Don't Blame Mercury!

DARE: count the number of times between January 5th and January 25th that somebody in your life blames her misfortune on #MercuryRetrograde.
DOUBLE DARE: count the number of times you feel tempted to blame it.

Guess what, cosmonauts. We've got a lot of Retrograde coming up this year! There are four different periods during which Mercury appears retrograde to our earthly eyes: the current ‘grade, a spring fling (from April 28th through May 22nd), a deep summer doozy (August 30th through September 22nd), and finally, to wintrily mix it up, one last round December 19th that lasts into 2017. I’ll count it up for you; that’s 83 days out of 366. That means Mercury puts on its star-shiny glove and (eee-heee!) moonwalks across our hearts for roughly 23% of the days of the year! If you ask me, that’s too many days to throw up our hands to the alleged mercy of planetary forces.

The Yoga Sutras warn us:

tada drashtuh svaroope avasthanam
[sometimes you don’t feel like a nut]
virittisaroopyam itarata
[sometimes you do]

You feel like a nut when your chitta is vritted, and indulging the feeling of being antagonized by the orbital appearance of Mercury is one of these vrittis. What is your retro-phobia if not a rejection of the bridge in our planets’ duet? And what is rejection of a thing if not attachment to its opposite? (Search your yamas, you know it to be true.)

Plentiful as the stars in even Manhattan’s sky are the articles that enable you to attribute any feelings of confusion, delay, and frustration to this event. Are you going to let yourself be incapacitated by this predictable phenomenon? Are you going to surrender your own agency to this illusion? Beware, yogin, of the unenlightened tendency to hoard spiritual words for the purposes of self-sabotage.

Hark! The confusion is unnecessary. Mercury’s retrograde appearance not a trick, it’s an illusion, and we already know the secrets of this fire swamp. The delay is part of the illusion, so it’s not real; it only seems real. The frustration comes from the conflict of the expected and the evident. Even those blame-enabling horoscope sites you are bound to find in your browser history will remind you to try to take a breath and use this time for reflection.

The appearance of the little planet’s backward motion is itself an illusion. No object with mass is free from gravity. Embrace this glorious metaphor! The nature of celestial orbiting compels us to move forward, and only our geocentric (read: egocentric) worldview fools us into even entertaining the notion that we or any moon or any other object (and what, I ask you, does not classify as a celestial object) is ever free from gravity which demands we creatures of mass continue to orbit on.

Mercury Retrograde is not an obstacle to your practice. It is your practice. Don’t blame Mercury; thank Mercury.

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