Mercury Retrograde

Into the Flow: New Moon in Pisces 2019

newsal14 at Turkish Wikipedia

newsal14 at Turkish Wikipedia

New Moon @ 15 Pisces 47’

March 6, 2019

8:04 AM Los Angeles

11:04 AM New York

4:04 PM London

March 7, 2019

12:04 AM Beijing

3:04 AM Sydney

As we move into the New Moon in tropical Pisces this month, there is the usual emphasis of tending more to the inner life. New Moon's are natural periods requiring increased rest, recovery, and careful contemplation of emerging potentials. Following Mercury's retrograde station, we're beginning a collective process of reflection, revision, and reconsideration. With the New Moon's conjunction with Neptune in the sign of Pisces, this lunation blatantly suggests taking your time before executing critical projects or launches.

Neptune so often obscures the facts or limits access to clarity. Also, feeling the need to disengage or indulge distraction can be exceptionally high. It is tempting to lose focus or drift off somewhere beyond the mundane. Indeed, this New Moon may be challenging to navigate if you're trying to stay on task or remain engaged in something pragmatic. However, Saturn's sextile from Capricorn offers some assistance or helpful reminders of the practical dimensions we need to tend to.

Of course, if you don't need to remain focused on things concrete, this lunation permits one to withdraw and disconnect. It is a poignant reminder that mystery engulfs us and that no matter how much we think we know, there's more we don't know, and possibly more we don't know that we don't know. A healthy response to this strong Neptune/Pisces influx is to embrace humility and an attitude of surrender. Combined with Mercury's retrograde cycle in the next three weeks, you have more time than you think to make appropriate revisions.

While yes, New Moon's plant a seed or correlate with the birth of a new process, consider that you'll need to take more time to gather the data and straighten out glitches. One of the classic correlative manifestations of this combination of symbols is a mysterious problem or glitch (technical or otherwise) that currently has no obvious solution or means to fix it. Excessive delays, setbacks, and obfuscations are possible, so give yourself the time and space to maneuver around obstacles.

This lunation isn't a moment where things are likely to run smoothly, so best prepare yourself to gain awareness of the blind spots. If possible, take some pressure off of yourself with this lunation, and open your heart and mind to a new way of looking at a problem or situation. Neptune's most positive face brings us an unusual awareness, experience, or vision that expands consciousness. Move with the current instead of fighting to assert your direction, and you'll be blessed with vivid insights.

Mercury, Sun & Jupiter

Kwhisky [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Kwhisky [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Within the next 24 hours, Mercury exacts two conjunctions, first with the Sun and then Jupiter while in square aspect to Mars. The Sun's conjunction with Jupiter over the weekend could have inflamed confidence, enthusiasm, or optimism. With Neptune's station, and Sun/Jupiter still in orb, be cautious about going overboard with dominance assertion, willfulness, or dogmatism.

Mars is still in orb of squaring all three planets in early Sagittarius. There's a need to think carefully before executing a strategy, or reacting to external agitations without some reflection. Mercury retrograde until Dec. 6 suggests taking your time in resolving glitches the next week. The negative face of Sagittarian energy can devolve into fanaticism or an unquestioned faith in a belief, cause, or purpose.

While the astrology this week can serve to inspire or motivate, it can also lead to foolish actions. So yes, be hypervigilant in thoroughly assessing developing matters--fact-checking, getting second opinions, or seeking alternative perspectives. Be mindful of debating for the sake of it, or creating a problem where there isn't one.

The evolutionary strategy lies in strengthening a viewpoint or belief. Throwing around an opinion or perspective is likely to receive some pushback, but through the tension, solutions can emerge. Mercury's conjunction with the Sun early this week represents the peak of the retrograde cycle--a dynamic point of reflection and review of the past.

Mercury's subsequent conjunction with Jupiter can bring on solution-based ideas, positive/constructive criticism, or the motivation needed to communicate a message more effectively. With Mercury combust the Sun, new insights, news, and information are forthcoming. Think big and work to more effectively communicate your truth. The current archetypal field is fertile ground for inspiration and new ideas.

A Larger Focus: Full Moon in Libra 2017

Photo by  Aleksandr Abrosimov , via Wikimedia Commons. 

Photo by Aleksandr Abrosimov, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Full Moon @ 21 Libra 33'

April 10, 2017

11:08 PM Pacific 

April 11, 2017

2:08 AM Eastern


We’re now waxing with the Moon into its cyclic culmination. This month’s Full Moon occurs in tropical Libra. Venus is slowing down, getting ready to turn direct, while Mercury just turned retrograde itself. Saturn is also in retrograde; though that is a much more common occurrence. Planetary stations tend to amplify a planet’s archetype. And when planets station (especially several at once as we are now experiencing), we often find ourselves at a crossroads or transitional point in our life narratives. That’s typically how it feels. 

Venus’ station has us focusing on our values, self-worth, and relationships. There’s a lot more mixed up with that, but those are the big themes. Saturn’s station is likely to give you a reality-check by accentuating limitations and challenges we’re currently facing. If you’ve felt a bit frustrated with some circumstances in your life, know that Saturn is helping you step up and take responsibility for yourself. Saturn’s help often goes unrecognized. Existential angst, depression, and feelings of futility are signs that we need to step it up and get productive with something. Mercury, well, it always tends to slow things down and create some setbacks alongside the usual technical and communicative issues. 

