Mercury Retrograde does not mean the sky falls on your head. But nor should any astrologer trivialise the chaos that can be caused. Neither approach is correct. What works best when interpreting Mercury’s cycle is a simple rule – examine the transits of the other planets and heavenly bodies to Mercury and see the unique case.
The story of RMS Titanic is a case in point. We have records proving that the first iceberg warning message was sent when Mercury stood at 27 Aries (Retrograde) sextile Pluto at 27 Gemini.
That is a serious sextile which describes great speed, going nowhere. It also describes the intensity (in this case, life-and-death intensity) surrounding something as simple as a message. Mercury rules Gemini. Pluto is in Gemini.
If you add the striking conjunction between the asteroid Aesculapia and Mercury (both at 27 Aries) then the message becomes even louder. Aesculapia (asteroid 1027) is the grandson of Jupiter. He was the most powerful healing god in Ancient Rome. No contest.
In any horoscope Aesculapia describes the ability to bring people or situations back from the brink of death. This asteroid is a potent symbol of revival and resurrection.
The Titanic received several warning messages about icebergs from other ships. In the end, her fate came down to a paperweight.
Second Officer (Second Mate) Charles Lightoller reports in Chapter 31 of his autobiography that the man in charge of relaying messages failed to do so – one of the most crucial being from a ship called Mesaba. “I just put the message under a paper weight at my elbow, just until I squared up what I was doing before sending it to the Bridge,” said the man in question.
Lightoller wrote, “That delay proved fatal and was the main contributory cause to the loss of that magnificent ship and hundreds of lives.”
Beyond the paperweight, here is more evidence of Mercury Retrograde at work –
Constant communication from high-profile passengers kept the operators busy to the point where the radio operators on the Titanic could not cope. When the Californian relayed that they’d encountered ice, they were told “Shut up!”
“The Californian’s radio operator, Cyril Evans, didn’t send his ship’s position in the message about encountering ice, nor was the message prefaced by “MSG,” which would have indicated that it needed to go to the Titanic’s captain. After being told to shut up, Evans simply turned off his transmitter and went to sleep.” (The Discovery Channel)
Mercury, the Titanic and Mental Confusion
Mercury rules the mind and when he stations and goes retrograde, mental confusion is common.
The Titanic’s exact position was unclear in messages coming from the ship. It was given out numerous times and then corrected. Even the corrected position was miles from where the wreck would ultimately be uncovered in 1985.
David Blair had a classic Mercury Retrograde moment which had epic consequences. He was a seaman scheduled to board the Titanic before its maiden voyage. The schedule was changed without warning and in his haste to depart the ship, he accidentally kept a key to a storage locker believed to contain binoculars intended for use in the crow’s nest. The missing binoculars prompted tragedy.
The Daily Telegraph in Britain ran a feature on the crucial key when it went up for auction, years later.
“Catastrophically for the Titanic and the 1,522 lives lost with her, the key’s owner, Second Officer David Blair, was removed from the crew at the last minute and in his haste forgot to hand it to his replacement. Without access to the glasses, the lookouts in the crow’s nest were forced to rely on their eyes and only saw the iceberg when it was too late to take action.One, Fred Fleet, who survived the disaster, later told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had had binoculars they would have seen the obstacle sooner.”
The Warning of 7pm GMT, April 12th 1912
Back in 1912, no astrologer could have created a horoscope that included Pluto (not found until 1930) and the asteroid Aesculapia (not found until 1923). Yet today, the pattern between Pluto, Mercury Retrograde and Aesculapia tells the story of the first warning (from the Captain of La Touraine) in a powerful way. Cast a horoscope for this and see for yourself. (Aesculapia is asteroid 1027).
‘My position 7pm GMT Lat 49.28
Long 26.28 w. dense fog since the
night crossed thick icefield lat
44.58 long 5040 […] saw
another icefield and two icebergs
lat 45.20 long 45.09 […] saw
a derelict lat 40.56 long 68.58 […]
please give me your position
best regards and bon voyage. Baussin’.
Source: Mark Padfield
Using Mercury Retrograde to Your Advantage
It never hurts to avoid the Mercury Retrograde cycle when booking trips. Particularly short-haul journeys, like the one made by the Titanic. Did you know that Mercury was also in his shadow when the airports were closing straight after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks?
It also goes without saying that all forms of communication – but particularly those which can cause technical error or mental confusion – need to be monitored. As does travel.
Mercury has his uses, however. When the Messenger of the Gods runs on the spot and then accelerates backwards, do the same. Stop and ponder. Allow yourself to not know anything for a while.
Go over old ground. Go over the old ground you covered, the last time heavenly bodies passed that way, through that particular sign and degree. Look at your chart. What’s coming up again? Ruminate, ponder and spin your wheels. Take notes you are prepared to erase or even screw up and throw in the bin, once the cycle is over.
Modern life does not give us time to dive into a void. We are supposed to be ‘on’ all the time. Mercury Retrograde is your chance to flick the off switch for a while. But please don’t lose the keys to the binoculars cabinet. And remember, the whole point of astrology is navigation. Astrology provides a useful compass and map for October-December 2012, based on the events of history, but the responsibility for the journey you take is your own, not mine or any other astrologer’s.