The other day I received this musing from a friend of a friend:
“I was wondering the implications and the power of Ramadan taking place during Mercury Retrograde. Any insight you could provide is greatly appreciated.”
This is a really interesting and thorny “question” for multiple reasons. First off, the common take from most Sunni Muslims is that astrology is haram or forbidden. Actually, despite the fact that I am both an astrologer and a Muslim, I can understand why, but in a far more limited fashion than most Muslims would with only a popular understanding of astrology. But we’ll get to that another time.
The fact is that most observant Muslims would draw no parallel between Ramadan and Mercury Retrograde. Yet Ramadan, a holy month of fasting to observe when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) first received the words that would become the Qur’an 1400 years ago, is based on literally seeing the crescent of a new moon. It is an astronomical event, not an astrological one.
However, Mercury retrograde is fairly straightforward astronomical event too. Mercury “retrogrades” because Mercury can do in 88 days what takes the Earth 365 days to do–make a complete revolution around the Sun (and through the Zodiac). So Mercury goes toward a rebirth or new moon when it appears to be behind the Earth. It catches up, gets ahead of the Earth and when it gets too far along the Zodiac (meaning close to completing its “year”), it begins another retrograde cycle. This happens about three times a year.
So there’s an immediate parallel between Mercury retrograde and Ramadan as new moon cycles. That does have astrological significance because we attach meaning to the new moon. It’s a time to begin new intentions and renew ourselves. This matches the overall intention of Ramadan: to renew and deepen one’s faith and living.
Also a week before Ramadan ends, Mercury makes his heliacal rise as a forward moving, future-oriented Morning Star. This means it rises before the Sun. At the start of Ramadan, Mercury was an evening star, setting after the Sun at night. That’s a more reflective, soul-seeking Mercury..and a perfect symbol for our posture toward Allah and the cosmos at the start of Ramadan. At the end of Ramadan, we should be thinking about how we will absorb the lessons of the last 30 days into our lives to create a more fulfilling future.
It’s also worth noting that Mercury is known among astrologers and esotericists as a spiritual analog for the angel Jibreel, also known as Gabriel. This is the angel who brought the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
So though there’s no direct connection between how Ramadan links up with Mercury retrograde other than the happy “accident” of calendrical science. It is kind of interesting that the next two Ramadans do line up during a Mercury Retrograde. So it’s the reinforcement of a message: listen in and receive words of wisdom, just like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did so long ago in the holy month of Ramadan.