Mercury Retrograde Series, August 30 – September 21, 2016 2017-07-16T22:26:49+00:00

Mercury Retrograde Series, August 30 – September 21, 2016



I began this series on August 30, 2016, the first day of the third 2016 Mercury Retrograde with an image of a Monarch butterfly posted to Facebook with the title “Mercury Retrograde Day 1”.

The following day I made another image of a spider and considered posting and titling it “Mercury Retrograde Day 2”. I debated that day whether to commit to making and posting a new photo on each day of 23 day cycle. I decided to do it.

I have worked with several astrologers over the years and especially appreciate Gray Crawford’s work.

I read this piece by Gray on the morning that I began the series and several times over the course of the next three weeks. These are the words, concepts and realities that I considered while immersing myself in the natural world, allowing these energies to bring me to the final image of each day.

“We know where [ Hermes ] comes from and what type of consciousness he exemplifies. He is most likely the same dark depth of being from which we all originate. Perhaps for this reason Hermes can so convincingly hover before us, lead us on our ways, show us golden treasures in everyone through the split-second timing which is the spirit of finding and thieving- all of this because he creates his reality out of us, or more properly through us, just as one fetches water not so much out of a well as through the well from the much deeper regions of the earth . . . Despite the thievery and deceit and shamelessness- and this is probably the most wonderful thing about it- a divine innocence is properly suited to and inherent in it. Hermes has nothing to do with sins and atonement. What he brings with him from the springs of creation is precisely the ‘innocence of becoming.’
— Karl Kerenyi, from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

It’s in twilight when it comes. The shift of hue and space arrives, transmuting sunlight into variegated shadow, enveloping life in a polychromatic caress of sensuous mood and mysterious measure. With a flash of light Mercury descends retrograde into the darkening brilliance of sunset, disappearing into its invisible, underworld phase with a message to receive. The sign of Virgo where Mercury stations in stillness is the nocturnal home of Hermes, the quicksilver messenger and companion of black night whose serpentine staff enchants and lulls, whose fluttering wings break open any static sleepiness of mind. As Mercury slows down, comes to a standstill, and then turns backward in retrograde motion through the zodiac, we cross a liminal threshold that invites alterations of mental fixations and openings to manifold perspectives.

In the realm of popular culture, periods of Mercury retrograde are known as disastrous aberrations in which Mercury becomes a scapegoat for all misfortunes and mishaps. Yet the Mercury retrograde period is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit just like the consistent blackening of the Moon in its orbit. Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed. However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting. While Mercury signifies insight and smooth communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation lead to illumination and realization. Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the frustrating to the enlivening. Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control and order, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources. As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows down to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit. The Mercury retrograde in Virgo begins with the strange brew of Mercury stationing in a beneficial conjunction with Jupiter and Venus, at the entrance into a dramatic portal of eclipses.”
– Gray Crawford

All images were shot and processed with the iPhone 6S.

The daily feedback response to these images on Facebook and Instragram was profound. I am grateful and humbled to all who responded with such appreciation. Many days the search for the image lasted four or five hours. I would not have felt pushed to persevere without this support.

~~ Mary Ludington, December 2016