“Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.”
Words of the Chinese Ch’an master Ch’ing-yüan Wei-hsin
Virgo is the sign that best exemplifies critical thinking, a skill that is often overlooked, yet essential in helping us navigate the complex, contradictory layers of our reality (and, in some cases, of our spiritual experience, even though intuition and feelings hold a paramount importance in this latter field).
However, in order to make the most of our critical thinking abilities, we sometimes have to switch to right-brain mode, and look at things from a diametrically opposed angle, so that we can restore the balance in an outlook that would be otherwise dominated by logic, rationality and abstract cerebralism.
This is where the upcoming Retrograde cycle of Mercury, starting on August 12, comes in handy. The winged messenger of the Gods begins his retrograde journey at 11 degrees of the analytical, discerning sign of Virgo, where most of the Retrograde transit will take place (he will then slip back into Leo for the final few days of the Retrograde).
Just like in the ancient Ch’an (the Chinese Buddhist tradition that eventually spread in Japan as Zen) proverb quoted above, this Mercury Rx cycle will see us departing from our basic understanding of seemingly ordinary details of our everyday life, and re-integrating them in a fresh perspective – albeit through the not always pleasant or manageable reality-bending whirlwind that is typical of every Mercury Retrograde phase.
While health and work-related matters that require major fine-tuning are guaranteed to come up for review, the re-evaluation process of this Mercury Retrograde cycle can apply to almost anything, including the level of transparency and accuracy that currently characterizes the communication in our closest relationships. Yet, in order to attain that meticulous Virgoan clarity of information and purpose, which will allow to fix what needs to be improved once the process is over, we will first have to follow Mercury’s non-linear trip into the Underworld of the mind, without being too eager to return to the semi-conscious state in which we spent our time on the surface, immersed in a reality that only seemingly, and deceitfully, looked limpid and ordered.
The backtrack into the royal sign of the Lion, on August 31, suggests that it’s important for us to trust that our heart should have an equally authoritative say in our process of judgment and discernment, as the rational mind. The direct station, at 28 degrees Leo, on September 5, also triggers the degree of the powerful New Moon / Solar Eclipse landing on August 21, which means that we can expect crucial, momentous realizations connected to that event, to arise by the time Mercury turns around.