When Mercury Goes Retrograde

I will be the first to admit I am not so sure about astrology and the planets’ effect on human destiny. Sometimes I act like I agree and I will discuss the subject until I am about waist deep and I lost my thread. Truth is, the logical part of my brain knows that horoscopes aren’t really real, and there’s no plausible scientific link between planetary motion and behavior. Least of all the infamous Mercury Retrograde.

Now that I’ve alienated a part of potential readers and made the rest wonder why this blog entry is even being published, let’s make this clear: I do believe there are gods and magical things in some form or another. I am a pagan, after all… perhaps even above all.

Hermes–or Mercury, as he was called by the Romans–is one of my dearest and oldest divine patrons. Beyond the stories of cunning and the gifts offered to his dedicants, there is a playful and sometimes-sacrilegious relationship there. From him I get dry wit, sarcasm, and divine gossip. In turn, I give him attention, candles and the first offering of incense at my altar. I keep his statue the cleanest and take him to public rituals whenever appropriate. Yes, I work with other divine personae, but I often turn to Hermes in a pinch.

Over the years, I’ve watched fellow pagans and non-pagans alike flailing around in panic when Mercury goes retrograde. Everything gets blamed on the perceived motion of the planet from a geocentric viewpoint. Every little accident, miscommunication, insult, snafu and terrible coincidence. No wonder! We spend so much time caught up in the act of communication–I’m looking at you, social media–and travel that they grievances are bound to happen. On times like this retrograde period, they’re noticed all-the-more. We have a scapegoat and so we vent at poor Merc.

I won’t tell you to stop doing that. You are the master of your life and thoughts.

I will tell you how I deal with it, because though I do not interpret it the same way popular New Age culture does, I still experience these mercurial shifts.

Over the last dozen years with Hermes, I have learned to pay closer attention whenever his planet goes retrograde. That’s all. It is like a meddling guest that always wants to tell a story and demands attention at inconvenient times, but a guest loaded with ideas and news. Hermes walks with his people, then, matching their every step and makes sarcastic comments on everything. It only gets grating if ignored, because some things are rather important and you have to hear about this random Shade who knew this mortal whose daughter is now in Princeton nailing this other guy whose grandfather’s Shade is also in Hades, you just won’t believe how the dead snoop and gossip and what’s a messenger god to do, huh? Or maybe there’s problems with the Spring, again, and Demeter’s threat of winter is just a fucking joke in Florida–I mean, have you seen the average December to February temperatures? Auntie, plz. Never mind the running commentary of inane babble that goes on and on before the real news arrives.

Settle down, find the time even if you’re driving Mad Max Fury Road style through the interstate. It’s time to listen to the tea–listen! Hermes’ messages flow best whenever he damn well pleases. Busy gods have no time for your schedule; they’ve got worlds to run and ruin. Sure, there’s a lot to take in, but I guarantee you’ll be more distracted trying to block it all out. Our Neolithic brains can’t compete with the god of messages!

Learn to listen. Practice with silence and candles and incense. Meditate until you hear him–after all this time bad-mouthing “his special visit time” there may be some trust to recover. Stay open. Listen.

I hope this September 7th, you find relief from the planet’s perceived motion.

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