Every time the planet Mercury appears to move in reverse or becomes what is known as retrograde (It really doesn’t move backward, it just looks like it does.), the internet and social media see a flurry of articles and memes proclaiming the dire pitfalls. The reality is that this astrological “weather” is not much different than navigating every day weather occurrences. If meteorologists tell us it is going to rain, we remember to grab an umbrella and maybe wear rain boots that day. If snow is forecast, we prepare accordingly—ice melt, shovels, purchasing the ubiquitous bread and milk.
Those who pay attention to what is going on astrologically, and many Pagans do since moon cycles and other astrological influences play a role in their religious or magical practices. This year not only will we deal with near full moon antics, but Mercury is retrograde during Thanksgiving. Mercury is said to rule communication, mechanical devices, and electronics, among other things. Since the last presidential election, there have been a number of articles citing the perils of family holiday gatherings when the discussion turns to politics. Interject a Mercury Retrograde and you increase the chances of miscommunication.
The Wild Hunt reached out to a couple of astrologers for advice on how to best use the energies of Mercury to have a holiday meal that is civil and enjoyable, even if it’s not completely drama-free. They each offered their own unique perspectives.
Diotima Mantineia of Urania’s Well provided us with this list of Do’s and Don’ts:
- Assume that people have all the information they need. Double-check the plans — time, place, expectations.
- Be dogmatic. Everyone has their opinions. Consider that it might not be absolutely necessary for you to express yours.
- Argue about religion or politics. It won’t go well. Trust me on this.
- Joke about things other people take seriously.
- Take the long view and the high road. There’s no need to get caught up in petty stuff.
- Be open to heartfelt discussions. Mercury Rx can be a fine time to revisit social or familial situations that have been simmering on the back burner, and get them worked out. (But remember — long view, high road.)
- Listen carefully when others are speaking. You might be amazed at what you learn.
- Count your blessings.
Mantineia also observed, “Mercury is retrograde in Sagittarius on Thanksgiving, which can mean miscommunications, travel disruptions, and serious breakouts of foot-in-mouth disease on a day when most of us are gathered with family and friends. But it can also lead to interesting conversations and real breakthroughs in family or group dynamics.”
Ivo Dominguez Jr., who has written several books on astrology, offered up the following suggestions:
- Do as much cooking, prep work, and travel, the day before Thanksgiving.
- Adopt a breezy, schedules don’t matter, go with the flow attitude.
- Pay attention to the sensual joy of the food, and the warmth that comes from feeling connected.
- Encourage the sharing of stories, shared experiences, and groan about the ones told for the hundredth time.
- If things go off the rails a bit, don’t worry as the astrology of the day will make it harder for the bad stuff to stick. It is OK to be ambivalent.
- Remember the power of your imagination, creativity, and compassion.
- Each holiday is also filled with possibilities for creating a better way forward together.
Dominguez, Jr. went on to highlight some of the other astrological aspects that come into play on Thanksgiving,“The Sun enters Sagittarius early in the day and Jupiter the ruler of Sagittarius is in its Sign. The Moon is in Taurus, an excellent placement, but is void of course all day. It is also nearly the Full Moon as well. Thanksgiving in the US is a holiday that is filled with possibilities for stress and complicated expectations. Some of you may have additional dread because Mercury is currently retrograde. All is not lost nor dire.”
The Sun entering Sagittarius generally offers up a cheerful energy, and with Jupiter’s expansiveness, it may help offset some of the potential family conflicts. The significance of a void-of-course Moon (meaning it does not make any direct aspects to any other astrological bodies), is that people are less likely to remember what was said or at least lose some or all of the impact if the comments were particularly emotionally charged. The Moon being in Taurus, a sign that can promote comfort, pleasure, and security, may also help to mute the stresses of the day.
While both Mantineia and Dominguez, Jr. offer slightly different perspectives, they both emphasize being self-aware, not taking on too much—either physically or emotionally—and shifting our focus to enjoying the food and company we find ourselves surrounded by and planning ahead.
Mercury Retrograde occurring during Thanksgiving is not the end of the world. It is like any other “weather” and can be planned for if we pay attention—just like we should when driving in a car in the rain or snow. Mantineia has a full article on her website that details how to best work with Mercury Retrograde no matter when it shows up. However we choose to celebrate the holiday, it is a day set aside to be thankful. Even if we are only thankful when it is over.