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Mercury Retrograde 2008
Written & published: 22nd November 2007
The only inner planet to turn retrograde during 2008 is Mercury. As usual, Mercury will turn retrograde three times in the year, and this year it will be in Air Signs each time. Here are the dates and Zodiac positions:
This article acts as a starting point for your explorations into what these phases of Mercury's cycle mean for you in your own life, and in the lives of the people around you.
This element is about connections, contacts, relationships, and communication of information. When Mercury moves retrograde in this Element we need to reflect on our relationships with other people as well as our relationship to ourselves. We review the connections we make and don't make, both in terms of people and knowledge. If we feel cut off and disconnected, or are experiencing 'crossed wires' and missed contacts, we will have a chance to 're-wire' everything more satisfactorily.
We also revisit the ideas we've had but which we haven't completed, or perhaps haven't even started, and we reconsider whether or not we want to bring them to a conclusion. We dot the i's and cross the t's, tying up loose ends between thought and action. If we have more ideas than we can put into effect, we need to do some pruning and re-assessing lest we scatter ourselves and fragment our focus.
There is a repeating Neptune connection to this year's Mercury retrograde, as detailed below. Clarity and confusion in our thoughts, our communications, and our relationships is of paramount importance in 2008. Intelligence, multiple intelligence, the uses and limitations of intelligence, and the capacity to integrate data, transform it into knowledge, and then use that knowledge wisely, are the Mercury challenges for the year.
The theme is discerning truth from fiction, accurately perceiving genuine connections as distinct from 'want to believe there's a connection', and separting useful information from misuse of information , e.g. propaganda, advertising, false statistics, misleading statements. We will be re-evaluating the appropriate relationship between the 'left-brain' functions of logic, analysis, linearity, words, and imagination, inspiration, holistic comprehension.
Mercury moving in a retrograde manner three times in each Element symbolises our need to triangulate in order to find a whole perspective and avoid lopsidedness. We need at least three vantage points before we can deeply comprehend something in its entirety. Each retrograde period can be used by us to build comprehension and deepen perspective until we integrate enough of what we're learning from experience to move up the scale of thought from data, to information, to knowledge, to wisdom, and then to put that wisdom into practice by incorporating it into our core identity.
In Aquarius we focus on our community connections and our social circle. If we are dissatisfied with our social network or our place in society, this is a good time to make changes and feel more interconnected, part of something bigger.
When Mercury turns retrograde on the 28th of January at 23 degrees 53 minutes of Aquarius it will be forming a Grand Trine in the Air Signs with the Moon in Libra and Mars in Gemini. Mercury will also be conjunct Neptune, semi-square Jupiter, and conjunct the Moon's North node. This is a powerful Elemental configuration, strongly emphasising connections, relationships, and diplomatic (or otherwise) relations.
Mercury retrograde January-February 2008 showing the conjunction with Neptune - the line and trail of dots shows Mercury's motion from the right of the diagram heading towards the left, then looping to the right when retrograde, before resuming its direct motion as the trail moves leftwards again
There is potential for great fog, wide-spread confusion, deception (whether deliberate or accidental), glossing over the facts with spin and what seem to be good ideas, and consequently a need to triple-check all 'facts' before rushing in or relying solely on instincts which might well be regretted later. The connection - or disconnection - between the head, heart, and belly/sexual impulses is the theme of this retrograde period.
Not all contacts are wise simply because the habitual or instinctive responses pull or push us in those directions. Arguments and forcing our views need to be guarded against: attack is not always the best form of defence.
In Gemini we focus on our mental connections and our siblings. If we feel cut off or unable to get things together with our mental focus, this is when we can make adjustments and put together the jigsaw pieces into a whole.
When Mercury turns retrograde on the 26th of May at 21 degrees 32 minutes of Gemini it will again be trine the Moon, although this time the Moon will be in Aquarius. Mercury will be quincunx Jupiter, square Uranus, trine Neptune, and trine the Moon's North node. So we have similar themes to before, as if we'll be revisiting them from another angle, seeing different facets, maybe seeing what it's like to be on the other side of the connection. Interestingly, Neptune will turn retrograde within an hour of Mercury turning retrograde.
Mercury retrograde May-June 2008 - Mercury moves from the right towards the left, along the trail shown, then turns retrograde and moves to the right forming a small loop, then turns direct and moves off towards the left once again
The difference this time is that Mars isn't involved, and there is a Uranus aspect. The challenge here is to have the right relationship between one's own opinions and those of society: consensus versus 'groupthink'; constructive questioning versus perverse rebelliousness; healthy distance versus snapping apart and wanton burning of bridges; finding like-minded kin versus connecting just for the sake of it, or conversely, going it alone and feeling either proud of being an outsider, or else outcast and freakish.
In Libra we focus on our partnerships in the broadest sense, and the alliances we make or miss. If we feel alone or as if all our connections are fleeting and don't go deep enough, this is when we can reorient ourselves and find something more balanced.
When Mercury turns retrograde on the 24th of September at 22 degrees 50 minutes of Libra it will be almost exactly conjunct Mars, widely conjunct Venus, and once again trine Neptune. This echoes the previous two instances of Mars and Neptune aspects, and therefore we will pick up the threads that we have woven earlier in the year, and weave in a new development.
Mercury retrograde September-October 2008 showing the conjunctions with Mars and Venus - Mercury moves along the trail from the right hand side, heading towards the left, then forms a slip loop as it moves in retrograde motion, finally resuming its direct motion heading to the left again
This time Venus is involved, personal relationships and society's PR are central. The issues revolve around diplomacy versus barge straight in, push versus pull, manipulate versus flow, assert versus co-operate, desire versus transcend. Peace and war - internally, interpersonally, socially, internationally.
To personalise this information you will need to obtain a copy of your birth chart and do two things:-
1) Find out which houses Mercury will move retrograde in
2) Find out which planets Mercury will aspect as it moves retrograde
You can calculate your chart using the free resources listed on the links page of this website. If you're unfamiliar with astrological interpretation, you'll need to consult someone trained in astrology to help you further explore Mercury retrograde's meaning in your life. In the links section there are listings to help you with this too.
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