A friend and colleague from out of town was in town recently, so we got together for lunch at a favorite local haunt. Opportunities for that tend to arise during Mercury’s retrogrades, and as we are in one, I took it. She is also an intuitive, though her area of specialty is different form mine. And while we have been friends for well over a decade, working with each other, for each other and for each other’s clients, she was not dialed in to the astrology bit. Or at least she wasn’t. Until that day, we had never actually sat down and had The Talk about the astrology and the astrology part of what I do.
It started out in the usual way, the way women do. The way women in business do. Catching up on things. Taking routes to topics. Wending and weaving back and forth between business and personal. She was sharing about how her calendar had sort of exploded recently. How there was a lot of last-minute cancellations, last minute bookings, double bookings, people getting lost, and people getting confused about their bookings and appointments – especially the days and times thereof. It was an epic opportunity to segue into how the retrogrades, especially the retrogrades of Mercury, were famous for that. And how, because of the overlapping Venus retrograde this year, things were a little more interesting than usual. So I took it.
I reassured her she was not going crazy and she wasn’t doing anything wrong. At which point she sighed, and looked at me in that, “thank you for being so kind,” sort of way. The way friends do, when they know or suspect you’re being gracious. That you’re trying to make them feel better about having screwed something up. I knew then I had to dive in. So I did. I shared with her that, astrologically speaking, in my experience it was something that happens on a fairly regular basis in a fairly predictable sort of way. Which made her look up from her food and stop chewing.
No, honey – really.
And I started at the beginning, to make sure she got it. The retrogrades of the planets are the most common and least understood of all astrological transits. And the retrogrades of Mercury are the most extreme of all. In the time that I have been a student of astrology, I have been consistently amazed at what these retrogrades bring AND how people react to and interpret them. Mercury’s retrogrades are the most frequent and the most intense, the most talked about and the most misunderstood. A mere mention of the words “Mercury Retrograde” can illicit groans of woe and send people into a needless panic.
Because of this, I have become quite the crusader, for several things, in a sort of Hippocratic-Oath-committed-to-relieving-suffering sort of way. Firstly, to reduce the amount of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Proverbially speaking. Secondly, to educate and empower people so that they may have a more positive association and experience of Mercury being retrograde. After all, it’s not like it is going to someday stop happening. Lastly, and most importantly, to help people understand the richness of this transit and to maximize its benefits. So here are some of the details.
The planet Mercury goes retrograde an average of three to four times per year. The average Mercury retrograde lasts about three weeks (usually exactly 21 days, though there have been some as long as 24 days). During the course of a retrograde, the things that the retrograding planet rules or is in charge of will seem to break down, lose momentum or continuity, or become difficult to manage or control. Because of this, the ancient astrologers concluded that when a planet was retrograde, it was a good time to step back and away from the things that planet was said to rule and to temporarily turn your attention to other things.
The planet Mercury rules the intellect, your logical and cognitive functions, and your ability to communicate. Mercury also rules transportation. When Mercury goes retrograde it is very common for people to have more mental lapses, communication breakdowns, travel glitches, and automobile accidents and general problems than they usually do. Contrary to popular belief, the point of these breakdowns is not to torment you; it is to get you to slow down and be more present in, with, and to the different aspects of your life. However, it is really, really, really important to note that the intensity of an individual retrograde experience can vary wildly from one retrograde to the other and from one individual to the next. And the quality of your retrograde experience is wholly dependent on five things:
1. The sign it is occurring in;
2. The house it is occurring in for you in your natal chart;
3. Whether or not transiting Mercury is touching or aspecting any other planet in your natal chart during the course of the retrograde;
4. Whether or not transiting Mercury is touching or aspecting any other transiting planets during the course of the retrograde; and
5. What you tell yourself about it - how you hold it in your heart and your thoughts.
Each retrograde is different, and its potential impact on an individual and individual business will vary. It could have a huge impact, no impact or something in between. So contemporary thought in consulting astrology is that understanding, preparing for, and figuring out how to reframe and maximize the upcoming retrogrades is a key part of maximizing and reframing the potential for risks and rewards.
At this point, my friend’s eyes got big. Like everyone’s do, when they hear that particular bit for the first time. Now I have been psychic since I was a child. But I took up astrology accidentally – it wasn’t my idea. Not originally. A girlfriend called one day and said she was taking an astrology class, and wanted to know if I wanted to join in. It was just that simple – and as I had the time, the money and the inclination, I did it. And I was hooked in the first class. But I became a believer when I discovered how very mathematical astrology is in its precision. And I went all in when I realized there were so many ways it could help people and businesses achieve their goals.
One of the ways that mathematical precision is so very helpful to business people, especially around timing, dates and deadlines. Another way is around predicting behavior, actions and outcomes. There are ways astrology is like probability and statistics. Like stock market analysis. Like sabermetrics in sports - like Moneyball - or any other performance analytics. If you know that people and things are going to behave a certain way 85% of the time under certain circumstances, it gives you a lot of leverage. It gives you and edge, a leg up. And that provides you with things that ambitious, success oriented people crave: power and control.
For me, and for a lot of my clients, the bottom line is this: if you know astrology can give you tools to help you minimize risk and be more successful, you factor that in to your decision making process, right? It’s only smart. Like, why would you not?
For people who are on the fence about astrology and business, I always recommend this little experiment. Pick one big decision you are making, look at it from all the angles you usually do, using all the tools you usually use. And make your choice.
Then factor in the relevant astrological transits to your decision making process, and see what that does to the big picture, and, by extension, your choice. What do they both look like now, in the light of the new data points? Have they changed, and if so, how? And do those pictures now make you feel more or less safe? More or less comfortable? More or less likely to succeed – to achieve your stated goals in the timeframe and on the budget you had chosen?
And then, if you are feeling really brave, let’s take it one step further. Looking through that lens, where would things be likely to succeed? And where would they be likely to break down? To fail outright? What does that do to the bottom line? To your deadlines and budgets, performance goals and reputation? What does that do to your big picture?
And then, if you are really, truly committed, look at safety nets, plan B’s and contingencies. Given all that we now know could go wrong, and given your risk tolerances, how could you shore up the areas of greatest risk, weakness and vulnerability to make the possibilities of disappointments and/or outright failures smaller and more manageable? How much better, safer would you feel then, with those things in place?
So at that point I stopped, took a breath and looked over to see if she was still following along. She was. She totally was. Now this is where things always get interesting. For those of you who don’t really know me, yes. I am the groovy California hippy psychic. Registered Democrat. Liberal. Progressive. But easily half of my clients aren’t. And astrology is why. Astrology is not just a spiritual thing, or a philosophical thing. It’s a numbers thing. A math thing. Astrology provides math and data that give you levels of security you simply cannot get anywhere else. This is what resonates with so many business people - especially more conservative people, people with lower risk tolerances. And especially with the George Steinbrenner types, the ones who “just really hate failing”. The ones who really “hate losing”. Astrology gives them another layer of protection, of insulation. It’s a way of minimizing risk and hedging their bets.
And then things become very simple. It’s just about math. You add a lot of things to a lot of things. You subtract some other things and you get a range. Some brackets. Much like the cone of uncertainty that is used in predicting the landfall of hurricanes. And then you know where your risks are and aren’t likely to be. And then you can make smart choices.
And success in business – in anything – is simply smart choices. Lots and lots of them, consistently over time. So if you are looking to make smarter choices, now is the time. We are in the late 4th quarter for 2018, and in a Mercury retrograde to boot. The conditions are perfect for creating an epic breakthrough, but you may have to reset your head, you may have to try something new. If you need some help with that, call me. We’ll figure it out.