A life lesson as a writer
As I writer (amongst other things), I love the CTRL+Z keys. Once having accidentally deleted an entire manuscript I had been working on, I very carefully pressed those two keys and with relief saw my error reversed and my precious work reappear on the screen. I have been faithfully making regular back-ups of my work ever since.
I wondered what it would be like if all mistakes could be so readily reversed. Perhaps we wouldn’t obtain the learning we needed if that were the case, although the lessons can certain be incredibly tough sometimes. The cosmos offers us a reverse reset with the planetary retrogrades. They are a type of astrologically mandated second chance. During those phases we become more aware of what we are setting in motion, and can adjust our sails to align with the course of the heart and soul.
There’s a reason why mistakes are learning experiences. When presented with a situation that we unconsciously created, and when that situation is generating suffering, then we have a golden chance. We can study the situation and become clear about what inner drives, patterns and beliefs led us to make the choice we did. We can decide if there is a healing journey that we could explore so that the choices we make in future do not repeat the past pattern.
Inner Work is a type of Creative Soul Work
Even though the words ‘contemplation’ and ‘reflection’ sound so gentle, they are actually pretty hard to do. We have to bring our mental energies into the present moment and really focus. We have to be willing to do some honest self-enquiry and be willing to love ourselves even if we don’t like what we find. It takes courage to accept that we need to change and evolve. We also need spiritual intelligence to learn from our errors, heal and become capable of different choices.
Another word for spiritual intelligence is capacity. We may want to do things differently, but until we develop the capacity to do so, we are stuck in the tension of wanting to change and not being able to. Accepting that change is needed is definitely a step in the right direction, and further along the path than not acknowledging an issue, or taking responsibility or desiring to grow at all. Yet the ideal situation is that we realise we need healing, we take the healing journey and our souls are able to create different outcomes, more aligned with what we are seeking – such as fulfilment, authentic inner nourishment, and spiritual expansion.
Retrogrades are the Universe’s Re-Do Button
Modern culture loves forward movement, making progress and attaining measurable growth. Sometimes these things are valued even above wisdom (which is not so wise). So, when it comes to that sense of retrograde motion, where the Universe asks us to change gears, we may become anxious.
Yet retrograde planets are the Universe’s way of giving our souls a chance to have another crack at something – a lesson, a project, a dream. The soul is fine with this, relishes it actually. It is our minds that need to learn to trust when things seem to be going astray. One of my favourite personal mantras from difficult times in my early spiritual path, which I still abide by, is a prayer that I said to my Higher Self. It went like this –
Dear Higher Self. Even though I don’t know what’s happening, I know that you know and are leading the way. So I will trust you.
Surrender and trust are not always easy for us, particularly if we are still working through betrayal wounds from the past. On the healing journey we will get to a place where we will realise that as long as we trust ourselves, we will always be OK and find our way. This makes embracing the unexpected twists and turns in life easier.
I would like to cut through any fear, anxiety and negativity around retrograde planetary motion and reconnect to the ancient astrological viewpoint of retrograde planets as bearing a special kind of magic. This applies to actual retrogrades, and also to those times when we may feel blocked by obstacles, inner or outer. During such times we can sense the need for further inner work before the outer way will be shown.
Seeing a meme saying “me emerging from Mercury retrograde” as though the figure depicted had barely survived an apocalypse can be good for the soul, as humour can help us process difficulty. We’ve likely all been there, where the time between breakdowns and breakthroughs that retrogrades tend to stimulate, feels like it spans about 9 incarnations, rather than 9 or so weeks!
However, I’ve also become aware of a fearful hesitancy that can arise at the prospect of retrograding planets and that is not the purpose of astrology at all. In my view, astrology is meant to provide empowerment to embrace the soul journey, understanding the rules of the cosmic game, so to speak, not triggering anxious helplessness in the face of things we cannot change.
