Mercury Retrograde: thinking magically

Mercury Retrograde

Q: What does it mean when Mercury is Retrograde? Why do things go wrong so much then?

A: Mercury retrograde started on Monday, the 18th. It will stay in retrograde until June 11th. Mercury Retrograde has a terrible reputation! It gets blamed for every mishap, technological glitch and misunderstanding that happens during its three week period. But those things can happen even when Mercury is not retrograde. What is really going on?

Mercury has to do with the mind, how we think and perceive the world. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the behavior of material things. It does, however, have a lot to do with how those things seem to us. When Mercury is retrograde, our minds look for different kinds of connections than we normally are willing to perceive. We take a vacation from linear thinking. We start to wonder about the ‘why’ of strange-seeming occurrences.

When our faithful computer, which has been humming along happily, suddenly behaves strangely (and Mercury happens to be retrograde), it seems significant to us. We cast about for causes outside the usual cause and effect. We don’t think, ‘only a coincidence.’ Something seems odd about it. So when we find out that Mercury is in retrograde, we say, ‘Ah ha! I knew it was something weird!’

In the old days, we might have wondered about gremlins, or mischievous faeries. We want to believe in things outside the norm. And because perception is the lens through which we craft our reality–things we don’t pay attention to may as well not exist, while the things we notice are exaggerated–the world seems weirder when Mercury is retrograde. The truth is, the world is always weirder than we generally believe it to be, because our Mercuries are editing out all the things we normally are not comfortable knowing about. When Mercury is retrograde, we doubt our certainties about the clockwork cause and effect nature of the Universe. We need to find reasons to question. Synchronicities and strange connections abound.

Is reality actually behaving differently during this period? Perhaps not, if we were viewing it perfectly objectively. When Mercury is retrograde, we sink within to a more inward, subjective experience of the world, where such things are not empirically provable. Measuring instruments can’t be tricked into exaggerating some things while minimizing others. But our minds can.

Here’s the thing: reality is fluid and magical, responsive to perception and belief, but it falls helpless in the face of machine consciousness which is rigid and inflexible. When measured, it shows up as flat and lifeless. It cannot change and shift when measured with instruments. In effect, too much linear logic and too little ‘magical thinking’ sucks the life out of reality itself; it kills magic. Since we are not machines and our brains are not measuring instruments but rather wildly creative matrices within which we each craft our individual experience of reality, Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time to be reminded what we really are.

When our minds soften to the truth and open to a sideways view of things, the faeries can creep out and begin to mess with us. That computer glitch, that email gone astray, that missed connection? Wonder about it. There are strange things beneath the sun that reveal themselves when our minds are freed from their habits.

 

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