Have you ever had to identify a potential criminal in a line-up? Or recount to a police officer the events of a crime? if you have, you may know that it is very unlikely that you will report exactly the same thing as another person who saw or witnessed the same person or events. In the bank where I worked as a young woman just out of college with her recession-made-useless liberal arts degree, I began my employment right after the bank had been robbed. Each of the tellers involved told me a slightly different story, and none of them could describe the perpetrator to the investigation team (or me) with any universal detail other than he had brown hair. Even the teller who had been robbed directly couldn’t really remember the man’s face.
It’s true that experience, memory, and perception are VERY subjective. We all see the world and events around us through our specific filters: mood, numerous social factors, life experience, personality, culture. There are literally as many realities as there are beings to perceive the world.
What this means to me, as an astrologer, is that no two people are going to experience the energy of a planet in exactly the same way. While planets operate out of their archetypal patterns generally, how they affect each of us is very specific to our personal circumstances.
I bring this up because Mercury enters another retrograde cycle on October 4, at 2º Scorpio (heading back to 16º Libra by October 26). Then it will be in its “shadow” (the time it takes to journey back to and through 2º Scorpio again) until November 10th, which means that the themes of the retrograde are still in effect.
The popular schtick about Mercury retro is to not sign contracts, get married, buy a house, computer, or car, and so on. All sorts of malfunctions, be they human or electronic, get blamed on Mercury at this time.
The effects of Mercury’s cycle (and that of any other planet) are mainly dependent on how we personally witness and experience that cycle through the filters of our birth chart, our personality and life experience. My twin sister is going to have a completely different perception of the same astrological event that I will (usually–there have been very few exceptions), because as adults living thousands of miles apart with very different lives and orientations to the universe, we have different ways of seeing. We have different world views, different ideas about consciousness etc. Mercury can’t bring us the same experiences. It is impossible for me to tell you exactly what will happen during the retro cycle, and how you should behave, because of those same types of differences.
Here is where witnessing becomes germane. I can witness your life, but how I see it will be different that how you do. Only you can accurately witness your own experience (and experience your own witness, for that matter)–and I use the word ‘accurate’ with some trepidation, as it is a relative concept, like ‘truth.’ In any case, I encourage you, as a participant in astrological cycles, to become your own expert witness for how Mercury works with and for you. This way you become empowered to utilize the gifts that Mercury retrograde offers, to “make the gods work for you” as astrologer Caroline Casey might say.
Mercury in Scorpio wants to communicate about feelings, fears, intimacy issues, sex, power, death, and money. You know, the juicy stuff. Mercury in Libra is more intellectual and less passionate, seeks harmony, balance, and the pursuit of fairness. Any retrograde cycle wants to review the themes of the sign involved, wants us to look within, process behind the scenes, pause, and revisit. Here is as far as generalities will take us. Knowing the house(s) where the cycle takes place will help you refine the areas of life that may be most impacted. All this being said, take the time to really see what happens during this next few weeks. See how the generalities become the specific in your own life.
Of course, there are myriad other astro events going on and affecting the cycle too. Most notably we have the fire trine between Jupiter in Leo, Mars in Sag, and Uranus in Aries. Mercury in the Libra part of its passage will sextile Jupiter and Mars and oppose Uranus. This combination of events makes for some super-creativity and possibility. Using the retro to really refine ideas and creative impulses within the self–and act on them in some interior (as in, not public) way could be amazing. But again, you can watch all this energy pass by, and according to your own beliefs, conditioning, and world view, it can just be like so many leaves falling; you can only catch one in your hand if you reach out for it, with the belief that it is safe, interesting, or useful to do so.
The key to making astrology useful as a tool for evolution is to understand how it works for you. Be your own witness. Pay attention and take notes for next time. Though Mercury will retrograde through other signs and houses, you will get an idea of how the archetype of the messenger and communicator functions within your life and personal chart.
Have fun with it .. .