Mercury Retrograde in Aries: Use Your Imagination as a Bridge

We’re currently sitting in liminal space, the time in between eclipses.  The first occurred on March 25 at midnight Pacific time, and the next, a total eclipse of the Sun, arrives on April 8th.  This always feels a bit like standing at the crossroads, waiting.  You can feel the new beginning to emerge, yet you remain poised, almost listening to the wind shifting direction, looking for guidance before you boldly step forward. 

This year, smack dab in the middle of these two points of change, Mercury, God of the crossroads,  is shifting direction and going retrograde this Monday, April 1.

Those of you who follow my blog know that one of the many ways I use astrology is as a guide to consciously move through life essentially in concert with life rather than seeing life as separate from my own experience.   For all of the inconveniences and breakdowns that often occur during a Mercury retrograde, it is always an invitation to view things more deeply.  To reexamine the unconscious expectations we hold (Mercury is the one archetype that was given the ability to move between worlds, and was known as the guide of souls.) that are shaping our lives.  Mercury retrograde periods might cause a few complications in our daily lives, seriously he is known as the trickster for a reason, overall I view them, as I do any transit, as an opportunity for reflection and self-development. 

Used well retrogrades are times of reflection, reclamation, and revelation.

All of the Mercury retrograde periods in 2024 are in fire signs. Fire is about intuition and imagination. Astrologer Steven Forrest refers to the fire signs as the life-givers. And in many ways what we imagine is possible for ourselves gives us life.  

Throughout 2024 the Messenger of the Gods is in essence asking us to reimagine ourselves, to reenvision what is possible for our lives every single time he goes retrograde.  He is moving us between worlds across the span of 2024. Consider each of these three retrogrades in the land of fire as a step in the process of reconceptualizing your place in the world. Ideally gently evolving your psyche throughout the year. 

This first Mercury retrograde of 2024 is in the sign of Aries. Aries is the first of the cardinal signs and a large element of cardinality is the development of our conscious awareness and how we use it. So much of the sign Aries is about claiming our place in the world by having the courage to move toward where we innately know we are supposed to be.  It is the energy of the seed sprouting, of new life beginning.  Aries asks us to be brave enough to take agency over our lives, over our growth.  It is very much connected to our identity, our most basic sense of ourselves. This retrograde (and eclipse on 4/8 but more about that next week)is asking us to use this moment over the next three weeks to reflect upon both whether and how we are embodying our true essence as we move through our day-to-day lives.

A more succinct way of saying this:  Aries wants us to have our own back. 

I know I have said this many times but nothing truly changes in our lives until we shift our relationship with ourselves. Learning how to love yourself, how to listen to yourself, and how to honor yourself is revelatory. It’s an ongoing practice that deepens and transforms your experience of life and within your life. 

But to do this you have to surrender what I like to call your addiction to your current reality. You have to let go of defending it, consciously and unconsciously. We defend things to preserve our sense of safety and most often that lies in the familiar.  Even if those places within our lives aren’t really nourishing us any longer. In order for things to change, and for that change to sustain itself,  you have to consciously move from the comfort zone into the unfamiliar growth zone. The new, the growth-oriented doesn’t feel comfortable.  Neither does a caterpillar while transforming into a butterfly.  This takes a leap of faith.  As John Burroughs said, “Leap and the net will appear.”

Mercury is also the guardian of travelers, which is why travel is often messy during a Mercury retrograde.  Very often when we travel we see things with fresh eyes.  We are full of discovery and wonder. We work to make each moment count because we know we will only be visiting this moment, this place for a short time and we don’t want to miss anything. And I don’t know about you but travel always feels like a reset and I always somehow seem to promise myself that I am going to take my new sense of relaxed centeredness into my daily life and yet this vow slips through my fingers within a few short weeks at best.   I have forgotten the wonder of the moment, caught up in the details of daily life and I find myself slipping back into old patterns of being. 

In essence, we are all pilgrims in this lifetime.  Tourists if you will.  The truth is life is astonishingly short.  I am in my early 60’s, I had thought my experience of the 20 years between 20 and 40 moved with shocking speed. The pace between 40 and 60 has left me almost breathless.  The gift of chronological maturity is a little more wisdom but also the awareness of life’s breakneck clip. You might say that I have become aware that in many ways I am a tourist.   This realization has led me to a daily practice of wonder, of actively working to not miss the moment in all of its breathtaking beauty and possibility. 

As of April 1, Mercury will be retrograde through April 25. As I said earlier, used well retrogrades are times of reflection, reclamation, and revelation. I encourage you to turn your attention inward and explore your private world (dreams, imagination, inner vision). Let yourself be pulled toward inner exploration, see yourself as a traveler, and allow yourself to discover yourself anew with Mercury acting as guardian of your inner sojourn during this retrograde season. 

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