The Troubling Necessity of Mercury Retrograde

The Troubling Necessity of Mercury Retrograde

How Are You Communicating?

Mercury, planet of communication and intellect, has been retrograde since July 7th. But you already know this. It will station direct on July 31. The phrase “Mercury retrograde” sings and scrolls across our social media feed in a constant fury of buzz and frenzy but what does Mercury retrograde mean and how can we use this most necessary, if sometimes troubling, energy? 

Here is what happens (or rather, appears to happen) during Mercury Rx:

Mercury stops, goes backwards, stops again, goes forward

When something, anything (a planet, a person, an animal, a couch) is behaving in the above manner, we stop and take notice. We must! As the planet of communication, intellect, logic, and translation, Mercury is begging us to take a look at how we communicate. 

This oddity of movement happens 3-4 times a year, which actually means it’s not that odd and it’s different each time, as the vibe in the sky is ever changing. Let’s not forget the zodiacal wheel and its many teachings about time. Backward motion is not necessarily worse than forward motion. In fact, progress is not necessarily what we think. Hmm . . .

Volunteer for Mercury Retrograde

This July (7-31), the phenomenon happens in Leo and Cancer. Look to whatever house Leo and Cancer rule for you. Blockages, delays, reversals, frustrations, and internalizations might increase during this retrograde time. I’m not going to sugar coat the sitation. Slowing down ain’t easy, especially in 2019. Think twice or thrice before making a decision or signing on the dotted line. Traditional retrograde rules may apply. Exhale and accept the energetic switch, as resistance will only cause pain. Volunteer for the retrograde energy. 

During retrograde, intel can get lost, slowed down, or come to a grinding halt. Translation: communication is different. Our minds are different. We’re learning how to process things whilst moving backwards, to re-wire, re-examine, re-flect. 

Mercury Must Go to the Underworld

When mercury is operating in seeming forward-momentum, our mystic messenger is partnered quite closely with the sun. When Mercury is in retrograde, the messenger goes to the darkness of the underworld and separates from our bright star. They must separate. Again and again. Why? Because the gods and the skies need that intel. And so we too need the 411 on what’s not working, to translate the untranslatable, to revisit what we didn’t want to see again. 

When we think we certainly know something, we (probably) most certainly do not. This is the nature of Mercury, compact solar partner and deep underworld traverser. Thinking is hard. Re-thinking is even harder. Ponder the questions below:

  • What do you think you’re certain about? Linger there.

  • Go into your own personal darkness and look around. 

  • Look back at your journal entries, text messages, emails. How do you communicate? But like, really, how?

  • What needs to change about your modes and tones of communication? 

  • What have you learned that you perhaps need to re-learn or un-learn?

About the Author

Emmalea Russo (she/her) is an artist, writer, and astrologer. After her whole system got shocked by her first grand mal seizure at age 19, she started to wonder how the stars and planets influence our minds and bodies. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on edge spaces in human consciousness, art, and epilepsy. Her books, which combine visual art and writing, are G (2018) and Wave Archive (2019). She received her MFA from Pratt Institute and has been an artist in residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and 18th Street Arts Center.

She has taught classes and workshops on the creative process at RA MA Institute, Parsons School of Design, The Art Institute of Cincinnati, and elsewhere. She writes about astrology, art, and culture at The Avant-Galaxy Journal and hosts The Avant-Galaxy Podcast. She lives between the New Jersey shore and Los Angeles. Book a chart reading or astroplanning session with her here

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