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The Mercury Conundrum
The Backstory:

Mercury Retrograde isn't really a thing. Nothing is really happening in the real world, the planets go about their business as usual. This is strictly an earth-bound mind-fuck. The Mercury Retrograde problem is literally only going on in our own heads.

Then why is such a non-event so difficult to get through? Only us humans are accountable to these mental hiccups, it seems. The retrograde dance of Mercury is a trick where the eye deceives the brain. Mercury is advancing normally, systematically, but what we view in the sky is Mercury slowing to a crawl, stopping, moving backward, and stopping again to restart a forward motion. Ancient humans were by turns terrified and confused by this, and passed the feelings down through the generations.

The sense of confusion seems to still exist in spite of the fact we know that it's because Earth's orbit is moving us faster than Mercury, at least for a few weeks, 3 or 4 times a year. It's as simple as the famous example of two trains side by side going at different speeds, causing one of them will appear to move backwards.

The apparent motion of Mercury disoriented our ancestors. We still retain that sting of vulnerability. The visceral reaction to Mercury retrograde carries over to modern generations the same way any long-held belief does, as a collectively held suspicion, some might say superstition, around unexplained phenomena.

The Mercury Retrograde experience teaches us caution and fear of the unknown. When we have blind faith in success, the less prepared we are for any delays or other obstacles which could prevent it.

The long-held notion that Mercury is already the ruler of tricks and quick transactions makes its retrograde a time when we would notice our weaknesses to overconfidence the most. Such as when we try something that we haven't fully vetted, trust in someone we don't really know, or fall for a slick sales pitch or Ponzi scheme. Mercury retrograde isn't as much about Mercury as it is about us and out assumptions. The skies are merely a backdrop for all the drama we cause for ourselves on our Earthy stage.


Mercury in Motion
23-10-23 degrees Leo

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This Mercury retrograde moves from its most forward position on August 12, at 23 degrees Leo; pulling back back to 10 degrees on Sept. 6; to return to its high water mark of 23 degrees on Sept. 19 in the Post-Shadow. The Pre-Shadow, however, starts July 24, and is sometimes more traumatic than the actual retrograde itself.


Leo Mercury Retrograde: what goes around, comes around

Mercury will be in Leo for the entire retrograde period. This is pretty hard for the cat, since a retrograde negates all the otherwise good qualities of Leo and punishes that sign for what only comes naturally to it. Instead of generous, Leo Mercury will be overbearing, and the confidence and creativity of the sign will instead ignore details and criticism to push forward with a sense of undeserved superiority. Already vain and self-centered, Leo Mercury is due for a correction from July 26 to September 19, if you consider the shadow periods as part of retrograde--as well you should. In the emotionless world of facts and figures, we deserve whatever humiliation we experience during Mercury Retrograde. We should have seen it coming!


The Pre-Shadow
July 24-Aug 11

The Pre-Shadow can catch us unawares, many astrologers see it as the most dangerous. We may feel like we haven't a care in the world, and suddenly, blam! we are collapsing in on ourselves. Some essential plug has been pulled on our expectations, and life is suddenly very complex. The dropoff can be severe.

Beginning July 24, Mercury will be traveling on a path that it will inevitably have to backtrack, starting Aug. 12. This Pre-Shadow time can be a good test run of an idea or project, but if we are already invested in its success, there's a good chance that it won't work as planned. The more intent we are on winning through sheer will the more we are liable for setbacks. If we put what we need ahead of what we can actually get, we'll experience a setback. We'll want to trust our hearts and hopes, but others will not necessarily cooperate to make the dream come true.

Reality fatigue can drive us into unrealistic fantasies. Also, Mercury Retrograde is known for snafus in the system, revealing weaknesses in technology, machines and computers. Of course, these events occur all year round, but the consequences during a retrograde seem worse.


Mercury Retrograde
Aug. 12-Sept 6

Retrograde Mercury is where angels fear to tread. Anything you do is subject to review. You're probably not thinking this thing through! There's enough anecdotal evidence to make any reasonable person stop and think twice about doing something they haven't planned all the way through.


By the time Mercury actually goes retrograde, it may be already too late to avoid blunders. The pressure from previous crises in our personal lives and relationships, anxiety about outside events, financial shocks and cutbacks, will tend to tempt us into a form of lethargic optimism, and we'll be looking for some kind of miracle or quick fix. Leo the Lion, ever on the hunt for new prey, may find itself in a dry spell, as well as isolated from the pride. If you have ventured impulsively into new territory, signed contracts, started new projects, or hope you found your life partner, you're in the bullseye for trouble, or at least some major complication. "The devil's in the details" is one way of expressing a Mercury retrograde; and Benjamin Franklin's quote was never more apt:

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost.


Mercury Direct/Post Shadow
Sept. 7-18

Stay cautious, don't take the bait unless even though it seems like you MUST make a decision. Rushing into things now would be like the Chinese parable of the fox jumping over the stream--he gets his tail wet. If you aren't all in, and are willing to confront whatever problems you encounter down the line--then don't sign up to something you might regret later.


Although things will gradually improve during this period, it's still not 100%. This is a time for reflection, regeneration and regrouping. Your ego may have already taken a beating, let it heal and don't lead with your chin again for a while! Learn from previous broken dreams and schemes. Mercury is going direct, but hasn't yet reached where it was before the whole farce began, 23 degrees Leo. The time it takes to get back to speed and its original starting position is called the Post-Shadow, and can be as shaky as the retrograde period itself. Rather than plunge forward, spend the Post period looking around, considering what you have done, and take smaller steps with your eyes on the immediate situation. Study your failures and learn from your enemies. Don’t go looking for the grand slam or a big breakthrough, be satisfied with fixing what has been broken or spoiled; be humble. Nothing is perfect, but improvements are possible.


It's Over!
Sept 19, 2017


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