Must Mercury Madden Our Minds?


By all indications, the rapidly-approaching Mercury retrograde—beginning this coming Thursday (May 7) and lasting through May 30—has the potential to be an especially devilish one.

I'd quietly decided not to make a big deal of Mercury's retrogrades here on the site, since this astro-information is widely available elsewhere… and because I've concluded we often create more Merc-retro hype (a la swine flu, bird flu, one flu over the cuckoo's nest) than it warrants.

Yet, this one does seem especially well-suited for seriously mucking with our communicative processes. As of a few days ago, I was already fielding inquiries about why people would be beginning to see symptoms of a Mercury retrograde that hadn't even started yet. I think the answer rests, at least in part, with the continuing ultra-Aries influence.

To review, both Venus and Mars are presently in Aries, where they remain through the end of this month—and, as a result, through the end of this Mercury retrograde, too. This dynamic duo of fiery action-orientation isn't so big on thinking things through. Why waste the energy? By the time you've consulted friends and experts, weighed pros and cons, and analyzed possible scenarios of consequence, the bullet train has already raced out of the station and is halfway to the next stop. And particularly considering Venus is still retracing the shadow-steps from her recent retrograde, the actions now pushing to be taken have already been dangling desire in front of our faces for many weeks now. Is there really more left to think through?

Alas, mental-master Mercury, presently in the earliest degrees of ruling sign Gemini, certainly doesn't want to be left out of this sensational show. This at-home Mercury in Gemini (unlike its alter-ego in its other ruling-sign, Mercury in Virgo) is terribly eager to toss in whatever additional thoughts, remarks or alternative-realities cross its mind—whether or not they are especially applicable, relevant or supportive of concentration. The creative cleverness and curiosity inherent to Mercury in Gemini is what generally makes him so happy in this zodiac zone: No shortage of new ideas and fresh angles ensures a low likelihood of hitting a mental roadblock. One thing isn't working? Here's another.

Yet, sometimes, this fruitful proliferation of mental approaches can overwhelm… such as in the astro-situation we now find ourselves in, when the best time for brainstorming and bargaining and bantering has already passed for now, when (like it or not) we're probably already aware of what needs to be done. At such a point, talk becomes cheaper and cheaper. 'Exploring alternatives' sounds more like a cover for avoiding, in fearful hesitation or paralyzing anxiety, the decisive deed. Too many angles or ideas can distract our focus from the truth we already instinctively possess. And saddled with a manic unfocused mind, our potential to proceed inattentively—and thus carelessly—is way upped.

Gemini, at its worst, is prone to nervousness (both in personality and on the bodily level) due to its too-clever-for-its-own-good brain working overtime in chasing every last neural firing, lest one small tidbit of information or fleeting social connection slip by. With Gemini in a flowing sextile (60-degree, or 2-sign, angle) relationship to Aries, the present ultra-Aries influence only serves to increase the physical energy that fuels this chase. More energy, more ideas… greater potential mania. Meanwhile, for the foreseeable time ahead, there are no obstructing hard-aspects to Mercury, Venus or Mars from other planets, which would helpfully block this free-flow and slow the cerebral processes down.

This makes a perfect recipe for information overload.

For the next week-and-a-half or so, as Mercury stands still and flips to retrograde motion in early Gemini, we're apt to find ourselves in potentially desperate situations which we make desperate by overthinking everything, inundating ourselves with too many worries, and generating a panic that then leads to the scenarios our worry-ridden brains have unwittingly caused by worrying about 'em in the first place.

All the usual Merc-retro side-effects—misunderstandings, muddled transport and transmission issues, misfiring machines—ought to be watched out for. This time around, it's even likelier that we are the actual problem. Frantic minds breed unstable results, after all. Trying to say too much in a short space of time (when perhaps very little actually needs to be said) will ensure none of it makes any sense, consequently confusing or infuriating those forced to listen. Running a dozen open applications on your computer at once will prevent any of them from doing their best work. And attempting to drive back and forth across town five times in a single afternoon, to complete a way-too-ambitious to-do list, will virtually guarantee an undesired detour, traffic jam or (god forbid) fender-bender.

We've got to keep on moving all right, to make the most of Venus and Mars in Aries, but we've also got to drop the mental expectations of how it should or could go… and just get done what gets done, staying in the moment rather than projecting ahead into tomorrow's possible triumphs or disasters. We probably don't need to ask permission of, or run through our agendas with, every last person who might have a question or hold a stake. If they feel their toes are getting stepped on, they'll let us know at the appropriate moment. Until then, why stress about it?

By next week (Wed May 13), Mercury will slip backwards into Taurus, quickly decreasing the frenzied rate that's likeliest responsible for the mishaps we may witness before then. At that point, we won't be as bombarded with such an excess of mental garbage (yeah, I said it: garbage) that we can't discern the important news from the disposable fluff-pieces. Of course, Mercury retrograde in Taurus comes with its own brand of drawbacks—overcautious, underimaginative and/or stubborn notions that constrain fast forward motion.

But that's still more than a week away, so we mustn't 'go there' so prematurely. That jumping-ahead in the head is exactly what I'm warning against.