Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

On 24th of July, Mercury entered his shadow period; those degrees of the zodiac which he then retraces when he moves backwards through our skies. He slowed down until coming to a stop on the 12th of August and, on the 14th, he started his retrograde. This is, of course, only from our perspective. Objectively, Mercury is always moving forwards but, then again, Astrology is always about our perspective.

Mercury is not always retrograde at this time of the year but 9th to 14th August inclusive is the time of the year when, for the third year in a row, I’ve been away on the same trip. Like the wider happenings in the sky and the wider events in the world, there’s a wider story as to why I go on this trip, about what happened while I was there and of what it all means to me. But this post is about zooming in and distilling the part to do with the Mercury Retrograde. And zooming in and distilling is what Virgo, the sign that Mercury is currently in, likes to do best.

Many people speak of the Mercury Retrograde and of his shadow period as being a time when things to do with Mercury will go wrong; foggy thinking, miscommunication, interrupted travels, breakdowns of the items that support travel and communication (such as computers, phones, cars, trains, planes etc.) and so forth. People are warned that this is not the time to sign contracts, that it’s not the time to make significant purchases and that it’s not the time to decide upon anything important.

I think that this interpretation is borne out of a worldview that tries to gain knowledge through observation – through observing A and seeing the resulting B. Through concluding that A causes B. This worldview doesn’t see what lies beneath the surface – that one intention set while in one particular mood can lead A to B while another intention set under other conditions could lead A to C through Z and possibly to some numbers or to the special characters as well.

I absolutely love Mercury Retrogrades. I find it a magical, creative time, filled with wonder. As Thoth, Mercury brought us magic and writing. As psychopomp, Mercury is the only Deity who has free access to all the worlds, even having permission to go into and to return from Death. This time of his going backwards, of the energy being directed within, is a wonderful time to engage in the magic that is our ability to create our realities through the thoughts and the language that we use. It’s a wonderful time to get clear about where it is that we would like to go and to then notice where and what we need to re-tweak in order to get there.

If things to do with Mercury do behave strangely at this time, I thoroughly believe that this is most likely to be Mercury trying to communicate with us, trying to help us…getting us to change what we’re doing or to slow down and to revisit something. If things to do with Mercury do go wrong, I think it can also be evidence of the power of our minds, of what we were thinking coming to pass.

During my six days away, I caught five buses, six tubes and four trains. I didn’t have to wait long for any of them and every single one of them was on time. Expecting to catch a taxi from the station to my first destination, I was pleasantly surprised with the offer of a lift. While I was there, I thought to go into town and to walk the couple of miles it would take to get there. I’d not got very far before the people I was staying with unexpectedly drove by and stopped with the offer of a lift. On my return, I was loaded with heavy shopping bags, thinking I’d not thought this through and that it would be a really long walk home when again, unexpectedly and having not got very far at all, the people I was staying with passed by and gave me a lift.

Travelling with three bags and a drum, I was delighted when the people at my second destination, people who I had never even met before, also unexpectedly collected me from and delivered me back to the bus stop. On the day that they collected me, the man told me he was going deeper into Wales and asked if I would like to go there for the day. Another unexpected travelling surprise that resulted in a rich and rewarding day.

On that entire trip, the only thing that went wrong in the more traditional sense of the Mercury retrograde interpretation was that I’d forgotten to pack my Wellies (appropriate walking gear for the country.) I found a really nice pair, on sale for far less than the taxi rides I would have had to have paid for would have cost me. And the sales lady just happened to give me some really interesting information that falls within a pattern of information I’ve been receiving from many individuals and which has to do with a specific question I have asked. Thank you very much Mercury!

It’s a pilgrimage that I undertake at this time of the year (and if you’re interested in the what’s and the why’s and the how’s of this, the story of my first pilgrimage is in my book, Tales of an Aspiring Shaman.) The destination and what I’m to find when I am there is driven by a particular type of shamanic journey. The first two times that I’ve undertaken this trip, the train took me from London directly to Hereford and afterwards I went to Wales where, (if you were thinking of getting the book, spoiler alert) on both occasions, I found what I was looking for on the exact same stretch of a road. This time, the train to Hereford weaved from England into Wales and back out into England again and I found what I was looking for on a farm near Hereford before continuing on my journey into Wales.

This leads me to think that there may be more to Mercury’s retrograde. It may be a time when thinking can be more poetic and winding rather than logical and direct. I also wonder if there are more directions as to what we can do with this time, i.e. that it’s not just a time of our thinking creating our future realities but also a time when the results of our previous thoughts can blossom. 

For now and in summary, it’s always a good time but now is a particularly good time to notice your thoughts and the language you use. If anything to do with Mercury does go wrong, and if it feels right to you to do so, see if your story continues and if maybe there’s some reward to be found in whatever happened.

I really do hope that you find this of use!