Luckily, the Full Moon in Libra conjoins Jupiter. That helps to open up new possibilities, opportunities, and connections for us at the right moment. However, don’t overestimate what you can handle. Don’t be surprised if the universe throws you quite a lot with this Full Moon. Your job is to mindfully discern what it is you’re capable of taking on. To start, take a deep breath (don’t forget to exhale). Find your center of calm or your happy place. Sit there and gather yourself. Transitions are often stressful; that’s a natural consequence of change. 

This social Full Moon can give you a helping hand. Consider reaching out and putting yourself out there to truly benefit, but first, make sure you’ve found some place of balance within yourself. That might not be reflected in your external life, but you can always find it within. All that chatter outside is just a highly convincing illusion anyway. The true reality is inside of you. Once you’ve calmed down, take a step back and assess what it is you’re actually trying to do. If you have no idea, accept that, and put it out to the universe that you need some help and guidance, perhaps some signs or omens. 

Use the next three weeks to play around with some things. Give yourself extra time and space to gain clarity. Urgent and pressing emergencies aside, Mercury’s retrograde cycle suggests holding off on making big decisions right now. Give yourself a few weeks to sort it all out. Accept that there isn’t much in life that can’t wait that long. What you’re looking for won’t manifest if you actually look for it. That might sound strange, but Pablo Picasso summed it up when he said, “I do not seek, I find.” Commune with the playful, trickster. Allow it to surprise you. The Sun is in opposition to the Moon and conjunct Uranus and Eris. 

The need for freedom and authenticity is strong, which can go against cooperation or compromise in certain situations. This Full Moon equally asks that we find some balance between the need to be true to ourselves and the need to integrate with others. That’s a point of frustration, but again, consider new possibilities you’ve yet to encounter. Put yourself in a place of receptivity and trust that you will find a new solution that’s truly out of the box. And lastly, Venus, the ruler of the Full Moon is currently stationing and conjunct Chiron. That might accentuate heart wounds, shadows, and defects in our relationships, but realize that whatever pain you may encounter can be quickly transmuted with a change of attitude and a change of heart. You have the power to rise above anything you encounter with others, by seeing it from a different perspective, or even focusing on bigger things. 


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Exploring Space Together: Full Moon in Sagittarius 2016

By maxime raynal from France (Bateau et voie lactée) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By maxime raynal from France (Bateau et voie lactée) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Full Moon @ 01 Sagittarius 14'

May 21, 2016

5:14 PM Eastern

2:14 PM Pacific

I’m sure that you’ve noticed by now that we live in a reality that expresses itself through duality. A Full Moon illustrates this principle dynamically. In astrology, we associate the Moon with a receptive impulse and the Sun with an active impulse. The Moon receives and reflects while the Sun actively asserts its radiance. This month’s Full Moon occurs in tropical Sagittarius. It also conjoins (makes an alignment) with the planet Mars which is currently retrograde (appearing to move backwards until the end of June).
A Full Moon is a moment of culmination; it brings something to a head. It can be a time of higher energy and momentum. The Moon relates to our mood at any given time, and how we feel around a Full Moon can be an indication of what is arising or what has been repressed. During this Full Moon, unresolved anger or fear may surface. It may equally bring to light desires for adventure, whether those adventures are palpable or of the mind need not matter. Exploration of the universe can happen both inwardly and outwardly. While Mars is retrograde, we are in a process of redefining passion, desire, and appropriate action. We are building the momentum needed to set ourselves on a new path for the attainment of what we really want in life.
And that requires courage and bravery to step up to the challenge and claim what is rightfully ours. But a Full Moon is also a moment of compromise and reconciliation. This is further punctuated by the opposition from Venus to the Moon and Mars. Appropriate action is understanding how much force one should use--when to assert ourselves and when to back off. Venus in Taurus asks that you be mindful of your body and its limitations, and also that space be created for silence, peace and rejuvenation. The power of this Full Moon is such that you may feel the need to expand outwardly, feeling as if the world just isn’t big enough for what’s possible.
Jupiter square Saturn suggests that you be cautious and realistic with this Full Moon energy. Be mindful of being too sure of yourself and your beliefs. The Sun in Gemini suggests doing more research and talking things out with others to see their point of view. Venus in Taurus also suggests that you trust your instincts and the wisdom of your own body too. Try not to get too caught up in being right or dogmatic. Be wary of others doing the same. If getting what you want ends up hurting others or excluding their point of view, it may be time to rethink your approach and find a compromise. And you may also realize that you don’t have to do it all by yourself either.

Mars is a powerful archetype, especially in a fire sign. If you wish to avoid conflict or butting heads during this Full Moon, then allow your Mars some healthy expression. The Moon so often conceals the energy of Mars behind the fear of not wanting to hurt others. And yet, hurting others for our own selfishness can turn ugly too. So, where does that leave you? It leaves you in that beautiful dance of duality, betwixt and between light and dark which must co-exist to co-create. Admit your desires. Be vulnerable. Talk things out with someone you trust. Set boundaries. Get your anger out through healthy physical expression. Say what you need to say, but realize that your viewpoint isn’t absolute. And don’t lose sight of the seemingly infinite possibilities which can be explored with those you truly love.

