Another Mercury Retrograde period ends tomorrow, and after the few days the planet needs to get moving in the right direction, life as we know it will return to normal.
Or will it?
If you’ve heard me talk about Mercury Retrograde before, then you know that I take an approach to it that’s different from most people. There’s a lot of fear- and victim-based mentality around this phenomenon, as if it’s something horrible that happens every few months that we have no control over.
I prefer to see MR as a phenomenon that we’ve collectively agreed to in order to evolve, individually and collectively. When one of MR’s infamous communication breakdowns occur, it’s usually because of an assumption and/or misunderstanding by one or both parties. If we’re willing to look at where the miscommunication happened, then we have a chance to learn something about ourselves that hasn’t been working so well and change it. (This opportunity always exists, but it’s stronger during Mercury Retrograde.)
I also subscribe to the understanding that each Mercury Retrograde period has a theme based on where it falls in the astrological calendar. This correlation tells us that Mercury isn’t going to bring up all of our weaknesses at once (that would be head-burying time); rather, it highlights our opportunities to grow relative to that particular theme.
Taking this perspective on what Mercury Retrograde is for, hopefully no – our lives will not return to “normal” as we previously knew it. Instead, we’ll step into a new normal as new-and-improved versions of our former selves. Calmer, with less open conflict, but new and different.
And so I’m perceiving value in taking a moment to explore what I’ve learned about myself in these last three weeks, whether in the moment or later through hindsight. What I immediately see is how well other people in my life performed their roles as my mirrors when I couldn’t see myself directly.
What I most learned during this Mercury Retrograde period was about that willingness to look at one’s own weaknesses – or not. I hate being vulnerable about my mistakes, especially when they’re still fresh and raw. And I learned that the only thing I hate more is letting other people see my mistakes – especially realizing that they were seeing them before I did.
Oh yeah, that feels icky and embarrassing.
The way this was shown to me is through a number of conversations (conflicts) that were headed nowhere because both of us insisted on pointing out what we believed the other person had done wrong, whether it was misunderstanding something we said or using hurtful words or not seeing a situation from a higher perspective. In the end it doesn’t matter what either of us was saying the other person did wrong; all that matters is the truth that we each were deflecting blame. Pointing the finger at the other person lets you momentarily avoid looking at yourself – even hearing what the other person is saying about you – but as the saying goes, when you point your finger at someone else, three others are pointed back at you.
This was my biggest lesson over the last three weeks. For most of that time, I was painfully unaware of the lesson, but I finally caught on and knew I had made a change when a similar conflict rose again today, on this last day of Mercury Retrograde. Today I handled it differently: I didn’t launch into deflection; instead I said, “Thank you for sharing with me. I understand why you’d feel that way. I see the mistakes that I made and I’m sorry I wasn’t more aware in the moment and for the impact that had on you.” Even as the other person continued to point out every little thing she believed I’d done wrong.
A perfect response? Probably not. But it’s change and growth that I happily accept we walk out of this Mercury Retrograde period tomorrow.