There’s no question that this country, with its 24 hour news cycle, ever growing number of cellphones and “webs” of networking (social or otherwise) has made strange bedfellows of communication and commerce. If a hundred years ago, we trusted Mercury to zip and alight from sundry places in minutes or hours for us, via rail, carrier pigeon or letter, then there’s no doubt that he’s zipping now in nanoseconds and we’re running him dogged tired. Dude has to go retrograde just to relax now, and maybe that’s the better way to look at his retrograde. (In fact, classically, when Mercury goes retrograde, he starts his “descent” into the “underworld” of our collective psyches to “extract” the things we don’t want to say–but should and venture into the uncomfortable places we don’t like to go–but must)
Mercury Retrograde is a time to lay off the caffeine-powered Mercury engines of our lives and find something else–stillness, Athena, Jupiter, anybody but Hermes/Mercury. And this is what could be filling us with dread as we think of Mercury receding away from us. We’ve come to depend so much on him that we can’t picture him moving away from us. We come to think only about a Mercury who moves with us or ahead of us (if we think about our motion as the Sun’s motion), but it’s too painful to think that he’s moving behind us. We don’t use it as a time to reflect on our attachment to our computers, our phones, our social networking accounts, our blogs, or even ways of communicating, whether electronically or not. It doesn’t mean that we have to cut off Mercury or Mercury related concerns entirely, even if that were possible.
It means that we can give space to other dimensions of Mercury through other “gods” or principles, like looking at the beauty of our handwriting, which is more of a Venus/Jupiter concern. (Yes, when was the last time you looked at your writing script? Have you ever pushed to develop or improve it, especially since writing in script is becoming a dying art?) Or does a recent argument with a friend highlight how you might not listen as well as you think you do? Or do you speak more forcefully, with too much Mars, than you might think or would like? Similarly, are you being as serious about your communication or your spoken commitments as you could, which is to evoke more Saturn? Or how are you evoking Athena (strategy) and wisdom on your job? Maybe this Mercury retrograde is what you need to keep some things closer to your chest, rather than blabbing it all off to your officemate or on twitter!
Mercury retrograde can only dominate and foul-up as much of our lives as we’ve allowed Mercury to foul-up and dominate our lives. It may be time to invoke other spirits or manifestations of the Divine rather than Mercury. Don’t think about this too much, though. With a little quiet space and reflection (honoring the Moon), see what other images or parts of yourself need honoring–other than Mercury. Then like Athena Nike, a combination of Nike (goddess of Victory) and Athena, just do it!