I'll leave you with this video of the late, great comedian Bill Hicks who had the Sun, Mercury, Mars, and Venus in Sagittarius.....

Patience and Introspection: Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius/Capricorn 2016

Outdoor statue of Great Showa Buddha, Yamazaki, Kuwahara, Aomori Prefecture, Japan;
photo by Fg2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius/Capricorn 
January 5-25, 2016

Dec 19, 2015   Enters Shadow
Jan 5, 2016      Stationary Retrograde
Jan 8, 2016      Mercury Enters Capricorn
Jan 14, 2016    Mercury Trine Jupiter and Conjunct Sun
Jan 22, 2016    Mercury Conjunct Pluto
Jan 25, 2016    Stationary Direct
Feb 14, 2016   Leaves Shadow

From Jan. 5 through 25, the planet Mercury will turn retrograde (it will appear to move backward) through tropical Aquarius and Capricorn. It will spend the majority of the retrograde cycle in Capricorn, but will station (stop moving) in Aquarius, spending roughly four days of the retrograde cycle in this sign. First off, Mercury turns retrograde every three months, three times a year. It’s the most common inner planetary retrograde. This isn’t a time to panic, worry or otherwise avoid carrying out your life as you usually do. However, Mercury retrograde is a time to modify the way you carry out your daily affairs and to be particularly mindful of your communications with others.

While Mercury is retrograde, you need to be aware that the three weeks of its retrograde cycle (and often the shadow periods, too) require versatility and flexibility. That means you should be open to the possibility that plans may change or sudden and unexpected setbacks may pop up, inviting you to alter your direction, goals, and strategies. When a planet turns retrograde, it changes the “normal” flow of things related to that archetype. We associate Mercury with the signs Gemini and Virgo. On the Gemini end, Mercury retrograde places emphasis on communication and how we go about our daily lives.

Be particularly mindful that what you’re saying is clear and understood. Serious and sometimes costly misunderstandings are common during Mercury retrograde (so double check the message or repeat and reiterate more than usual). The Gemini side of Mercury also associates with local travel, and that often has a perceived influence on cars or other means of transportation. The Virgo end of Mercury actually has more to do with the notorious issues involving machinery or equipment used to either enhance work performance or generally improve living conditions. In others words, a lot of stuff tends to break down during Mercury retrograde in an unusually higher frequency.

And the reason is because Mercury retrograde pokes perceptual holes (Gemini) and accentuates the faults (Virgo) in the things we rely upon to improve our lives. In other words, Mercury the trickster is trying to expand our conscious awareness by shedding light on issues we’ve been ignorant about or have chosen to ignore, but often in an annoying and irritating way. It can be a time of increased delays and setbacks. But the good news is that if you feel rushed to push forward with anything, the universe will support you more if you hold off and take your time to revise and double check your work.

That doesn’t mean that you should cancel all your plans or avoid moving forward with anything just because Mercury is retrograde. Check the signs and signals from your environment to discern what the cycle is telling you. Often, if you keep coming up against blockages or setbacks, it’s usually an indication to hold off and wait things out. But remember, a retrograde reverses the “normal” flow of things in a particular area (often associated with the house in your natal chart that Mercury will retrograde through). If things have been particularly stuck or stagnant, than Mercury retrograde can push things forward and expand your awareness of new directions; it will reverse the flow.

The last critical piece of Mercury retrograde combines the symbolism of both Gemini and Virgo. This relates to the expansion of your perceptual awareness which requires humility to change or alter your opinion or perception in the presence of information that challenges what you once knew or understood. These three weeks are a time to keep your mind loose, open and receptive to new input and information that could end up having a profound impact on your understanding of reality and could also turn out to be incredibly useful, practical and helpful. This is a time to review things, go over what you’re working on, and make adjustments where needed. You’ll actually have extra time to do this, so don’t feel rushed.

And as far as I know, there is no reliable way to predict whether a particular Mercury retrograde cycle will hit you hard or not (whether you will experience a high influx of technical problems or setbacks). I suppose you’ll just have to wait and be surprised. But if you approach this cycle with humility, open-mindedness, and consciousness of the need for versatility, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with problems should they arise. The trickster’s main intention is to lead us into new directions and to show us realities we are unaware of. Sometimes setbacks can be opportunities to notice things you would otherwise overlook. And that is the true gift of Mercury retrograde.

From Aquarius to Capricorn

Both signs Aquarius and Capricorn, are classically ruled by the planet Saturn. Aquarius is also seen to have a resonance with the planet Uranus—it’s modern planetary ruler. Mercury will only spend about four days in Aquarius and the majority of this cycle in the sign of Capricorn. On the Uranian end, Mercury in Aquarius seeks complete freedom of thought and expression. As it moves retrograde through this sign, Mercury may reveal problems in relation to some progressive ideas. In order for innovation to effectively take place, you must have a respect and understanding of what has come before.

You wouldn’t try innovating something without the hard work of learning about what preceded it, would you? For example, imagine you’ve taken a few yoga classes (without really studying it in depth) and suddenly you think of a new way of doing yoga, or you invent some new posture and then decide to you want to teach others and set up studios, while ignoring the fact that yoga is far more than just a physical exercise, and that it’s a tradition that’s been around for thousands of years. It might be a good idea to take some time, possibly many years, studying it before you should feel learned enough to change it. True innovation and genius must precede hard work, discipline and a willingness to master the techniques already perfected. 

