Two Yoginis

A journey of yoga, friendship, and transformation

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Why I’m Loving Mercury Retrograde

As we resume teacher training this weekend, Mercury will be making his first annual about-face to travel retrograde for three weeks in the sign of Pisces. You may be (vaguely) aware that Mercury Retrograde strikes fear in the hearts of the astrologically inclined. As I discussed in a recent post, when Mercury, messenger of thought and communication, appears to turn around and go backwards, things can get a little wonky. Travel delays, communication breakdowns, and technology failures are notoriously plentiful.

That said, I have decided that when we obsess about the negative aspects of Mercury Retrograde, we fail to recognize what Mercury Retrograde is really about: an opportunity to retrace our steps. Mercury Retrograde represents the idea that it’s necessary to review our past actions and become aware of some information we missed, before we can truly proceed.

Attention: Fog Ahead - Boat Ride to Capri, Italy

Attention: Fog Ahead – Boat Ride to Capri, Italy

If your last few months has been anything like mine, it has been impossible to get everything on the list done, let alone go back over the details. Plus, I’ve been filling my head with so much new information (e.g. teacher training), that I definitely haven’t been able to absorb it all. This is where I believe Mercury Retrograde has come to rescue us, encouraging all things “re”: re-viewing, re-tracing, re-flecting, re-considering, and re-connecting with ourselves or others we may have left behind in the shuffle. Mercury Retrograde says: slow down and get your shit together.

That this particular Mercury Retrograde is happening in the last sign of the zodiac (Pisces), where we’re currently awash in deep, oceanic energies, indicates that we are rinsing away the remnants of an old cycle to allow for new growth. And if we’re able to go with the flow, lots of magical things will start to bloom in the spring.

For many of us, the notion of going with the flow is quite foreign. We’re too busy. We have too much to do. There’s not enough time. However, it is our insistence on charging full speed ahead (in spite of the awareness that it’s time to slow down) that results in the kinds of Mercury Retrograde mishaps we all dread.

In a class earlier this week, Keely reminded me that when our minds are occupied by either the past or the future, we’re unable to appreciate the present. In reality, Mercury Retrograde asks nothing more of us than to be completely in the moment, re-acting only to that which is in directly in front of us. If that is something you have yet to explore, the next few weeks will be a perfect time to give it a shot.


All Systems Are A Go

One hot, rainy summer day in 2011, I noticed that everything in my world seemed to be going wrong: from spending hours working on a document and having Word crash before I could hit “save,” to losing an entire inbox worth of emails, to getting into an argument with a close friend. It seemed like I could not catch a break.

I remember getting a call from Beth, who was out of town producing a friend’s wedding, and it sounded like she was having a pretty rough time too. It had rained on her outdoor event, hundreds of chairs had to be carried through the mud up a hill, she had no phone service on site, and, generally, things did not seem to be going according to plan. In the midst of commiserating over our bad fortune, Beth proclaimed:

“Mercury is in retrograde. That is why everything is going wrong.”

Oh, of course, I thought to myself – Mercury is in retrograde – even though, at that point, I had no idea what the heck she was talking about. But, for some reason it made perfect sense. The planets had spoken and the shit was now hitting the fan. Yes, Mercury is indeed in retrograde.

Upon further investigation, I learned that Mercury retrograde is an astrological transit when Mercury, known as the messenger planet, appears (from our vantage point on Earth) to halt to a stop and then begin moving backwards through the zodiac. And because Mercury represents how we think and communicate, this particular transit is characterized by miscommunications and misunderstandings, causing everything from travel delays, to arguments, to electronic failures, and plenty of havoc in between. I also learned that Mercury is Gemini’s ruling planet, making this little Gem extra sensitive to the messenger planet’s retreat.

At some point following that conversation, and as I tried to make sense of some of the inexplicable situations unfolding in my life, I began transforming into an Astrology geek, reading any piece of information I could put my hands on. As I discovered hidden gems of websites and blogs devoted to Astrology, I quickly learned that its knowledge is infinite beyond the three-phrase blurb you might find in an issue of Allure.

I became fascinated by this ancient study and its symbolic, mystical language (despite eye rolls from skeptics), and continued my quest to learn more. Not unlike Yoga, Astrology is boundlessly complex (like the universe, duh) and could take an entire, if not several, lifetimes to grasp. Ultimately, I hoped to utilize Astrology as a tool to better understand myself and to make sense of the experiences I was creating in my own life. I discovered that Astrology is, at the very least, an interesting way to look at larger themes as we navigate this shared experience on planet Earth.

As we head into the second weekend of teacher training, Jupiter has stationed direct in Gemini (1/30), having been retrograde since last October. At the time of this post, all the major planets will be going direct until February 18th, when Saturn turns retrograde. Between now and then, we have a rare cosmic “GO” signal that only happens for a short time, once a year. Now is the time to start that new project you’ve been talking about for months. Stop talking. Start doing.

A planet’s powers are said to be weakened whilst retracing its steps in retrograde. Jupiter is a giant planet with an equatorial radius said to be around 11,000 times that of the earth (read: BIG). What I’m getting at here, is that with big Jupiter’s (good luck, blessings, expansion) turn direct, we should all feel a shift and see some serious forward momentum and movement in our lives.

And, I know some of us could really use it.

For further reading, here are some of my most treasured Astrology blogs and teachers:
Moon Pluto Astrology
The Practical Astrologer
Planet Waves