Getting what you want from Mercury Retrograde (part 1)

We are in the shadow of yet another Mercury Retrograde. Rather than rehash the same information again (you can get that here), I thought I’d talk about some of the possibilities. People always seem to focus on how Mercury gets in their way, and less on actually getting what the want from Mercury Retrograde. I don’t mean removing its effects. I’m talking about creating a personal mission statement, manifestation, and using the energetic influence of the sign(s) in play to help define your focus.

As I have said, Mercury Retrograde is great for manifestation, because the energy slows down and thickens. But there’s more to it than just manifestation.

One of the benefits of Mercury Retrograde is that the Universe is offering you the opportunity to spend some time on self improvement. Normally, this can be more of a chore than a celebration, but during Mercury Retrograde, it actually gets easier, as long as you know what to focus on. I’m pretty sure we’re all interested in becoming better humans and getting more comfortable in our own skin; it’s just a tedious process sometimes. You can start by going online and finding out what sign(s) the retrograde is happening in. For example, the upcoming cycle (2/17-3/10, plus a week and a half before and after) will be in Pisces (2/17-3/4) and Aquarius (3/5-3/10).

Pisces is a water sign, feels fairly dreamy, has strong ties to illusion, and is the completion of the zodiac cycle. Resolving/healing old emotional wounds can be very effective at this time. Reviewing what you this is the Truth to sort out story from fact can be beneficial. New information may come to light, so reviewing your past can help you shift your perspective on events, as long as you keep an open mind. The Mercury Retrograde process of tying up loose ends is even more important (and easier to do) now. If you are artistic/creative, you may find that your flow is strong right now, even as communication gets more challenging. Dana Gerhardt, one of my favorite astrologers, characterizes Pisces thusly:

Pisces plays the mandolin and wears sky blue shirts that smell like lavender or sometimes roses. When he visits, you might hear snow melting. Tulips and daffodils poke their heads above ground to greet him, while starlings dream of their future: finding a soul mate, nest-building, teaching their young to fly. Pisces’ mother used to worry about him. He’d spend long hours alone in his room. Whenever she pressed her ear to the door, holding a bowl of soup or grilled cheese sandwiches, she would hear strange voices, sometimes sobbing, maybe a violin, or a trilling bird. One year he drew a thousand portraits of clouds. Next year he took up face painting, until every kid in the neighborhood had become twelve fantastic animals. The year after that he spoke just one word: “Ah.” He studied poetry and took long naps in college. Later he tried the corporate world, but missed too many meetings. One day he kidnapped the shipping department and took them to a matinee just before Fed-Ex arrived.

Pisces says that life’s too short and there’s important non-work to do. “Each day listen to your desires and follow them exclusively. That’s the wisdom of flow.” I’m suspicious: “How would anything get done?” His eyes grow wide and mirthful, as if to say “You’ll see when you finally try it!” I’d like to, for when I spend time with Pisces, my worries exhaust into a peaceful sigh, like petals releasing from a tired rose. At night Pisces tells me to sit in a dark room with a single candle for at least two hours. If I stay there long enough, I don’t know who I am anymore. Yet my heart grows as big as the world.

Aquarius is, counterintuitively, an air sign, is strong on aesthetics, and governs relationships. This is a great time to rethink who you are, and how you put yourself out into the world; if you’ve been wanting to “be someone else,” now is the time to revisit your dreams and plan how to make that happen. Clean out your closets, clear off your desk, get rid of old stuff that is collecting dust or doesn’t speak to you any more. Define your relationship with your community. Relationships (romantic, platonic, or even business) which have the power to change the course of your life may start or become stronger. Aquarius is also going to enhance your creative flow. Dana Gerhardt on Aquarius:

People say Aquarius the Water Bearer was actually human. He was a shepherd named Ganymede, who was so gorgeous, Zeus spirited him to the heavens to serve the thirsty gods water and wine. But this isn’t the full story. He was also a radical, always disturbing the village. He was teaching the sheep how to climb trees. While his sister was sleeping, he dyed her hair purple and blue. Afternoons he served fortitude tea to the crazy woman everyone hated. She adored his inventions: a thorn-bush goblet-scrubber, sandals-on-wheels, a wooden cart with wings, an eyepiece that revealed the fish on the Moon, and finally, a catapult that carried his resume to the heavens. He wanted to serve in a big way. Zeus hired him to be the gods’ water bearer, until Aquarius devised an ever-flowing water urn out of stars, leaving him free to pursue other ambitions.

Often, when Aquarius visits, he acts like a teenager. He rolls his eyes a lot, always hates what I like, spends hours locked in his room. He’s constantly texting, tweeting, updating his Facebook profile, or playing with the apps on his smartphone. At first I thought Aquarius disapproved of me. Then I discovered the notes he left in all my favorite places. Some contained a quietly brilliant idea to make my life better. Others posed a question so startling, my world spun. Twice he shared visions of my future in such detail I believed they would actually come true. He’s a good friend now. His face betrays little emotion, but he’s very compassionate. He cares more about the world’s well-being than anyone I know. He loves this season, when the snows melt and it rains on Saturdays. When the clouds break, he takes me to an orchard of dead-looking trees and points out the tiny buds sprouting on the branches. His eyes are always looking to the future.

Using the information on the signs affected by Mercury Retrograde, you can focus on improving or transforming your life by focusing on the appropriate energies. Next up: Using Mercury Retrograde to craft your personal mission statement.

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