While Mercury moves back into Capricorn for the rest of the retrograde cycle, this is an ideal time to review or reconsider a strategic plan of action, or to keep your mind open to the possibility of putting in some extra time to master certain techniques that have withstood the test of time. Whatever you want to move forward with will likely require that you go back and focus on the proper way of doing it. Since Saturn rules both signs, we can feel the weight of this planet, the master teacher, and stern disciplinarian, tainting this particular cycle.

Let’s say you’ve lost your way, or perhaps you’ve lost your ability to focus, or you’ve been lacking the motivation to plan ahead and strategize. Mercury retrograde through Capricorn is an ideal cycle to get yourself back on track, to go open your mind to new strategies or advice from those wiser or more experienced than yourself. This cycle may also urge you to spend some time alone or to embrace more solitude so that you can put in the necessary effort required to achieve something involving hard work and the ability to organize yourself.  Consider that this cycle may assist you in gaining more competence and the necessary discipline needed to withstand the tests and challenges that any great work must endure if it’s to come into full manifestation.

On Jan. 14, Mercury will conjoin the Sun which will symbolize the midpoint of the retrograde cycle. Typically, the time leading up to the midpoint is wrought with increased frustrations and experiences that urge you to deconstruct things or to notice what’s wrong with your strategy or plan of action. After the midpoint (Mercury/Sun conjunction), you may notice that solutions will arise and that you’re able to implement changes that eluded you before. On the day of the midpoint, Mercury and the Sun will both trine Jupiter, symbolizing a fleeting opportunity to move quickly into the direction of integration as well as the emergence of insights and clarity. Jupiter’s conjunction with the North Node also indicates that assistance from others may emerge which will help you further perfect what you’re focusing on.Be open to constructive criticism and feedback that could be helpful.

On Jan. 22, Mercury will align with the planet Pluto. The days surrounding this conjunction may bring up some uncomfortable truths or a reality check. The mind is turned inward during a retrograde, and Pluto always dredges up realizations that are often frightening or uncomfortable to the ego. In order to work effectively with Pluto, you must open your mind to the possibility that any problems encountered externally are manifestations of blockages within yourself. Psychological realizations are common under this aspect, as well as an opportunity to shed light on issues you’ve been ignoring or shoving aside. Take an honest look at yourself and the situations in your life; Pluto can help you see the bigger picture. This is a time of deep introspection and self-reflection.

This retrograde just happens to correlate to the start of the New Year. Astrologically speaking, the Gregorian New Year has no relation to natural cycles, but we can’t ignore its collective significance since we all agree on it. The New Year is often a time of setting “resolutions” or intentions to move forward in positive directions. This Mercury retrograde cycle encourages you to remain fully conscious and open to the idea that in order to move forward this year, you may need to step back to place yourself in a better position to succeed.

Whatever you plan on achieving this year will work out best if you take your time and align yourself with your priorities. Use the first three weeks of the New Year to pace yourself and make sure that you’re clear on what it is you want to move forward with. Since this is a particularly practical cycle, you’re likely to be more focused on real world concerns which require patience as well as a willingness to put the effort, time, and energy needed to bring something to completion. But if you put your mind to it, and humble yourself, you’ll eventually find that you have a strong foundation from which you can accomplish great things this year.

Rebuilding Bridges: Mercury Retrograde in Libra 2015

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California;
photo by Chad Woodward, 2012.

September 17- October 09, 2015

Aug. 28    00 Libra 54’   Enter Shadow
Sept. 17    15 Libra 55’   Stationary Retrograde
Oct. 09     00 Libra 55’   Stationary Direct
Oct. 24     15 Libra 55’   Leave Shadow

You may be feeling something quite contradictory right now, and this may depend on who you are, but the collective psyche is presently flooded with the desire to retreat as well as connect socially. Venus is just finishing her retrograde in the sign of Leo and will turn direct on Sept. 6. If this cycle touched you personally, you may be going in a very different direction than you were before, and there may have been some big changes happening within you. That might be hard to put into words, other than to say that you feel different, you see things differently, and what you value may have drastically changed on some level along with an attitudinal shift in your relationships.

If you’ve been trying to resist these inner changes, by attempting to distract yourself or avoid uncomfortable feelings, then this process may not be so pronounced for you , or it may not have been so easy to deal with and process. You may feel like you can’t wait until it’s over. In that case, rest assured that Venus will be moving on. But Mercury, the planet of communication is going to turn retrograde in tropical Libra a little over a week after Venus stations direct. We entered the shadow period on Aug. 28, and Mercury is heading toward a square aspect to Pluto (one of three this year) that will be exact on Sept. 9.

First off, don’t panic. While Mercury retrograde is notorious for its unpredictable behavior which can be rather annoying, worrying doesn’t help anyone. Mercury can be quite the trickster, but it has an intention behind its madness. When Mercury turns retrograde, it opens up new realities to us—realities we have been too distracted or ignorant to see. And that should be an exciting thing. The mind doesn’t like to admit what it doesn’t know. Yet, one's sense of absolute certainty can weaken and annihilate the greatest of warriors. Occasionally we need to have some holes poked in our worldview and perception, to keep things fresh, to keep our mind loose and open. So, this is a time to admit what you don’t know. Admit what you have refused or have been incapable of seeing.