Realising the higher purpose of retrograde planetary dances can generate ‘retrograde resilience’, allowing us to embrace the retrograde as cosmic support to work a little deeper and secure sacred harvest at the closure of the transit. This is the same strength needed to process those soul phases where we have to dive deeper within before we can make more progress in our outer lives.
What I mean by retrograde resilience is the capacity to work with the content that arises from the retrogrades in constructive ways. It is not about resistance. It is about creatively embracing the process for soul healing.
Mercury Retrograde as Cosmic Magician
Mercury retrogrades occur multiple times a year, every year. Usually it’s around three times, and whether we are aware of it consciously or not, it has an effect.
The Magician in the Tarot is traditionally depicted with one arm facing upwards the heaven, the other downwards towards earth. It is a visual representation of the spiritual maxim of the Hermetic tradition “As Above, So Below”. This is an archetypal power related to Mercury – the bridge between the human and divine realms. That energy can help us align our human lives with the higher purpose and spiritual plan that holds meaning for us, rather than getting caught up in the ways of the world.
The art of magic, healing, creativity and spiritual awakening are all based on alignment. We can imagine it like a surfer in the ocean. The ride is powerful when the surfer aligns correctly with the wave. The retrogrades generate a wave of sorts, a shift in the currents of the cosmic ocean. When we choose to move with that wave, we can be in for quite a ride!
Some of us will consciously register the effect of retrogrades more than others. Mercury (and Venus) retrogrades will tend to be felt more by those with sensitive nervous systems. This includes energy workers, lightworkers, healers, artists and creative types, or those who find it difficult to ground or focus generally.
Personally, I have always felt the heightened effect of Mercury and Venus retrogrades. I had to learn how to roll with the retrograde experience. Once I get into that Mercurial retro flow, some really wonderful things happen. I have Realisations (yes, the sort that require a capital R). On more than one Mercury retrograde period I have found manuscripts that I forgot that I had written. I then work on them and bring them into alignment with where I am at spiritually, and the project reaches a new level. This is how the Lightworker Oracle came about.
During Mercury retrogrades I tend to go back and clean up my creative files and projects folders. The latter probably doesn’t sound that inspiring but when you have 30+ projects in play (I kid thee not), then there’s a certain kind of relief that comes from checking in on process, progress and prioritisation, clearing any psychic clutter and reaffirming clarity. These things happen naturally, spontaneously. I don’t think ‘oh it’s Mercury retrograde, better go do some filing.’ It’s more like I am aware of the changing subtle currents and swim with them rather than attempt to push against them.
Resist or Relish?
The attributes often attributed to Mercury retrograde, including chaos and communications breakdowns can occur sometimes, yet one of the best ways to discover the depth in our spiritual path is to recognise that, as both the Dalai Lama and Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones seem to understand, sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful thing/sometimes you get what you need.
When the computer starts slowing down and programs start generating errors, a switch off and reboot tends to have excellent improving effect! You may even discover that there are updated versions of programs to download. There can be some teething issues in the adjustment, but eventually, the system is working better than ever before.
The kerfuffle of Mercury retrograde, or any retrograde planetary motion or soul-pulling-inwards phases of our life journey, is actually a rerouting opportunity. If you look at the retrograde periods as a chance to do some cosmic clean-up of your inner world, your life, your goals and priorities, you may relish, rather than resist, the process. You feel more trusting of the Universe and that can reduce anxiety, stress and fear dramatically. Then when you are ready, you will emerge again refreshed and renewed, and ready for forward motion, with greater clarity.
Please keep this retrograde-reframe in mind if you encounter retrograde astro-panic, or are in your own personal soul-introversion process. During such times, we can resist or dive deep and there is so much of value to be gained by flowing with the greater wisdom of the cosmic currents.
Our collective is still somewhat raw and sensitive after all that we’ve been through together and there is still plenty that we need to process and proceed through to truly learn and evolve through all that has been. Your sensibleness and spiritual stability are very much needed. Keep trusting yourself and your path. Although it may not always make sense, you are exactly where you are meant to be and every day is an opportunity to clear the mind and connect with the love in your heart.