Mercury, Greek mythology, Roman mythology, Hermes, messenger, statue, artwork, GrecoRoman artwork

Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays

Mercury, Greek mythology, Roman mythology, Hermes, messenger, statue, artwork, GrecoRoman artwork

Here it is, folks: the final Mercury retrograde cycle for 2020. On October 13 at 9:05 pm Eastern time, Mercury goes retrograde at 11 degrees Scorpio, backs it up into Libra on October 27, then goes direct on November 3 at 25 degrees Libra– just in time for the U.S. election. If you think this energy will make for a wild, strange October, you’d be right. But it’s not unmanageable – and that is saying a lot coming from me. More on that in a minute.

Mercury: The Basics

Mercury, Greek mythology, Roman mythology, statue, messenger, Mercury retrograde

Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Image credit: Rwendland / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Mercury (Hermes) is the messenger of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. He did a lot of dirty work for Zeus, serial cheater who had a vengeful wife, Hera. He also saved the lives of several mortals and demi-gods who found themselves in difficult positions. Mercury is also a trickster and shapeshifter. He loves a good joke or prank. Some of the things Mercury rules includes:

  • Advertising
  • Bees and beekeepers
  • Books and literature
  • Communication – written, oral and electronic
  • Computers
  • Desks and offices
  • Keys
  • Licorice
  • Mirrors
  • Schools and teachers
  • Sewing
  • Stationery – pencils, pens, paper
  • Travel (particularly short trips)
  • Transportation – buses, trains, cars, bicycles
  • Writers and editors of all kinds – journalists, newspaper reporters, proofreaders, editors, novelists

In astrology, the term retrograde refers to when a planet appears to move backward through the signs. Retrograde cycles for the planets vary – and Mercury’s retrograde cycles are among the shortest, logging in at approximately three weeks. If it feels longer, that’s due to the shadow period, an approximately two-week period when Mercury is moving along a path that it will revisit later. There’s a pre- and post-retrograde shadow period: typically the post-retrograde shadow is not as intense as the pre-retrograde shadow and is more of a final review of everything that occurred during Mercury retrograde.

Mercury, planet, Mercury retrograde, astronomy, astrology

The planet Mercury. Image credit: Brocken Inaglory / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Mercury managed to get the best PR team out of all the planets because so many people are aware of Mercury retrograde cycles and how it affects traffic, electronic devices, and communication. As a Gemini rising, I am all too aware of my love-hate relationship with Mercury, as he rules both Gemini and Virgo. I cannot tell you how many times I have cursed him out while dealing with a phone issue, downed wifi, car issues, or some other shenanigans. But I have also learned the necessity of planning ahead and being extremely organized before retrograde cycles, and going above and beyond my usual efforts to ensure my emails and social media posts are clearly written. I will review plans and task lists with clients and colleagues both verbally and in writing, so that we eliminate any possible confusion. I try harder to shut my mouth and listen to other people, too.

As you’ve read in my previous posts about Venus retrograde and Mars retrograde, you know that retrograde periods are a time to move inward. It’s an opportunity to slow down and be reflective on what that sign rules. And since Mercury rules Wednesday, I encourage you to celebrate Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays during his final retrograde for 2020. Starting on October 14 and ending October 28, spend the next 3 Wednesdays honoring this versatile, multitalented planet with some very mercurial activities.

Activities for Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays

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  • Write it down. Get a notebook or journal and write down what’s on your mind. Give it all to the page – it can handle what you have to rant or rave about. Read my post about daily writing rituals if you need some suggestions on how to start.
  • Take a little trip. Get in your car or on a train – whatever feels safest for you – and set off on a day trip. To really honor the free-spirited, impulsive nature of Mercury, don’t plan out where to go (but do make sure the car is full of gas, tires are properly inflated, etc.). Allow yourself to be surprised. Bonus points for bike rides!
  • Read. Mercury rules the written word, so grab a book or magazine or newspaper, your favorite beverage and maybe a snack, and settle down in a comfy chair to read. For this activity, I recommend going analog – Mercury may decide to zap your phone or tablet just when the action gets exciting, because he is a jerk like that sometimes. Do not ask me how I know this. Mercury also rules humor, so a collection of humorous essays or a satirical novel is an excellent choice.
  • Reorganize your office/work area. This includes your desk, files, shelves and bookcases. Definitely keep this activity to physical items – otherwise you may end up deleting computer files you needed. Again, do not ask me how I know this.
  • Watch something funny. Mercury loves to laugh, so scratch that itch by watching a movie or sitcom that makes you laugh. A standup comic special is also an excellent choice.
  • Clean the mirrors. Get some window cleaner or a spray bottle of white vinegar (my personal choice), a soft clean rag or paper towels, and clean all the mirrors in your home. You may even want to set up a new mirror somewhere, or perhaps buy a compact mirror for your go bag or purse.
  • Handwrite a letter or note to someone. Mercury rules handwriting, pens, pencils, and stationery, so this is an activity he can totally get behind. If you have no idea what to write, here’s a list of ideas.
  • Call a relative. Pick up the phone and call your mom, dad, sibling, your favorite uncle, the aunt who sends you care packages (shout out to my Aunt Gigi*) and check in with them. Doesn’t have to be a long conversation, nor does it have to be a heavy one. Just keep it light and loving, and you’ll both feel good by the time you hang up.
  • Sew. Mercury rules sewing machines AND needles, so if you enjoy sewing, set aside time on Wednesdays to sew a small project or work on a longer one. I love to sew, and I plan on doing this as much as possible – but you best believe I’ll be having a chat with Mercury ahead of time about not dicking with my machine, breaking needles, or jamming up the bobbin. Brand new to sewing? I highly recommend the Crafty Gemini’s tutorials for beginners.