The sign of Libra is a “social” sign. All the air signs have this quality, but Libra, in particular, relates to the instinct within the psyche that seeks to build “bridges of rapport”, as astrologer Steven Forrest likes to say. Libra connects disparate things and attempts to build something coherent out of them. If successful, Libra’s creations are beautiful, even mesmerizing. We’re left impressed, in awe, and we feel a sense that things are going to be okay, if only for a moment. The sign of balance, harmony, and equilibrium, Libra seeks to keep the chaos at bay. We know this isn’t indefinitely sustainable. Chaos is always ready to rear its ugly head just when we think everything is running smoothly, but Libra keeps on going, keeps on attempting to maintain homeostasis.

You have to appreciate that—that the universe is in this beautiful dance between chaos and balance, yin and yang. That balance is what our very existence hinges on. Mercury turns stationary retrograde on Sept. 17 and will be retrograde (appearing to move backward) until Oct. 9. Those two dates (Sept. 17 and Oct. 9) and the days surrounding them will be the most hectic and chaotic for people, yet it’s hard to predict if or when Mercury will strike. Each retrograde is different, and we all respond in our own unique way. I have to say, that Mercury retrograde is the most unpredictable of cycles we have in our astrological toolbox. All we can say is that it’s better to be prepared and forewarned than to be taken completely off guard.

What does Mercury retrograde tend to go after? Mercury governs anything involving communication. In our fast paced, high-tech world, we are completely immersed in technological environments and so Mercury has even more at its disposal—more things to play with. Just be mindful of potential disruptions and breakdowns with any kind of technological device or equipment, and be on the lookout for misunderstandings in your social interactions. Mercury retrograde is a time to review everything that you’re doing. Before hastily pushing forward with anything always double check your work and all the variables involved. This is particularly important when it comes to signing any kind of contract. Read the fine print carefully.

And if you’re in doubt, back off, and wait it out. Mercury retrograde setbacks can sometimes be costly, sometimes painful. If you work with this cycle, you will find that you have extra time, and that whatever you thought needed to be urgently initiated could actually wait a few weeks. In fact, you’ll find that things will work out far more successfully if you do. The sign of Libra, as I stated, relates to this instinct to build bridges, and every retrograde connects us to the past. This is a time to potentially rebuild some bridges you may have thought you needed to burn. Sometimes, burnt bridges can be reestablished. We can mend past conflicts and misunderstandings, just to keep things peaceful and to clear ourselves of the karma.

What bridges do you need to rebuild now? How can you reestablish harmony with certain people and situations in your life right now? While some bridges need to be left in the past, others may truly benefit you in the future. Trust your instincts, and trust the moment as it presents itself to you. This cycle may have us needing to reach out a little just to clarify ourselves and where we stand, even though we may feel more introspective and less inclined to do so. So, try to find that beautiful balance, that yin and yang between reaching out and reaching in with this cycle. It’s always a good exercise to connect both the internal and external worlds. Look to the house in your natal horoscope that Mercury will retrograde through. This will give you more information about where in your life these bridges are being rebuilt, as well as where you need to reestablish peace, harmony and equilibrium. Mercury will move from 15 to 00 degrees of tropical Libra. It will station direct right on the point of the autumnal equinox. This is a profound statement that further amplifies the need to recreate harmony and balance in our lives with this cycle.

And as I stated before, Mercury is an archetype that seeks to expand our perception of reality. During this cycle, humble yourself enough to see things from both perspectives, even that of someone else. This is a time to open your mind and consider the input from others so that you have a more well -rounded perspective. When Mercury stations direct in October, you’ll have a better understanding so that you can move forward with something or with particular relationships. Mercury will make three squares to the planet Pluto in Capricorn during this cycle. The first square, as I mentioned, occurs on Sept. 9; the second will occur on Sept. 24 while Mercury is retrograde and a day before Pluto itself turns stationary direct. The final square (once Mercury is moving direct) occurs on Oct. 22.

Pluto is putting some pressure on Mercury to face some uncomfortable truths. As Mercury and Pluto come into contact, you may encounter people or situations that require you to speak honestly and directly about where you stand. This is a time to work things out and lay some things out on the table, but it will require taking the initiative and maintaining your integrity. If you succeed, you may make a breakthrough in the way you relate and communicate to others. Pluto in Capricorn will require complete authentic, clear, and honest communication, and that will be difficult to achieve. If you can avoid blame and projection, by maintaining accountability and taking responsibility, you will be able to clear the air of some heavy karma and potentially toxic emotional baggage.

The midpoint of Mercury’s retrograde cycle through Libra occurs on Sept. 30. This is the rebuilding phase of the retrograde cycle. Often (though not always), Mercury tends to deconstruct things in the week and a half leading up to the conjunction of Sun and Mercury. During the rebuilding phase, we are slowly integrating and putting the pieces back together again; though as I said, Mercury retrograde can be quite unpredictable, so don’t expect all the annoying setbacks to completely cease. Use this time wisely to step back, reflect, and look for missing pieces or details in whatever you’ve been working on. If you can do that, you’re less likely to be attached to any of the potential setbacks or delays that you may encounter. With this cycle, we are coming to a particular bridge. It’s time to decide whether or not you wish to cross it. If you do, you may enter an entirely new terrain. If you don’t, that’s okay too. Like I said, some bridges need mending and others may need to be left alone. And that choice is always yours to make.

