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Magickal Musings From Infinite Flame

January 16, 2010
Define "wicked".....


Regarding Retrogrades

This new year began with a lunar eclipse and earlier today was a solar eclipse. Mars is retrograde until March 10, Saturn just went retrograde this past Wednesday until May 30, and Mercury finally ended its retrograde today and will resume its forward motion tomorrow. How can we move forward in the new year with all these planets going backwards????
: )

A planet is retrograde when it appears to move backward in the sky. Normally, planets move in the sky from west to east. When they go retrograde, they move from east to west with their paths seeming to loop or zigzag across the sky. Of course, they do not actually move backward, it is an illusion created by our viewpoint on Earth. This illusion is created when the faster-moving Earth overtakes a slower-moving planet as they orbit the Sun. I have seen an image of Mars’ path through the sky as seen over the several months of a retrograde and it makes a loop. This image is in a book, if I can manage it, I will get an image online once this newsletter is archived.

So what does this mean to you and me? If the planet in retrograde is Mercury, plenty. First, let me state that a Mercury retrograde is not pure evil, you do not have to run for cover or hide in your basement until it is over. You just need to be prepared and with a little planning, you can actually use this time to your advantage.

I meant to do the last newsletter on Mercury, as it went retrograde in December, and only mention the blue moon. But then I uncovered the big misunderstanding concerning the blue moon and felt it was my duty to set the record straight once and for all. Mercury would have to wait. Then I thought maybe I should wait until the next retrograde, but I had an experience that really shows the havoc that can reign supreme when this planet of communication goes backwards in the sky. See the story below. But first, some info on this tiny planet that causes big problems.

Mercury, Small Planet with Big Connections

First, the boring scientific stuff. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. The actual distance varies because of Mercury’s elongated orbit, from 28.6 million miles (46 million km) to 43.4 million miles (69.8 million km). It spins around exactly three times during every two orbits, making a “day” on Mercury last 176 Earth days. (hey, that was actually interesting, maybe the scientific stuff isn’t so boring after all ). The diameter of Mercury is 3,029 miles (4,875 km) and the surface temperature ranges from -292° F to 806° F (-180° C to 430° C). (nope, its boring ). It is too small and too hot to have anything more than a very thin atmosphere. The surface is pockmarked by thousands of craters and the core of the planet is iron. It has no moons. It is hard to view Mercury in the sky as it is always near the Sun, best times are either before the Sun rises or after it sets.

Now for the astrological associations. Mercury rules communication, telecommunications, computing, software, electronic gadgets, the postal service, shipping, couriers, and all forms of transportation, perception, language, writing, editing, research, speaking, all kinds of learning experiences and learning styles and the assessment of data. Mercury also rules sibling relationships, maps, letters, travel plans, appointments, roadways, vehicles, advertising, publishing, sales, and public relations. Quite a bit for the smallest planet.

Mercury represents non-emotion, highly rational, objective thought (sister planet to Vulcan? ). The sign and house in which Mercury resides in one’s chart reveals a great deal about that person’s natural style of gathering and giving out information. Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo. Mercury spends about two-three weeks in each sign, but when it retrogrades, which it does three to four times a year, it can stay in one sign as long as ten weeks. Never far from the Sun, it takes about one year to circle the zodiac.

When a planet goes retrograde, all the things that planet rules are affected. After seeing the list that Mercury rules, you can now see why this planet’s retrogrades are to be respected and feared. Mercury retrogrades have been known to scramble information, cause misunderstandings and create confusion. Never sign contracts or start a new venture or partnership during a Mercury retrograde (I had two clients that I started working with during Mercury retrogrades, the key word being “had” ). If you work in the industries ruled by this planet such as sales, writing, public relations, advertising, publishing, air freight, the post office or express mail, any transportation industry, maybe this would be a good time for a vacation.

Mercury retrogrades can result in missed appointments, checks getting lost, computer equipment acting up or crashes (my mouse was a victim of this last one ), that great electric appliance you purchased during the retrograde turns out to be a piece of junk, the new car is a lemon. Having problems with that electric gadget or cell phone you got for Christmas? Blame Mercury. That big blackout a few years ago....happened during a Mercury retrograde

Not only do these problems pop up during the retrograde, but the effects can begin up to 2 weeks before the actual start of the retrograde and up to two weeks after the planet goes direct . Now, not everyone will have their computer crash or a package get lost. Some get through without a scratch. Why? It depends on where Mercury is in the sky in relation to your zodiac sign and where it shows up in your chart. That is way more detail than I can get into but I can give you a great place to start. Try The monthly forecasts there are amazing. Yes, they are for each zodiac sign so they really offer an overview of what influence each planet has over a person born under that sign and are not detailed just for you. That being said, she has been right on many times. To "test" her forecasts, when I first discovered the site I would wait until the end of the month to read them. Then I could see if what she predicted was what I experienced that month. More often than not, her forecasts were right on. Now I read them at the beginning of each month because she gives advice how to handle the movements of the planets, such as retrogrades. If you have had your birthchart done and know where Mercury is at that time, it also affects how the retrograde affects you. There are sites that can do that for you also, mostly for a fee, and some also then will give a more detailed monthly forecast based on the birth chart.

