The Sun moved out of Taurus and into airy Gemini on May 20, a shift that invites us to focus on our minds, new ideas, and all things associated with communication and transportation. The call to attend to these areas actually began May 2, when Mercury—which rules Gemini—entered the sign of the Twins, and it gained more urgency on May 24, when lovely Venus joined the fray by entering Gemini as well.
Yesterday, the planetary energies grew more complex when Mercury went retrograde (meaning that from our perspective on Earth it appears to be moving backward, even though it actually continues its forward movement through the sky). On the same day, Neptune, which rules our spirituality and oneness with all creation (and our addictions and escapism, in its negative expression), also went retrograde. Jupiter and Pluto are adding their energies to this trend, as both already are retrograde.
When planets go retrograde, the areas of life associated with them slow down, become more challenging, and sometimes even go haywire. In the case of Mercury, computers and cell phones may stop working, miscommunication can become common, and travel plans (and plans in general) tend to go awry. With Neptune, our logical minds seem to fail us, as the world of dreams, illusion, and spirituality takes center stage. Jupiter retrograde halts our outward expansion, may force us to make do with less, and encourages us to contemplate philosophy, beliefs, and higher truth. When Pluto goes retrograde, forces beyond our control may affect our lives, and we may have to face issues about control and witness life changes associated with birth and death—and transformation.
Many people react to the often frustrating delays, changes, and losses that retrogrades bring by pushing harder and forcing their lives to stay on track with their carefully made plans and stubbornly held beliefs. That approach typically intensifies the retrograde period’s already stressful energy and brings us more forceful demonstrations of our need to let go and relax into nature’s flow. By contrast, if we can accept the natural cycles of breakdown and even destruction that retrogrades bring, we have a powerful opportunity to rid ourselves of what no longer works so we can move forward on firmer ground once the retrograde period ends.
Although the other planets mentioned here will remain retrograde for a few months, Mercury resumes its forward motion on June 19. So we have just a few weeks to step back from our overscheduled lives, review our thoughts and communications, and consider new and better ways to use our minds, communicate with others, and transport ourselves and our belongings.
Mercury’s retrograde period offers an even greater opportunity, however, if we move beyond material considerations to focus on our spiritual lives. In general, retrogrades invite us to go inward to explore our spirituality and to consider how we can achieve the highest potential represented by the planet and the astrological sign involved in the retrograde. These periods of apparently backward planetary motion also point us backward toward the past, allowing us to review prior actions, relationships, jobs—even prior lives.
With Mercury (the mind) and Neptune (spirituality) going retrograde on the same day, our call to the inward, spiritual way sounds even louder. From now until June 19, remember Mercury’s role in mythology as the Divine Messenger—a conduit for information between humans and the gods. When delays or other obstacles seem to block your progress, ask yourself what important message lies within the seeming chaos. Does a change in plans end up working out to save you from greater inconvenience? Does a canceled engagement allow you time for meditation or a walk in nature? Does a missed phone call mean you need to review and reflect before having that conversation?
We can make the most of this brief retrograde by slowing down and giving ourselves time every day for silent reflection and meditation. That way, we can hear the messages being sent to us by the Divine through that “still, small voice” that speaks to us in feelings, hunches, or a sense of inner knowing. So listen well, for when Mercury moves direct again, we will become messengers ourselves, with opportunities to share what we receive with others.