Mercury in Retrograde: Don't Kill the Messenger

Welcome, dear friends, to the first 2019 installment of Mercury in Retrograde.

Now, most people have heard that phrase before, but how many of us know what it really means? Like most astrological events, there’s a lot of myth, mystery, and pop culture fueling our understanding. The reality is usually a lot more subtle than the hype.

From practical terms, Mercury in Retrograde is an event that takes place around 3x a year, for roughly three weeks. For our Earthly perspective, the planet Mercury appears to move backwards on it’s path. It’s an optical illusion caused by a difference in orbit patterns between the two planets.

So, if it’s an illusion, does that mean Mercury in Retrograde doesn’t affect you?

The answer is complicated. To understand Mercury in Retrograde, you need to understand that celestial events do not directly affect what is going on, on Earth. This is a common misconception, that arises from overly simplified pop culture explanations of astrology and magick.

In astrology planets do not cause things to happen; but rather visual signs from celestial events are indicative of events on earth through the mechanism of synchronicity. This in no way implies causation.

What that means: the forces that affect us, our paths, our choices, our ability manifest…. our everything, affect the universe on a molecular level and a planetary level. When a celestial event occurs, it’s a living map of synchronic patterns. Synchronic happens are always significant and simultaneous, but not causally connected (More on synchronicity in our next blog.)

In terms of Mercury, we’re seeing a visual representation of what Mercury means, in flux. Mercury is network logic, and the sharing of information. It’s not the message but the means of delivery, and it rules communication, education, language, mail, technology and quite literally, movement. The message, in celestial terms, comes from the sun, and Mercury helps to distribute it.

And most importantly, if a particular celestial occurance isn’t in your chart at birth, it is unlikely to directly impact you - although there are exceptions

Retrograde brings with it a real tendency for the delivery of messages to go wrong, however the reality of these effects suffers from serious over-hype (HYYYYYPE!!!) in the generalized understanding.

Sometimes when Mercury is in Retrograde, you can anticipate a slippery-ness around communication. But, the reality of that happening is over inflated, and it could be argued that the biggest effect that Mercury in Retrograde has on us is the hype that surrounds it.

So take a deep breathe. Mercury isn’t out to get you, and you probably won’t fall victim to some heinous breakdown in communication. Try not to actively manifest dysfunction because everyone is losing it, and try and see the forest for the trees. If you want to be certain if it will affect you or not, have a professional astrologer work up your full natal chart (a snapshot of the sky when you were born) and see if in fact this particular mercury in retrograde experience even exists in your astrological footprint. More likely than not, it doesn’t.