Ok, now you know what not to do, but what can you do during a retrograde. This is a time to finish all those old projects you’ve been neglecting, tie up loose ends, reconsider plans or do more research, slow down, fix what is broken. Reflect and reconnect. Many times during a Mercury retrograde someone from your past will show up again, or you find yourself thinking of someone you have lost touch with and you contact them again. Lost things will reappear. Clean out your closets, get rid of what is no longer needed. Altho not a good time to buy electronics, it is a good time to research and check out reviews.

Mercury retrograde is an excellent time for soul searching and journey work, meditations and reconnecting with the Divine. Looking into yourself is good, but don’t look too deeply into others as there is too much miscommunication. It is a good time to sharpen your intuitive skills and work with tools such as tarot, pendulums, and runes.

If you want to connect to Mercury’s energies, here are some herbs that correspond to the planet. Most are those that enliven and brighten the mind to increase mental clarity but any can be used when dealing with the things Mercury rules.

  • Almond

  • Anise

  • Azalea

  • Balsam, Fir

  • Bayberry

  • Blue Bonnet

  • Caraway

  • Clary Sage

  • Clover

  • Crab Apple

  • Lavender

  • Lemon Grass

  • Lilly of the Valley

  • Mandrake

  • Marjoram

  • Mint

  • Peppermint

  • Snowdrops

  • Valerian

  • Wintergreen

Whether Mercury is retrograde or not, these herbs will connect to the energies and your will is what will determine for what purpose.

When one of the retrogrades hit last year, I was struck with the urge to protect my computer in some way. Since I have a desktop, I decided to create a stone grid of protection around it. I have a big hunk of tourmaline that I keep by my computer so I used that. I also picked out a tourmalated quartz and a black obsidian, all three are known for protection. I placed them at the corners of the computer tower. For the last corner I used a sodalite, which corresponds to the internet, but I think another protection stone would work just as well or better. Before I placed them I cleansed them. As I set each stone around the computer, I stated out loud my intention and focused on protecting my computer. On the top of the tower I placed a small smoky quartz point, pointing upwards to create a “tent” of protection around it. I had no problems with my computer during that retrograde. I did not, however, do it again this time and my mouse paid the price. If you have a laptop you could decorate it with a sticker with a protection symbol on it. Or carry some protection stones in the bag with it.

AT&T = Aggravation, Torture & Travesty

I promised you a story, didn’t I? Well, here is a tale of delays, miscommunication, and bad customer service starring AT&T and me. I decided I wanted to save some money and change phone companies. I was using Cavalier and the extra fees they added were getting out of hand. AT&T had a deal with phone and DSL internet that sounded good. The phone service change would save me almost $30 a month (I was also downgrading service but still AT&T would save me $15 if I compared the exact same plan ) and the DSL fee was the same as my dial-up that I’m using now. They had a deal to get the first three months of internet service free so I figured I could use those three months to clear out my favorites and emails from the old service and then cancel it, thus paying the same each month.

I started on Wednesday, December 2, 2009, way before the Mercury retrograde date of December 26, 2009. I went online and completed the order through the AT&T website, requesting to keep my phone number. The next night I get a confirmation email that says I’ll be hooked up Monday, December 7 but the phone number would change. So Friday morning before work I called AT&T and was told that Cavalier would not release the phone number. So I told him I wanted to cancel, he redirected the call, and I got disconnected. So I went to work. When I got home, I called Cavalier to see what was up. They said there was no problem releasing the phone number. So I called AT&T back. I got transferred to 4 different people during that 3 hour call. First I wanted to cancel and the first person transferred the call to the cancel person, who then transferred me to a person she said would be able to re-do the order and keep my number, this person then had to transfer me to "win back". I had to repeat my story to each of these people. "Win back" then proceed to cancel the first order and then had to ask me all the questions that I answered online to begin with. Then after all the info was put in an order, I got transferred to third party verification. Ok, order placed. Or so I thought.....

