Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today is the first day of the shadow of Mercury Retrograde in Aries. What does that mean?

Spring Cleaning with Mercury Retrograde

It's here again! Mercury appears to go "backward" or retrograde in the sky relative to the Earth about three times a year. This year, it will be retrograding in the Fire signs, and the first one will be in the innovative and passionate sign of Aries.

Today, March 16 will begin what some astrologers call the "shadow" period, when Mercury passes through the degrees of the Zodiac that it will traverse three times total over the next several weeks.

16 Mar 2011 09:52 pm 1253' Mercury Enters Rx Zone
30 Mar 2011 04:39 pm 2421'Rx Mercury Stationary Retrograde
23 Apr 2011 05:58 am 1253' Mercury Stationary Direct
11 May 2011 06:22 am 2421' Mercury Leaves Rx Zone

Thanks to Cafe Astrology for the wonderfully simple graphic explaining why we have "shadow" periods before and after the actual retrograde, and for the ephemeris information. 

What does Mercury retrograde in Aries bring?

Mercury, being the planet of everything communication, also encompasses other areas which are ruled by the same energy. Computers, electronics, vehicles, modes of transportation, and travel are all highlighted for close attention when we have Mercury doing it's retrograde thing.

Being that this particular retrograde period is in the Fire sign of Aries, we should watch out for becoming too wrapped up in our own emotions, experiences and thoughts. Aries can bring a brash and impulsive energy, with a hot temper and equally passionate will. Emotions will tend to flare and senseless arguments can ensue. Be aware of the tendency that this time will bring to unearth old hurts and deeply buried grudges. Some of these may get resolution, but it could turn out to be a painful one. Take care and pay attention to how selfish or self-centered you may be during these next few weeks as Aries highlights a "me first" attitude.

The news isn't all bad!

This time could also bring a renewed passion for things we thought we had left behind, and might even prod us to finish projects left undone or unearth old hobbies or interests. Old flames returning are another possible manifestation of this energy. We may also be able to rediscover connections with those we once shared a common interest with.

Fire energy can also be very cleansing and transformative. This could be a great time to get rid of old habits or ways of being that no longer serve our higher purpose. At times, things that are painful in the moment can be greatly beneficial down the road, so be aware of your own transformative capabilities during the next several weeks. The firey cauldron of Mercury retrograde in Aries could be just the thing that we need to dip into in order to release the things that may need a bit of a boost to fully leave our lives. As with everything, a little self-knowledge can go a long way, so take some time to do some mental and emotional spring cleaning over the next few weeks.

How to survive a Mercury Retrograde

As I have written many times before, you don't necessarily have to dread the energy of Mercury Retrograde. People born under a Mercury Retrograde period usually have a much easier time of it than those without that aspect in their natal charts, but the next few weeks don't HAVE to spell disaster.

That being said, here are some areas to keep a close eye on:

1. Computers and important data should be backed up frequently and protected with a strong firewall and antivirus set of programs. Hard drives do wear out, even external ones, so you may wish to review the ages of your hard drives, they only last between 3-5 years on average.

2. Get your car tuned up and your oil and filters checked. Check on your tires for wear and if you don't have one, get your AAA card in case of breakdowns. Keep a heavy coat and boots in your car in case you get stuck in the cold. Even in the spring time, storms can be unpredictable and snow can still fall!

3. Double-and triple-check any and all travel plans, and make sure to bring a change of clothes and important medications in your carry-on in case of delays or changes in schedules when flying.

4. Delay signing legal contracts, buying a home or purchasing expensive electronics, at the very least until Mercury goes direct on April 23rd, and if possible, until after the shadow period has passed on May 11th.

5. Keep a close eye on your financial transactions during this time. Review your bank or credit accounts often, even daily, and keep track of all of your receipts for purchases and bank deposits.

(I know that I have posted these tips before, but the advice doesn't really change from one Mercury retro to the next)

Finally, during the next few weeks, try to approach any snafus, delays or frustrations with patience and tranquility. Cultivate and practice a "go with the flow" attitude. It can't hurt you and it might even help get you through this cycle with your sanity intact! This would be a perfect time to get yourself a set of meditation beads and learn how to use them. Remember to breathe and if it gets too much, you can always throw your hands up, embrace the chaos and say "Hail Eris!".