by Robert Wilkinson
Having begun our exploration of Mercury Retrograde, today we take a look at what makes a planet retrograde, how it functions, and what it means. All the planets from Mercury out go retrograde at regular intervals, and offer us a chance to integrate what we learn as we move forward in our lives and affairs.
Let's begin with a few words about what "retrograde" actually means. Basically, the phenomenon of retrogradation happens to all planets (except the Sun and Moon) as a function of their orbits. All planets speed up, then slow down, in their orbital speed relative to the Sun and Earth. This is also true for the Sun and Moon, but we don't call it retrogradation.
Mercury speeds up for awhile, then slows down for awhile, then speeds up again, then slows down again in an eternal dance of racing forward to get new information, then slowing to reconsider that information. We can apply this speeding up and slowing down to other planets as well.
The type of information depends on which planet is involved. In a few examples, when Venus is direct, we get Venusian "information," and when retrograde we get a new view of what we just learned about those energies. We had Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in March-April 2009. You can learn more about how it impacted each sign at this link. We have another coming in Oct-Nov 2010 in Scorpio-Libra, so this should provide some clues as to ways it could work.
Right now we're getting a new view of Leonine initiatives set into motion since late October due to the current Mars retrograde, lasting until early March 2010. You can find more about the Mars retrograde effect at Mars Retrograde in Leo December 2009 and January-February-March 2010 Mars is momentum, so expect the next few weeks to operate at a slower pace, where energy must be redirected before it can resume whatever has begun the past few weeks. If you want to learn more about Mars retrograde, it happened last between November 2007 and January 2008, explored in the articles Mars Retrograde in Cancer and Gemini in November, December 2007 and January 2008 Pts 1,, 2, and 3 (links to pts. 2 & 3 at the bottom of that article.)
We get new Saturn information when it's in direct motion, then get to review those experiences when it's retrograde. So we encounter maturing or structuring experiences when direct, and get to internalize the wisdom forms in those experiences when retrograde. We then get to externalize those blended wisdom forms as Saturn again goes direct. As these phases happen each year, it's a phenomenon of longer duration than the inner planet retrogrades.
So the direct motion period that precedes and follows a retrograde period are times of getting new information. Then when it slows, it is called "Retrograde," and shows a time when we're re-tracing ground we've already covered, but have an opportunity to understand the past experience from a new angle of vision.
We take a new look at information we've already experienced to whatever degree. Internal or external factors can trigger this review. Often things, people, memories, or other past circumstances engraved on our subconscious come up, which we must relate to what we've just been through and what we are about to enter into.
In the case of Mercury, we get a front end look at what is coming when Mercury occupies the stationary retrograde degree. It then turns back to offer a new look at things we've already seen or done as it slows in motion. "Retrograde" is simply a slowing of orbital motion.
Mercury continues to slow down, offering a review of recent events, until it hits its slowest motion around the Inferior Conjunction. After that, it again begins to move faster until it again passes the Sun in the "Superior Conjunction." After that it races ahead of the Sun until it again begins to slow in its motion several months afterward.
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 lens 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. A very good source for in-depth understanding of this important part of our lives is my book, "A New Look At Mercury Retrograde," now out of print but still available used via several internet sources.
If you want to know how this larger sequence of Mercury retrograde periods is unfolding its roundabout magic, please check out the archives for articles about Mercury RX written for the September, May, and January 2009 RX periods. If you want to do deeper research, there are many articles on the September-October, June-July and January-February 2008 RX periods.
You may even want to check out October 2007, June 2007 and January-February 2007 as well. Each of these periods have several articles, so enjoy connecting the dots by looking back to get a sense of the future.
There are more Mercury retrograde articles coming over the next couple of weeks. I'll be exploring the overall meaning of the coming 3 week period, significant degree influences, how it affects individual birthdays, discuss the coming Inferior Conjunction, and what this Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn is specifically good for. Stay tuned!
Copyright © 2009 Robert Wilkinson