We are knee-deep in a Mercury retrograde, and although other planets go retrograde all the time, there is something about Mercury that just really seems to get to us sometimes.
Because Mercury rules ideas and communication, you might have found that it feels damn near impossible to get anyone to return your emails or calls lately. Work might feel slow, or you could feel that something important is stalling for you.
Or that no matter how hard you try to work through something, the answers just aren’t as clear as you need them to be right now.
But not to worry. Mercury retrogrades give us the necessary time to pause. I’ve mentioned before that I often get some of my best ideas during a retrograde. They give us a chance to see what we could be doing differently, and where we can improve.
And they also give us the chance to breathe. Because not everything can operate on full-throttle all the time. For me, I’m using most of the month to finish writing a book about tarot. It’s been an intense project; the idea started back in the Fall, when I thought I was going writing a 20,000-word e-book.
Instead, it’s turning into something much, much bigger than that. But it feels right this way, and there is something about January that just seems so conducive to the creative process. We are meant to slow down and hibernate in winter, after all, and with 2016 bringing in a retrograde so soon, the potency of these slower days is heightened.
The magic of the Four of Swords is that it brings much of the same opportunities as a Mercury retrograde does. It marks a time to slow down and be still so that we can recharge and emerge feeling revitalized and refreshed.
It also marks a time where our greatest insights are not found through busy action or constant “doing.” Instead, the Four of Swords shows that we must now look within for the answers that we seek. When we do this, we can surprise ourselves by the depth of our knowledge, or by the ideas that come forward.
And we can always use a reminder that the best way forward is often found when we ask ourselves, “What do I need to know right now?”
So this week, if you find yourself up against an unexpected obstacle, or if you feel like things are not moving as fast as you would like, then remember that there is a rhythm and a plan to everything we are connected to, and right now the energy around us is trying to show us that sometimes slow is better.
Try to listen to whatever your own pause is trying to tell you. Try to step away and let yourself be alone with your thoughts.
Go for a walk and leave your phone at home. Or light some candles and take a bath when no one will disturb you. Or crawl into bed early and write in your journal for 20 minutes, just to see what comes up.
Despite the messages of the world around us that say everything needs to happen all the time, reality is that everything needs to happen when it happens. And if this week hands you a bit of a break, then take it.
Here’s a mantra for you to use throughout the week:
“As I come to accept and respect the pauses that life brings to me, I learn how to listen to the messages that live in between.”