Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius
First published Myss.com
It’s that time again! Mercury is set to go retrograde on November 30th – December 21st in the sign of Sagittarius. Initially I was going to write this article on the Astrological Ages and put a little something about Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius at the end, but decided this particular Mercury retrograde needed some thorough investigation. I have already been feeling and seeing in the lives of others the themes of this upcoming retrograde as we entered what we call in Astrology the “set up” phase or penumbra of this Mercury retrograde on November 12th. This is because on November 12th, Mercury entered into the degrees of Sagittarius that it will eventually retrograde over again while it backtracks for 3 weeks……have you all been feeling and seeing it too? Before we get started I would just like to quickly thank everyone that read all my Fate vs. Free Will article and took the time to send me an email. I really appreciated your feedback and ideas on the subject. Thank you!
For the purposes of this article, I do feel that it would be beneficial to start with a general overview as well as add some new and relevant material on Mercury Retrograde cycles – most notably Mercury’s new cycle of retrogression in the fire signs. Then we’ll look at the sign of Sagittarius and combine that information into the current Mercury retrograde cycle. Sound good?
To summarize briefly what a Mercury retrograde cycle is: When looking in the sky at the planet Mercury we usually perceive it as moving in a forward motion through the heavens, this is called “Mercury direct”….then every 4 months or so, it appears to go backwards in the sky due to our earthly orbit operating in tandem with Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. This apparent backward motion – and I say “apparent” because it’s not really going backwards – lasts for about 22 days. When Mercury is direct we are engaging with life in a very forward way and not overanalyzing actions. Making decisions seems to be in greater harmony with the forward movement we want to take on our path in Life. Yet we are also more driven by the personality and ego during such times, and tend to not allow for too much reflection and introspection generally speaking. All the while we are forging forward, the Universe is giving us intuitive data that we tend to miss because of our busy minds trying to run the show. In an effort to keep the Tao of the Universe in balance, we are given a three week opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate our choices and direction, allowing for a more informed wisdom to emerge while we slow up a bit and redirect our Life – this is the Mercury retrograde period. As I have taught before, Mercury was a herald for the Gods, especially Jupiter/Zeus – but he was also a trickster! We often seem to experience him in his trickster form during retrogrades as he sends us frustrating scenarios that sabotage us into reflection and introspection. So, the degree to which Life seems to kick your butt during the retrograde is often in equal measure with how much you’ve been resisting your own intuitive guidance! We are not taught in our culture to honor a cyclical rhythm of reflection and that is why Mercury retrogrades can be so frustrating for many of us. Mercury retrograde shows via its sign, element, and placement in your own natal chart where you need to let go and let God. Even if you don’t have a natal chart to refer to; you can still watch your environment for clues as to what is up for re-evaluation. These clues begin to surface during the set up phase of the retrograde, well before Mercury starts going backwards. As I have already mentioned, this began around November 12th for this current retrograde period. Many times lessons you thought you had gotten down come back to say “Hi, how you doin’? Remember me? You thought I had gone, well actually only a part of me left and the rest of me went and hid back in your unconscious!”
Now that I have outlined the cycle generally, I want to embellish this a bit by looking at the retrograde cycles of Mercury from a larger context. As Mercury retrogrades during the course of a year, it does so in a particular element (fire, earth, air, water) and the three astrological signs that are of that element. Usually Mercury will retrograde in one element for approximately one year, but it may spend more than one year in a particular element, which produces a six to seven year cyclical tour of all four elements. Mercury has just finished a two-year stint in the earth signs and this current retrograde in Sagittarius marks the beginning of its retrograde tour through the fire signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius that will encompass this coming year. Now I know you are all thinking, that’s nice Robert, but what does that mean? Glad you asked! Briefly, as a collective the timing is ripe to begin a process of delving into the realm of what fire as an element represents, which is essentially our understanding of God and meaning of Life there from. Over this next year, with each retrograde, I will do a piece on each of the fire signs and how they each quest for God in some way.
Let’s begin with Sagittarius. It is a fire sign that quests for God by developing some sort of life philosophy in which the Laws of the Universe can be understood. It wants to take all the information that its polarity Gemini loves to absorb in the phenomenal world and give it some context of meaning by intuiting the Laws that generate the phenomena. Many of you would resonate with this as being the “Seeker” archetype that Caroline Myss has identified in her work “Sacred Contracts”. Sagittarius is an archetype that resonates with the Seeker archetype as it seeks to find Universal Truth. Furthermore, being that it is an archetype, it has a light and shadow element to its nature: the light being the development of a meaningful perception of Life via symbolic sight and the relentless quest for Truth. The shadow of Sagittarius is that once it has found its Truth, it can often feel the need to not only tell everyone else about it, but also force it onto others as “the Ultimate Definitive Way to God.” In doing so, Sagittarius forgets that there are as many paths to God as people alive and the freedom to quest for Truth (that the light side of Sagittarius loves so much) transforms into the shadow of fundamentalism.
So how does this all weave into the current retrograde cycle of Mercury? Well, it’s time to re-evaluate some of these principles that I’ve laid out on a collective and personal level. What I have been sensing so far is that we are all being called to question our own life philosophy and beliefs…..and whether or not we are living congruent to our own Truth. In addition we should seek to ask, “Does our life philosophy honor the freedom of others, or force them to believe as we do?” In other words, do we “dogmatize” our truth into black and white laws? Let’s face it folks, none of us likes to have our reality and beliefs threatened, nor our Truth. I just had my reality threatened the other day and I wasn’t too happy! I sense that in part, this current retrograde as a time of deep introspection on just what it is you really do believe. And since we are in the province of Mercury here, how do you make choices based on that and how do you speak/communicate your Truth? As a collective it seems we are truly seeing fundamentalism rise to the surface in many religious traditions and governments around the world. On a personal level, we each have it in us to be offended by another’s beliefs and to want to have others believe and perceive as we do. I feel that this retrograde urges each of us to take a look at the part of ourselves. This is tricky to be sure, but the higher potential of Sagittarian energy holds the possibility that Life never need be black and white for us to feel safe in the world. Rather, we can exist within personal, relative, and Universal Truth simultaneously and allow others to embrace the beliefs and Truths they are ready for and best serve them. In addition, Sagittarius is very concerned with that which gives our Life meaning, and I would expect a redirection in that regard over the next few weeks. All the fire signs also deal with our capacity to embrace spontaneity and fun! So look at where you could use a little more of both in your life.
Personally, I find it best to approach each Mercury retrograde through a set of questions that surface based on what Life is waking me up to see in myself and redress. If we look to the archetypal costume/zodiacal sign that Mercury is wearing (in this case Sagittarius) we can glean clues as to just what is going to animate with Mercury’s trickster energy. I have already listed some of those questions above, but I would add to the list: What gives your life meaning? What are your aspirations for your future? Do you aspire to not judge others, yet do you still judge those who don’t believe as I do? (Yes I do, oops, slipping out my own retrograde issues!) Lastly, I say a prayer. It goes like this, “Mercury, please get out of my house!” To be honest, this prayer never works, but it doesn’t stop me from trying!
I hope that this article gives you some small guidance towards this current cycle of Mercury retrograde. Remember that whatever seems to slow you up and frustrate you over the next three weeks is really trying to get you to go inside yourself. Don’t forget to breathe! Have a fantastic Holiday season and I’ll speak to you again in the New Year!