Out of the Frying Pan

For the week of August 18-24, 2010.

I never thought I would write “Oh boy, I’m so glad it’s Mercury Retrograde.” But I’m so thankful to have a break from writing about the unrelenting intensity of the Saturn/Uranus/Pluto astral weather system that while I’m not actually looking forward to the reality of Mercury Retrograde, I am really happy to be writing about it. I’m also guessing you’re probably glad to be reading about something other than pernicious Cardinal Crosses and T-Squares. Don’t misunderstand; we still have to get through the final Saturn/Pluto square on August 21. But the good news is for the next several weeks, we get to blame everything — even things unrelated to Mercury — on the retrograde. And that is a very special form of psychic relief.

For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here’s the deal: Several times a year (mostly three, but sometimes four) Mercury appears, relative to Earth’s orbit around the Sun, as if it is moving backward in the night sky. According to astrological wisdom, as Mercury seemingly retraces its path, we retrace ours, revisiting plans already in motion, which is why Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to start anything new. Mercury represents all things related to communication, and during a retrograde, all forms of regularly reliable systems tend to develop a life of their own. Expect problems with cell phones, networks, software, contracts, shipping, and messengers. Mercury also includes travel and traffic within its vast domain, which means airport hassles are probable. Anticipate long waits and even longer bouts of frustration. Nothing moves quickly under Mercury Retrograde, except tempers.

Mercury will be retrograde from August 20 through September 12, but remember, there is that three-day rule before and after a retrograde phase that warns against initiating new endeavors. The best use of any Mercury Retrograde is a thoughtful contemplation of recent history, and during this retrograde, the focus is on activities started at the end of July.

The final square between Saturn and Pluto, exact on August 21, is sure to deliver a wallop, given that we don’t feel the full brunt of a hard aspect until it separates. This fractious interaction can be best understood as part of a victim/victimizer power dance, where a negative symbiosis holds each player hostage to self-destructive energy. Do your best to break free from whatever has enslaved you to harsh or cruel behavior.

Mercury Retrograde snafus can easily turn a small situation into a mountain of aggravation, and when you combine that tendency toward irritation with the potential for cruelty symbolized by the Saturn/Pluto square, the week is sure to inflame emotional bodies. So do your best to be kind and compassionate to your fellow travelers, and make peace where you can.

If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.

ARIES Mercury retrogrades in your solar house of employment, insisting that you pay attention to every detail. Rather than resent this invitation, devote yourself to excellence and reap the rewards of a job well done.

TAURUS Mercury turns around in your solar house of romance and creativity, inspiring you to burst into song and dance to express your deepest feelings. Just be aware that while you may enjoy musical theater, others may not be similarly inclined.

GEMINI Mercury focuses on home improvement, and whether that manifests as internal or external work, one thing is sure: This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in projects that will ultimately strengthen your center.

CANCER As Mercury mulls over previous conversations, dissecting what was said and what wasn’t, you’re mulling over whether or not to reestablish contact. There’s nothing wrong with making peace, but be sure your intentions are authentic.

LEO Mercury retrogrades in your solar house of personal finance, making you keenly aware of financial details still in need of attention. Use this time wisely by being completely honest about your situation and about what’s needed to improve your stability.

VIRGO Because Mercury is retrograde in your Sign, it would be best to use this review for self-improvement. Do whatever you’ve been putting off — facial, haircut, or new clothes — and you’ll make the most of the moment.

LIBRA Mercury is retrograde in your solar house of the unconscious, stirring dreams, visions, and, in certain cases, hallucinations about the past. Pay attention to these messages, and you’ll gather valuable information about what is and isn’t true for you.

SCORPIO Mercury facilitates meetings with old friends, and while some of these encounters may feel awkward, for the most part, each one is a chance to see your personal history with greater clarity. So don’t be afraid to make contact.

SAGITTARIUS Mercury Retrograde emphasizes career concerns, and invites you to review and reflect on how to increase your success. Whether it’s your CV or URL, use this time to weed out what isn’t working by concentrating on what is.

CAPRICORN Mercury Retrograde stirs your wanderlust, so even if you can’t or don’t want to travel, give yourself permission to dream about exotic locales. The good news about using your imagination is that it’s absolutely free.

AQUARIUS Mercury stimulates a review of shared finances, and whether that involves bank accounts, petty cash, or a partner’s debt, what’s important is handling the situation with understanding and compassion. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone can improve.

PISCES Mercury is retrograde in your solar house of relationship, which means you’re likely to have visitations from partners past. Some of those meetings will take place in the privacy of your own mind, while others might be in the flesh. So prepare for the unexpected, and enjoy the surprises.

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