Astrology and Anthroposophy

22 February 2007

Mercury Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde (14 February to 8 March)

Viewed from the earth, all of the planets move around the zodiac in the same direction and following more or less the same pathway as the Sun. This pathway is known as the ecliptic. Strangely enough the apparent path of the Moon also follows this pattern. The planets Mercury and Venus move through the zodiac signs with the Sun, sometimes a little in front of it and sometimes a little behind it.

Sometimes the planets appear to move in the opposite direction to the Sun for a while and then they resume their forward movement. At the beginning of February, Mercury in the sign of Pisces was running ahead of the Sun which was in Aquarius. It was then visible as an evening star. On 14 February it came to a stand-still at about 15 degrees ahead of the Sun and began a retrograde movement. On 23 February Mercury will have moved back level with the Sun to a position known as inferior conjunction and will not be visible being too close to the Sun. A few days later it will appear as a morning star. It will continue to move backwards until 8 March when it will come to a stop again at about 22 degrees behind the Sun. Mercury will then have moved back into Aquarius and the Sun will have moved forward to Pisces. Mercury will then resume its forward movement once again and will disappear from view when it makes a superior conjunction with the Sun.

When Mercury is retrograde it is often hard to get new things started and travel arrangements can get confused or delayed. Communication, especially of a technical nature, often gets fouled up. Technical devices such as computers or telephone equipment are more likely to break down during Mercury retrograde. It is however a very good time to do things that begin with “re” such as revise, repair, renew and relax.

In her book Anthroposophy and Astrology, Elisabeth Vreede writes as follows: “In terms of the horoscope, the essential relationship of the inner planets to the Sun must be considered. The position of Mercury and of Venus in relationship to the Sun-whether a conjunction of elongation, whether as morning star or as evening star-determines a soul’s national and family feelings.” And further “For Mercury and Venus, the constellations in which they are situated are not as important as for the outer planets. The greater or lesser distance they have from the Sun in the birth horoscope essentially reflects the experience the soul had in passing through the spheres in question (before birth).”

Astrological literature does not usually deal with the issue of Mercury as morning or as evening star but I did find an interesting article on the web by Michael R. Meyer called The Four Faces of Mercury. He describes four types in relation to the birth chart: Mercury as evening star-retrograde, Mercury as evening star-direct, Mercury as morning star-direct and Mercury as morning star-retrograde.

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