by Robert Wilkinson
We’re now approaching the halfway point in this retrograde period. On April 19 at 10:54 pm PDT, April 20 at 1:54 am EDT, and 6:54 am BST we'll experience the "Inferior Conjunction" between Mercury retrograde and the Sun at 1 Taurus. The Inferior Conjunction is an important point in the dance Mercury and the Sun do each year. So just what is the difference between the Inferior and Superior Conjunctions of Mercury with the Sun?
I last gave you some of this at the December 2016 Inferior Conjunction at 8 Capricorn. As usual, I’ve updated the material.
Mercury conjuncts the Sun two ways. When Mercury is direct in motion, it's called the Superior Conjunction. When Mercury is retrograde, it's called the Inferior Conjunction. These conjunctions of the Sun and Mercury mark important points showing how our life and mind are fusing past and present to vitalize the future.
Mercury symbolizes our mind, eternally racing forward or backward. The Sun symbolizes our life-in-the-making, illuminating the integrity of the moment. We measure the Sun’s movement from our perspective on Earth, and so it holds a steady pace while all the other planets move in their orbits. When the Sun and Mercury conjunct, it allows the mind to evaluate and process past, present, and future Life/Light experiences.
In understanding the meaning behind the process in which Mercury speeds up and slows down, we can understand how to navigate the fluxes and flow of our life experience. By knowing the timing appropriate to the moment, we can learn what to do and when by taking advantage of these never-ending periods of life.
I explain a lot more about Inferior and Superior Conjunctions, and how the mind operates when racing forward and looking backward, in the award winning 2nd edition of A New Look at Mercury Retrograde, available as a paperback on Createspace.com, and as an ebook on B&N's Nook and Amazon Kindle. There are chapters for natal and transiting Mercury Retrograde in the signs and houses, what it means for each sign, when it happens, how people with Mercury retrograde learn in their special ways, and good things to do during these periods. By checking out the sections on Mercury retrograde in Taurus and Aries, you’ll get valuable information about the Mercury retrograde influence over the next 4 months.
Here's the Createspace link to the page where you can order your paperback copy of A New Look at Mercury Retrograde, and here’s the link to order the ebook version of A New Look at Mercury Retrograde. It is an invaluable resource for understanding past, present, and future Mercury retrogrades, so get your copy today!
What follows elaborates on the process of how this “fusion of life and mind” works its unique magic. The next article will cover how the Inferior Conjunction at 1 Taurus will affect all of us, and go into greater depth about the qualities of this particular Inferior Conjunction.
Mercury Retrograde and the Superior and Inferior Conjunction
There are two critical points in the Sun-Mercury cycle. One is at the “Inferior Conjunction” of Mercury with the Sun when Mercury is retrograde, and the other is at the “Superior Conjunction” which occurs when Mercury is direct in motion and again catches up to conjunct the Sun. So the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury retrograde is always followed by a Superior Conjunction when Mercury is direct, which leads in turn to the next Inferior Conjunction during the next Mercury retrograde.
The Inferior Conjunction brings insights, signs, or signals from the past, or collective consciousness, or our subconscious mind, or unconscious mind. As it merges with the life and vitality symbolized by the Sun, these signs and signals show us “days of future past,” to be incorporated into our lives or our Light.
They can be reflections leading to new insights about past or present life coordination issues, our Soul issues. They could be messages or symbols from the personal or collective subconscious field, and/or they could be new or alternative insights about some part of the life experience, also symbolized by the Sun.
The Sun is the Law of our Light-Life, the Central Order of our personal Solar System of our material, emotional, and psychological affairs. All conjunctions to our Sun are important fusions of parts of our life, affecting the era to come, whose length is determined by the particular planetary cycle engaging our Sun.
Other Inferior Conjunctions
The Sun can only make “inferior conjunctions” with Mercury or Venus when they are retrograde. All other Solar conjunctions to planets happen when they’re direct. It could be said that the Solar conjunctions with Venus when it’s retrograde are a sort of “inferior conjunction” with that part of life symbolized by the retrograde planet.
On that subject, about 5 years ago we had a fusion of “likes with life” when Venus conjuncted the Sun in June 2012 while retrograde. You will recall it was considered a VERY BIG DEAL at the time, a very rare cosmic event that would shake our world. That hyperbole aside, you can find more about that celestial event through the links on the bottom of this article.
You can of course apply these concepts to the Inferior Conjunctions of Venus whenever it’s retrograde and “looking back” over its experience. We’ve just finished a Venus retrograde period that began in early March, and spanned 14 Aries back to 26 Pisces, with the “inferior conjunction” between Venus retrograde and the Sun occurring March 25 at 5 Aries.
Before the one we just went through, the previous Venus retrograde period was between late July and early September 2015 that spanned 1 Virgo back to 15 Leo, with the “inferior conjunction” between Venus retrograde and the Sun occurring August 15-16 at 23 Leo. I’ve put a link to that article at the bottom of this one. If you want to know more about the most recent Venus rx period, please consult the archives, since I posted quite a few between late February and last week.
