Since today (February 6, 2014) kicks off a three-week Mercury Retrograde period, I decided to cover some stones to help you deal with the unnerving effects of this period.
What is Mercury Retrograde? It is actually a giant planetary optical illusion. All planets revolve around the Sun, but there are times when it appears from Earth, because of our motion around the Sun, that a planet will stop and go backwards, then stop again and move forward, or go direct. This isn't happening at all. It is physics. Think of when you are at a stop light, and are rolling forward very slowly, and the car next to you is moving more slowly than even you, it actually can appear that the other car is rolling backward. We are actually overtaking Mercury on the orbital highway, so to speak, so this is why Mercury seems to move backward. All planets move around the Sun in orbits, but because Earth perceives this retrograde, astrologers believe it affects us Earthlings. By the way, this happens to all planets from our point of view on planet Earth. In the beginning of 2014, Venus went Retrograde, and astrologers suggested that we not get any new hairstyles, or changes in our appearance. "No plastic surgery!" they warned, since Venus rules appearances and beauty. Mercury is perhaps the most well-known retrograde, because it happens three times a year, and is closest to the Sun.
Mercury is the messenger God in Ancient Greek mythology, and so the planet rules communications--electronic, telephone and in person communication. It affects electronics, or those things that deliver messages (messengers). So computers go on the fritz, phones drop in toilets. Last summer, my dishwasher had a wee clog, and my husband pulled it out to fix it, lost a little itty bitty screw, and we had to buy a whole new dishwasher (apparently, they don't sell just the screw. Go figure). Mercury Retrograde warns not to sign any contracts. I signed our house contract during the last Mercury Retrograde in November, and I can attest that it was a nightmare (still is a nightmare). We have confusions, misunderstandings, arguments, taking things personally...oy. So, any texts, emails or communications you receive during this time, breathe. Apply the Four Agreements--be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't assume. Do your best.
One of my mentors and favorite teachers Athena from Sage Goddess actually enjoys Mercury Retrograde. Read her wonderful article on it. I wouldn't exactly say I enjoy it, but I have learned the hard way to respect the power of Mercury Retrograde, and work with the energy through crystal healing. It truly is a time to slow down. Do your homework on any project. We don't make decisions impulsively in Mercury Retrograde. We plod along, which ultimately serves our Highest Good. It can be a wonderful period of reflection, self-care and bear medicine.
I would avoid making plans during this period. As they say, "We plan, and God laughs." This is particularly true during Mercury Retrograde, so just bow out politely, or be non-committal. If you don't want to say, "It's Mercury Retrograde! ARE YOU NUTS?!?" Just say that you are taking time for yourself right now. There is nothing wrong with that. You deserve time alone. My suggestion, if you are interested in Astrology and the moon cycles, is also to see how this Retrograde period is interacting with the rest of the sky. This piece describes the way Mercury Retrograde manifests in each sign. This cycle we are in Aquarius (until the 18th of February) and then in Pisces for a few days is about freedom and independence and intellectual battles. This does help tailor our stones too.
But let's get a base line for what stones to use in a Mercury Retrograde. Firstly, we want to use some grounding stones to help us focus on our connection with Mother Earth and our inner Higher Selves. Any Retrograde period can make us feel turned around, which causes us to feel ungrounded. For this, I suggest Hematite + Pyrite as a combination. In the last few months, I have felt strongly that these two metallic stones work in harmony as a kind of Yin Yang grounding couple, actually functioning as two sides of the plug, so to speak, into Mother Earth. Working with Hematite alone can be very beneficial as well. You don't have to have everything I suggest to make this work, just use what you have and improvise. If I say grounding stone, and you only have obsidian, use it! I also love Smoky Quartz for this time period, and a Smoky Citrine is even better. Smoky Quartz is a wonderful enhancer and ally when working with other stones, so I love seeing this in a grid with other other Mercury Retrograde stones. I always suggest Black Tourmaline for an EMF absorber,and so consider it during this time period when electronics go haywire!
Because Mercury Retrograde rules communication, it only stands to reason that we use Throat Chakra stones like Aquamarine, Blue Lace Agate, Hemimorphite, Amazonite, and my favorite for Mercury Retrograde is Fluorite, often called the stone of the student. It really helps with clarity and understanding.
So, how do we work with these stones in a Mercury Retrograde period? We can carry some grounding stones with communication stones in a little mojo bag. I don't like to carry more than three stones at one time. So maybe Hematite, Smoky Quartz and Aquamarine in a mojo bag. Or Blue Lace Agate, Smoky Quartz and Ametrine. You can wear some grounding jewelry. I was actually thinking of creating some Mercury Retrograde earrings to wear during this period! But wearing some gemstone bracelets like Hematite, or Black Tourmaline with an Amazonite, might be a wonderful way to work with these stones' energies. You can sleep with them, carry them in your pocket, bathe with them, drink them in a gem water (be sure to check a toxic stone list before doing this. Black Tourmaline is not recommended for waters.) My favorite way to work with stones during a time period is to create a grid that holds the energy and counteracts some of the effects of Mercury Retrograde.
An easy and helpful grid for ANY time of the year, but particularly Mercury Retrograde, is a grounding grid. I suggest this grid for businesses where lots of energies are coming and going or for time periods that are chaotic, like moving house, or job changes.
You can also connect this grid to a larger room or house grid by connecting the stones. I used a center stone of Black Tourmaline on a flower of life grid cloth for lower chakras. Radiating from the center are six spokes of black tourmaline rods into a stone, then the other six spokes are Black Obsidian Arrowheads pointing INTO the center of the grid. We are directing energy within, rather than outward. This is important when you want to ground your energy. Out from the Arrowheads are Hematite and Pyrite like the two holders of the reigns of that energy. it is a simple and easy grid. I also sage when doing this grid and sometimes do a Shamanic Journey to have guidance on what stones or animals to use in grounding. I also have this bust of my Spirit Guide that I use to include him in my work during this time period of Mercury Retrograde. I don't think communication mix-ups happen to you and your guides during Mercury Retrograde.
I also love working with the Medicine Wheel grids for grounding and spiritual connection to ancestor work, Mother Earth and all living beings. This would be a wonderful grid for the Mercury Retrograde period.
This grid is as ancient as the people, I believe in my heart of hearts. It is aligned on to magnetic North, and contains a symbol of all the elements. It is truly a working altar, so to speak, and a connector to all the Elements and Mother Earth. Starting East, the direction of Air, dawn, new beginnings, I used Citrine, a feather, sacred tobacco as the herbal offering, and incense; South, direction of Fire, passion and completion, I used Red Jasper, sage as the sacred offering; in the West, the direction of Water, reflection, emotions and contemplation, I used Black Obsidian Arrowheads, this time pointing outward, the sacred offering of Cedar, a bowl of water, and a shell; in the North, the direction of Earth, I used Clear Quartz (though Howlite is traditional, as well as Snowy Quartz), the sacred offering of Sweetgrass, and Wood. I actually used Clear Quartz in the center, and Selenite for the spokes and direction markers.
This next grid I designed specifically for Mercury Retrograde:
This grid's center is a Fluorite pillar. I put a mirror underneath the Fluorite to amplify its energy, radiating out are six double terminated clear quartz crystals with Amazonite, and Fluorite again around the edge. Because I only had four Fluorite tumblies, I used two larger magenta Fluorite pieces on the North/South axis on this grid. The Octahedron is particularly special to me. On the other spokes around the outer edge are Hematite, and inner grid are Pyrite.
Play. Use your intuition. Work with different crystals that are special to you. Whatever you do, share your grids and crystals here. I'd love to see what you are doing for Mercury Retrograde.