Long And Short Of It — Mercury’s Apparent Reversal

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Mercury’s next apparent reversal will begin in Cancer’s fourth degree at 7:56 am EDT Saturday, initiating a retrograde period symbolically distinguished by both long and short. The “long and short” distinction is derived from how Mercury is about to take a long time (nearly 24 days) to regress a short distance (less than 10 degrees) on the zodiac circle as compared to the majority of other Mercury retrogrades.

Astrology by Len Wallick

It is not exactly rare for Mercury to take so long to retrograde over such a short arc. Even so, it is useful to know when such a distinctive retrograde is at hand so you can make plans to achieve gains.

Yes, plans and gains. The long and short of it is that Mercury retrogrades have an undeservedly bad reputation for chaos and misfortune, which you would do well to divest yourself of in order not to be your own worst enemy.

Instead, now is as good a time as any to acquaint yourself with Mercury anew. As with most new relationships, you must overcome your own prejudice, attachments and conditioning, and get to know both Mercury itself and its frequent, famous retrogrades for what they really are.

Mercury is a planet. It orbits the Sun, minding its own business. It does not make anything happen to you. Nevertheless, Mercury and you move about as parts of the same system — the solar system. One defining characteristic of any system is that any one part will give you information about any other part.

Not incidentally, one of versatile Mercury’s many manifestations in your life has to do with the validity, flow and processing of information. Hence, the beginning of your new astrological relationship with Mercury, or at least the short of it. 

Your astrological relationship with Mercury is not cause and effect so much as it is a look in a mirror, or at a map, or clock. Mercury gives you data, not grief. The results depend on the quality of information you receive and what you do with it. That’s the long of it.

Please consider starting your quest for quality information by grasping that neither Mercury nor any planet ever actually moves backwards. The short of it is, retrogrades are about appearances.

Mercury has the inside lane on rest of the solar system. That’s how Mercury appears to move faster than any other planet does. Just like any car, horse or person holding the inside lane on a racetrack will appear to move faster than the rest of the field.

When Mercury passes us from the inside lane (as it does three times in a typical year) appearances take over. Just as when your automobile passes (or is passed by) a train on a track parallel to your highway, Mercury appears first to slow down, then go backwards in passing. That’s the long of it.

Now, hopefully, you know good and well not to judge people solely on their appearance, especially when you are getting acquainted. So why would you want to trip yourself up now in this moment during what is (hopefully) your re-acquaintance with Mercury?

Instead, try seeing this impending Mercury retrograde as you would a mirror (which gives you information in what it reflects), or a map (telling you where you are), or a clock (letting you know what time it is). Try distinguishing this impending passage of Mercury between Earth and the Sun from previous retrogrades, which you may have pre-judged (to your own loss) based on hearsay and undeserved reputation.

This time, please consider trying something new. Perhaps something like this: you now know Mercury is associated with the  appearance of speed as a benefit of its inside track. So ask yourself, what would the unusual (but not rare) occasion of an apparently slow-moving Mercury reflect about your movements? Where would a sluggish Mercury suggest you are on the map of life? How would a proverbial hare taking its periodic turn as a tortoise tell you about what time it is, and what is appropriate for the time it is?

Keep in mind, the answers are not the same for everybody. Therefore, dispense with what everybody else has told you and find answers that hold open the possibility of making plans and gains instead of closing the door on anything but doom and gloom.

The same goes with retrograde motion. You now know that retrogrades are only apparent reversal. So ask yourself, what would an apparent reversal of the planet associated with information reflect when you understand how it’s actually associated with getting ahead? Is the reality behind the event off the map? Does it really sound like a time of misfortune?

One thing for sure, you are going to get more time to answer those questions than during most retrogrades. That’s the long and short of what’s up for you and what can be your renewed relationship with Mercury between Saturday and Mercury’s return to direct motion on July 1 at 24+ Gemini. Take your time, and find alternatives to hand-me-down answers. Find information that works for you.

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Len is available for astrology readings. You can contact him at lenwallick [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Len Wallick

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6 Responses to Long And Short Of It — Mercury’s Apparent Reversal

  1. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    be, aword, Strawberry, DeBellony, and Bette Loreen: Once again my acknowledgement and thinks to you for your comments is a bit late, but nonetheless sincere. Each one of you has added to the greater understanding of this Mercury retrograde, providing (as be suggested) some much-needed perspective.

