Mercury retrograde is upon us again. From October 4th to the 25th the planet known as the messenger of the gods goes backwards. Some people fear mercury retrograde as a time of doom, gloom and disaster. This astrological transit has its own hashtag on social media with accompanying stories of the mayhem often caused by this cosmic tailspin which many refer to as mercury retro ARGH.
So what is mercury retrograde and why does it raise an astrological red flag?
In astrology Mercury rules communication, logic and intellect as well as commerce, technology and transportation/travel.
Three times a year the planet goes retrograde for roughly three weeks however many established astrologers say there is a shadow period approximately two weeks either side of the retrograde. This means that during this period all the areas mentioned above can go a little haywire as things understandably do when they go backwards.. From muddled communications and subsequent misunderstandings to foggy heads and thought processes being a little off key… the best laid plans going awry, and major computer says NO issues as well as cars and other machinery playing up – all of these are common complaints during murky mercury retro ARGH.
Below I share some tips on managing mercury retrograde. I am sticking to the do’s rather than the don’ts and in fact the only ‘don’t’ I have is DO NOT PANIC. Instead focus on what you can do to work with the energy available during this time.
Do anything ‘re’ Mercury retrograde is considered a great time by astrologers to do anything with the prefix re. Repair, redo, renew, reconsider, research. Repair old items in your home and freshen them up giving them a new lease of life. Review past situations to see what you can learn from them to help you both now and in the future. And so on. As this astrological transit can often make people feel a little unsociable taking some quiet time for anything ‘re’ is a great use of one’s energy during this period.
Do look back In theme with the re concept above mercury retrograde is not just a great time for reviewing what has been but also a time when the past comes knocking… You may hear from or feel minded to reconnect with people you have lost touch with – platonic, professional or romantic. Sometimes revisiting the past may involve final closure/wiping the slate clean – a reminder of why you parted ways with a person or situation but sometimes it can be a chance to repair an old hurt, renew a former business relationship, reconcile a friendship or romantic relationship. Consider a silver lining of the retrograde to be an opportunity to reexamine the past to see if it ought to be part of your present and indeed future.
Do back up! The retrograde of this planet is known for causing havoc with technology so with that in mind back up data, take care with all things electronic and do a bit of housekeeping with your online affairs. Computer repair shops and garages seem to do more business during mercury retrograde. Coincidence or cosmic synchronicity? Either way knowledge is power and prevention is always better than a cure.
Do have a Plan B Naughty mercury is known for creating havoc with transport and travel. But this doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for your travel plans however whether you are heading off on holiday or going to an important meeting or function make sure you have insurance in all forms and allow flexibility for delays.
Do delay Speaking of delays if you can avoid taking direct action on anything formal until mercury is direct (and ideally out of shadow) this is preferable. This means delaying signing contracts or starting anything new including making big life decisions. Take the time to do the re’s and if possible put off doing anything formal until mercury goes direct and information that you may have missed comes to the surface. If you HAVE to take formal action and sign a contract or close a deal so be it but take extra time to review and read all the small print because murky mercury retro has a way of obfuscating facts and important information.
Do practice patience Be patient with yourself and others. I mean this should be a do for everyday life but when mercury is retrograde it’s an even bigger MUST DO. With communications going awry misunderstandings are more commonplace and as plans often get changed people (or you) can seem a bit flaky. So be mindful and patient with yourself and others knowing that it may be mercury meddling rather than anything personal.
Do your thing Mercury retrograde is often known as a time when people feel more hermit like and it is a great time to lay low and reconnect with yourself. Yes logic and reasoning can be muddled but many find themselves more connected to their intuition and sixth sense at this time. Take time out for you and note what your higher self may be telling you – once mercury is direct again (and preferably out of shadow) and your mental processing faculties are hopefully all back on track it’s is a good time to fully process what you have observed and perhaps act upon it.
Do trust Trust that what is beyond your control and goes awry during mercury retrograde often returns or is replaced/repaired in some way when the planet goes direct. As always in life the only thing you can control is your own consciousness and actions. If others muddled by mercury make rash decisions that impact you it is quite possible they may have a change of heart or mind when mercury goes direct and matters resolve themselves as the cosmos irons out the wrinkles.
Final DO! Do keep calm, have a sense of humour and carry on. Mercury goes retrograde three times annually for approximately three weeks (or twice as long if you factor in the shadow periods). You can’t put your life on hold but you can use this time strategically and even benefit from it.
May you have a mindful muddle free mercury retrograde.
