This week I’ve had a number of clients, students and friends ask me about Mercury retrograde and whether they should go ahead with certain plans, or not.
Mercury is currently at 11 degrees of Virgo, the place in the Zodiac where the planet concerned with communication and logistics heads in reverse. He’ll retrace his steps on August 14, and station direct again on September 5 at 28 degrees of Leo.
Mercury retrogrades occur 3 – 4 times per year and last for about 3 weeks. If you factor in shadow periods, you’re talking a big portion of time where legend would have you put your entire life on standby.
My Personal Retrograde Experiences
Last weekend, in order to prove a point to a friend about Mercury retrograde periods, I jotted down some significant dates in my life.
May 1996 – resigned from a stable role and moved from Darwin to Sydney
August 2004- ditched a go-nowhere relationship and took my first formal astrology class
November 2012- left Sydney and moved to Brisbane
November 2013 – discovered I was pregnant and chose to become a Mum
These were just a few major events from the top of my head, where I remembered the dates. I look them up in my ephemeris. All Mercury retrograde periods.
Each of these events corresponded to major shifts in Mercury ruled affairs. Logistics/living situation (hello Virgo on my 4th house) as well as me and my direction, I have Gemini rising.
Of course, not every Mercury retrograde period results in life changing events. However, if you have a strong Mercury, an ascendant or midheaven ruled by Gemini or Virgo, or are in a life period where Mercury becomes a dominant period (time lord techniques) then these retrogrades will most likely be more prominent.
So, while these abovementioned life events did cause havoc on many fronts, including mountains of paperwork, to and froing of documents, air fares, flat tyres and all the mischief and snafus we’ve learned to expect from Mercury retrogrades, they also led me to making some of the best decisions in my life, so far.
Some of these decisions required me to go back over old ground, both physically and emotionally and tie up loose ends- more air fares, documents and logistics. Although, not for one moment did it stray me for making decisions that feel instinctively right, or cause me to put them off due to Mercury being retrograde.
That is one of the beautiful facets of Mercury retrograde in my opinion- instinct. Not that in any way shape of form is Mercury associated with instinct, but when retrograde, the mental capacities may be a little slower, allowing intuition or gut feelings to simmer up to the surface. As this retrograde begins opposite Neptune, mental clarity may be even foggier than normal, leaving instinct as our strongest ally.
Where we may want thing to progress faster than the natural rhythm of things will allow, Mercury retrograde offers us the room to consider a new perspective, either mentally or intuitively. The old saying ‘trust your gut, because the mind can play tricks on you,’ feels particularly potent during a retrograde. Mercury’s delays can also give you a second chance to do something better or get a better outcome in a situation.
Back in 2012, I was trying for MONTHS to make a decision about where in Sydney I wanted to live while my house was on the market. I’d been procrastinating about coming back to Brisbane just for a visit. A whirlwind week including some career highs and personal lows (it was an eclipse that week) led me to make the split decision to leave my concerns behind and have some much-needed R&R up North.
I drove from Sydney to Brisbane after a week where I totalled just 15 hours sleep. After about 24 hours of being back here I made the announcement, “If I don’t find a place to live by close of business Friday, I’ll go back to Sydney.”
On Friday afternoon, just as Mercury reached its station degree, I signed a lease, joined a gym and called my boss to say I wasn’t coming back.
Other Factors Besides Mercury
At this time, Jupiter was conjoined my ascendant and Uranus was square my Sun. Change was coming in a big way. Our personal situation regarding our birth charts will make a Mercury retrograde period life changing, or, not even a blip on the radar.
Great things can come out of a Mercury retrograde period. Just allow extra time, energy or effort for delays, setbacks or having to re-trace some former territory.