It’s a holiday weekend. A celebration of the labor we do every day, a break from the daily grind. I considered writing a fluff piece today, maybe a bit on “blue-collar Gods” with labor music. Guthrie and Utah Phillips. Something free of the drama mercury retrograde can tease out of us so readily. It’s not to be.
Every mercury retrograde is different and this one seems bent for the jugular. The idea of astrology is that the movements of the stars and planets affect us all. Yet my informal inquiries with colleagues in other faith traditions suggests that we are experiencing mercury retrograde more directly. Why is this?
Perhaps by being aware of astrological influences we are more sensitive to them? Seems counter-intuitive. We should be better able to adjust ourselves to balance out such influences by being aware of them. Perhaps we simply abdicate our responsibility to behave properly to the heavens?
In the first 400 centuries of the common era the many sects Christian faith was at each other’s throats. Had they not banded together in order to Christianize Rome they may have perished altogether, decimated by sectarian violence. While Pagans haven’t engaged in violence against one another lately they do love wars made of words, preferably enacted in the safety and comfort of the anonymous web.
The Celtic triads, the Havamal, the Delphic maxims, the Wiccan laws, the folktales of the orishas and many more sources of traditional wisdom instruct us against hasty speech, against creating enmity and instructs us to be hospitable and mannerly. How often do we fail at heeding such wisdom, especially where the repercussions for our behavior are slight, such as in anonymous online interactions?
I’ve tried to be hyper-alert to my own behavior during this mercury retrograde. I’ve done my best to limit my words and weight them carefully. I’ve also been observing the interactions around me and the reactions of my community to events. I see something that troubles me, something I’ve noticed for awhile but it’s just recently presented itself to me as a real danger. I see orthodoxy blossoming in our communities and it scares me.
The need to press your viewpoint upon others is a sign of insecurity. I say this will full realization that in writing I walk the fine line between sharing and imposing. I aim for the first and do my best to avoid the latter. I hope anytime I engage in discussion or debate I am civil and unpersonal. I hope here on Patheos I create space for people to share their views and their stories and their practices in civil good faith whether I agree with them or not. At any rate, that is my goal.
In the final analysis, I think we have no excuse to be as rude, imposing or contentious as we sometimes allow ourselves to be. We are faiths built on personal responsibility and we cannot beg off our impropriety due to astrology, karma, fate or the will of the Divine. We are each sovereign of our own souls. Our actions are governed by Free Will. Instead of being concerned with our fellow Pagans thoughts, we should first order our own. As they say in Delphi: Know Thyself.