destiny.
During any Mercury retrograde period there are always strange twists and turns and returns. However, if it's not a return of something you should have taken care of before then, remember that whatever happens it probably won't turn out the way it seems at the time.
This retrograde Mercury starts off almost completely unaspected. Though it is extremely close to a quincunx to Jupiter, square to Uranus, and trine to Neptune, it retrogrades away from these aspects, showing we stand on the threshold of whatever these mean, but for now they remain unfulfilled until July. The only aspect Mercury makes at this time is a tight quintile to Saturn, which should bring us specializations, gifts, and unique circumstances in the life departments ruled by Gemini, Virgo, Capricorn, and Aquarius.
With Saturn on the "Two Guardian Angels" degree, we should see physical and non-physical "angels" coming to our assistance, as well as inner powers manifest we may not have suspected we have. We should see the supply of all of our needs, one way or another, and the security resulting from our ability to find an effective fulfillment of our dreams.
Due to the RX, it may take us a while to see these results of those choices precipitated by the Sun at this larger "fork in the road of destiny," as well as the Divine assistance promised by the Mercury quintile Saturn. These gifts and unique circumstances will be further precipitated at the time Mars crosses 3 Virgo on its way to a conjunction with Saturn at 6 Virgo in early July.
Mercury retrogrades through some important minor aspects to the other planets this period. In June it makes biquintiles to Jupiter and important binoviles to Saturn and Uranus, thus bisecting the quadranovile between Saturn and Uranus.
The novile series aspects bring forms of realizations arising from what has been gestating and mark culmination steps in how things express spiritually. You can bet that by late June we'll all have seen some things finalize in revelations and understandings about where things stand between us and others using a spiritual yardstick.
At least the hard edge of The Grand Irrationality will be an indirect influence in June, since other than the Solar trigger at the front end, the only times the configuration is set off in June is when the Moon passes through the hot zones of the Grand Irrationality. You can find when these times are by going to the Spiritual Astrology article linked earlier in this post.
Mercury toward the end of its RX period is in mid-Gemini, said to be a span of "Zeal" in the Individual-Mental level of "Discovery." While Mercury is in Gemini many will find they are receiving a LOT of mental impressions, which may or may not be well ordered. Expect a profusion of ideas, communications, insights and evaluations that will take many twists and turns before becoming clear visions of how to decide and what to do.
The Mercury septile to Mars in late May and early June shows that people with planets around 22 Gemini, 11 Leo, 2 Libra, 24 Scorpio, 15 Capricorn, 6 Pisces, and 28 Aries will be most impacted by Mercury's stationary point. This septile will of course constitute its own mini "Grand Irrationality," with choices and changes worked out in the houses we have Gemini and Leo, affecting houses and planets in Aries, Gemini, Virgo, and Scorpio.
Mercury goes stationary direct at 13 Gemini on June 19 just before the Summer Solstice at 4:59 pm PDT on June 20 (June 21 time zones east of London). It makes a strong quintile to Mars while binoviling Saturn and Uranus as noted previously, marking highly specialed gifts and major social, cultural, and spiritual-individualizing realizations.
Another significant related factor in this period around the Summer Solstice is Mars biquintiling Jupiter, thus creating a quintile-double biquintile "Kite" pattern involving Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter. This will bring special circumstances and major gifts for those who have cultivated any specialized qualities associated with these planets in these signs.
Also of importance during this retrograde is that Mercury disposits the Sun, Venus, and Saturn, and so directly influences our Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, and Aquarius houses and planets. Of especial note is that at the Inferior Conjunction it is conjunct Venus and in several harmonious or specializing aspects with other planets, so overall this should be a fairly productive if highly specialized period.
Remembering that nothing turns out as expected during a Mercury retrograde, and that things take strange twists and turns and there are curious returns of people, ideas, and experiences in new forms that resemble old forms, open to useful but overlooked angles of viewing things, learn and teach through a sense of perspective of how past and present relate in unusual ways, and be alert to roundabout or indirect communications that show things going on below the surface.
All in all, given the lack of volatile aspects between Mercury and the other planets, there shouldn't be too much upheaval or upset. It's more a time of getting clearer about our understanding of a larger vision related to many things, people, and experiences, where we can integrating, harmonizing and broaden our aspirations we're in training to manifest during this Saturn in Virgo era.
Mercury going stationary direct at 13 Gemini on June 19-20 shows that through September 24, 2008, we will have opportunities to reach a "climax of selfhood," an elevation of our social standing, and become a potential source of inspiration for others. Many will find fulfillment in performing some social function which generates prestige, mobilizing emotions in ways that challenge all to become greater than they were. Others will find a "ghastly sense of emptiness at the end of the quest."
Rudhyar says it's a point of moving into new realms and successfully challenging fears and insecurities of the past "engraved upon the unconscious." From his "Astrological Mandala":
Having achieved this liberation, one can bring to the environment the power generated by self-discipline, skill, and self confidence. One has become an at least potential SOURCE OF INSPIRATION.
So at the end of this retrograde period, we'll wind up with new forms of our individual artistry, refined skills and talents, and an expanded dimension of personal self-expression. It marks a time of achievements, unique to who we are and the talents we have cultivated. At best we can demonstrate a "creative assurance which contributes enduring overtones to human understanding."
So it seems that we can wind up with new ideas, visions, understanding and specialized skills as a result of this period, building on the new ideals, new friendships, and ways of serving a greater good for the greatest number that came out of the Mercury retrograde of January-February 2008. This initiates a time of sharing our expertise with others, becoming a source of inspiration, and marks a time of climax.
Prepare, adapt, express, and get ready to act in precise and practical ways when Mars enters Virgo and conjuncts Saturn in mid-July, setting a new 2+ year cycle of Dharma into motion. This is a last look back at recent discoveries to figure out what needs to be externalized, and how. A sense of insulation should show us our allies and those who share our cultural "background," leading us to understand our independence from the environment and how to sustain ourselves despite conditions.
When Mercury goes direct, it is at a platform from which to bring the lessons it has reflected on during the rx period forward into the future life-in-the-making. The angle of retrograde exploration was the stationary retrograde degree. The degree of the inferior conjunction shows how life and mind must come together in a different, perhaps overlooked but definitely useful, view of what must be known.
The entire retrograde function is inward-turned, so we can get insights into what must be known to understand some thing from a more holistic point of view. We can also note how our mind, ideas, or worldview are affected by our subconsciousness, or our receptivity to others' subconsciousness.
Mercury retrograde periods reveal their own unique rhythm in offering us a new look at things. Every period in some way echoes the messages of prior retrograde periods, and affects those to come.
That's why it's important to observe what has been revealed during other periods in the recent months and years past, so that you can see how Mercury, or Hermes, the "Guide of Souls," is leading you to your authentic self. Regardless of appearances, or how difficult or easy, Mercury retrograde periods show us the path to our Soul.
If you want to know how this larger sequence of Mercury retrograde periods is unfolding its roundabout magic, please check out the archives from January-February 2008, as well as October 2007, June 2007 and January-February 2007. Each of these periods have several articles, so enjoy connecting the dots by looking back to get a sense of the future.
On that note, obviously there are more Mercury retrograde articles coming over the next few days. Part 2 will cover how it affects individual birthdays, while others that follow will discuss the coming Inferior Conjunction and what this Mercury Retrograde in Gemini is specifically good for.
Copyright © 2008 Robert Wilkinson