The synodic cycle of Mercury completes a set of movements in approximately 116 days, repeated thrice within the 365-day calendar year. As the sway between Mercury and the Sun reaches exactitude, the triad repetition of this relationship forms an approximate triangle within the zodiacal sphere.
As the pirouette between The Messenger and Helios quickens, two pivotal unions occur, namely, the superior and inferior conjunctions. Firstly, the superius (Latin for ‘above’) or superior conjunction occurs during Mercury’s direct zodiacal sway. This cosmic rhythm starts as Mercury speeds beyond the solar rays, and roams before the Sun. Consequently, it is the inferius (Latin for ‘below’) or inferior conjunction that occurs during Mercury’s retrograde motion. During this union, Helios and The Messenger journey in opposite directions and Mercury rushes past the Sun with even more accelerated momentum.
“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of One thing.” -Hermès Trismegistus (Thrice-Greatest), The Emerald Tablet
Although this famous passage is often misinterpreted to suggest that the causes of earthly events are embedded in the cosmos, there is dual correspondence in momentum (as below, so above and as above, so below). The passage’s implication is one of interaction, accentuating the unraveling of co-operative creation. In parallel, Mercury marks his strongest elongation above the horizon in the western evening sky prior to retrograde, vanishing below the horizon in conjunction with the Sun.
As a visual spectacle, Mercury’s retrograde motion is an act of in-visibility, synonymous with an oscillating odyssey into shrouded or hermetical realms. The transformative power of Mercury’s retrograde stems from its juxtaposition of four probabilities in a condensed time frame of about forty days: above, below, direct, and retrograde.
Mercury enters its shadow zone on July 7th, stationing retrograde on the 26th at 1:02 AM (EDT). This inferior conjunction (retrograde) will occur in fixed Leo. Although the Lion/ Queen/ King/ Child is adventurous, considering the entirety of the current cosmic screen, there is little confidence in risk-taking. Instead, this pathway is an opportunity for reassessment of our basic human needs for individuality/ self-expression, spiritedness, instinctive knowledge, and optimism. As part of the fire trinity, retrograde Mercury in Leo begins to re-evaluate current sources of creative fuel and inspiration, while blazing beyond the accumulated detritus of life in order to purge falsity.
Just as Mercury moves counter to its usual navigation during retrograde, the Jungian shadow contains features of our nature that move counter to the traditions and moral compasses of society. As per Jung, the nigredo, albedo, and rubedo is the concealed structure beneath the seeming chaos that accompanies Mercurial retrogrades, the passage to three worlds or the three primary aspects of the psyche: the tria prima of the Self.
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