© 2019 Dena DeCastro, LLC

"Is Mercury still retrograde...or what?"

I've been asked several times now: "Is Mercury still retrograde...or what?" I am hearing reports that there is still a heavy, serious, vibe going on. Things are slow in coming to fruition, and a feeling of frustration over thwarted plans abounds.

Technically, Mercury's retrograde in Capricorn ended on January 25th. However, we are still in the "post-shadow" period, meaning that Mercury has yet to catch up to the degree at which it first went retrograde. During the shadow, we can continue to feel the effects of the retrograde, but to a lesser degree. This post-shadow ends on February 14th. (Happy Valentine's Day!)

Mercury gets a lot of attention for its retrogrades because they happen so often. Full blame for all things gone awry lands on heavily Mercury's skinny shoulders. But let's not be so quick to throw up our hands and say, "Darn that Mercury!" There are positive ways to use the Mercury Retrograde time and its shadow periods.

The main recommendations are: Take a breath. Slow down, buddy. Plan carefully. If you heed these basic warnings, your retrograde and shadow periods will go a lot smoother. (Don't worry, I'll remind you of this again at the next retrograde in late April).

But let’s add that there have been other significant planetary factors at play besides Merc retro and its shadow. Here are a few reasons I suspect people have been asking me: "Is Mercury still retrograde?"

On Monday February 8th, there was a New Moon.

The three days leading up to a New Moon are times wherein we feel the call to slow down, turn inward, and take stock before the lunar cycle begins again. These days, also called the "Balsamic Moon," can be challenging if you are working against the flow. Pushing to get a lot done, trying to start new things, or rushing around doing errands are all examples of working against the flow. The "Balsamic" days would have been last weekend, Friday through Sunday (5th - 7th). Did you take time to rest? If not, you might have been feeling extra grumpy by Monday. While it may seem pointless to look backward, I do so with the intention that you might consider this message before the next New Moon (a Solar Eclipse) in Pisces on March 8th. Plan for extra down-time in the days leading up to that, if possible.

Venus is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.

It was exact Friday Feb. 5th, but it has been in range since Jan. 28th and will be through Feb. 14th. Venus (relationships) with Pluto (intensity) in the sign of commitments, responsibility, and structure is encouraging us to ask some probing questions about our partnerships and close friendships. It is a good time to have those serious conversations (again, Happy Valentine's Day!) But if the other person in the equation does not want to go Pluto-deep, this could be a time fraught with hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Still, it is better to confront things than to sweep them under the rug right now, even though we will feel some natural fear in doing so.

Mercury is still conjunct Pluto through this Thursday the 11th.

Pluto, planet of death and transformation, brings forward an awareness of our mortality. We are more likely to look at things realistically, without any inclination to romanticize or soften the edges. This is not bad news. We need a dose of reality sometimes. However, we have had three Mercury-Pluto conjunctions since this retrograde cycle began back in December, so Mercury has spent a longer time than usual in connection with Pluto. At this point, we may all be experiencing fatigue at having so much searing clarity. However, the opportunity is to take stock of what we have seen in the cold light of this Mercury-Pluto time, and to put that hard-earned wisdom to practical use.

And finally, this Mercury retrograde is highlighting the last throes of the Uranus-Pluto square.

I mentioned this topic in my entry on the retrograde. The Uranus-Pluto square (still in effect even into 2017 but fading in influence) is about upheaval and revolution, surprising events, chaos, and the breakdown of entrenched structures. While these energies have been in effect for the collective since 2010, this Mercury retrograde has caused those themes to be more present in our minds. The general feeling of unpredictability in the air can make everyone anxious. But our collective assignment under this Uranus-Pluto square is to consider: Where do we need to revolt against our own habitual behaviors and mental patterns in the service of authenticity? The process of answering this question may make us grumpy. But Mercury’s extended connection with Pluto and Uranus at this time is prodding us to look.

I’m immersed in all of this myself, and what I can tell you is that I’ve gotten a lot of clarity these past couple of weeks on what I want to do and where I want to go next in the Bigger Picture. There have been some deeply uncomfortable moments, some edgy conversations with others, and even feelings of hopelessness. It’s not exactly rainbows and unicorns right now. But I suspect that by early next week, things will begin to look brighter. At times like these that I’m so grateful to have an awareness of planetary cycles. I can more clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, that helps me to endure the time in the dark.

Here are some questions to consider at this time:

  • What have you learned about yourself and your relationships during the past couple of weeks?

  • How are you going to put your awareness into action? (Name a few small or big steps you can take)

  • Will you set aside some time to rest, dream, and reflect before the Pisces New Moon on March 8th?

Your conscious choices will help you move out of this post-shadow period with more ease and grace.

Want to learn more about how to work with the cycles of the Sun, Moon, and your body? Check out Cycles of Wisdom.

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