Mercurial Aspects and Practices: Get the Best of Mercury’s Frenetic Energy
Planetary transits signify shifts in our energy, awareness, and life circumstance. So, obviously, it can be helpful to have tools with which to navigate the cosmic weather. There is a lot we can do daily to work consciously and holistically with planetary themes and energies, inviting these into our embodiment for growth, discovery, and self-care. The first step is knowing the nature of the transiting planet and how it is activating our chart—the better to discover how to support ourselves during these times.
[Note: This series is for entertainment and inspirational purposes only, and not intended to replace licensed medical care.]
At a Glance
Mercury’s Transits: 14–30 days in each sign
Keywords: thought, information, communication
Movement: explore swift movement through cycling; practice “earthing”—bare feet on the soil—to ground energies
Meditation: deep breathing practices, experiment with getting into a “flow” state, find a creative outlet (tactile activities to bring mental energy down into the body)
Medicine: lemon balm/fennel/lavender tea to calm anxiety and support digestion; hydration; healthy oils in diet to support nervous system function
Mercury, the messenger planet, rules over knowledge, thought, language, and the processing of information. It is linked to how we organize and conceptualize ideas, and the sign it resides in within our charts colors how we express ourselves. Physically, it rules over our brain, tongue, nervous system, lungs, hands, and feet, and in medical astrology, it is linked to our digestion of not only thought, emotion, and idea, but also of our food and how well these nutrients are assimilated. Psychologically, it rules over our learning styles and how we experience and process external stimulus, and how calm or anxious we tend to be under emotional, social, or mental pressure. Mercury, being mutable or changeable, challenges our relationship to change, and our capacity to mentally evolve or adapt to shifts in our routines and lifestyle.
Mercury spends about 14-30 days in a sign during the year, so the sign that it passes through in transit will become the focus of communications in the area of life it is connected to in our charts. It may be a time of writing, thinking, and even negotiating particular topics and themes associated with this sign and house. Surges of creativity and eureka moments may abound, and a time of making new connections and breakthroughs may occur.
Mercury goes retrograde about three times each year, appearing to move backward in the sky for around three weeks each time. Not every Mercury retrograde is created equal, with conditions and experiences depending on our own Mercury placements, and other predictive timing factors. Most people notice issues with communications and messages breaking down during this time: emails do not arrive, parcels can get lost in delivery, and so too can the meaning of what we are trying to express can get lost in translation. It is traditionally not a time to move forward, or expect progress on projects, and fighting against this can cause the signature frustration and anxiety that is associated with not working in harmony with Mercury’s energies. Accepting that the only constant in the universe is change can help us to have a healthy, more peaceful time during Mercury retrograde, and to take advantage of a slower, more thorough pace while making time for our mental health in the process.
Conjunctions are the most direct and potent, infusing the personal planet or point with active Mercurial energy. This is the time of insight, ideas, and sudden communication creating opportunity. The rush of mental energy and potency can make one feel a little overwhelmed or ungrounded, so try deep breathing and find a place for the energy to flow creatively and constructively.
Squares and Oppositions tend to catalyze Mercury’s themes and thus challenge communications and negotiations at this time. The opposition can even take the form of a verbal confrontation, and the square can indicate a time when mediation is needed. Mercury’s energy is swift and adaptable and needs to flow, so finding a creative solution at these times can help free-up blocked communication or stalemates. Some anxiety may occur if Mercury’s energies feel impeded, or exacerbated, so again, breathing deeply and gaining some objectivity can help one feel grounded, organized, and composed before putting thought to word.
Trines and Sextiles tend to be more supportive and conduct Mercury’s energy in a balanced harmonious way. This is a time of “flow state” when we tend to be sympatico with our team, friends, or intimate partners, perhaps even finishing each other’s sentences. Ideas flow easily and it can be a great time for brainstorming, journaling, or writing a letter to express how you feel. Feeling heard and understood may seem easier at this time.
Movement: Embodying Mercurial Energy
Anxiety is creativity building up with no outlet. Our bodies, with their nervous systems, are designed to be intricate energy conductors, so when energy in the form of thoughts, ideas, and emotions gets caught up with no place to go, it tends to cycle inside of us in a feedback loop of over-analysis and worry. This sends a cascade of reactions through the body, which present as nervousness, tension, and anxiety, causing us to feel ungrounded, short of breath, and dizzy.
Body movement practices to alleviate the build-ups associated with Mercury—which can be exacerbated by active transits—is important to help us get down out of our heads and into our centered awareness. Any movement practice that feels good is appropriate—it all depends on what we need. Sometimes, a swift exercise routine like cycling or running can burn off nervous energy. Natural movement practices, like rock climbing, that encourage us to interact with our environments can be a great way to switch off a busy mind and get us focused on being in the moment. Yoga, the great practice of bringing mind and body together with an emphasis on exploring breath and movement as one, can be very calming to frenetic Mercurial energy. The body connection is so important to balance an overactive mind, and in so nurture our mental health at times of stress and change.
Sitting quietly in meditation—breathing deeply and visualizing the intellectual and creative force of the mind coming down out of the head and into energizing the body—can be a helpful strategy when Mercury’s energy feels overwhelming. Creating a daily routine allows for a dedicated time and space for checking in with our mental health and calming our anxieties. The practice of witness consciousness, where we come to realize while our mind is an important processing function of our awareness, we are not our mind, can be interesting to explore. We can remind ourselves that our mind is a part of us, but that we are holistically much more as beings, helping us to not get caught up and invested in anxieties and fears that may have no practical basis.
Tactile activities, like crafting, cooking, or painting can be soothing, repetitive, and meditative in themselves, and give space for our creative energy to flow to and be focused on. Singing, chanting, and exploring sound meditations can be immensely grounding to overactive Mercury energy, again bringing us back in the body as we feel these vibrations echoing through our system. Simply chanting the universal seed sound OM—thought to represent the whole universe in one sound—over and over, can help us feel calmer, grounded, centered, and at one with the moment.
When Mercury’s energies become imbalanced, nourishing food and hydration are most important. Anxiety, overwork, and sleeplessness can be dehydrating and cause interruptions in digestion. Avoiding heavy, overly rich foods at these times can help support the ease and flow of digestion. Mercury’s cold and dry nature means that warm, moistening foods, like stew or soup, can be very balancing at these times. Mercury’s many herbs and vegetables can be wonderful to incorporate into the diet when stressed: carrots, celery, fennel, parsley, and marjoram all have Mercury balancing and nourishing qualities. Lemon balm/fennel/lavender tea can calm anxiety and support digestion. Hydration with water, but also with healthy oils like olive, avocado, and flax, are important to incorporate into the diet to support brain and nervous system function. Milky oat seed tea and extract coats and repairs the lining of the digestive tract and helps to heal the coating of nerves so that they function optimally.
Art by Debbie Stapleton