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An Ongoing Process of Discovery: Mercury Retrograde in Gemini 2015

A road cutting a wilderness landscape in Pernambuco, Brazil; photo by
Leo Benini, August 2014. 

May 18- June 11, 2015

This month the planet Mercury turns retrograde in the sign of Gemini—its home sign, a place where it’s rather quite comfortable. In traditional astrology, planets in their own signs (the signs they rule) are seen as positive omens that give the planet a certain power and upper hand. A planet in its own sign is at ease and is free to express itself without inhibition.

From an evolutionary perspective, that can also be a bad thing. Too much freedom of expression without the proper objectivity can be disastrous, especially for those in contact with people exhibiting these qualities. So, while Mercury in Gemini is certainly a favorable placement for a lot of things, we need to be wary of becoming too subjective and mentally focused which can keep us from seeing the bigger picture.

 On the other hand, the fact that this cycle is occurring now, indicates that, perhaps, an intense focus and subjective viewpoint is needed for you. Perhaps you’ve been too distracted or are spreading yourself too thin. But then again, Gemini is the flightiest and most distractible of signs.

 At the heart of Gemini, and at its highest vibration, is a restless curiosity and an openness to alternate viewpoints. Gemini needs to ponder and it needs to consider things from various angles. Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, moving backward in its own sign, is a perfect opportunity to see things differently and to absorb as much alternative information as you can. This is an opportunity for extra fact checking and for making sure that you have all the information you need.

You may change your mind this retrograde—in fact, that might happen a few times. There may be several revisions. Most importantly, keep your mind loose, open and flexible this cycle. If there is a retrograde that calls for an open mind and a bit of humility it will be this one. Admit to yourself that you don’t know everything there is to know. Admit to yourself that life is an ongoing process of discovery.

If you go in with that attitude, you'll be on the right track. Gemini, the sign of communication and information gathering, will likely dredge up old, unresolved communication threads as well as bits of information that you somehow lost track of. Along with that, and during every Mercury retrograde cycle, you need to be mindful of what you say and what you commit to. Reiterate directions, plans, and intentions thoroughly to make sure that the message is clear and fully considered.

So, what about contracts and starting new things? Typically, Mercury retrograde is a time to go over things and to exercise caution when it comes to making hasty decisions or pushing forward with something big (things that could be costly if they fail), but this is certainly not a rigid rule. Whatever you’ve been working on needs to be revised, and it’s best to hold off on implementing some things, especially when you feel that certain pieces may be missing.

However, Mercury retrograde cycles can often open up new doors and possibilities which can lead us into new environments or experiences that we were not expecting, thus changing our course or direction. Most of all, go with the flow. If things aren’t moving forward or as fast as you would like, take it as a sign that you need to step back and go over some things and then try again when the cycle is complete.

With Mercury moving through its home sign, we can anticipate all that the usual communicative foibles will be particularly pronounced. We know that Mercury retrograde is notorious for throwing certain setbacks, challenges and technical frustrations onto our path. Sometimes, however, with the proper perspective, we can see these “setbacks” as happy accidents that can allow us to see the holes in our current strategies which will ultimately help us find ways to improve them. Again, go with the flow and take your time. You'll be grateful that you did.

Mercury Retrograde Logistics

Mercury entered the first shadow phase of its retrograde cycle on May 4. This is the beginning of the retrograde and it often foreshadows certain issues that we may be dealing with during the retrograde process itself. We may also begin to notice the “effects” of Mercury retrograde at this time as well.

Mercury turns stationary retrograde on May 18. It will turn stationary direct on June 11. Technical, mechanical, and communicative issues are typically more pronounced around these dates, so be prepared for potential delays, setbacks, and complications on the days of and surrounding these days more so than usual.

Mercury will enter the final shadow phase on June 11 and will leave the shadow on June 26. This is the finalizing stage of the retrograde cycle where we may find ourselves tying up loose ends, putting on finishing touches, and rebuilding whatever may have been dismantled during the retrograde process itself.

During the retrograde process (when Mercury appears to be moving backward), it will make contact with several planets. On May 27, Mercury will conjoin Mars in Gemini. Be wary of combativeness in your communications as it may stir up arguments and misunderstandings. Thinking before you speak will be especially important as you may regret what was said later on.

This is an excellent time to focus on some mental task that requires intense concentration and channel it towards revising things or acquiring more information. This may also be a good time to make adjustments to a fitness routine, although be very cautious about pushing yourself too far or past your current physical level.

Mercury will square Neptune on May 29. Again, be cautious of misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions around this time. You may not have all the information that you need, or you may not be seeing things as clearly as you otherwise would. This is a time to step back and retreat, perhaps take some time to self-reflect to gain insight intuitively. Creative work or meditation will be especially favorable under this aspect.

Mercury will conjoin the Sun on May 30. This is the midpoint of the retrograde cycle, where you may find yourself beginning to wrap up a revision process and slowly recover from any setbacks or delays you may have encountered. It is also a good day to keep a look out for important information that may be coming your way.

