Mercury Retrograde has somehow got a bad rep. Is it because our world is so wired and technological delays can cause tremendous upset? My mom once said that a game of Mah Jong can reveal someone’s personality. Now, it’s probably seeing how someone deals when the computer or their social media account crashes. (Before, it was waiting for the dial up to connect!)
We probably have some ideas about what Mercury Retrograde is. If that story is about technology failures and frustration, here’s more to flesh out the full story of what Mercury Retrograde is. To start, we’re looking at Mercury the Archetype.
What is an Archetype?
Archetypes are ancient and universal energies that affect human behaviour and psyche. It’s the primordial instincts (Freud), transcendental first principles (Plato), and universal expressions of the collective unconscious (Jung). Found in mythology, fairytales, literature, and psychology, archetypes are rich in the writings of Joseph Campbell and Clarissa Pinkola-Estés and in films from Harry Potter to Star Wars. We also find them in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
“As above, so below” – archetypes being part of the pattern, they reflect cosmic energies. Caroline Myss teaches about and through archetypes, including those we all face in regards to our security. Through archetypes, we can learn a great deal about ourselves, our culture, and the cosmos.
The Archetype of Mercury
In Mercury we find the principle of the mind, linear thinking, articulating ideas, and forms of communication.
If I want to know more about my flexibility, about my (verbal and mimic) interaction with the outer world, about my way of functioning, my communicative competence, my intelligence – I look at my Mercury persona chart.Astrodienst¹
Mercury is left-brain rational thought while Jupiter is non-linear and intuitive. Through both these and all forms of communications, we are continually learning. We do this by exchanging ideas and reflecting on them. Perhaps it’s partly from the tension between the deductive and inductive and between rational and intuitive, as Jeffrey Green Wolf points out, that drives this creativity. We learn to both differentiate and expand to include more points of view. Puzzling out the parts to build the whole. Sensing unity and seeing the parts as they emerge in divine order.
While Mercury helps us with “intellectually ordering the phenomenal nature of existence”, Jupiter is the “archetype in our consciousness that makes us aware as a species, and as individuals, that we are connected to much more than just the immediacy of our physical environment.” ²
The natural movement, though, is moving to allowing Jupiter to lead Mercury. To allow our intuitive self to be our consciousness guide. Because we live in the world that we do, we are used to linear and rational thinking as the “right way of thinking.” Even when so many of us are searching for the “right” words to explain our intuitive Jovian and surprising Uranian insights. To validate ourselves in a system that is lopsided and discriminatory. A system we perpetuate by participation.
When Mercury is retrograde, we are given an opportunity to take a break from ourselves. To see our habits of thinking and communicating from breathing-room distance and hopefully fresh eyes. When our external communications do go haywire, it’s an invitation and a reminder to go inward, to create new neuropathways and to connect to our depths.
Got Mercury in Retrograde at Birth?
For those born with Mercury in retrograde, this energy may be more familiar. Jeffrey Green Wolf writes that these Mercury Retrograde natives tend to tune out any information that is not of personal interest or purpose and have even greater clarity during a Mercury Retrograde.
Taking a cue from that, we can learn to take in with a discerning touch, rather than just collect and hoard information. As these natives did in their recent lives, giving rise to mental overload.
A retrograde archetype accelerates growth relative to the Jungian idea of individuation.Jeffrey Wolf Green, Essays On Evolutionary Astrology ³
With Mercury Retrograde, let us slow down, go analogue and explore all the Rx modes – relax, reflect, review, revisit, reset, re-do, re-think, re-define, re-assess, re-align, re-calibrate, re-tune, resolve, release…
What beliefs, routines, usual driving routes, and other well-grooved neuropathways can we let go of? Those that drive us bat crazy and mad as a hatter. What happened the last time you blew a fuse? Did you bite someone’s head off, because you were actually angry at not being heard, at not listening to yourself? At giving over your authority to someone else?
Mercury Retrograde is uncomfortable for many people, precisely because it’s exactly what many people require. An inner introspective journey. Excavating for clarity. By listening to our own intuitive hits. In retrograde, the energy naturally spins inward, rather than outward so going to our core is perhaps less daunting. Maybe you want to journal, take a walk in the woods (where connection is 24/7 and free!), or doodle. Find your own thing.
This is also when the Trickster Archetype is activated. Get your cosmic sense of humour back!
Understanding July 2019 Mercury Retrograde
Each Mercury Retrograde brings a different flavour, a different lesson. Mercury goes between Leo and Cancer this summer. The themes are courage, self-expression, individuality, family, and tribalism. In eclipse season to boot. So for some people, this means drama and you may find what Pico Iyer calls “sitcom routine.” Remember it is a choice. This does not have to be reality.
Mercury stations retrograde July 7/8 at 4º Leo and goes direct July 31 2019 at 23º Cancer. July 31 is also Black New Moon (Black because there are two new moons in July). On July 21 we have the cazimi. This is when the Sun conjuncts Mercury, or Epiphany Day as Jamie Miller of Pandora Astrology calls it. The exact time is 5.35 AM Pacific or 8.35 AM Eastern. So pay attention!
Sometimes the light dawns on Epiphany Day itself, other times it happens up to 2 days early or late; yours may be past or it may still be in the works. Whether you’ve had your moment of clarity already or whether there is more to come, there’s just one thing to do: ruminate on it, let it all come together in your mind. Let the wave break and carry you to the end of the Mercury retrograde period and the fruition of your project.Jamie Miller ⁴
Sun cazimi Mercury sits in the heart of the sun and seems to have a deep wisdom that permeates from other dimensions and out through their soul.
Relishing the Beauty of Mercury Retrograde
So often we need to be disrupted before we take our heads out of the sand, and look up to see the changing landscape. We can become locked in our routine, living in our heads, telling and re-telling the same story. Re-manifesting the same reality.
When we step back from our frustration, however, we can find real value in this inconvenience. Perhaps you live without brakes in your life? 24/7 connected via technology to your work? What about your participation in life itself?
Check in on your attitude. Is it half glass empty or full? Are you looking to survive or thrive? What is your focus?
When more and more of us can shift away from an outdated narrative and broken system, when more and more of us recognize the abundance and possibilities, systemic and global change happens. This means that we each deep dive into our core and resurface with our talents, gifts, and strengths and show up as our wholed self. And learn to better communicate with each other by creating room for more at the table.
Mercury Retrograde can midwife a new consciousness and the creativity we have been gestating. Now that Mercury Retrograde has moved from a fringe topic to the mainstream, we can feel the sands shifting and the airs being electrified, igniting imagination in the collective consciousness for empowered change.
Sources1 Persona Charts. Twelve (Archetypal) Personalities. Astrodienst. (link)
2 The Nature and Function of Mercury and Its Archetypal Role in Consciousness School of Evolutionary Astrology. (link)
3 Essays on Evolutionary Astrology. Jeffrey Green Wolf. Wessex Astrologer Ltd. 2011. 4 Have You Had Your Mercury Retrograde Epiphany? by Jamie Miller. Pandora Astrology. (link)
An Introduction to Archetypal Astrological Analysis by Richard Tarnas, PhD. (link)