“Buddhi heena tanu janike sumiraun Pawana kumara bala buddhi vidya dehu mohin harahu kalesa bikaara”—Knowing myself to be lacking intelligence, I pray to the Son of the Wind to grant me strength, wisdom and knowledge to overcome the afflictions that cause me pain.
This verse from the Hanuman Chalisa is particularly appropriate during Mercury retrograde periods. In Sanskrit Mercury is called Buddha (the Enlightened One) and is associated with the faculty known as the Buddhi, or intelligence. When Mercury is in retrograde motion it seems that our Buddhi is not firing on all cylinders—causing delays, confusion, and miscommunication. The big news this evening is that Mercury turns direct at 10:40pm PDT after being retrograde since July 14th. One of the things I notice about Mercury retrograde—particularly this one--is that time seems to slow down, so three and a half weeks can seem like three and a half months. On July 14th I was in Copenhagen, which right now seems not only geographically, but also temporally far removed from Mt. Shasta.
A yoga retreat is the perfect thing to do during Mercury’s retrograde—unplugging from our normal day-to-day routine to get a little better perspective on ourselves, and doing things specifically designed to feed the Soul. As a teacher, it is the ideal learning environment--everyone is particularly receptive because they are relaxed and having fun, and I get to see them at their best. Today we were entertained by Jason and Neal, two young men in the group who were feeling their Martian energy particularly strongly on a Tuesday, jump off what I call, “Testosterone Ledge,” a forty-five foot plunge into the icy waters of McCloud Falls. We also have eight kids in the group this week, ranging in age from five to fourteen, who keep demonstrating to us the simple pleasure of spontaneous playfulness.
Maybe now that Mercury is turning direct, time will start speeding up again. I hope not, because I am really savoring my time up here, drinking in the Prana from the air, the water, the trees, and the Mountain. One of the great images of Hanuman shows him flying through the air carrying the Mountain of Healing Herbs back to the battlefield in Lanka, where Ravana’s son, Indrajit, has cast a spell of seeming death on Rama, Lakshmana, and their army of monkeys and bears. The Mountain of Healing Herbs brings the seemingly dead back to life and Hanuman saves the day. For me, Mt. Shasta is like the Mountain of Healing Herbs. It has great powers of rejuvenation and acts as a catalyst for some deep emotional cleansing and healing. I’ve seen it happen every year these past twenty years, both for myself and others, and every time I leave Mt. Shasta I feel that I have shed another layer of illusion and embraced a new level of consciousness.
On Sunday I will be flying back to Encinitas, carrying the Mountain of Healing Herbs within me. (Actually, I’ll be driving the 700 miles in my trusty Four-Runner). It will be an action-packed day. Early Sunday morning I will be the Celebrant for the marriage of Chris and Suzy, two math teachers who met on this retreat a couple of years ago. After the wedding will be the Circle of Tears, followed by packing up the rental house, and then a mad dash to Sacramento to get the girls to the airport. The final 480 miles I’ll be driving solo, with lots of time to reflect on the events of the past two weeks. To hang onto the experience for as long as possible I continue to let the beard that I have sprouted here grow until my wife will no longer come close to me and starts referring to me as “Papa.”