Mercury is in retrograde from February 16 to March 9
. This means that if you’re paying attention to the specific course this planet charts across our terrestrial sky at night (and many people do), it will appear as though it’s actually traveling backwards in its orbit—A sort of celestial trompe l’oeil that happens every time Mercury “laps” us in its trip around the sun, approximately four times for every one Earth year
or once every eighty-eight Earth days. The next retrograde event is set to occur between June 18 and July 12 and then again between October 13 and November 13. That’s a lot of time in retrograde! We tend to only hear negative things about retrograde, like it’s the big bad wolf of celestial events. Chances are if you’ve felt just a little bit “off” for the past few days or like nothing seems to be going your way, Mercury in retrograde is to blame.
From an astrological perspective, Mercury governs principles of communication, thinking, rationality and reasoning, flexibility, education, transportation and physical dexterity. No wonder people dread this time! If what usually goes forward runs backward, there’s a lot on that list that can go wrong! Bitter miscommunications, canceled flights, slips on the ice and food stains are all likely to occur. There are many different methods for getting through a retrograde cycle (and unfortunately staying in sweatpants and under blankets until it’s over isn’t among them), but general consensus seems to be not to sign any legal documents or make any big life decisions, to budget a few extra minutes onto your morning routine and commute and to make a point to reach out to old friends and let go of past grudges. One blog even suggests
keeping food and beverage just a few extra inches away from any technology as well. Really, you can never be too careful! But if you feel stuck or paralyzed, that is no way to live.
In my own practice, I find Mercury in retrograde to be a wonderful time to look inward and reflect—To instead find clarity through the chaos, connection through the clamor. One way I do this is through mindful meditation. When we talk about feeling slightly “off” or just not right, there are real thoughts—miscommunications and social misinterpretations—behind that feeling. What are they for you? Take some time during your regular meditation practice to analyze these thoughts. Which ones feel particularly out of place to you? Release any thoughts that don’t align with your true self. Imagine them as pebbles in your hand. Consider each one, feel the texture of the stone between your fingers, then let them fall away.
It may be especially helpful to ensure you have a mantra
as you meditate, especially as you come across thoughts and feelings that may not feel like they align with who you are. Having a statement of truth to go back to can be an invaluable way to ground your spirit and keep you focused on your goal at hand. For instance, when you release a grudge or angry thought: “I choose love and love chooses me.” When you release something troubling or ugly: “There is beauty and joy in this world.” When you release something fearful or anxious: “I am wrapped in peace and providence.” Lastly, never forget the power of “Om,” which is a sound that is in direct frequency with the wholeness of the universe and can connect us back to the divine.
Breathing is also an essential part of any meditative practice and can help you feel sharper, calmer and more in line with your chakra during retrograde. If you’re not sure where to start, try this: Breathe into your belly for a count of five. Your shoulders should not tense or raise. As you do so, contract your Kegels. (If you’re a man, imagine your body preventing a pass of gas.) This will create a sort of vacuum between your root chakra—your association with security and grounding—and your sacral chakra—your ability to create attachments outside your family tribe. Continue to contract and release on counts of five. What you are doing is a tantric exercise designed to connect your inner self with the ethereal elements. Every time you breath into that vacuum, you are feeding your root chakra—like oxygen to a flame—and growing stronger and more grounded in your self at the same time.
Analyze the way you feel immediately before and after your meditative practice. Journaling is a way to reconnect your emotional self with your physical self, as well as document your progress along the way. Don’t consider yourself a writer? Consider writing out chants. Sri Rama Jayam is a popular one that has been used for hundreds of years to express complete surrender to inner consciousness and peace. It’s scribblers are said to reap an unexpected yet delightful harvest. Write it 108 times each night during Mercury retrograde for peace amidst the pandemonium.
108 represents the ultimate reality of the universe as infinite, empty and whole. Likewise, chanting (and writing out chants) is a way of talking to the universe. Think of the literal physical vibration of your vocal cords, particular in the form of the “Om” frequency, as bringing you closer to the universe and the divine, which in turn will allow your life to become more aligned. When connect with this vibration, you’ll be surprised how things in your life begin to naturally fall into place.
Mercury is in retrograde for just a few more weeks before it returns to its direct cycle. No need to count down the days until then—But I get it if you still do. I hope you will see this time as an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. Let me hear about your journey as you meditate through it!
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