Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Wow.  Even I didn't expect it to be this crazy.

If you haven't already read this post about Mercury Retrograde, please do.

(Cut and paste if you don't want to click on the link:

Let's review some basics really quick:
(If you already know all this astrology and were just looking for a Merc retro "charm" scroll down to the bottom for the recipe/spell.)

There are 12 Houses, also called "signs", of the Zodiac.  These are like business, run by their Planetary Rulers.

The Rulers, i.e., the Planets, do not stay at their own businesses.  It's like a Co-op or Collective.  Everyone moves around and works out of all the Houses.  Some planets, like Mercury, rule two Houses.  Mercury's are Gemini and Virgo.

Some of the planets take a long time to make the full rotation of 12.  Others, like Mercury, move pretty quickly.  This has to do with how close the planet is to the sun.

All planets, not just Mercury, go retrograde.  "Retrograde" is truly an earthbound description.  What this really means is that our planet's rotation passes the "retrograde" planet, making the other planet appear to go backwards.

The moon is not a planet, and does not go retrorade.  (She does go "void of course" but that is a whole other topic of discussion for another time.  In each House, each planet does different "work" in combination with the other planets and where they are located and how they are relating to each other.  These are called "aspects" and a bit much to get into here.)

Some of us are trying to get another term used for "retrograde" which is "inter-solar".  It was coined by the great (living) astrologer Richard Nolle, of Astropro.

So, we have those planets and the sun and moon, "working" in each of the Houses, or Zodiac Signs.  The moon stays in the House, or Signs, for a few days, and makes the whole round every 28 days.  The Sun takes about 30 days in each sign and about a year to complete the rotation.

(Saturn takes 29 years.  And his return to the place of a person's natal, or birth chart, is called a "Saturn Return" which is usually accompanied by catastrophe and great changes. But thankfully only about 2 or 3 times in the average mortal lifetime)

Mercury, being closest to the sun, goes "retrograde" or "intersolar" about three times a year, for about three weeks each time.  Further, there is a period on either side of Mercury inter-solar, where he is "stationing" that is, appears to be not moving from our earthbound perspective.

These times are generally not good for things that Mercury rules: travel, communications, and also thieves.  Generally, signing contracts and beginning new endeavours is not considered beneficial during these times, unless something in your personal natal chart deflects or alters this.

Mercury retrogrades are associated with travel mishaps and accidents, miscommunications, and agreements that don't work out well. 

However, it is a great time to reconnect with people and things from your past, and to revise, rewrite and edit.  It is also a great time to introduce yourself to the other messenger god/dess: Iris of the Rainbow.

The planets are named for gods and titans of Greek mythology.  A quote I am famous for is "All religions are languages to The Divine."  This is true of astrological systems, also. Whether you use Western or Chinese or Vedic doesn't matter.

All mythologies will lead you closer to the Divine. All mythologies will explain your place in the movement of the cosmos, and the "map" of your life and karma from past lives.

(Even really limited, rigid ones like the Judeao-Christian-Islamic monotheistic mythos. Although certainly they are not as flexible.)  Different astrological and mythologies are like the difference between using metric measurements or the kind we use here in the U.S. -- with feet and inches and such.  All that matters is that you remain consistent and don't mix them up. 

So, when understanding Western astrology, it helps to understand the Greek myths and their relationships to each other.

Mercury/Hermes was the messenger of the God/desses of Mount Olympus.  When he is "retrograde" he has gone back to Olympus to report on the comings and goings of mortals.


These are the times of "karmic adjustment" and Divine guidance.  That is one reason I usually try to give Mercury a send-off ritual where I make offerings and burn incence and candles both to convey my wishes that he himself has a safe journey, and also that he might report on me favourably.

For this I use 8 yellow candles and lavender incence.  I walk through the house with the burning lavender and chant "fire flood earthquakes thieves, we will have none of these."  (This is a good banishing during a dark moon too, spritzing moon-blessed water, sea salt and rose oil or rosewater in all the corners of the house.  Clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, of course.)

Charms for the car, computer and luggage, with lavender and other herbs (check out Scott Cunningham's books to mix your own, just lavender works well though).  You can also annoint your temples everyday with lavender oil, or mark your doors with lavender oil in the sign of a pentagram or Mercury's sign.

For Iris I burn a rainbow candle, a glass velo or novena, from a candle store or botanica.  I actually gave her Virgo (with Demeter) and burn a brown daily candle for her when I can find them. I burn candles to planetary rulers every day of the year. **

But during Mercury intersolar, I burn the rainbow candle on Wednesdays for the duration, and offer her thanks and libations. (She likes beer and grain for Virgo, and an offering of water for her "rain" pitcher, and colours for the rainbow, and coloured wind socks and flags for the speed of the winds, with which she travels.)

I hope this helps.  Blessings!

** See this post from my old blog regarding daily candle offerings and Iris

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