MERCURY RETROGRADE OCTOBER 2014
Mercury goes retrograde October 4 2014 and the traditional advice is “Don’t travel, Don’t sign contracts. Don’t marry. Don’t touch electrics!” But the whole Mercury retrograde cycle actually lasts eight weeks and happens three times, sometimes even four times in a year! That’s a long time to hide under the duvet and a real waste of a truly magical time. Mercury generally zips between two worlds, or rather, the two hemispheres of our brain. So during the retrograde period it feels like Mercury has gone down into the Underworld. In this realm closer to spirit we become more right-brain orientated. It is dark, so other senses are heightened. We will feel extra sensitive here, psychic even. Everything will seem hyper-real… you will notice things you had overlooked before. This will prompt you to re-evaluate, renovate, re-form, and re-invent. It’s true you might have to redo things, because Mercury will hit the same degree three times, but what this transit won’t let you do is to go into autopilot.
There are danger spots though. When Mercury is stationing retrograde we are at its wobbly stage where we are likely to slip-up, make mistakes, and misread anothers communications. But once we are over the threshold and into the Underworld, we can safely go about our business knowing we are in another realm. The same goes for when Mercury is stationing direct, just make sure you give your brain a few days to adjust back to solar thinking. The house in your natal chart that Mercury retrogrades in, will be your Underworld zone. There you will question everything. It will make you jittery about signing contracts, because you will be constantly thinking, “Is this what I really want?”. Before the retrograde, is a good time to finish off those Solar left-brain projects and gather information to bring down into your cave at its retrograde point. Then you can slow things down, let yourself be taken into other dimensions, try on different filters, experiment, shine a light on your demons, then recharge and reboot.
Mercury Retrograde Journey
Mercury will station retrograde from Oct 4 – 26 and journey through the degrees of 2º Scorpio back to 16º Libra. This Mercury retrograde is important because Mercury activates the October Solar Eclipse point of 0º Scorpio three times and station direct on this hotspot too. This means the theme of the Solar Eclipse is intertwined with this retrograde journey also. Mercury will mainly touch stars in Bootes the herdsman, and spends most of the retrograde in Libra decan 3 which houses one of the most brilliant and fortunate stars on the ecliptic, Spica! This decan is also ruled by benefic Jupiter. However this is a retrograde period, so like this decan, the shadows can get very dark against the stark brilliance of Spica. We may have to go through some tough times where were our ideas are harshly judged and we have to prove ourselves worthy.
Mercury in this Jupiter-ruled decan will give us the zeal to make the planet a better place. It should bring up an urgency for humanity to clean-up the earth. This could be about intellectual rather than physical purifying, though of course we need that too. I think once our minds are free of pollution, it will be reflected in our environment. Mercury is about learning so while it cruises through this intellectually brilliant zone it will not be able to abide stupidity and will seek to enlighten other minds through dispersing knowledge. Jupiter ruling here will stress the importance of higher learning so we should see some great teachers emerging around this time. Super shiny Spica here, floods this decan with natural talent. During this retrograde journey Mercury will not make any difficult aspects at all which is a relief. All we have to really pay attention to is the combustion phase which is described in greater detail in the Sun conjunct Mercury post. Oct 13 – 20 is when the Sun conjunct Mercury is combust. Demetra George says of this time “One might compare this stage to burning in the fiery cauldron of solar heat, where the last vestiges of the old self – in the case of Mercury, the old thought patterns and mental scripts that no longer serve us – are consumed and destroyed.”
Oct 16 Mercury will be in that special spot of sitting in the throne of his majesty (Cazimi the Sun), both planets conjunct Spica. This really is very special indeed. Our usual glum and acerbic 1930’s Astrologer Vivian Robson goes to town with this one! He says the Sun on Spica gives “Great and lasting preferment, eminent dignity, immense wealth, great happiness to native’s parents and children, help from friends among clergy, favorable for public and legal affairs.” Whoopee! Ok, let’s not too carried away folks, this is a retrograde period after all….Nevertheless, if you keep your eye on the Mercurial ball, I think this is a wonderful day for genius in writing and brilliant creations of all kinds. Time to get that blank canvas out and begin your masterpiece, especially if 23º Libra connects to your chart in any way.
