October 29, 2007

Mercury Retrograde; A Traditional Interpretation

I have seen quite a few websites which include a profile of Mercury retrograde during any certain period of time but unfortunately there is no such luck for those of us who enjoy traditional interpretations of this period. It should be noted that the traditional authors rarely gave very much credence to the Retrograde periods in the way Modern Astrologers tend to do. In the past a retrograde was simply a debility to a Planet and its importance was only brought out during the construction of a chart. However whenever a Planet is debilitated, it also happens to screw up Electional times, for it can be disastrous to do anything during a Planetary Retrograde if that retrograde also includes other Essential Debilities. The greater the debilities to the Planets (Essential or Accidental) the greater chance of the Election not working out (or any other activity undertaken under the significations of Mercury).

For those of you who don't know what an Election is, it is simply an event set Astrologically to bring favorable results. For example, if I wanted to cut my hair, and have it grow back quickly (or slowly) I would cast a chart for the time of that event in which the Planets were favorable for quick hair growth and get my hair cut on that date therefore promoting quick hair growth. The same applies to all the rulerships of the Planets that are debilitated. When a Planet is retrograde (with other debilities as well supporting it) and a certain task that is ruled under that Planet is performed, the outcome will go against the desired end if not go completely reverse to the desire.

Since Mercury retrograde is the most often observed Retrograde the significations of Mercury will be most heavily influenced in this case. Mercury went Retrograde on the 11th of October 2007 at 9PM PST. Which time can be observed in the chart below.

We see that Mercury is placed in the 9th degree of Scorpio. Following the Table of Dignities and Debilities we see that Mercury is Peregrine in this position (which means he is out of his habitation and in a foreign area that he does not recognize). Both the Retrograde and Peregrination are debilities of -5 which means he is debilitated with -10 in this position. We can be sure that he is heavily debilitated this Retrograde period and therefore during this time his influence will be felt negatively. Today we notice that Mercury enters the 23th degree of Libra and thus receives the dignity of Term which lightens his negative influence by giving him a +2 and this shifting his negativity to a -3 (being -5 for Retrograde). The peak intensity of this period (has already occurred) is between October 11th to October 28th.

Now that his placement has been observed we should here note that his greatest influence will be over Mercurial matters these matters include; New arts, instable activities, industry (meaning skills), short journeys, divinations, writing and all things that yeild riches. The types of people who will be influenced most during Mercury retrogrades are; Mathematicians, Philosophers, Poets, Orators, Diviners, Inventors, Brothers, Servants (this is interesting with its initial placement in the 6th House which also rules over servants), Scribes, and Businessmen. Mercury also rules over lies and liars and therefore you should expect these during the time of retrograde and depending on the dignity or debility of Mercury judge the strength of them.

Since Mercury goes retrograde 3 times a year I will of course be including posts in the future for further retrograde periods so people can know what to expect and the intensity of the retrograde period. I hope this post has helped some understand the traditional influence of Mercury Retrograde.

Aaron Brody

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