That pesky Mercury 

From Michael Butler Smith

We interrupt our regular #TarotTuesday feature with important Celestial News!
# Mercury goes #Retrograde today August 30th 2016 at 9:04 AM EDT – through September 22, 2016 – in the sign of Virgo. The post-retro shadow period will last through October 6th.
Now before we proceed, I’ve decided to institute a new policy concerning retrogrades. I want to be very clear as a responsible spiritual teacher that Retrogrades are *not* here to harm us, or mess up our lives or make things difficult for us. On the contrary – we live in a friendly, conscious, intelligent Universe – nothing happens that is not designed to help us in some way. Yet in our typically alarmist, fearful 21st Century Western culture, we’ve made a boogey-man out of Retrogrades – another thing to be afraid of, blame, and complain about. This needs to stop. I know not all of you reading this are Witches – but many of us are. And as empowered beings, we need to knock off the victim mentality of blaming anyone or anything – including retrogrades. Blaming gives our power away. It’s that simple. OK – end of speech!
So – let’s discuss the particulars of the current Mercury Retro and how to work with it and within it. For starters Mercury now joins those already-in-retrograde planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) we’ve been dealing with for a number of months. Yet Mercury Retrograde only lasts weeks compared to the months it takes for outer planets. This specific Mercury Retro in Virgo is being heralded by some astrologers as the “best” and “lightest” they’ve seen in a long time – and things are promising to be less problematic when it comes to traveling or starting a romance.

This Retrograde in Virgo is set to help us give structure and detail to our personal visions of how we wish our lives to be and to proceed. But it will also be cautioning us – at least at first – to go slow, be deliberate, and look before we leap.
As I remind you with all Mercury Retrogrades, the usual cautions apply: Go over all details carefully. Check and double check your figures. With this particular Mercury Retro in Virgo, we need to speak carefully and succinctly – be precise in communications with others. Don’t leave out any details – but keep it short and sweet. Remain calm, cool and collected whenever possible. With Mercury retrograde in Virgo, it may make you more aware of “messes” (hot or not!) – literal and metaphorical, and you’ll have the urge to clean them up. Just go forward deliberately, consciously and concisely and things should tidy up nicely.
Also, as often happens during Mercury Retro, people, places, and events of the past may make a surprising come-back. This may include some *unwelcome* visitors and situations from your past. These reruns from the past have come up to be dealt with once and for all – bringing healing and resolution in their wake. Let’s not forget that 2016 still remains a year of closure, resolution and the ending of cycles. Allow Mercury Retro to bring it up or back that it may be consciously released and bring you freedom. However, this time around, we may also see a return of some friends we used to walk the spiritual path with and haven’t seen or communicated with in a long time. This may be a happy reunion, or this may be coming about because they can assist you now in a very specific way. Just be open to it.
We’re always cautioned during Mercury Retro not to sign contracts or other important documents if at all possible, do not re-negotiate terms as they are unlikely to stick, be careful with any investments or changes thereof; and to be advised that travel of all kinds may pose some challenges, outright difficulties and even cancellations – though again, this Retro is being billed as less problematic in these areas. Electronic and computer-related glitches are bound to crop up here and there as well. This includes your cell phone, land-line, WiFi and cable TV – since Mercury rules communication in all forms. Just business as usual during any Mercury Retrograde. As a result (and eerily similar to our last Mercury Retro), I’ve been having sporadic WiFi connection problems and my laptop has been periodically shackled to my modem with a lovely blue Ethernet cable! While not always convenient, it’s a speedier connection – part of the balancing act that Mercury Retro can challenge us with. Always try and see the positives in this. Sometimes these things arise so we can explore other means of communication or think on our feet and come up with a workable alternative or solution. Mercury does after all rule the mind and intelligence.
In addition (as I’ve shared here *so* many times over our years together) Retrogrades always invite us to explore the “RE” prefix – we can re-evaluate, re-assess, re-visit, re-form, re-group, repair, all ultimately leading to realization. It’s all here *for* us. But we have to be willing to see it, meditate on it and contemplate its significance in our lives. In our culture, Mercury Retro has become a pop phenomenon and an eye-rolling punchline on TV sitcoms, so when you mention that Mercury is about to go into retrograde motion, I find that people right away do this heavy sigh of despair or get freaked out. But we can *always* harness the power present and use it for our benefit and spiritual and personal evolution. Retrogrades (like everything else in Life) are here to help us grow, not make life difficult as so many mistakenly believe. That’s why I have added my new pro-retro opening statement at the start of this post.
We need to be aware as well, that this time around, Mercury will be working with both Solar and Lunar Eclipses. I mentioned during the recent almost-eclipse of the Moon, that it’d be giving us a preview of what Mercury Retro had in store. Well this sense of revelation will continue and many things will be brought to light and out of the shadows over the next 3 weeks. This is for our growth and greater spiritual awakening. The more light we bring to the shadowy corners of our lives and psyches, the more enlightened we become.
And as I always advise, if things get overwhelming, work with orange and/or gray candles to moderate the Mercury Retrograde energies. Lavender oil (which carries a Mercurial vibe) can help calm and soothe you. You can also work with and carry stones known to calm, protect, stabilize and assist during this transit, such as: citrine, hematite, blue lace agate, chrysocolla, amethyst, obsidian (great for electronics), selenite and rose quartz. Also any of the agates – which are ruled by Mercury – can be helpful allies, moderating Mercury’s energies in our immediate personal sphere and aura.
Remember, we work *with* the stars, we are not ruled by them. There is nothing to fear and everything to grow from and gain. Let that be your mantra throughout this transit!
Goddess Bless and Blessed be!
© Michael Butler Smith 2016
Image: Planet Mercury – uncredited photo found on a number of internet sites including Pinterest and Youtube.

Words to remember 

The Wise Martian scene from The Martian Chronicles, 1980

Secret? There is no secret. Anyone with a heart can see the way to live. By watching life, observing nature, and cooperating with it. Making common cause with the process of existence. By living life for itself. Deriving pleasure from the gift of pure being.

Life is its own answer. Accept it and enjoy it, day by day. Live as well as possible. Expect no more.

Destroy nothing.
Humble nothing.
Look for fault in nothing.
Leave unsullied and untouched all that is beautiful.
Hold that which lives in all reverence.
For life is given by the sovereign of our universe.
Given to be savored.
To be luxuriated in.
To be respected.

Anchor symbolism 

I started seeing these bracelets on Instagram a few months back and since I use paracord for my pendants I decided to make one of these. I looked up the meaning and most writings I’ve seen refer to a sea or sailing, or other maritime connection. While that certainly is significant, we should look deeper.

I’m not a very good swimmer, or very water-oriented. So sailing wasn’t my first thought when I saw these. Anchors speak to me of stability, holding one’s- and being held in place. They symbolize grounding, and mindfulness…anchored to now.

You can spend a few dollars to make one of these, or there are a number of sites that offer them for more.

Angelic playtime

cessna-182When I was 3 or 4 I had this toy airplane. It was a Fisher Price type model of one of the small 2 person aircraft like those made by Piper and Cessna. It rolled around and the propeller would turn. So one day I had left it on the coffee table and I came out of my grandparents bedroom and the propeller started turning and it rolled forward off the table and dropped to the floor.

I never forgot that moment. Those few seconds are part of what has shaped my sense of wonder. It might have been a visit from a departed relative, or an angel playing with me.