Alright, so I’m a little late this time, but yes, it’s true! Mercury went retrograde this past Saturday on July 14th, having entered its slow shadow phase on June 27th, and will go direct again August 8th, with it getting back to full speed and direct motion on August 22nd.
And, as some of the more astrologically-inclined of you might know, Mercury goes retrograde about three or four times a year. For those who aren’t so learned, a planet being retrograde happens at least once a year for the non-luminary planets (i.e. the actual planets) and makes the planet look like it’s going backwards in the sky due to the relative positions and motions of the Earth and the other planet. With the planet of the intellect, commerce, and travel in such a bizarre state, it leads some people to become more forgetful, less eloquent, and generally slower or more confused.
Yet, despite all this, the trend of the summer looks like it will continue: life keeps getting crazier! I had a divination reading done for me by my lovely sister, a master Tarot reader, who said that I’d be highly social from the beginning of June onwards. I don’t think she saw how social I was really going to be, because that was putting it mildly. Between jaunts here and there, to Virginia Beach two weekends ago, Columbia this past weekend, and a small town in Pennsylvania next weekend, travel and people keep happening to me! Plus, I think I’ll be starting a divination reading service at the local pagan bookstore soon (more on that in a future post). This seems a lot like the last Mercury retrograde period, where I also had a number of trips and travels, though hopefully I won’t drop my new smartphone down a toilet this time. I did already bust a 3L bottle of sangria in the trunk of my new car this past weekend, though, but it was easy enough to clean up off the black effectively-stainless fabric (although now my car is fruitier and more of a lush than I am).
Anyhow, Mercury retrograde is also a good time for reviewing what’s been going on in one’s life, gathering up one’s thoughts, and contemplating without much planning. With that in mind, I’ve decided to gather up some of my own activities, thoughts, and lessons that I’ve had since the last time Mercury came out of retrograde (roughly on April 4th), as a kind of self-review.
So, here’s a highlight of what I’ve been able to get done in the past Mercury direct period:
- Performed a major banishing, cleansing, and protection on the house of a few friends of mine.
- Began transcribing my vademecum/Hermetic Book of Shadows into a digital format, accumulating and memorizing a bunch of prayers on the way.
- Made a ritual sword.
- Made my Circle of Art.
- Obtained and consecrated my Ring of Solomon.
- Made a new style and set of angelic lamens for use with the Trithemius ritual of conjuration.
- Made significant progress towards obtaining contact with my HGA. I’m increasingly sure I’ve got the right spirit, but the connection is still weak and needs lots more practice, not to mention making sure I’m on the right track with the guy.
- Started making weekly offerings to the god and powers of Mercury. I’ll often leave bottles of wine for him at crossroads after major trips or travels, but I’ve started to make offerings of prayers (Orphic Hymn to Mercury, Picatrix invocation of Mercury), incense (cinnamon, frankincense, amber), candles, and wine (a shotglass for a normal offering, a full bottle for something special). This is done in the day and hour of Mercury. Eventually, I want to have a whole altar set up entirely for the guy, because he’s awesome and I’ve noticed significant improvements in some parts of my life related to Mercury, but until I get the space and the means to do so, this is about as much as I can get done.
And the lessons I’ve learned, from spirits, from crazy life experiences, or from others’ or my own dumb mistakes:
- If someone kept something a secret in life, don’t go about blabbing about it at their funeral.
- Study hard, party hard. That’s how to live and Live; both studying and partying are part of the Work.
- Humility is a virtue even in the greatest kings. Humility is the beginning of greatness.
- Keep yourself clean and cleansed. It may not feel like much once you get in the habit of it, but try taking a spiritual bath after not having done anything for your spiritual health for a month. Feels good, man.
- Ask a spirit to do something before forcing them to do it, and even then, try to never use force unless you absolutely need to.
- Make sure you don’t lock yourself out of your house, and if you do, have at least one key on you that can open any door. (Woo reality-warping!)
- Light illuminates, even all the bad parts that we normally hide within ourselves.
- Don’t go wandering into a haunted forest with guns blazing.
