This passage of Mercury retrograde begins by highlighting the unpredictable nature of communication – no matter how adept at it we believe ourselves to be! As it progresses it then shifts our attention to detaching from the outcomes of our communication and accepting that once ‘out there’, what it becomes is rarely in our hands.
It’s easy and natural to feel that we in some way own what we communicate. We have a message, whatever it may be, we translate it into words or images and assume someone else, when they encounter those words or images, will get the same message from them that we sought to convey. If only the world were that simple!
Instead, we discover that what we said was heard as something entirely different. We meant A they heard Z, we thought we said ‘yes’, they heard ‘no’. We were fairly sure we made ourselves clear but they find us completely confusing in every respect! It is precisely this quality of communication which is brought to our attention in the first week of this retrograde passage. With Mercury conjunct Neptune at its station, there is no such thing as clear communication, only shades and nuances of what was only a half truth in the first place, and a very subjective truth at that!
We could let all this stress us out, desperately trying to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, seeking to eradicate any chance of misunderstanding. Or we could surrender to the fact that communication itself, as an exchange between two individuals each with their own issues and perspectives, pre-existing thoughts and feelings, is inherently flawed if what we want out of it is perfect accord and infallible understanding.
If, however, what we want is simply to make a connection, to engage with another in a spirit of openness and enquiry, curious as to what may be going on in their mind and heart, then such communication is the most wonderful tool for engagement and connection.
Come 13th February (GMT), Mercury moves out of the watery world of Pisces and Neptune, into the airy domain of Aquarius. Now we have a fortnight to consider the ways in which we seek to ‘own’ our communication and what creates that attachment within us. For Mercury in Aquarius teaches, ultimately, that communication belongs to no one. Ideas, thoughts, words, images, once shared belong to everyone as part of the collective field of awareness.
In the mundane world we copyright our words and creative out-pourings. Even ideas are assigned ownership in law and this all has its place in terms of the way the world works. But to carry this sense of ownership into the unseen world of the collective consciousness where we all share one global brain distorts the true nature of communication and the ideas, thoughts and feelings it conveys.
As Mercury retrogrades through Aquarius we can encounter where the hooks exist within us when it comes to what we say and how it’s received. Arguments may arise if these hooks are particularly strong or dig especially deep into our egoic flesh. We may encounter the need to agree to disagree, to allow someone else to think all manner of things about us that we know not to be true. We may encounter the aspect of communication which lies way outside of our control, even when we initiated the contact in the first place.
This can be an unsettling experience. Relationship, be it as physically intimate as that between life partners or as distant as that between a writer and their readers, is fraught with projections and assumptions, subjective opinions and unconscious influences. The better able we are to accept this fact but still be prepared to add our piece to the collective tapestry of thoughts, feelings and opinions, the richer that tapestry becomes and the more likely it is that each of us can find resonant companions on the path ahead.
Mercury in Aquarius brings us innovative understanding and new perspectives. When retrograde it reminds us how unwelcome those perspectives can sometimes be in a world where familiarity is embraced and difference can be cast aside as merely ‘wrong’. This month we’re challenged to both express what we must without fear whilst accepting that what we say, once out there, has a life of its own to live. Likewise it is a time to remember that as we receive the communications of others we too add our own sheen to them and may never entirely hear what they actually have to say.
The communication of abstract ideas, feelings, concepts, is often deemed to be that which separates us from other animals. It certainly separates us from each other at times: lost in our heads, fired by emotion and the need to make our point or win a war of words.
With Mercury retrograde we are invited to allow the arguments to rest and expand our mind around our own thoughts to let those of others penetrate without our inner firewall activating as soon as they come near. We don’t have to agree or accept but we can listen and respect that each of us sees the world through a unique lense and to us, that lense makes sense of it, no matter how nonsensical or just plain wrong it may sound to anyone else!
This passage of Mercury retrograde ushers in a time of deep understanding about what communication really is and the part that it plays in our lives. The more open we can be to such understanding the better able we will be to communicate what matters to us in a spirit of openness and confidence whilst accepting that what others hear may be something altogether different and that’s fine too. Such is the nature of the global brain: seven billion people each with their own agenda, experience and world view….When we look at it that way, it’s no wonder communication can be such a minefield and an incredible source of deep connection, all in the same moment!