June 23rd, 2014

Mercury Retrograde and the Imagination


The purpose of this post isn’t going to be about what you think it’s going to be about.

You read the word imagination in the title, but actually, I’m going to talk about the word in a different way.

And so this little exchange will be a good example of how the mind works when Mercury is retrograde. Or rather what we see about the nature of our habitual mind and the way it works. Which is usually predictable and reactive — thinking but not really understanding.

Mercury retrogrades can be a fortuitous time to foster understanding because the mental process of the mind is heightened, more engaged and possibly — with a little effort — more present. In fact, compared to its normal rhythm, the mind is liable to feel charged with Mercurial quicksilver.

So what I’m talking about here is this:

You read a word, it triggers an association within your mental data bank — but it’s the wrong association. The impulse travels along an old, worn groove, but it’s not the right groove. You end up where you didn’t expect to end up.

And this is why when clients talk to me about how to best align with Mercury retrograde I advise: “Pay attention, things won’t be what you think they are going to be.” Meaning, your old way of seeing everything in the same familiar way is unplugged through the retrograde phase.

And that’s a good thing.

The Mercury retrograde is a great time to appreciate the power of attention. We all take attention for granted, but really it deserves a second thought. Attention is a fascinating function of consciousness that allows the unseen and the unconsidered to be revealed.

Think about that for a minute. The simple act of focusing your attention brings the potential for illumination to whatever it happens to focus upon.

Said another way: Attention fosters understanding. We can’t have understanding without attention. It’s impossible.

Also note: Attention is never ‘free’.

This is why payment is usually mentioned: Pay attention.

You can’t just do things habitually (which we all do freely, all the time, when a thought just runs along the same old slot it’s always moved along); you have to make an effort with attention. You pay and then the aftereffect gives you something: Understanding.

The Greeks understood this and it’s why Mercury was always paid before a journey was undertaken. Like when the god would guide dead people’s souls to the next world — they had to pay Mercury some coin before Mercury engaged. Attention was called into play — and made to work.

So, when I used the word ‘imagination’ in this post’s title (and really this is all just a long-winded way of demonstrating a simple example), I meant the term as it’s used to describe something that doesn’t exist — on a material level. Which is what imagination can do, to help us imagine what could be.

This article is included in the new book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology. Order below!

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• The Truth About Mercury Retrograde and the Imagination
• Planetary Ennui: The Nostalgia for Samsara
• How To Make Facebook Your Slave and Preserve Your Creative Drive
• The Power, Beauty, and Wonder of the Horoscope’s 12th House
• Imbeciles at the Gate: How The Internet Destroys Astrology
• How To Escape From the Torture of Self-Help Hell
• Depression and the Solar Consciousness
• Secrets of the Heart: Love is an Action Not A Feeling
• Create Your Own Archetype & Call It You: An Escape from Evolutionary Astrology
• Redefining the Oxymoron of Sex and Marriage
• Death is the New Black
• How To Write About Astrology (Especially How Not To)
• Astrology, Ants, Hives, Essence, and Types: A Gurdjieffian View
• Final Notes About the Life-and-Culture-Changing Uranus-Pluto Square

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Opening collage by Frederick Woodruff

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