Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mercury Retrograde; The Magician Reversed

Another Mercury retrograde period is upon us. This one will last between August 20th and September 12th, though it's effects can be noticed for a few days before and after the retrograde motion begins and ends.
What is Mercury Retrograde? Approximately 3 times a year, the planet Mercury appears to slow down and move backwards through the solar chart. Of course, it's not actually moving backwards. Have you ever been in your car, and as the car next to you moves forward past you; you temporarily have the "feeling" that you are moving backwards? That's the same effect seen with Mercury retrograde, but it lasts about 3 weeks! Mercury is the planet of Communication, Travel, and interpersonal relationships. Thus this backwards motion usually results in some kind of confusion in these areas... especially communication! Many people will say that it's not a good time to enter into any kind of contract or agreement, such as getting married, starting a job, or making a major purchase; because these deals will tend to fall through once Mercury goes direct. It's not that every deal goes bad, but it's often more likely to fail simply because during the Mercury retrograde things are overlooked or mis-communicated. It's a time to be very cautious, make sure you dot your i's and cross the t's, and be very patient of other people's tendency to mis-communicate... otherwise you certainly could feel Mercury Retrograde come back to bite you in the butt! During a Mercury Retrograde many people experience setbacks concerning money, travel, communication, and work.

Another way to look at Mercury Retrograde is to examine Mercury's related Tarot Card; The Magician.

The Magician relates to Consciousness, Control, and Focus. The Key Words for The Magician are; Action, Conscious Awareness, Concentration, and Power. The Planet Mercury is named after the Greek God Mercury (also known as Hermes), who was also called "The Messenger of The Gods", bringing messages from the Gods to the Earth. The Magician symbolizes our connection to Divine Energy and our ability to use this connection and power to achieve our goals. The Magician teaches us to use our talents and the tools available to us to take action and carry out our plans. This card reminds us that if we are aware of our motivations and intentions, we can maintain focus, discover our source of power, and achieve whatever we want. With careful planning, attention to detail, skill, talent, and vitality - anything is within our grasp!!

When Mercury is Retrograde, we can think of this Magician Energy in it's reversed position. A reversal in a tarot card (when the card appears upside down in a spread) indicates that certain aspects of this card are blocked or being interrupted. A reversed card will sometimes indicate that the "Opposite" meaning of the card is being felt, or that the energy of the card is somehow being blocked from a person.

The Magician Reversed would symbolize Lack of Focus, Sub-conscious feelings or thoughts, lack of control, and a feeling of powerlessness. During a Mercury Retrograde or when someone gets The Magician in a reversed position, one might be forgetting that they have a connection with Divine Energy. It's easy to get wrapped up in the feelings of distraction, indecision, and an overall feeling of "I can't do this by myself". The Magician Reversed shows us the blockage of all things Mercury... such as encountering a lack of resources, a lack of skill, a lack of confidence, or an absence of commitment. No wonder things get so muddled during a Mercury Retrograde! Instead of a flow of energy from Mercury helping boost our connection with the Divine... we all experience a block. The cries of "It's not my fault!" and "What am I supposed to do about it?" can often be heard during a Mercury Retrograde. As we experience these blocks, and our projects or goals seem to hit bumps in the road or be put on hold, The Magician Reversed asks us to slow down and see through the illusion. While a Mercury Retrograde might not be the best time to start a new project or sign a new contract, it is the PERFECT time for self reflection and re-evaluation of our goals. Now is the time to cultivate your inner garden, pull the weeds that you've been neglecting and clear the space for new growth when the time is right. Rather than adding new projects, why not take a clue from Mercury's retrograde motion and back track a little bit. Finish up an unfinished project, or go over something with a fine tooth comb to see if you missed any important details. Get back to basics and re-evaluate your priorities, and take this time to heal and re-balance your perspective. Take the next three weeks one day at a time, and don't punish yourself for any lack of progress... but look within and let yourself heal and rest. Finishing up any unfinished projects will help you feel more balanced and ready to get back on your horse once Mercury goes back direct. Arm yourself with patience - not just for yourself, but for others. As everyone experiences the retrograde differently, some people may be more irritable, less patient, and lacking in the basic communication skills that they would normally have. Leave room for mistakes and misunderstandings. An important thing to remember about the retrograde is that although many things seem to go wrong, usually the effects are only temporary. Problems with our cars, our computers, phones, etc. (anything that deals with travel and communication) can be expected, but these problems WILL have solutions. Any misunderstandings or mis-communications that occur during this time usually won't have long term effects on our relationships; and sometimes these problems serve to help strengthen our relationships by bringing to light certain aspects that we had previously overlooked. Overall, it's best to just go with the flow... but to pay close attention and try to maintain some sense of focus.

Here are some journaling questions to help you through the retrograde. Ask yourself these questions when you start feeling overwhelmed or disconnected... your answers should help you get back on track!

  • Where are you focusing your energy?
  • Are your objectives clear?
  • What skills and abilities are needed in this situation?
  • How are you communicating with others?
  • What do you want others to believe or see?

(these Questions are from the book, "Tarot For Yourself" by Mary K. Greer)

Take some time with The Magician, looking at the card both upright and reversed, meditate on it's meaning and it's connection with Mercury. Journal about your thoughts or feelings about the card and the questions listed here, and use this affirmation as your mantra throughout this Mercury Retrograde period. "I am a willing channel for the manifestation of spirit in the world." Cheers and Blessings to you, and may we all come out of this Mercury Retrograde period relatively unscathed!!


  1. Hi, Josephine. You have a wonderful site here. Every time I visit, I find a bit of inspiration.

    I read the tarot most often with an astrological perspective, and I had never thought to use reversals as retrogrades. So, today, right as Mercury is about to station retrograde (in my 8th house of "the occult," i.e., tarot) I wander over for a visit and you have this fabulous tip. I can't thank you enough for this inspirational slant. I'll definitely be re-viewing reversals from now on.