The Retrograde Side of Mercury

Explaining to a friend about sharing a room during a silent meditation retreat, she wondered how three people could share space together without talking.

Simple, I answered. We agreed in advance to cooperate and not invade each other’s space. No language is needed once you have that agreement. If I planned to shower and someone was in the shower, I simply showered at another time. No nasty looks. No snide comments. During a retreat, of course, you have this option. Daily life may not be so accommodating.

If I compare the cooperation during a silent retreat compared to, say, my current work environment, there is really no comparison. For me, talking situations are infinitely more complex. Of course, the work we do is more complex as well.

Talking is talking. Agreement is agreement. Cooperation is cooperation.

Talking is probably the greatest hustler that exists, camouflaging as so many modes and traits from communication itself to compromise, agreement, love, hate, sincerity and everything else we describe. Talking is simply the messenger confused as the message.

Astrological Mercury

Mercury is the planet closest to the sun and appears to travel “backward,” about three or four times a year. That means 17 – 23 percent of our year has Mercury at our backs.

Mercury represents communication so astrologers warn you (and this one too) that communication may be more difficult during this retrograde motion. Yet, Mercury retrograde is common. Rather than retrograde being Mercury gone bad, I think retrograde is part of the Mercury experience.

Mercury is “retrograde” anytime someone tells you something less than true or sincere in order to move you in a different direction than you were headed.

How often does that happen?

Is all marketing Mercury retrograde?

Mercury rules the sign of Gemini bringing this sign high intelligence, mental agility, flexibility, wit, charm and a host of other social gifts. Gemini is represented by the twins which are the male and female halves, the sun and moon or any other polarity.

“Retrograde” Gemini is associated with the con artist. But I don’t think Gemini is the con artist; I think language itself is the con artist.

The Imposter

In the movie, The Imposter, a French man pretends to be a missing Texas teenager. He’s so effective he makes it through the European court systems, FBI interrogations and into the US to live with the teenager’s family and attend his school. A Hard Copy reporter finally reveals his true nature as an imposter.

The man, Frédéric Bourdin, has sun in Mercury-ruled Gemini and moon/Jupiter in Neptune-ruled Pisces. Bourdin is interviewed in the movie and you learn much about his technique which is a combination of verbal (with French accent), visual and, ironically, silence. You learn later in the movie that he is practiced as well.

Visual comes first with Bourdin acting the part of a lonely and ostracized teenager. He is deliberately quiet allowing others to fill in the gaps of the story he has created through specific actions. When he speaks, he tells a horrific story of kidnapping and bondage which evokes compassion from his listeners.

How and why the Texas family believes this 23-year old man with an accent is their lost 16-year old brother is another, Neptunian part of the story. Does the family believe him due to intense grief and desire to believe? Or do they believe because it fits their own nebulous story?

Watching a movie of this sort, you wonder how anyone can believe such a thing. But it only takes a few minutes of reflection to think of situations where you believed someone entirely to find out the situation was a fabrication.

It’s easy to believe. We’re all believers of visual and auditory experience.

As the cover of The Imposter states, “There are two sides to every lie.”

Government Retrograde

On June 5, 2013, the first stories of secret NSA mass surveillance of US citizens were published in The Guardian. The sun, Mars and Jupiter were all in Gemini. The leaker of this information, Edward Snowden, has sun in 29 degrees Gemini. At the time, Jupiter was transiting his sun bringing Jupiter’s expansion to his Gemini nature.

While the opinions of Edward Snowden span from traitor to hero, the more I learn about the surveillance program the more I realize that without a little “Mercury retrograde,” we would never know that our basic civil rights were being trampled upon because the means to conceal it involved draconian threats to those that were forced to be involved (per Frontline series).

The cat’s been out of the bag for two Gemini sun cycles and on June 1 Congress will determine whether to continue this program as is or in some other fashion.

On June 1, Mercury will be retrograde in eight degrees of Gemini in a nice square to Neptune at nine degrees of Pisces. Sun and Mars will be close companions at 10 and 13 degrees Gemini respectively. That’s a little of the stuff that created the immense talent of Frédéric Bourdin.

What’s the retrograde in this Mercurial situation? Is the retrograde the fact the situation was hidden until revealed by a leaker? Is the retrograde the returning to possibly unconstitutional metadata collection with the approval of an unconcerned public? Is the retrograde the words used which may not represent what actually occurred in the past and may occur in the future?

Mercury is a “hall of mirrors” direct or retrograde. Too much information can be as confusing as too little.

If this program is extended until July 31, Mercury will be direct while Venus, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will all be retrograde. That’s half of the astral bodies we use in a horoscope.

Saturn will be retrograde at 28 degrees of Scorpio which is about where it was on December 17, 2014 when the US announced normalization of relations with Cuba. There may be a “return” to that situation as well.

On June 1, Mercury retrograde will tell us what’s it’s decided to do. Ten days later, June 11, Mercury may burp up some different information as it goes “direct” (i.e., forward motion). We’ll watch both retrograde and direct Mercury through Mercury’s most amazing device – the television.


About ohioastrology

I'm just another soul trying to make sense of the world. As I've grown, so has my understanding of astrology. I'd like to communicate that astrology is not occult and not fortune-telling but that it is a fluid, creative description of the life we choose to live.
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