Monday while I was at work I got a call from my boyfriend as there was an AT&T person there to connect the internet. Ummm......what??? The order that was to be done on Monday was canceled. The AT&T person said he might as well do whatever he had to do to the phone line outside so that whenever the corrected order goes through, I’d be all set. Ok, fine, go ahead. Two days letter I get a letter from AT&T confirming the DSL internet hooked up with the new phone number!!

My schedule prevented me from calling again until December 15, now within two weeks of Mercury’s retrograde. Now also is when the fun really begins.

On December 15, I call and ask what is the status of my order to switch. Type, type type, "one second, I’m checking" type, type "can I put you on hold a second while I look into this?" and then she comes back on the line. "I see where the first order was canceled but there is not another order placed to switch you." Do you mean to say I spent three hours on the phone and there is no order? She guesses that the order was not "submitted". So the person who took the order didn’t hit a submit button on her computer?? Ok, remain calm, you can’t beat the phone service price. Alright, redo the order. And, I wanted to confirm that I would get the first three months of DSL free and was told that yes, there are three $19.95 credits given but they usual don’t appear on the bill until the second or third bill and then they may all be on the same one. So much for my plan of not paying for two internet services.

I also mention to this lady that I have paid my Cavalier phone service until the 22nd, is there any way to speed the order up, especially since I originally called on the 4th? She said she cannot guarantee anything because they don’t know how long it will take the other phone company to release the number (notice a pattern of blaming another company?). So I ask how long after the order is placed do they contact the other company...and she says 24 to 48 hours. Ok, if they respond right away, how long until the switch.....oh, that depends on how busy we are. In other words, we aren’t going to move any faster than we want. Fine, whatever, just get it done.

The 22nd of December came and went, no phone call confirming the switch and nothing in the mail.

On December 28 I call again to see what is the status of the order. I’m told that they are waiting for Cavalier to respond to the request to release the number. I told them I have talked to Cavalier and there should be no problem. He was no help. So I hung up and called Cavalier. No hold on the number, and no record of AT&T contacting them regarding my number at all. So I call AT&T back. I only tell the woman I’m checking on the order, not about the number issue. She tells me the order is in the records but hasn’t been acted on, did not move beyond the first step of taking the order. I ask why the first person I talked to blamed Cavalier, she said no record of them contacting Cavalier was there. Then she asks if I want to continue with the order. I tell her whats the point after twice now placing the order and nothing has been done. I ask for a manager or supervisor. She refuses saying she will get it going and does something on her computer. She asks if I went through third party verification. I said yes, both times. She says they are the ones who didn’t complete the order (blaming someone else again ). I tell her how now I will have to pay another Cavalier bill because their person didn’t do the order. She offers a $75 Visa gift card as compensation for the trouble. Fine (when I did go online to claim it, it takes 6 weeks to get to me). She tells me the order is being worked on and I should be switched by the 31st. I’ll get a phone call confirming.

I did get a phone call, I wasn’t home and half the message was given while my outgoing message was speaking but I got the gist of the call. On the 31st , lo and behold, a tech arrives to set up the phone service. He works on the phone box outside my house, checks the dial tone, hooks up his computer to check the DSL connection. All set. As he was packing up to leave, I called my home phone from my cell. It did not ring. I told him that the call didn’t go through. He checks the box again. Then calls AT&T. The port hasn’t been changed. The guy tells him he emailed Cavalier and connects the tech guy to Cavalier. I heard the conversation and the tech guy had to call AT&T again because the email wasn’t sent.

It was fixed and I now have phone and DSL internet with AT&T. Whoo hooo. Think its over? One more thing. When I get the confirmation in the mail for the DSL, they had me signed up for the wrong plan. I wanted Basic, so I’m paying the same as I am now, and they had me with Deluxe. Another hour long phone call and I’m now, hopefully, done.

I hope you made it through the retrograde in one piece and I will give warning when the next one hits. Time to come out from the basement, Mercury is direct again.

Until next time....
~~~~Rhiannon Rose

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Moon Phases
& Sign

Dark in Capricorn:
January 15 at 2:11am

1st Quarter in Taurus:
January 23 - 5:53am

Full in Leo:
January 30 - 1:18am

Last Quarter in Scorpio:
February 5 - 6:48pm


Mercury Retrogrades

4/18/2010 to 5/11/2010

8/20/2010 to 9/12/2010

12/10/2010 to 12/30/2010

Credit and

Llewellyn's Witches Datebook for all moon phases

Starfinder, The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Exploring the Night Sky by Carole Stott

Magical Oils by Moonlight by Maya Heath


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