Give Me Your Hand ~ Mercury at Inferior Conjunction

The Moon passed through eclipse in the midnight hour Monday, and now it’s a waning gibbous for the rest of the week, rising later and later until it catches up with Saturn in the morning sky on Sunday.

So first there was a partial solar eclipse, followed two weeks later by the total lunar eclipse. And in the midst, the planet Mercury started its seasonal retrograde. Mercury is described mythologically as the escort of souls, the bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, the thief at the gate. In the Homeric Hymns, he is described as the one who wears shamelessness as a garment.

Mercury was born at dawn; played the lyre at noon and stole the cattle of the sun-god at dusk.

What’s he doing now?

On Saturday, May 21st, Mercury will come to inferior conjunction with the Sun, which is the peak of its retrograde cycle. At retrograde, it’s as though Mercury is moving backward, which means that the planet is retracing its steps, so on Saturday, it comes to its meeting with the Sun in a degree of the zodiac where it has recently been.

It just so happens that Mercury was at this meeting place on April 30th, which was the same day as the partial solar eclipse, so what I’m looking for is the story that Mercury is telling in all of this ~ from solar eclipse, through retrograde, to lunar eclipse and inferior conjunction ~ bearing in mind that Mercury is not only a trickster god, but a luck-bringer, the one who offers a hand when you need help out of a seemingly impossible situation. He escorts Persephone out of the underworld; he gifts Perseus his winged sandals for rescuing Andromeda; and he’s in these words of 20th century Austrian poet Rilke:

God speaks to us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night.

An omen of great luck to you,


Hear this episode on my podcast, and on Interlochen Public Radio.

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Book of Hours, I 59, t