Mercury will make a sextile to Venus on June 10, just before turning stationary direct. This soft aspect may help to mend any misunderstandings that may have occurred during the retrograde cycle, as well as rekindle a connection or two from the past. Keep in mind, however, that as Mercury begins to station direct, there may be more technical issues than usual, although Mercury’s soft aspect to Venus may help to soften the blow. This is a time to take it easy and process things. Plan on spending some time with someone you really trust and feel comfortable with.

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Reestablishing Trust and Equilibrium: Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio/Libra

"Mercury with caduceus" on ceiling mural
Allegory of the Planets & Continents (1752)
by Tiepolo (1696-1770),
Würzburg Residence, Germany

Every three months the planet Mercury turns retrograde—that is to say, that Mercury appears to move backwards from our point of view. This optical illusion happens with all the planets and objects used in astrology, with the exception of the Sun and Moon. The reasons for this are quite technical, but have to do with the disparity in the speed and distance of two moving objects as they meet at a certain point along their designated paths. Imagine the perceptual illusion created when looking out from a fast moving car or train; objects moving at a relative speed yet slightly slower appear to float backwards in relation to the objects (telephone poles and trees) racing by in the background.

The perception is quite convincing but not quite accurate to reality. Then again, what is reality but an illusion itself—an agreement made within consciousness about how things should or shouldn’t work? We could get rather philosophical with all this, but my point here is that time itself is relative to motion; all matter is energy in motion. You catch my drift? “Truths are illusions about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions,” said Freidrich Nietzsche. In a sense, Mercury retrograde is an illusion within an illusion. While not what it appears to be, it still has a profound effect on consciousness, as does everything else.

Mercury retrograde is probably one of the most well-known of astrological phenomena. Even the conservative home maker next door is probably aware of it, and likely has something to say about it. With anything that reaches a level of consensus understanding, it’s plagued with myths and misunderstandings. Mercury retrograde has reached the status of a cursed deity, the ubiquitous symbol of everything that’s going wrong in our daily affairs.

Yet, with every stereotyped consensus perception, there’s still a modicum of truth. For good reason, Mercury retrograde is known for its correlation with a higher incidence of “unfortunate” happenings—most usually involving something technical, mechanical or dealing with communications (in all its varied manifestations). Did your computer crash? Oh, it’s Mercury retrograde! Your car is having trouble? That e-mail didn’t get delivered? Well, you know, it’s probably that damn retrograde.

This is all quite true, but not entirely true. For instance, lots of cars break down and computers crash when Mercury isn’t retrograde. So how do we explain this? The key is in the fact that I stated above: Mercury retrograde seems to correlate with a higher incidence of “unfortunate” happenings. Can we prove this statistically? No. Do I care to? Not really. I do believe there have been studies on this in some shape or form, all of which were pretty inconclusive. That usually happens when you put astrology under the scientific ringer. It doesn’t work out too well for astrology’s reputation.

So what is happening when Mercury is retrograde? Well, on one end (and highly subjectively I might add), things do get a little wonky, especially electronics and machinery. This is most noticeable during Mercury’s stations—that is when Mercury is slowing down to change directions, coming to a standstill. For our purposes, this happens on the days of and surrounding Oct. 4 and Oct. 24. At least in my experience, this has been a consistent observation. Of course, the whole period of Mercury’s retrograde is wrought with “unfortunate mishaps”, as well as its shadow periods (Sept 29- Oct 4 and Oct 24- Nov 10).

The truth is, Mercury retrogrades will not affect everyone the same, nor is there any way (that I’m aware of) to predict whether this one is really going to nail you or not. Maybe if Mercury were to hit a planet or sensitive area in your chart, it might be more significant, but then again, maybe not. How I view Mercury retrograde is this: Hermes, the Greek representation of Mercury, is a trickster. The trickster is notorious for throwing a wrench in our plans and expectations; not because he’s out to get us like some psychopath (though maybe Hermes was a little sociopathic), but because he’s like the cosmic wild card. Not even the “Gods” are immune to the trickster’s antics.

When Mercury is retrograde, its trickster side seems to come out to play more than usual (though let us not forget that all planetary archetypes do have a trickster side to their expression, regardless of whether they’re stationary or direct). A bi-density/bipolar being, the trickster doesn’t take sides. He can fly from this world to the next with the greatest of ease, poise and elegance. But his “curses” can also be blessings in disguise. Like the illusion of a planet moving backwards in the sky, it’s all a matter of how you choose to view it. Lewis Hyde, in Trickster Makes This World, says of Hermes:

“Accidents break the surface of our lives to reveal hidden purpose or design. The carefully interwoven structures of thought and social practice provide stability and structure, but they bring a kind of blindness and stupidity, too. Gifts of Hermes tear little holes in those fabrics to offer us brief intelligence of other realms”.

To quote Meister Eckhart, “We are made perfect by what happens to us rather than by what we do”. As I’ve often written, Mercury retrograde helps us to see outside the suffocating bind of beliefs. If you really take a look, beyond all the “accidental mishaps” that may or may not surround you at these times (which, as we have just learned may be helping us break free of our perceptual prisons); you will see what you have refused to see before.

