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Thursday, August 18, 2011

13 Ways to Survive Mercury Retrograde with a Smile on Your Face

That's right, you CAN survive Mercury in retrograde with a smile on your face..

But let me back up a minute and define "Mercury Retrograde" for those of you who may not know what this means. This is astrology-speak but it also has to do with astronomy...the science of the planets.

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. Appears is the operative word here. You know how when you are driving a car and you look over to the car next to you while you are speeding up and it looks like the car is moving backwards? Or when the car next to you slows down it looks like the car is going backwards? This is the phenomenon of perception. It appears to be going backwards, but the fact is it is not. It is simply speeding up or slowing down. This same concept can be applied to planets in retrograde motion.

That's not to say something different isn't happening. Indeed, something different is happening. It's just not what it looks like. Our minds and the cosmos are playing tricks on us.

Let me break it down a little bit. At 03:50 UT (Universal Time) Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011, Mercury went retrograde in the sign of Virgo, resulting in things seemingly going haywire all around us. People are getting into conflicts over the smallest of things, websites are disappearing for no apparent reason, emails are getting lost in the stratosphere, Facebook is not cooperating, and appointments are getting lost. Those in the know are blaming everything that is going wrong during this time on the Divine Messenger and universal trickster, Mercury. Sounds like a certain Legba I know...

The retro period begins as Mercury slows down and lasts until August 26, 2011. At this time, Mercury begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac. At that time, things will start returning to normal - people will start settling down, misunderstandings will decrease, Facebook will start allowing you to post updates (fingers crossed...there's more than Mercury "at play" here), and emails will be getting through.

Everything finally straightens out on September 9th, as Mercury passes the point where he first turned retrograde. But did you know that Mercury goes retrograde three times a year? And the effects are slightly different each time, depending on the sign in which it happens. Last year, Mercury went retrograde four times, which may account for the seemingly increased difficulties and challenges many of us faced.

In fact, all planets retrograde, save for the Sun and Moon, so it is not an uncommon phenomenon. Mercury is a rather small planet that travels quickly through the zodiac so when it slows down it 's effects are pronounced. Right now, Mercury is retrograde in Virgo while the Sun is in Leo.  It moved into Leo with the Sun on August 8th, but the Sun will move into Virgo on August 23rd. Mercury will then turn direct in Leo on August 26 while the Sun is still in Virgo, but Mercury will remain in Leo until September 9th, when he moves into Virgo again. The Divine Trickster will remain in Virgo until September 25th. Are you confused yet?

Astronomical Explanation

According to Copernicus,  the universe is centered around the Sun (heliocentric), with the Moon orbiting the Earth. His model is based on circular orbits. The explanation for retrograde motion in this system arises from the fact that the planets further from the sun are moving more slowly in their orbits than those closer to the sun (remember the cars?) The following animation shows the retrograde (slower) motion of Mars when the (faster) moving Earth passes by:

Retrograde Motion in the Ptolemaic (Geocentric) System

(This animated gif was obtained from Dr. Stephen J. Daunt's Astronomy 161 

The state of retrograde is an illusion. This fact alone underlines the importance of perception in how we proceed with our daily lives. If something is an illusion, does it really have that much of an effect on us? Does it have any effect at all?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, if we suscribe to the Buddha's "thoughts become things" philosophy. What is thought to be will manifest as such. Yes, if we acknowledge the fact that perception is everything. We all view the world with our own set of perceptual lenses. Our perceptions are our interpretations of the things we see, the events we experience, and the interactions we have with other people. Our actions are guided by our beliefs related to a given situation, person, place, or thing.

The answer is no, if we can separate rational thought from emotional thought. However, this is easier said than done for most of us. For one thing, even if you understand the cosmic concept of retrograde and are fully aware of the illusion, everyone else around you may not be; thus, they will be affected by the retrograde illusion. And just as the earth is affected by the movements of the planets and other heavenly bodies of the solar system, so are we affected by each other in the earthly domain.

So here are a few suggestions for surviving Mercury Retrograde with a smile on your face. If you are proactive and adjust your daily activities and attitude to suit the astronomical energy, then you are not only going to survive Mercury retrograde, you will likely thrive. And wouldn't that be a switch?

13 Ways to Survive Mercury Retrograde with a Smile on Your Face

1. Clear away the clutter. Get rid of any physical obstacles in your way. Clutter is symbolic of the self-imposed limitations and hurdles we place on ourselves. The clearing away of clutter is an effective road opener, allowing us to walk around our home without tripping over ourselves. 

2. Bless your home daily. This can be done in a variety of ways from burning incense, smudging with cedar or sage, spraying your space with Florida Water, praying, or all of the above.

3.  Sweep your front porch and wash your floors with a Spiritual Floor Wash. Wipe down your furniture, doors, baseboards, phones, desk, computer equipment...EVERYTHING. And do it regularly. I would recommend wiping down anything you use on a daily basis every day. I keep a spray bottle of Chinese Wash next to my desk within arms reach and take a moment to spray a little on my desk and wipe it down each morning, and burn Cast Off Evil or some other incense at the same time. I then spritz my home with Voodoo Mama's Eau de Hoodoo or Florida Water. My home smells fabulous and it helps to lift my mood and think more clearly.

4. Finish unfinished projects and business. Whatever that means for you, take note of it and finish it. Make a list of these things and cross them off, one by one. You will be amazed at the reciprocal nature of the Universe. When you finish one thing, another opportunity will come your way. It happens all the time if you look for it.

5. Perception. Is the glass half full or half empty? Adjust your attitude. Turning problems into challenges make them easier to tackle.

6. Don't take things personally. We are inclined to be extra sensitive right now as the Divine Messenger does a number on us. It's not that he wants us to be in conflict; that's not the role of the trickster. The trickster's role is to teach.

7. Don't overreact to people and situations. In fact, don't react at all. Instead, act with intention and clarity. If you are not clear about something, then don't do anything...just sit on it. When the answer is clear move forward. There's a big difference between reacting and acting with intention. It is an exercise in discernment.

8.Don't catastrophize. Everything is not bad, everything is not going wrong, everyone is not against you. Look for the good that is in your life. Even if it is the flower that is in bloom in your garden. Even if it is the knowledge that today you have a choice.

9. During this time, past unresolved issues will rear their seemingly ugly heads. Take this opportunity to work through them. The energy is right to do this; that is why these issues present themselves. Think about it this way, even if it will be painful to work through it, at the end of this cycle it will be done and you will have moved beyond that emotional obstacle, freeing you up to receive more abundance and new and positive experiences.

10. Mercury rules thinkers, critics, gossipers, teachers, salespeople, commentators, consultants, tricksters, and thieves. It rules all means of communication, commerce, education, and transportation.  It also rules thinking, perception, and the processing and dissemination of information. If you fall into any of these categories, you will be affected.

11. Avoid making any major decisions and negotiations at this time. Our mental acuity is not exactly at its best, so if something can wait, let it wait.

12. Be nice to yourself. Don't beat yourself up if you make mistakes, however foolish.

13. Be nice to others. Don't beat people up at this time for mistakes they may make, however foolish. Of course there are exceptions to this, you don't have to be nice to a bully, or an abuser, for example. These folks just get worse during this time; their behavior is not caused by Mercury in retrograde.

The main point here is to arm yourself with knowledge and act with discernment. You have a choice as to how you navigate your life at this time, so do it carefully and with clarity.

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