Inevitably, when I tell people that Mercury is retrograde, someone will shriek in response and say, “What, again?!” The truth is that we are always in a Mercury cycle. The solar system is exactly like a clock. It is a complex structure of gears, each turning in its own perfect way to mark out the progression of moments that we call time. Mercury is like the inner spring that keeps things wound up in a constant state of contraction and release; expansion and integration.
Because of its close proximity to us and its very fast orbit around the Sun, Mercury hits the point where it goes retrograde with great precision. It happens three times a year for 22 days every 88 days. We don’t have to think about the chaos of the next retrograde part of Mercury’s cycle until late autumn, starting at the beginning of the day on November 24th through the very end of the day on December 13th. But the new cycle begins today and I thought it would be a good chance to get a jump on things.
Let’s begin by describing the archetypal sense of what Mercury represents. The most basic meaning associated with this messenger-god is communication. In the consciousness of astrology, Mercury is the mind. While it is through the heart that we experience our selves, it is through the mind that we experience the world. The capacity for our mind to expand in consciousness and for us to become wiser (as opposed to just smarter) is what the Mercury cycles are all about.
We move through life collecting data about how the world works. Every few months we need to integrate what we’ve been learning and that is what happens when Mercury goes retrograde. After we move around in the new territory we are learning about for a few weeks, the cycle begins anew. This new start can be a very satisfying moment; a breath of fresh air and a new beginning. And that, my fellow travelers, is where we are today (September 9, 2011).
Mercury has just entered Virgo. That means it will travel through Virgo, then Libra followed by Scorpio before going retrograde in the sign of Sagittarius. You can begin this new cycle with a much greater sense of conscious intention by understanding the themes that are being generated by this archetypal journey of the mind.
We’ll start with the end of the journey. Sagittarius is the archetype of truth, expansion and spiritual principles. If the world is calling us to bring on our “A-game” of how we live our lives, it is easy to see that this current cycle is going to take us through a process to do just that. And we start in the sign that represents process itself, Virgo.
The next month is all about integrating what we’ve just learned into our daily experience of life. That is what Virgo rules: daily routine and integrating wisdom into how we live our lives each day. By the 25th of this month, Mercury moves into Libra, turning the focus on relationships and the mirror that life is. Remember, there is no “out there” out there. It’s all just a reflection. Through October 13th, it’s all about how well we understand that the things we are looking for are to be found within us. What we find outside of us is truly just a reflection of our own consciousness. If you need to know what it is you want in your life, take a look at what you have, because that will tell you in no uncertain terms.
Want things to look differently? Then the period between October 14th and November 2nd will put Mercury in Scorpio, the sign of transformation and change. This is your best opportunity for making deeply felt changes that are organic and permanent. In fact, Mercury meets up with Venus as they both enter Sagittarius on the 2nd. This is a fantastic moment for your mind and your heart to become congruent with each other. The Mercury retrograde period in late November is where the integration of all of this heart/mind congruency stuff is going to get down and dirty.
Do your work in advance and you’ll have a MUCH easier time of this part of the process. Don’t do it and it will be done to you anyway. The conscious path is the more loving and expansive.