If Mercury retrograde does one thing consistently, its challenge our perceptions of the world and our beliefs about what is or isn’t truth. Still, your computer might crash, light bulbs burn out, or a rock might bless your windshield while driving on the freeway (yes, that happened to me a few retrogrades ago). But maybe, just maybe, that really annoying and seemingly meaningless mishap is trying to tell us something, trying to break us free of our blindness or stupidity. Maybe, like Carl Jung said, “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate," Mercury’s retrograde foibles reveal deeper layers of the psyche, bringing to the surface those artifacts clogging up the mental septic tank.

We need order and structure to survive, but the trickster’s purpose is to keep our structures loose and flexible, free from becoming either too rigid or oppressive. When taking a look at the world around us, consider it a blessing that Mercury turns retrograde every three months; it keeps our minds and the structures they create open, fresh and alive. Astrology is often blind to the trickster. I think that on some level, our attraction to astrology is/was a way to gain more control of the chaos inherent to the world—and by extension the cosmos itself.

When we include the trickster in our pantheon of astrological symbolism, we open to an entirely new perceptual field, one that reveals the ever changing nature of life predicated on the unexpected. Hyde’s brilliant book is chock full of ingenious insights that can help us to understand this process. I highly recommend it. Often, the most rewarding things in life come to us from out of the blue, when we aren’t expecting them. This is often what can happen during a Mercury retrograde cycle. As with any retrograde, its purpose is to redirect consciousness from some rigid path or expectation, to reveal a broader field of possibility, and to help us step back and do things differently.

While it’s probably best to stick with some of the usual advice, to avoid signing major contracts, purchasing expensive equipment, executing some big project, coming to a critical, conclusive decision or to be more clear and redundant in your communications while Mercury is retrograde, we can’t forget that sometimes the unexpected turn of events are actually blessings from the gods. To appreciate these “accidents” and “mishaps”, we need to remain open to the unexpected. To quote Hyde once more, “The agile mind is pleased to find what it was not looking for”.

So, rather than pushing against life, trying to force our will and exceptions onto reality, Mercury retrograde is a time to step back and see things differently—to not look, but rather allow the unfolding to reveal “brief intelligence of other realms”. We shouldn’t fear this pertinent astrological cycle, hiding out in our house until it’s all over; and we certainly shouldn’t follow some rigid rules that tell us to put everything on hold until Mercury is direct and moving forward. Some of those rules are helpful, and can assist us to simply see that there may be holes in our game plan that we aren’t quite aware of; but Mercury, the trickster, is always lurking in the shadows, waiting to remind us that rules are meant to be broken.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio/Libra

Sept 14, 2014: Mercury enters retrograde shadow 
Oct 4, 2014: Mercury stationary retrograde (retrograde begins)
Oct 25, 2014: Mercury stationary direct (retrograde ends)
Nov 10, 2014: Mercury leaves retrograde shadow 

Mercury’s retrograde cycle occurs just beyond the equinox transition and the New Moon in Libra. These two events bring a dramatic yet subtle shift in collective focus and priorities. As with all Mercury retrograde cycles in 2014, two signs are involved, both water and air signs. While spending more time in air signs with these cycles, the slight dip into the proceeding water sign has a certain symbolic significance.

Mercury will retrograde through Scorpio from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10—just under a week. It then dips back into Libra for the remainder of the retrograde. In the zodiacal cycle, Scorpio symbolizes a certain kind of relationship—one that takes commitment to a whole new level. The Scorpionic relationship is imbued with a kind of intensity and passion that takes a little bit of time to get used to. When consciousness reaches Scorpio, it’s ready to take the plunge and go really deep. That Mercury backtracks into Libra, a sign that favors social niceties and the seeking of common ground, indicates that this cycle alludes to that fact that we may, collectively and individually speaking, need to backtrack and get more acquainted with certain formalities before we take a leap and get really dirty. This could apply to a whole host of things. Relationships might be one of them, but there are many variations of this.

In order to merge deeply with something or someone, we need to have a certain level of trust established first. That’s what Libra is all about—gaining trust in another human being or what have you. If we can’t trust someone, we can’t let down our guard and release certain barriers to allow for the free exchange of energy and resources. So we may find ourselves needing to test the waters, to talk things out, re-negotiate or re-communicate our intentions so that everyone is clear about where the other truly stands. 

The fact that things aren’t moving as quickly as you may like them to may have much to do with this process that needs to happen first. There may be a sense of restlessness with other commitments or attachments made previously, as if we feel stifled or too co-dependent. Again, this retrograde process allows us to see the holes in the current framework so that we can reestablish our commitments or our point of view. Keep the trickster in mind. Let the unexpected do its thing. New relationships may pop up or old commitments may fall apart. Let the chaos work its magic; embrace the contingencies. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio/Libra can help us see those dynamics within our interactions (personal, intimate or otherwise) that we were blind to before.  

Beyond the symbolism of the signs involved in this retrograde cycle, Mercury retrograde is a time to go back and review those things we’ve been working on to gather more information, to look for loose ends, and to return to things we’ve forgotten about or have left behind. The past often plays a significant role at these times. With Scorpio/Libra, that may involve past relationships and the karmic dynamics generated between the individuals involved. Keep your eyes peeled, your ears receptive and your mind loose and flexible. When Mercury changes gears, we need to be agile and prepared in case things go awry. When we go with the flow and trust the process that presents itself to us, we’re less likely to experience the many frustrations so prevalent at these times.