- Especially don’t accost the spirits of the dead with guns blazing or your mouth shooting off.
- Play and fly; if you’re young, be young. Do what’s appropriate for you at your level of development.
- You are what you do; “ehyeh asher ehyeh” is not much different from “ehyeh asher ahweh”, “I am that I am” from “I am that I do”, and we know that the difference between that and Yahweh is (literally) no more than a jot.
And let’s check up on how those resolutions I made the last time Mercury went retrograde have turned out:
- Create my Circle of Art. Done!
- Try my hand at a Solomon-style goetic conjuration. Haven’t done this yet. I’m waiting until I get a solid connection with the protective power of my HGA, although it isn’t necessary, because I feel like it’d be useful. However, nothing is stopping me from doing this, and I am eager to try it.
- Start working heavily towards astral projection. Yeah, no. No progress on this. I’m pretty unwilling to actually try this, even though I know it’s a weak spot. There’s something about dedicating the time in the evening to just sitting there that’s driving me off from it.
- Ask the planetary angels for friendly planetary assistants. Haven’t done this, although it is a good idea. Although my HGA can take over most of these roles that a planetary assistant would, having an insider from these realms has its definite plus sides that working with a single spirit would not. Also, one of the reasons why I haven’t done this is that I have trouble keeping up with my own conjuration cycle. Sometimes I get busy, sometimes I get too fatigued to continue, and sometimes I just get lazy. I should work on fixing that.
- Work on meditating more. I’m basically contenting myself with trying to attempt regular 30-minute meditations in the mornings. I’d consider this no progress, but not a failure, either.
So, what might be on my plate for the next few months?
- Conjuration of Orobas, using a goetic variant of the Trithemius rite. I hear that Orobas is a fairly benign goetic demon of the Lemegeton, and is smart and helpful towards the conjurer. If I want to get involved with Solomonic goetia, then this is probably a good guy to start with, and the variations on the Trithemius rite are noticeable but quite manageable to memorize in a day or so.
- Conjuration of Viagrahel, because why not? It may have started out as a joke, but let’s just see what would happen. I’d use the standard Trithemius rite and the Rosy Cross sigil from before, and then chat with the guy (if any were to appear) and see what he does.
- Astral projection. I’ve got a special project to act as a belated birthday gift for a friend that requires astral projection to a well-known place to pick up some of its essence. I’ll go into further detail in a later post, but I need to start actually doing astral practice. Setting apart time for it is going to be the more obnoxious bit. If anyone has any tips or personal experiences with the matter, please let me know!
- Start doing divination readings at the local new age store with geomancy.
- Make weekly offerings to the god and powers of Saturn, like with Mercury above. Unlike Mercury, Saturn is well-aspected in my chart, but like Mercury, Saturn gives me a strong boost in magic, the occult, and lore. I’ve been meaning to do this in tandem with recharging my Saturn election talisman, but Saturdays have always seem to be a waste or used up by other events going on, and I detest waking up at dawn on a weekend. I should fix that.
- Ask the planetary angels for planetary assistants. It’s still a good idea, but I’m concerned I might be expanding my contacts a little too much too fast. I hardly talk with my elemental friends, though they’re still useful guys to have in my ethereal rolodex. Maybe I can have them show me around the astral realms once I get on my feet (see #3).
- Start helping a friend with his financial and job issues through occult means. I’m waiting on him to get me a bottle of cologne and a pendant he’d like to wear to help give a physical base to the ideas I have in mind, but I can at least get started with talking to the appropriate spirits.
And, of course, during Mercury retrograde, I’ll be focusing on reviewing my old texts, aphorisms, prayers, and methods to make sure I’m not getting sidetracked or lost amid all the things I’m doing. Mercury retrograde is usually unfavorable for starting new projects, especially those of a financial or commercial nature, but is excellent for review and taking stock of what one has.
What’ve you been up to this past Mercury direct period? Anything embarrassing or enlightening happen? What’re your plans, if any, for the next few months? Is there anything you might want to see me rant, ramble, or blither on about in the coming weeks? Do tell, do tell!