3 Reasons to Love Mercury Retrograde

By Agent 108 Adam Sommer

“Close your eyes and let the mind expand. Let no fear of death or darkness arrest its course. Allow the mind to merge with Mind. Let it flow out upon the great curve of consciousness. Let it soar on the wings of the great bird of duration, up to the very Circle of Eternity.”

— Hermes Trismegistus


Johfra Bosschart – Het visioen van Hermes Trismegistos

Hermes–aka Mercury to the Romans/Most of us–“the Thrice Great,” is about to do it again.  Around every 4 months, just after reaching his maximum distance from the Sun (max.elongation) in the evening sky, he stations retrograde. For those conscious of these occurrences, yet unconscious about the deeper meaning, it is a magical ticket which seems to offer an allowance to blaming everything on him from forgetting to feed the cat to driving off with the fuel pump still engaged.  In my view, this is bad business.  And then there are those who are both conscious of these wondrous optical illusions and conscious of the deeper meaning who instead empty the contents of their minds while ritualistically setting the space like the alchemists of old, inviting in his magic with the willingness to change and adopt with all the “tricks” he seems to play on us.

For me, I find myself in the latter camp.  Ever since the beginning of my observations of Mercury retrogrades, I have been privy to what may actually be going on.  Think of it this way: If Mercury is the first planet from the Sun, he is also the primary filter of Consciousness.  It is he who brings the Ideas and allows us to communicate them. And if our thoughts truly do create our realities, then when Mercury comes in for a visit, passing between Earth and Sun (which always happens when Rx), there is a gift to be expected, but we cannot see it if our minds are cluttered, unfocused, forgetful, and glued to an Instagram feed.  We must learn how to pose powerful questions to him and attempt to solve all his riddled answers.  Only then do we begin to see his occult powers-which are our powers as well.

And so, I offer you three reasons to fall in love with Mercury Retrograde.  Only three, because it is he who is the “Thrice Great,” who visits the same degree thrice in his rx dance (roughly)-max. evening, inferior conjunction, max. morning-and who reconfigures our circuitry three times a year (sometimes four).  And they are:

Revisiting Old Friends/Ideas (Negredo)

…If Venus retrograde brings in old lovers and Mars Rx ushers in the frienemies, then Mercury brings in the old friends.  I have observed this without fail.  And what is it that binds us to our friends aside from love, but ideas.  If we didn’t like communicating with them, they wouldn’t be friends.  If we couldn’t share ideas and truly entertain each other’s views, what would be the point of the friendship?  We learn from each other.  And the ideas we share transform us entirely.  Gary Caton, who recently wrote an essential guide to Mercury called The Hermetica Triptycha, relates this time around the station in the evening sky to Nigredo in Alchemy, meaning: To burn off or blacken.  Thus, it is at the beginning of a Mercury Rx period where we get to reflect on those old friendships and also recalibrate our relationship to the ideas which orbit them.  This lasts until the interior conjunction-when Mercury, Sun, and Earth align ( All this takes place Now until March 31st).

Remembering the Power of Intention/Thought (Albedo)

…it is not long after Mercury stations retrograde that he disappears from the night sky and enters the proverbial underworld. In my observation, this is when his tricks are most pronounced; MRI’s as I like to call them-Mercury. Retrograde. Interventions.  But it is also when the synodic cycle ends and then begins with the inferior conjunction, which is where the magic really begins.  This is where ritual or theurgy can be employed.  It is when we are gifted an Idea, sometimes encased in a winged egg, at other times it is simply a vision of what needs to be focused on next.  This is the Albedo.  The blinding nature of radiant Truth. The color White.  And if this is not forgotten and explored thoroughly for the duration of the cycle (roughly 116 days), that little thought seed may have turned into a magnificent beast in four months time.  Working with intent in a ritualistic way and tracking Mercury in the sky is the surest way to manifest your ideas into the third dimension. Day to practice this: April Fools Day! 11 Aries.

Realizing the Truth (Rubedo)

…there are 7 Hermetic Principles laid out in the Kybalion, the first of which is simple yet relates to everything: The World is Mind.  John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Simple, yes, but remains one of the strangest and most profound ideas I’ve ever contemplated.  It implies that the world is made of language.  It is certainly observable that our own realities are influenced by our thoughts, but created entirely by them? That’s a big Idea….and perhaps, an even more True one than any.  If it is true, it can be realized in the morning sky, at the end of the retrograde period when visiting the same degree for the third time.  This is the Rubedo or the reddening.  It relates to polishing and refining and keeping alive during the furthering of purification.  For example, let us say as Plato did that Ideas are actually alive, not dissimilar from the idea of an Archetype.  When they come to us, through us, and then out of us, they are filtered through our subjective sludge.  The Idea must constantly be purified and tested for its validity.  And so, if it is your idea to race alpacas that comes into you soon enough, this idea will be tested, perhaps in the form of being spit in the face and smiled at in the cutest of ways.

All in all, with everything above ground and with everything beneath it, the whole purpose is truly wholeness. Every Mercury retrograde is an opportunity to reframe our lives in accordance with the Truth.  And there is only one Truth.  It feels like Love and is the fuel and engine of Mind.  Call it what you will, but Mercury is the closest thing to it in our Solar System.  Not that it’s He, but that he is closest to IT.

Om Budhaya Namah

(his mantra.  recite it is you enjoy his company)


Long days and pleasant nights my friends,