I’ve been following the Mercury retrograde cycle ever since I started studying astrology back in the 70’s. It happened so frequently (every 4 months or so) and it always seemed to cause trouble that I was curious to learn what was going on. I knew I needed to ‘figure it out’ somehow, but when I read the books and magazines on it, my own personal experience never quite matched up to what was said about it. Some astrologers gave strong warnings about not signing contracts and making serious decisions and they were really absolute about it too. But I soon noticed that oftentimes, this rigid position just wasn’t possible. In fact, the opposite seemed true in that there were times when it was absolutely necessary for me to make a decision. I had to let go of what I was reading and begin to find out more. At some point I discovered that the cycle wasn’t just a 3-week long Mercury retrograde and that was when things started to clear up for me. (You can read many articles on Mercury retrograde on this website some of which goes into depth about this topic).
The notion that Mercury retrograde brings about the need for review has held true from the beginning, but the events and issues that force this to occur range widely from cycle to cycle. What I learned that changed everything was that the first half of this cycle (about 9-10 days) was actually bringing things to a head that had been building for the last 2 months. In other words, most of the time I was incredibly busy finishing or dealing with things that had either been postponed or which seemed to demand completion. When I began teaching students who shared so much with me and the class, this principle became a reliable constant. Mercury retrograde rarely brought about a ‘peace and quiet’ period where one could take time to reflect on life or some ‘big issue’ that I wanted to resolve. Sure, maybe one wanted to, but there were often obstacles in the way of finding that wanted peace and free time. So, what is happening?
What seems to be a better approach is to regard this cycle as a 4-month cycle with about 8 stages. The Mercury retrograde period itself is composed of two different but aligned themes. It is a time of endings and then beginnings. On one hand, one must complete something that has been either avoided or where there has not been the time needed to finish what now must be. Then, in the middle of the cycle, it’s called the Mercury Inferior conjunction with the Sun, which is when the ‘seed’ of a new phase begins. It may or may not be noticed yet. It is similar to the New Moon, also called the ‘dark Moon’ because one may not yet sense the nature of what has been quietly born inside us. Then, as Mercury finishes its retrograde period and goes direct, the new seed starts to grow and all kinds of new things will emerge and take us forward in a slightly different direction than before.
The strength of a particular cycle is dependent on where it occurs on one’s natal chart and what aspects it makes to other planets, but everyone will feel it in some way. For those of you who want to know where all the action is, here it is. This period begins on Saturday, July 14th at 7:16pm PDT at 12°Leo 2′. It will reverse direction and move back to the Sun, which it will conjunct on Saturday, July 28th at 12:58pm PDT at 6°Leo8′. It then turns back to its direct motion on Tuesday, August 7th at 10:40pm at 1°Leo.
The aspects made during this 3-week period are quite good. There are sextiles with Mars in Libra and Venus and Jupiter in Gemini. Sextiles are not major aspects, but they do give us opportunities to develop new plans, solutions to old problems, or even completely new ways of approaching important matters in our life. The latter is made possible by the trine to Uranus of this retrograde cycle. Also, the entire cycle is in the creative and passionate sign of Leo. It’s a great time to express oneself in an open and heartfelt way. Leo inspires and can magnetically influence the environment one is in. Sure, if there are delays, one will have to deal with them, but that need not cause us to feel pessimistic. Inspiration is solid now and most of us ought to adjust if necessary, but unless something very significant occurs that really says we are moving in the wrong direction, this is not a time to give up.
There are other reasons for this. We have just completed a difficult cycle with many planets being direct. It’s been back and forth since last fall. Now, however, Mars, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are all moving in direct motion and accelerating in velocity. Once Mercury goes direct, we will fully enter a period of great activity and progress. Many people have told me that they feel it already and are eager to get going. To me, Mercury retrograde need not deter us. We will need to take care of whatever we need to take care of and be open to new kinds of thinking, but progress is still possible.
I want to add that several people have asked me about moving at this time. All of these people are in a situation where they have to move. There’s really no choice. But, they say to me, “I shouldn’t move when Mercury is retrograde!” That’s what the books say. Well, my view is that it’s not that uncommon for this kind of situation to happen. No, if one has real choice and can avoid moving during this period, it’s probably best to wait. But, oftentimes, this is not the case and need not worry us. Life, during Mercury retrograde, moves on just as newspapers still are published and delivered. Because this cycle is about endings and new beginnings, moving to a new home can be a part of that. So, if you must, then do it with all of the care and discernment you can muster and resist the temptation to force anything, and let life take you to where you need to be. Sometimes, we can be patient, but not always, and that’s perfectly OK.