Mercury Station Retrograde
Mercury stations retrograde on Oct 4 so let’s look at the chart. More good news! The Mercury Retrograde chart is dominated by the fabulous grand fire trine which brings inventiveness, vision and inspiration. I am so excited by this retrograde because the ingredients so far are just wonderful for artistic and creative pursuits. The only stressful aspect really is the Sun square Pluto. I wouldn’t worry too much about this either because it simply provides some dynamic tension to push forward the huge creative potential of the Grand Fire Trine by igniting the minor grand trine that is capping the major grand trine. Interesting geometry here. The Sun is on our trickster friend Algorab in the crow which brings in the influence of Libra decan 2. “These folk are your typical iron fist in a velvet glove, which makes them all the more dangerous. Never, ever, ever underestimate Libra decan 2, even if they look like Barbie. A lot of them will play dumb deliberately…” The influence of this decan will provide a good fluffy cover for any unconventional and daring agendas you may want to slip by those in authority. I would spend this retrograde period constructing a very elaborate decoy! In this way you can push forward your more risque schemes. You will be surprised by what you can get away with by the end of this retrograde period.
Mercury Station Direct
Mercury goes forward on two days after the Solar Eclipse. That is something to “caw caw” about and when it does, Mercury will fall on the star Kraz found in Corvus the crow. So the sneaky crows feature quite strongly during this time and Mercury is known for being a tricky customer himself. “The cawing of the ravens or crows was heard as ‘Cras! Cras!’ by Latin speakers, and was thought to mean “Tomorrow! Tomorrow!” We get the word procrastinate, ‘postpone until the morrow’, from Latin cras. Mythology identifies Corvus with the procrastinating raven Apollo sent to fetch water, and tells how he dallied at a fig tree until the figs became ripe before carrying out the god’s task.”
Indeed it might be very tempting to procrastinate on this day, for it would be just so easy to bliss out on those dreamy vibes. That’s because we have a sumptuous Sun conjunct Venus, both trine Neptune on romantic Fomalhaut. It actually would be a good idea to slow down and go inwards until Mercury stabilises itself I think. Give yourself time to contemplate and connect with the elements, especially air and water at this time. Watching and listening to the waves crash could bring in some intuitive transmissions from Neptune. Mercury revisits the North Node again so this is a good moment to re-orient your self and check that you haven’t drifted off course from your great life plan. So pick up your plume swiftly, because now until the end of the shadow period (Nov10) is a fruitful time for mind expansion, learning and re-membering past life skills.
MERCURY RETROGRADE PERIOD DATES
September 14 Mercury enters shadow zone at 16º Libra
September 17 Mercury conjunct North Node
September 19 Mercury sextile Lilith, Mercury opposite Eris.
October 4 Mercury Station Retrograde at 2º Scorpio 6.02am BST, 10.03am PDT
October 13 Mercury enters combustion with Sun
October 15 Mercury sextile Lilith
October 16 Mercury conjunct Sun 10.42pm BST, 2.40pm PDT.
October 17 Mercury conjunct Venus, Mercury sextile Mars, Mercury opposite Eris.
October 21 Mercury conjunct North Node
October 23 Solar Eclipse at 0º Scorpio close to retrograde point.
October 20 Mercury sextile Jupiter, Mercury out of combustion with Sun
October 25 Mercury Station Direct at 16º Libra 8.16pm BST, 12.16pm PDT
October 30 Mercury conjunct North Node
November 1 Mercury sextile Jupiter
November 7 Mercury sextile Lilith
November 10 Mercury out of shadow zone at 2º Scorpio
Mercury Through The Stars
Kraz in Corvus | 16º Libra ~ Sept 14, Oct 28 Rx, Oct 28
Seginus in Bootes | 16º Libra ~ Sept 14, Oct 27 Rx, Oct 29
“A word coming from Latin for corn-crop, and thus meaning a reaper or harvester. .. It gives a subtle mind, shamelessness and loss through friends and companies.”
Foramen in Argo | 21º Libra ~ Sept 18, Oct 17 Rx, Nov 2
“It causes peril, dignity, piety, usefulness and acquisitiveness”
Spica in Virgo | 23º Libra ~ Sept 20, Oct 16 Rx, Nov 4
“With Mercury: Neat, tidy, clever, ingenious, favor of clergy and people in authority, gain through investment, responsible position.”
Arcturus in Bootes | 23º Libra ~ Sept 21, Oct 15 Rx, Nov 5
“With Mercury: Sober, industrious, popular, inclined to be religious, somewhat extravagant but well-off, help through friends, holds position of trust in large company or corporation, or receives promotion under direction, favorable for health and domestic affairs.”
Izar in Bootes | 27º Libra ~ Sept 24, Oct 13 Rx, Nov 7
Miaplacidus in Argo | 1º Scorpio ~ Sept 29, Oct 7 Rx, Nov 9 The October 23 Solar Eclipse point.
“Argo is said to give prosperity in trade and voyages, and strength of mind and spirit.”
Princeps in Bootes | 2º Scorpio ~ Oct 2 – 6 Rx, Nov 10