I’ve also put a link to the Dec 28, 2016 Inferior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun at 8 Capricorn at the bottom of this article. That influence is now over, and will be replaced by this one at 1 Taurus. Of some note is that all the Inferior Conjunctions of 2015 were in Air signs, which also happened in 2014, just in the later degrees of all the air signs.
Last year we had the relatively rare phenomenon of 4 Mercury retrogrades in one year. 2016 featured 4 inferior conjunctions, all in Earth signs, with the first three in fairly close trine to each other. The December one fell in tredecile to the Sept one at 21 Virgo, and is trined by this April 2017 inferior conjunction at 1 Taurus, as well as the August 2017 event at 4 Virgo. The last one of 2017 is in December, and moves the conjunction into the Fire element at 22 Sagittarius.
The Retrograde Process
Anyway, let’s get back to exploring the concept of Inferior vs Superior Conjunctions of Mercury with the Sun. The Inferior Conjunction between Mercury and the Sun always happens when Mercury, the planet of mind, is retrograde and “looking backward” at a recent span of experience it crossed when originally direct in motion. That’s why these periods are good for review, re-working, re-thinking, rehearsing, or reconsidering something that caught our attention or our focus in the recent past.
The Inferior Conjunction is actually the point of maximum retrogradation, where Mercury’s speed is as slow as it will get. After the Inferior Conjunction, it's still retrograde for a brief period, reviewing the past and getting further away from the Sun. Then it goes stationary direct, after which it continues to speed up, eventually resulting in the Superior Conjunction when Mercury conjuncts the Sun about half way between the previous and next retrograde period.
So Mercury is direct when it first enters its “shadow zone,” which is the span of degrees of the actual retrograde period. At that point it slows down tremendously, and goes stationary retrograde. It then traverses the span it just went over, and at the end of the retrograde period Mercury goes stationary direct.
It then takes all that it learned from the first period when it initially transited those degrees that became its retrograde span, and through its new “forward view” of what it’s gotten information about two different times (1 direct, 1 RX), in this third phase it puts it all together when it again traverses that “shadow zone” span of degrees during its new direct motion phase. This 3-fold understanding is an extremely important “span of focus” regarding the house in which it falls.
When Mercury is direct in motion, it again shows mind in a direct approach to our life, symbolized by the Sun. It then makes the connection at the subsequent Superior Conjunction one or two signs later, and about four months after that it again goes retrograde, preparing for another Inferior Conjunction when it again delivers all that it has learned since the last Superior Conjunction.
Mercury's direct motion period is when it directly learns, evaluates, classifies, divides, and generally dissects reality. It is more of a theoretical, or information gathering phase, since Life has not caught up to Mind when Mercury outraces the Sun.
Then mind (Mercury) gets as far ahead of life (Sun) as it can before it reaches its maximum limit. Then it begins to slow and turn inward, look backward, listen to other beats, other drummers, other interpretations, other ways of weaving the experiences of life into something we can understand from a different point of view. This is how we gain perspective, and is essential if we are to learn the many ways the Higher Self both is and is not.
Sometimes the indirect path leads us to greater understanding
The experience we get through Mercury retrogrades give us perspective that allows us to become well rounded in our knowledge and ability to apply our knowledge, skills, and talents in ways that fulfill our purpose on this Earth. Mercury helps us adapt to different points of view, different ways of interpreting and applying what we know, and can assist us in filling in the blanks in our understanding of a thing.
It is said that Mercury, or Hermes, is the "Guide of Souls." If that is true, then perhaps looking back with a different perspective may help us to reconsider our footprints in time, and choose to re-think some of our assumptions that are not leading us to our Higher Self. Then we can consciously choose a different way to coordinate our mind, feelings, and lives, and begin to live a more fulfilled sense of purpose.
Mercury retrograde periods are an extremely important period of getting signals that can lead you to your Soul. Take an unusual view, look back with a new perspective, see the patterns, both productive and destructive, and then when it goes direct, implement your new insights and perspectives into new ways of seeing, communicating, and envisioning.
At this Inferior Conjunction at 1 Taurus, we will have “a fusion of life and mind” that will help set a platform where in blending these principles we will see a shift in our affairs, attitudes, and understanding about those things symbolized by Mercury in Taurus and the house in our charts where this retrograde takes place. Natal points in harmony with 1 Taurus will see productivity, understanding, stabilization, and unique qualities come forth. Natal points in friction with 1 Taurus will see turning points, blocks, braking action, and release of potential.
In the next article in this series, we will explore the specifics of this April 2017 Inferior Conjunction in Taurus, and what its lessons hold for us over the next 4 months.
Here is the article on the Dec 2016 Inferior Conjunction of Mercury with the Sun at 8 Capricorn. This “fusion of life and mind” impacted the span from then to now.
As I promised, here are the articles on the 2012 Venus “occultation event.”
Here’s the article on the 2015 “inferior conjunction” of Venus and the Sun:
Previous articles in this series:
Copyright © 2017 Robert Wilkinson