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It’s been a while since we’ve written about the cycles that play out in our lives. Some are easy to see, particularly at this time of year, when we can feel the slow – very slow, this year (!) – quickening from Spring into Summer. Having said that, the signs are definitely there if you spend a few minutes outside. The cuckoo is busy in the woods near our home, swallows and house martins have finally arrived – hurrah (!) – and the lovely frothy sheep’s parsley is festooning the verges. Everyone has their own particular signs that Summer is here, so we’ll leave you to include your own particular favourites… 
Then there are the cycles that aren’t so obvious, but still affect our lives, even if it’s just at the “something feels different” level we can’t quite put our finger on. And it’s one of these we’d like to talk about today. It takes us into the realm of astrology – and, “yes”, we know the mere mention of it can get some people going (!) – but, please, bear with us before you dismiss it out of hand…. 
In this left brained and increasingly technological world of ours, it’s not surprising we’ve come to believe we’re the centre of the Universe. Completely independent beings, separate from everything else and the beautiful planet we call home. Let alone our Solar System or the Universe as a whole. 
However, the reality, is very different. And, we’re already learning this the hard way, with the myriad of environmental disasters – and much more – currently facing us on this beautiful place we call home. 
While we don’t like to think of it this way, we’re tiny specks – over 9 billion humans at the last count, without all the myriad of other life forms we share the Earth with – on a tiny planet in a Solar System on the outer fringes of the Universe. And, if that doesn’t give you a different perspective on life, nothing will. You might even like to read the last few sentences again and really let them sink in… 
While we’d like to think we’re entirely separate and independent, the exact opposite is true. Our ancestors knew this very well, even if scientists are only just catching up with them (!). You’ll know it better as Quantum Mechanics. So, if everything here on this beautiful planet of ours is connected, then it follows that everything in the wider Universe is connected too. Which brings us back to astrology. 
We’re always amused by the number of people who will dismiss astrology out of hand and then happily read their horoscopes in the paper. Or, increasingly, on line. Why is this? 
Well, we’d say it’s down to a very basic human need. The need for security. To know what’s likely to happen in the future, so we can make any necessary preparations to deal with it. Unfortunately, this completely misses the point of what astrology is all about, and has led to its less than positive press. 
Astrology was never about telling the future. That you’d meet a handsome stranger, have an accident or any other of the usual predictions found in the newspaper. Like everything else in life, it’s all about energy. Well, more accurately, the particular energy of the moment AND how you can use it to best effect. And the moment may be today, tomorrow, this week, this month, year, decade or much further ahead. 
So, what’s the energy of the moment? Well, for the next 6 or 7 weeks at least. It’s all to do with Mercury and its slightly infamous retrograde. If you’re wondering how on earth a planet could go backwards – retrograde – you’d be right. It doesn’t. But – and this is the crucial part – from the perspective here on Earth, at certain times in its orbit around the Sun, it does appear to be going backwards. And this is what will be happening from this Saturday, for about a month. Then having appeared to go backwards, Mercury starts to go forward again, retracing his steps until he’s moving forward as usual. 
Why is this important then? 
Well, if you remember the stories from school, Mercury is the messenger of the Gods. It’s why he’s depicted as having wings on his helmet and shoes, to help speed him on his way. As a messenger, he’s associated with communications of every form. Speech and writing are easy to see, as is the thinking process behind them. But just stop and think about how communication drives every part of our modern lives. The phone – landline and mobiles – every form of computer, the internet, wi fi and more. Then there are other forms of communication that are less obvious. Power and other networks, roads and railways. They all allow “communication” of one sort or another to occur and so are affected by Mercury, although to be fair, other planets are involved too. 
Then, going smaller, to our own bodies and communications network. We’ve already mentioned our thought processes, speech and writing – as well as other creative pursuits. All of which are linked by our Brain and Nervous System, which Mercury rules. 
With communications in every form being such an important part of our lives, it’s not surprising that the times when Mercury goes retrograde have been tinged with a degree of apprehension. It’s why we refer to it as being slightly infamous (!). However, as with all things in life, there’s nothing to be feared. It’s simply a case of understanding the energy of Mercury retrograde and using that time to your advantage. Ah, as always, there is a positive if you look for it… 
So, what is this? Well, with Mercury being all about communication and moving ahead – often at great speed (!) – retrograde is all about slowing down. Using this time to take a bit of a breather. To stop and take a look at where we are right now; what we’ve achieved. See what has worked and what hasn’t quite gone to plan. The loose ends we need to tie up. Then, having done that, we can start to look ahead again and go into more of a planning mode. What we’d like to change, whether it be a bit of a “tweak” or a completely new direction. How we’d like to do it. The end result we desire. Put another way, the energy of Mercury retrograde is best summed up by all the words beginning with “re”. Review. Revise. Renew. Research. 
However, the important thing to remember is that this isn’t a time to start anything new. Which is where the slightly infamous aspect of Mercury retrograde comes in, as new projects started around this time tend to have a rather bumpy ride. Either not working out as planned – or hoped for – if not coming to naught. Nor is it a good time to buy or replace anything electrical as, again, they tend to come with similar problems. You have been warned! 
So, the emphasis of the next few weeks is on reviewing where you are and preparing for the times ahead. Then, in a few weeks’ time as Mercury goes direct and the energy start to pick up again, you’ll be ready to put all your insights into action. And off you go again! 
It’s easy to dismiss astrology out of hand, particularly in this left brained world of ours. However, using time to reflect on your life is a great gift. Even better if you’re being helped along by the prevailing energy of the time. Or, if that’s a little too much “peace and panpipes, man” remember the times when you learnt the hard way that a little planning saves a lot of time later on…  
So why not make the most of the energy over the next few weeks to help speed your journey ahead? 
As always, the choice is yours. 
Photograph by unknown author 
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