When Mercury first stations retrograde, it can feel somewhat disorienting. Much like the beginning of the song, Under Pressure, by Queen and David Bowie, your words may seem to scatter. Formless syllables mumble, melting into primeval utterances and swirling sound until suddenly, everything clicks into place and you hear:
pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
On August 12th, 2017 Mercury will station retrograde in Virgo, his sign of rulership and exaltation. In the Information Age, the speed and efficiency of communication and commerce continues to exponentially increase, making Mercury the supreme deity of internet addicts, entrepreneurs and dilettantes alike. But voracious info-maniacs tend to fall into such a mechanistic mindset that there is a lot anxiety about Mercury retrogrades.
It’s the terror of knowing
What the world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming ‘Let me out’
The consensus is that Mercury retrogrades are a time when things seem to skip a beat, communication breaks down and technology becomes unpredictable. For many, any unexpected ripple in the stream of data is considered to be an unholy aberration. Thus many, especially those who have become neurologically welded to information technology, will perceive this three week period as a time when they are under pressure.
Chippin’ around – kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
Mercury is the god of language, commerce and communication, but he is by nature flexible, androgynous, and ambivalent. As a mythological psychopomp, Mercury is the messenger between the overworld and the underworld, the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. As a channel of human intelligence in all its dynamism, Mercury should not be expected to act as a mechanistic algorithm. In order to appreciate Mercury’s gifts within yourself, it is necessary to learn to appreciate his retrograde cycles. These are the periods that promote collective neuroplasticity as the mind’s eye loses focus on the mundane and becomes submerged in the prima materia of the subconscious.
Though you may feel disoriented in this strange slipstream of thoughts, retrogrades are the periods where Mercury nourishes your mind with new potential energy. So rather than believing this period to be anathema to your progress, consider that this is a miraculous time to refresh your mind, drinking deeply from the wells of the Logos.
Pray tomorrow – gets me higher higher high
The word language itself is derived from logos, which refers to the Divine Word or the ordering principle of the world. This divine word offers the ability to create boundaries, distinctions and divisions, thus assembling the dimensions of the known world.
Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don’t work
Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn
The planet Mercury represents the articulated linguistic consciousness through which consensus reality is constructed. It is the architecture of your language that informs your perception of reality, making distinctions between subject and object; light and shadow; quantity and quality.
In a discussion of this point, Nobel Prize winning physicist Werner Heisenberg said:
“What we are observing is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. And how do we question? All of our methods of interrogating nature depend on language—and it is the very nature of language to refer to things. We therefore think in terms of things. How can we possibly think of nonthings, nothings, nothing? In our very forms of thought we instinctively divide the world into subjects and objects, thinkers and things, mind and matter.”
There is no planetary placement in the Zodiac that refines the use of language or the method of questioning better than Mercury in Virgo. Knowing that words are the ordering principle of the world and that the quality of your language determines the quality of your perception, use this Mercury retrograde period to engage with the creative quality of the logos.
Owing to inherent qualities of Virgo, during this retrograde, you may refine and purify your thought processes, sifting and sorting through your semantic tendencies. To aid this process of purification, question yourself thoroughly. What bad habits of speech do you often fall into? How often do you resort to parroting other people’s opinions instead of formulating your own? How much of your worldview has been created by mass media instead of critical thinking?
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking
The process of identifying errors in your system of language may feel guided by a rabid perfectionism. Virgoan energy delights in diagnosing and discarding disease. As such, this retrograde offers you an opportunity to weed out ignorance and salinate the earth where your most destructive thought patterns grow.
Mercury in Virgo seeks to purify your mind, guiding you back to what is healthy, essential and in service to divine will. Just as the Virgin dutifully separates the wheat from the chaff, you will separate your appetite for truth from your addiction to willful ignorance.
It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Wherever you are habitually literal in your thinking, Mercury’s descent into the subconscious realms will pollinate your mind with new insight into expressions encoded with multiple meanings. Take note of all the signs and symbols which may bear oracular messages. Expect this retrograde in Virgo to increase your observation of paradoxes, puns, and synchronistic idioms.
Relief from the pressure of Mercury in Virgo’s ponderous analysis ultimately arises from the wild heart of the lion, where love burns as an eternal flame. On August 31st, Mercury will retrograde out of Virgo and back into Leo. The tone will shift dramatically as the mental pressure eases in favor of drawing deeply from the wells of passion once again. It will feel a lot like the part in Under Pressure when the song explodes into a roar of swelling guitars and Freddie Mercury sings an impassioned plea:
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love…
Under Pressure is a song that evokes this Mercury retrograde so well because it synthesizes the moral quandaries of Virgo with the theatrical bombast of Leo. Ultimately, the song offers inspiration to those who have the courage to defeat their nihilism and embody the shining light of love.
Love’s such an old-fashioned word
and love dares you to care for
the people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way
Of caring about ourselves
On September 4th, Mercury will station direct at 28 degrees Leo, the same degree that the Solar Eclipse in Leo will occur upon. This indicates that there will be a pivotal realization connected to the eclipse that will become consciously understood at this time. After Mercury’s trip through the underworld, all the glistening jewels that form between the dried bones and cracked earth will be revealed.
It is safe to say that at the end of this retrograde cycle, you will understand the meaning and purpose of the pressure you have endured. Pressure is motivating, creating an urgent sense of necessity that builds a great wave of strength. Thus, after this three week journey, the unity between your mind and heart will have catalyzed a great transformation, turning dull carbon into a glistening diamond. Be grateful for the window you now have to pristine clarity and primordial purity.
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is ourselves