Mercury retrograde Wednesday, Mercury, astrology, desk, office, organization, reorganize, humor, comedy, comics, sitcoms, girl with moxie

There’s a lot of planetary activity this year that poses some major challenges for all of us, and Mercury retrograde is just another part of it. But if we come at this cycle from a place of honoring the shift in perspective that’s required during Mercury retrograde, it can be a much easier transit to manage. Laugh along with Mercury as much as you can!

Freddie Mercury, Queen, rockstar, statue

Everyone’s favorite Mercury: the legendary Freddie Mercury. Image credit: Corvus / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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Mercury Retrograde in Pisces: It’s the Most Frustrating Time of the Year

Connection speeds got you down?
Your bus or train running behind schedule?
Mobile phone, laptop, or other electronic device not working right?

Welcome to Mercury retrograde, my friends.

Long time readers of GWM have likely read previous posts I’ve written about Mercury retrograde, an astrological phenomenon that happens about 3 times a year. To understand this occurrence, and why some folks get so frustrated when Mercury is retrograde, I’ll provide some background.

Mercury, Greek, mythology, Hermes

Artistic rendering of Mercury (Hermes), the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. Image courtesy elfinspell.com

Mercury (also known as Hermes) was the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks. In astrology, the planet Mercury rules all forms of communication. This includes e-mail, faxes, Internet, phones, text messages and snail mail. Mercury also rules transportation: planes, trains, automobiles, even bicycles and scooters. On a more abstract level, Mercury rules thoughts, concepts and ideas.

In astrology, the term retrograde means that a planet appears to be moving backwards through the signs of the zodiac. All planets except the Sun and Moon have retrograde cycles, and these retrograde cycles tend to trigger areas that need special attention. I found this explanation from Dwight Ennis to be particularly helpful:

Astrologically, a retrograde planet is symbolically retracing ground that has already been covered. Wherever one finds a retrograde planet, it seems to indicate a need to internalize that planet’s energies, come to terms with them, and “own” them.

When Mercury is retrograde, communication can get all screwed up. Websites go down for no apparent reason. Social media becomes unpredictable, with real-time updates & feeds not working the way they should. Electronic devices lose power or break down completely. Travel can be wonky as well: traffic might be much worse on the freeway, flights are delayed or cancelled, and you might have car problems.

The unpredictability of Mercury retrograde can manifest in other surprising ways. Whenever a major awards ceremony takes place during Mercury retrograde, such as this year’s Academy Awards, I’m always interested to see what happens, because the favorite in any category can end up not winning. This year’s results didn’t disappoint in that regard, with Argo taking Best Picture, Ang Lee winning Best Director for Life of Pi, and Christoph Waltz getting the Best Supporting Actor award for his work in Django Unchained – when none of them were seen as the favorites by many pundits.

On February 23, Mercury went retrograde in the sign of Pisces, which rules intuition, imagination, compassion, and understanding. Pisces also rules large bodies of water and water pipes. During the Oscars, I found this tweet which perfectly describes the wackiness of Mercury retrograde in Pisces.

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I like to think that Mercury finds all of the delays and communication breakdowns and surprises amusing. He’s a trickster, after all. But that doesn’t help when you’re waiting on a call about a job or your car won’t start. The good part is that Mercury retrograde cycles don’t last very long; the most intense portion of the cycle goes on for 20-24 days. It’s enough time to make you loopy, but not so long that you lose all hope of ever having a working Internet connection again.

It may help to think of Mercury retrograde cycles as a time to re-engage with areas of your life that have been neglected. Our world spins so fast these days (figuratively speaking) that it can be difficult to find the time to take on those tasks we’ve been putting off for a while. Personally, I’ve been using this Mercury retrograde period to take a look at old projects and determine if I am interested enough to revive them, and I’m re-organizing my stuff and weeding out items I no longer need. Notice all the “re” words? That’s because retrograde cycles are good for “re” activities: revise, reassess, review…you get the idea.