  2. Bette Loreen says:

    Long and short indeed! This time, Mercury will turn Rx on my 12th house NN, while the sun transits my natal Uranus & squares Chiron. As usual, I made every effort to get things done prior to the Rx period, but the past few weeks have been really, really challenging.

    Much of it’s about my formerly-reliable old truck having one expensive problem after another, the latest an electrical mystery – & in the rural area where I live, one really needs functioning wheels. Toss in some emergency plumbing which had to be done, & gobbled up my savings, & I find myself saying whoa! I did my best to keep things functional & manageable, & simply could not.

    However, I am considering one version of the longer view I rarely considered before, that is the possibility that although this is “home” to me, & I love the landscape & the sky, maybe I need to look elsewhere. Maybe I need to seek a place where I can develop friendships; here, I just have acquaintances, & that gets really, really lonely, especially during the long, isolating winters.

    Much to ponder, much more than I’d have expected. Perhaps by the time Mercury goes direct & Jupiter crosses my ist house Saturn, I’ll know what to do.

    Thank-you, Len, for shedding some light on this passage.

  3. DeBellony says:

    “Mercury is a planet. It orbits the Sun, minding its own business. It does not make anything happen to you.”
    I love it!
    I am reminded of the movie The Matrix when Morpheus was training Neo in the program and he was walking straight through the crowd, while Neo was getting bumped all around.

  4. Len,
    I, too, appreciate this perspective on Merc retrogrades, largely because of everything else going on in my life right now. As Mercury stations, Mars will be transiting my Juno/Uranus conjunction for the third time. The first time Mars transited that point, in January, I ended my 11-year relationship. The second time, during the Cardinal Grand Cross in April, I got significant clarity on where I was headed in my life. Right now, I’m making my final plans to relocate my life on a new path and “start over.” Doing so under a maleficient Mercury is a challenge I’m not interested in engaging. Happily, I learned last year that I actually love Mercury being retrograde in a water sign, most especially in Cancer.

    So, add to that this notion of the relative speed of life being a matter of perception, and I just might be able to do this. Five short/long months ago I was considerably stuck & had no conception of how to unstick myself. Now, I’m unstuck and things are moving faster than I can get hold of. It’s terrifying, liberating, exhilarating, and — somewhere in there — Right. Whatever that means. I don’t know right now whether I need to slow down or speed up, but just knowing it’s all a matter of perception helps. As always, your insight is eminently useful. Thank you, Len.

  5. awordedgewise awordedgewise says:

    I really appreciate your suggestion that this can be a time to be more methodical, more “slow” as it were, despite the illusion, or feeling, that things are speeding up. (Because if Merc is the train that appears to be slowing down then Earth must be the train that appears to be speeding up and both are temporary perspectives). What a great seat on the train I’ve got!
    Thanks, Len.

  6. bkoehler says:

    You know Len, there is something about Mercury and Jupiter both being in Cancer, just as Mercury prepares to retrograde, that is adding to the frustration of today’s 1st quarter square (Sun-Moon). At least that’s how I see it. Like you say, it has to do with long and short. . . long term plans/needs and short term plans/needs and possibly this is reflected in their last conjunction in May 2013 at 23+ Gemini. (good grief) I will be studying that time period to get a “feel” but can already tell you this; Venus was conjunct the 2013 Mercury-Jupiter conjunction and that was no accident.

    Perhaps one’s short term plan(s) is being stymied by his retrograde; perhaps there was a sense of urgency to end this cycle (with Jupiter) and begin the new cycle. Perhaps this cycle had to do with one’s family, home, needs (all Cancer related stuff). . think of poor Bergdahl (or birddog) and his family whose reunion seemed near at hand but is being thwarted if not down right deteriorating.

    I believe (thanks to Mercury’s versatility and his ability to juggle several things at once) he is suggesting a change of perspective. Instead of focusing on the short term as we probably all were doing, change to a focus on the long term Jupiter perspective. Mercury is saying there’s something that needs to be re-considered and/or re-examined before we close this deal. It’s not going to be a Cancer (family, home, needs) New Cycle, it’s going to be a Leo (creative, kids, show-biz) New Cycle and it’s not happening until early August, so it’s too soon to end this present cycle. Patience? HAH!

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