Monday, December 13, 2010

Mercury Retrograde

I just won a contest for having the best Mercury Retrograde story! It’s a lot like winning the Darwin Award but on a much smaller scale. For one thing, unlike the Darwin Award, there isn’t a death penalty.

First, for those of you who don’t get what Mercury Retrograde is, it’s a term from astrology. Those of you who never got beyond, “Hey, what’s your sign?” may not grok this right away, but basically we have all the signs and all the planets in our chart. It’s not like they go away on our birthdays or any other day for that matter.

About three times a year Mercury appears to stand still or go backwards in relative motion to the earth. The planets don’t actually stand still; it’s the “in relative motion to the earth” that’s the key phrase here. It isn’t only Mercury that does this but Mercury gets talked about the most. You know how people talk about more crime and crazy stuff happening with the full moon? Well, some swear by it and some seek to prove that no more crime or crazy stuff happens then than any other time. But people still seem to note those times.

Mercury Retrograde periods are something like that but it’s not crime, at least major crime, and it’s not crazy stuff. It is little stuff that could send you over the edge, though. It usually has to do with Mercury-related topics like communication, electronics, new purchases, access to things, shipments, that kind of stuff. And during the retrograde times, people tend to be more aware of things going awry, snafus, if you will. And in fact, it also has to do with the “if you will” part. Mercury is identified with the Magician in tarot, presto, change-o, illusions, ability and the statement, “I will.” It’s the can-do card. In fact, it’s the ‘can do it in front of people’ card because the Magician is a bit of a showman. His number is 1. His cartoon character could be Thumper in Bambi. Thumper’s best quote in the movie is the ice skating scene where he zips across the freshly frozen pond ice shrieking for joy, “Look what I can do!” I love Thumper.

The Magician grows up to be a wizard after he gets over his Sorcerer’s Apprentice phase in youth. You see him more clearly next in the tarot as The Hermit. After he’s mastered the arts and tools ‘as above, so below,’ he retreats for a bit of introspection. Just being able to do something is not enough. How many times have we shaken our heads at youthful enthusiasm and hoped they will learn to use their force for good instead of evil? For instance, just because you can drive, should you? But the Magician is focusing on the “can” part of things in the first numbered card of the major arcana. He not only believes he can, he really can do it, whatever it is.

So just because the Magician can do it, should he? And that combination of showmanship and a dash of moral ambiguity gives him his Trickster reputation. So he is also Coyote in First People’s stories, an able magical creature with wonderful talents that you sometimes trust and sometimes don’t.

People have a natural mistrust of abilities beyond their own. It’s not so egotistical as it is just plain experience. If you’ve never seen something before, do you trust it immediately? Our natural case of the heebie-jeebies is part of that ol’ lizard brain telling us Yellow Alert just in case the new shiny or fuzzy thing has teeth and likes to eat people. Approach with caution. Curiosity is what we’re all about, but the point is to live through the experience.

Magician, reversed, from Victorian Trade Card Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

When the Magician is upside down, or in tarot talk reversed, something is stopping him from doing what he can do. Or, the Trickster side is coming out. Things don’t go as planned. Unexpected results from your usual can-do may occur, but they are usually on a small scale. We’re not talking The Tower here. This is just the stuff that will drive you nuts. If it really is the little things in life, Mercury Retrograde is a time when those little things mean frustration, exasperation, errors in communication, etc.

Our current retrograde period lasts through Christmas. Think of all those fun electronic gizmos people give and get for Christmas. And the calls to the help desks for assistance when the durned thing doesn’t do what the instructions say. Instructions not exactly in English? Tab A, Slot B but there is no Tab A on your whatsit? You mean THAT is the On button? Oh, fresh batteries. I should have known. Yup, that’s Mercury territory. On hold for five and half hours with the help desk only to have the help desk person accidentally hang up? Mercury Retrograde. Your Magician is standing on his head. And he’s probably laughing. Funny guy. Ha ha.

I’m hoping Mr Mercury calms down for me but I wouldn’t put money on it. In my horoscope chart, Mercury is my rising planet, the first one to get over the horizon when I was born, and in my first house of self. Mercury is something of a big deal in my chart, so funny little things like the typical Magician reversed/Mercury Retrograde stuff could affect me personally a little more than other people. At least, that’s how they read it. I’m more likely to notice those little things. Good news, I’m more likely to think of them as funny, too.

My winning entry for the “retrograde-est” Mercury went like this. Theresa Reed, also known as The Tarot Lady, posted an offer for a free tarot reading to the author of the best entry on her Facebook page for a Mercury Retrograde story. Here’s my post:

It's the little things that send you over the edge. My 85-years-young friend has locked herself out of her house twice since the Merc Rx and crawled in through the window to get back in (pretty good). My husband could not get his electronic key to open his car, called AAA and they determined there was nothing wrong. Nothing. The alarm company called for routine maintenance via the phone, which hung up on us twice, then, finally, to diagnose an issue, I had to climb onto the washing machine. I told the tech at the alarm company that if she heard a scream, it was only me falling behind the washer and in that case she should call emergency to rescue me. Except for the constant laughter, we completed our mission unscathed, but the imagined picture of a 56-yr-old woman climbing onto her washer was just too much for the tech to keep a straight face. The housekeeper almost walked in on me when I was just out of the shower and not ready for guests. I got to the door on time to keep it closed, barely. Pun intended. He wouldn't have been phased though. And, finally, I figured out the reason I'm so out of synch with one of the shops where I read is that...I'm not on their mailing list!!

Oh and when I tried to post this, I had to close my browsers and relaunch Facebook!

I feel like Queen for a Day because my sad story won the clap-o-meter but in this case it was the laugh-o-meter. Sometimes I think, because of the strong influence of Mercury in my chart, I gravitate toward this kind of thing. And, like the Magician and his audience, even when these little things don’t work exactly as planned, at least I’m entertained.

My prize for winning The Tarot Lady’s contest is a free reading over the phone. Hmm, you know, phones are covered by Mercury too. I think I’ll wait until the Trickster goes direct before I collect.

Best wishes!

1 comment:

  1. Marcia,
    thank you for making me feel better about my week! ;-)
    Well, you just have to laugh about it, right?
    love your sense of humour!