While searching online for current pieces on Mercury retrograde, I came across this piece from 2010 that resonated with me. As someone whose ruling planet is Mercury (I’m a Gemini rising), I often struggle to find the good during Mercury’s retrograde periods. The excerpt below gave me some food for thought:

Mercury Retrograde is a time to lay off the caffeine-powered Mercury engines of our lives and find something else–stillness, Athena, Jupiter, anybody but Hermes/Mercury. And this is what could be filling us with dread as we think of Mercury receding away from us. We’ve come to depend so much on him that we can’t picture him moving away from us…We don’t use it as a time to reflect on our attachment to our computers, our phones, our social networking accounts, our blogs, or even ways of communicating, whether electronically or not. It doesn’t mean that we have to cut off Mercury or Mercury related concerns entirely, even if that were possible.

It means that we can give space to other dimensions of Mercury through other “gods” or principles, like looking at the beauty of our handwriting, which is more of a Venus/Jupiter concern. (Yes, when was the last time you looked at your writing script? Have you ever pushed to develop or improve it, especially since writing in script is becoming a dying art?) Or does a recent argument with a friend highlight how you might not listen as well as you think you do? Or do you speak more forcefully, with too much Mars, than you might think or would like? Similarly, are you being as serious about your communication or your spoken commitments as you could, which is to evoke more Saturn? Or how are you evoking Athena (strategy) and wisdom on your job?

So while I referred to Mercury retrograde as being the most frustrating time of the year in the post title, it really doesn’t have to be. And if I keep telling myself this, eventually I will believe it. In the meantime, I’m counting down the days until March 17, when Mercury goes direct. Only 13 more to go…

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer (June 2007)

Better late than never…here is the Mercury retrograde update for the current cycle.

Mercury went retrograde at 12 degrees Cancer on June 15, 2007, and will go direct at 2 degrees Cancer on July 9, 2007.
A brief recap on what Mercury retrograde means:  Mercury (a.k.a. Hermes) was the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks. In astrology, the planet Mercury rules all forms of communication. This includes e-mail, faxes, Internet, cell phones, text messages, and snail mail. Transportation, short trips, and cars are also ruled by Mercury. Other random things ruled by Mercury: bees and beekeepers; bad breath; coupons; eyesight; idiots and imbeciles; needles; licorice; schools; sewing; the color violet; Wednesday.Retrograde means that a planet appears to be moving backwards through the signs of the zodiac. When Mercury is retrograde, communication can get all screwed up. Your Internet access might crap out suddenly. Phone calls get disconnected or don’t go through at all. Travel can be screwy as well: traffic might be much worse on the freeway, flights are delayed or cancelled, and you might have car problems. Attempting to execute any sort of plan during this time might be more difficult than usual.
While this can be annoying, Mercury retrograde is also a great “do-over” period. For about 4 weeks, all sorts of things can happen. Old classmates e-mail you out of the blue (this actually happened to me last week – a guy from my high school sent me a message about our upcoming reunion). A former lover calls you to chat. And unresolved issues finally get closure. Because of this, many astrologers recommend using this period as a time to review, reflect, revise, and re-do, rather than starting new projects.

Crazy things tend to happen during Mercury retrograde because to Mercury, it’s funny. He has a pretty twisted sense of humor. And while I appreciate weirdness in people, planets, and androgynous mythological characters, I also like my e-mails and text messages to go through. I have learned, though, that if I laugh with Mercury, and not at him, things have a way of flowing more smoothly.

Cancer is the sign that rules motherhood, the home, patriotism, and sentimentality. It also rules women, water, food, and the stomach. In July 2006, Mercury was retrograde in Cancer; what I wrote then still applies now:

Cancer is the sign that rules emotion, home, and family – its main focus is on nurturing. Cancer is represented by the crab. The crab’s claws serve a dual purpose: nurturing, in that the crab uses its claws to grab food; or hurtful, in that the crab uses the claws to protect itself from predators. During Mercury retrograde in Cancer, it’s a time to review our emotional process. Are we pulling people and ideas close to us in order to nurture them, as well as ourselves? Or are we snapping our emotional claws in an attempt to defend ourselves? Mercury in Cancer says, “Hey, look at what you’re feeling and be with it. Don’t make yourself wrong, but don’t make others wrong, either. You just feel what you feel. But if you want to feel better, see what thoughts, concepts, and beliefs are underneath all those emotions.”

