After Sun sign, the one thing you can count on non-astrologers to have heard of is Mercury retrograde. It happens often enough; maybe three times a year, for three weeks at a time. And apparently it has a very busy public relations agent, because it’s the first thing a lot of my non-astro friends start asking me about when their computers break down or they miss their flight: “Is Mercury retrograde?”
In 2008, Mercury’s retrograde periods are all in air signs. In January/February, Mercury backed up from 23 Aquarius 52 to 8 Aquarius 19. Coming up on May 27, Mercury stations at 21 Gemini 32, backing up to 12 Gemini 59 by mid-June. And around September 24, Mercury stations at 22 Libra 49, reversing to 7 Libra 34 by mid-October.
This means that Mercury is spending an exceptional amount of time in Gemini, the sign of its rulership. It entered Gemini on May 3, performs its retrograde shimmy, and finally leaves Gemini around July 10.
In Gemini, Mercury is its merry amoral self, the trickster and lover of word games (and mind games) who can talk you in circles and outwit you before you know what’s what. Planets in their own signs do what they do best; so this is super-Mercury we’re talking about: absolute mastery of communications.
How would Mercury in its own sign behave when retrograde? In horary, a retrograde significator indicates that someone or something is going in the wrong direction. Mercury retrograde in Gemini might mean, “right reasoning, wrong conclusion.” The message is perfectly crafted, only the sense has gone astray.
It could also be about reviewing your own thoughts – really examining what you tell yourself about the world. One thing I’m doing while Mercury is retrograde in Gemini is attending a weekend workshop with Byron Katie, whose program The Work is all about questioning your own thoughts until they let go of you. Retrograde means backwards, but it also means reviewing, going back to the past. In Byron Katie’s Work, when a painful thought comes up, you ask yourself four questions about it:
- Is it true?
- Can I be absolutely sure that it’s true?
- How do I react, what happens, when I believe that thought?
- Who would I be without the thought?
And then – another apt activity for Mercury retrograde – you turn the thought around, to see if a rephrase could be as true as, or truer than, the original thought.
Mercury turns retrograde in five days. What’s on your mind today? Who would you be without your story?