Mercury Retrograde: Magic Tips the Scales

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow morning (December 19) at 4:55 AM CST and it will remain retrograde until Sunday, January 8 at 3:43 AM CST. From the viewpoint of an observer on Earth, the planet Mercury will appear to stop in the sky and then go backwards for three weeks, before stopping again and returning to “direct” travel. During this time, communication becomes more difficult and misunderstandings are far more likely to occur.

I always ignored Mercury retrograde until its last occurrence in September, when it slapped me upside the head with multiple communication failures. At the time I was dealing with a physical injury and I was under stress from several sources – I wasn’t strong enough to overcome the effects of Mercury retrograde and my communication suffered. Had I been paying attention, I could have expressed some things more clearly and delayed other things until the conditions were more favorable.

Mercury goes retrograde three or four times a year, for three to four weeks each time. Now it’s here again and we have to deal with it.

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Mercury retrograde does not mean gremlins invade your computer and rewrite your e-mails. You are responsible for your communication and its effectiveness, regardless of the astrological conditions. Pay extra careful attention to everything you say and everything you write. If something is extremely important (like negotiating contracts) put it off until January 8.

My experiences with Mercury retrograde show once again how magic doesn’t control anything but it influences everything – magic tips the scales.

If I’m at full strength, Mercury retrograde may make my writing a little less clear, but I’ll still get my point across – and I can pretend Mercury retrograde doesn’t exist. But if I’m already sick and stressed, the effects of Mercury retrograde can make my writing so unclear many readers get the wrong message and all of a sudden I’m scrambling to clean up a mess.

Did Mercury retrograde cause my communication errors? No. Mercury retrograde tipped the scales against me.

I think even the oldest among us have taken multiple choice tests. I took plenty. There were more than a few times when I read the question, knew the answer, and then marked the wrong block on the test paper. It’s no big deal… unless you fail the test by one point. Did your mindless typo cause you to fail the test? Of course not – what caused you to fail the test were all those other questions where you didn’t know the answer. But that typo was a critical difference – it was something you could have controlled and didn’t. And so it tipped the scales against you.

What enables you to pass a test? It’s not one thing, it’s many things. It’s going to class, paying attention, and taking good notes. It’s doing the reading, doing the homework, and doing the projects. It’s studying and practicing. It’s getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast, and getting to the test in plenty of time. It’s reading the questions carefully and making sure that if the answer is B and you know the answer is B, you mark B on the paper and not C.

If the class is something you’re naturally good at and if you’ve done all these things, you should have no trouble not just passing, but making a grade you’ll be very happy with. But if the material is hard for you, or you missed some of the classes, or if you’ve got three finals on one day and can’t study as much as you’d like, then you may be teetering on that pass/fail line. You need something to tip the scales in your favor.

Whether it’s passing a test, getting a job, finding a lost object, or pretty much anything else you’re trying to accomplish, magic can tip the scales in our favor.

My current favorite is sigil magic. It’s simple, effective, and very intuitive, especially for a writer or for anyone who’s visually oriented. Write your goal, turn the words into a sigil, then ritually activate it. Then let it go – in the words of Austin Osman Spare “does not matter, need not be.”

I’ve used sigil magic on an as-needed basis for the past few years. After reading The Chaos Protocols earlier this year, I’ve been doing sigil workings on a monthly basis. So far, so good… and in one case (the specifics of which I cannot discuss) a very complex situation worked out exactly as I expressed it in my goal.

Then there are the spells and charms that use herbs, stones, dirt, and various bodily fluids. This is largely sympathetic magic – the ingredients share spiritual commonalities with the things they’re trying to influence. Control the charm and you influence the target: “as above, so below.”

Many of these spells are centuries old, while others are custom-made based on traditional correspondences. They’re traditional for a reason  – they’ve got a long history of working.

And you can always call on your spiritual allies. Your ancestors are your most accessible allies (if your ancestors of blood are all abusive scum who hate you, then call on your ancestors of spirit). Ask your Gods for help too. Now, this works best if you’ve already got a strong devotional relationship established. Most of us have a relative who only shows up when they want something – don’t be that relative. But assuming you do have a relationship with spiritual beings, ask them for help… and be ready when they ask for something in return. Reciprocity makes the world go around.

Humans have been working magic for as far back as we can trace human culture. There are many, many different forms of magic – these are the ones I have personal experience with.

Magic will not guarantee a result with any of these methods or in any of these cases. What magic will do is improve the odds of getting the result you want. Magic does not control anything, but it can influence everything. Try to stop a hurricane with magic and you’ll quickly learn the limits of your magical skills. A hurricane is billions of times stronger than you are – your influence is inconsequential.

But try to influence something on a smaller scale and you may find magic provides just enough extra push to go from failure to success.

Meanwhile, we’ve still got Mercury retrograde to deal with for the next three weeks. Lets pay as close attention to our words as we can, and maybe we won’t need magic to bail us out of problems caused by poor communication.

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About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.