To put it simply, be good to yourself over the next 2 weeks. Don’t make any rash decisions based on how you’re feeling right now, because come July 10, you might feel completely different. Take time to relax, and if you need someone to bitch to about Mercury’s bullshit, give me a shout at girlwithmoxie at gmail.com.

Pre-Oscar Buzz

I’ve been working on the details for an Oscar party. Nah, nothing like the Governor’s Ball or Vanity Fair’s big blowout at Morton’s. But it’s a pretty big deal for those of us that have been planning it for the last few months. We have a private room in a local restaurant, and tons of prizes we’re raffling off throughout the Academy Awards. Now all we need is the people to show up, so say a little prayer for us, will ya? Thanks.

This year’s Oscar races are quite interesting. With a lot of very strong performances, it’s hard to predict who will win. What makes this year even more interesting is that Mercury is retrograde.

As we already know, Mercury is a trickster. He loves to play jokes and quite frequently, his sense of humor is not that funny, especially to those people who have their cars break down on the freeway. (Yep, Mercury rules automobile trips.)

Mercury was retrograde during last year’s Oscars as well, and look what happened: everyone thought Brokeback Mountain was a lock for Best Picture, and instead Crash won. And remember how many plot points in Crash were focused on cars? Good one, Merc, you had us all fooled. We should have known better.

So based on this, I’m going to predict the following wins: Babel for Best Picture, since it’s all about being able to communicate (and Mercury rules communication), and Cars for Best Animated Feature, for obvious reasons. In a few hours, we’ll see if I’m right.

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces/Aquarius: Come On In, the Water’s Fine!

Yes, kids, it’s back. The planet Mercury goes retrograde at 10 degrees of Pisces starting on February 13, 2007 and goes direct at 25 degrees of Aquarius on March 7, 2007. For those of you who are new to Moxie’s astrology talk, here’s a recap:

Mercury (also known as Hermes) was the messenger of the gods in Greek & Roman mythology. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks. The planet Mercury rules all forms of communication. This includes e-mail, faxes, Internet, phones, text messages, and good ol’ U.S. Postal Service mail. Mercury also rules thoughts, concepts, ideas, and transportation.

Retrograde means that a planet appears to be moving backwards through the signs of the zodiac. When Mercury is retrograde, communication can get all screwed up. Your Internet access might be spotty or unbearably slow. Phone calls get disconnected or don’t go through at all. Travel can be wonky as well: traffic might be much worse on the freeway, flights are delayed or cancelled, and you might have car problems.

Mercury retrograde is also a great “do-over” period. For about 4 weeks, all sorts of crazy things can happen. Long-lost friends find you on Myspace. A former lover calls you to chat. And unresolved issues finally get closure. Because of this, many astrologers recommend using this period as a time to review, reflect, revise, and re-do, rather than starting new projects.

Pisces rules intuition, imagination, compassion, and understanding. Its sign is the fish, which swims through the waters of the psyche to gain clarity and achieve self-awareness. In its role as the last water sign in the zodiac, Pisces seeks to integrate all the lessons from the previous signs (Aries through Aquarius) and understand itself – and others – on a deep emotional and spiritual level.

As Mercury passes through Pisces from February 13 – 25, take some time to look at your spiritual environment. Do you feel connected to others, as well as yourself? Or do you spend a lot of time feeling like you’re on the outside looking in? Now is a good time to browse through the spiritual, self-help, and religious sections of a local bookstore or library, and pick up whatever book grabs your attention. Music, film, art, and theater might also be tools you can use to help you reconnect with your higher self. Allow your intuition to guide you to the right resources that can help you gain greater insight into your psyche.

On February 26, Mercury swims back into Aquarius. This air sign focuses on humanitarian efforts, inventiveness, and intellectual activity. Because Aquarius is known as the water bearer, people sometimes think it’s actually a water sign. But rather than living in the water (emotional experience), Aquarius carries the water to others so that they can thrive. As such, Aquarians can be seen as rather cool and aloof. It’s this detachment, though, that allows them to come up with ideas that may benefit all of humanity.

For the last 10 days of Mercury retrograde (February 26 – March 7), think about what you’ve learned about yourself while Mercury was moving through Pisces. How can you implement your spiritual lessons in new, creative ways? How can you help others in a way that everyone benefits? Look around to see what charities are doing in your area. Find ones that speak to you personally and figure out some way you can help, whether it’s donating your time, money, or other services. Check in with your friends and family, too. Is someone really struggling with personal or professional issues? Take them out and allow them to vent and process their feelings and thoughts without fear of being judged.

With Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius, we’re given an opportunity to dive into deep water and explore our spiritual selves. Once we’re back on dry land, we have a chance to pour out that water and re-establish our connections to others. So put your bathing suit on – it’s time to go swimming!

Got questions about astrology? Leave me a comment, or send me a message via my profile.