Wondering why there has been a bit of a break-down in communication and electronic appliances during the past few days? Since October 27th, the planet Mercury has been in the pre-shadow phase before turning Retrograde on November 16th until December 6th. When Retrograde, mistakes and mix-ups are more likely to occur or become widely noticed in general. This phenomenon happens three to four times every year, for approximately three weeks at a time. During these phases, Mercury is simply moving slower in its orbit, which produces the optimal illusion of moving backward in the sky from our perspective on earth.
This planet astrologically relates to all things pertaining to the brain, the mind and their various functions, including nerve impulses which are basically waves of electrical activity that travel through the body to protect and guide it throughout the day. It also influences electronics, automobiles and transportation, and certain metals including mercury. No wonder that computer programs and internet pages often seem to go haywire at this time! Because of Mercury’s influence over the mind, depression can set in for many. This period of time is geared more toward introspection and review than it is new beginnings and outer activities. That is not to say that such activities are doomed to fail but that there is a definite advantage to “thinking twice” before making major decisions, going with the flow and observing instead of pushing for results.
Mercury was named after the Roman god of merchants, travel and theivery who came to be synonymous with Hermes, the fleet-footed messenger of the Greek gods. This was a mischievous god who always had tricks up his sleeves, hidden in his cloak or helmet. The planet seems to function in a similar way, ruling over speech but favoring speed. Put those two together and you can understand why Mercury Retrograde causes so much confusion and misunderstanding for people. Mercury is the planetary ruler of two signs, Gemini and Virgo. For this and other reasons his tricks often seem to appear in pairs. One of the less discussed aspects of Mercury is that due to his clever nature he can help to figure out creative ways of making money.
This time around, Mercury will be Retrograde in Sagittarius, moving back into Scorpio on December 2nd. The subject matter of many conversations are very dramatic and imaginations are running wild. People might seem more dogmatic, hot-tempered and scattered over the next few weeks. The first couple of weeks of December may seem especially volatile. To understand how Mercury might affect your daily affairs overall check the house in your birth chart that it will be transiting and any planets it may come into contact with.
There is a lot more than Mercury Retrograde bearing a strong influence at this time but that is for another post!
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Above is a photo of a metal plate featuring the fleet-footed Mercury, in the Rijks museum in the Netherlands.