…slowing down is a must

    After a period of retrograde journeys in the Earth signs, Mercury starts its first retrograde period of the year in the Fire sign of Aries at 27°13’ (antiscion 2°47’ Virgo) and backtracks to 15°58’ Aries (antiscion 14°02’Virgo) where it again stops in its tracks on 25th April to station direct.

    The most recent times that Mercury retrograded in Aries was in April/May 2017 and April 2018.

    Aries gives us a rather noisy, quick-thinking, discussion-loving version of Mercury, here intuition must be accounted for as we re-think, re-organise, re-work and re-live those ideas and plans.

    Mercury is without Ptolemaic aspects in the chart of the moment of the station which has all planets between 9° Capricorn – (Moon, OOB and in its detriment, conjunct Fixed Star Facies, of the nature of Mars and Sun to which both planets the Moon is making an aspect – Mars by a separating sextile, Sun by an applying square. This Fixed Star indicates blindness or short-sightedness, it could be that the people who the Moon represent just aren’t able to clearly see what is going on and the Sun (our leaders) in Aries is forging ahead regardless) – and 20° Taurus – (Uranus awaiting the conjunction to Jupiter to take place on the 20th of this month. Moon in Capricorn, steadfast and earnest emotions in a trine by sign aspect but not by degree to Uranus who just wants to upset the apple cart tearing apart our comfort zone.)

    The persons most affected by this period will be those with planets and/or angles between 29-13° Gemini and Virgo as well as the other two mutable signs of Sagittarius and Pisces.

    Gemini and Virgo, both ruled by Mercury, may respond differently to the signs their ruling planet moves through on its journey backwards. Virgo, being an Earth sign, doesn’t take too kindly to Fire signs finding them a little too intuitive and idealistic for their logical, practical approach to life. Gemini, an Air sign, finds the Fire signs very stimulating, adding oomph to their already fidgety nature and intuition to their long-sightedness.

    More explicitly, the sign of Gemini finds itself in sextile to the sign of Aries and the two Elements involved (Air and Fire) are quite compatible as explained above so I don’t see major problems for Geminis. The sign of Virgo, on the other hand, is quincunx to the sign of Aries with a 6th house flavour, this could involve disruptions in the daily routine as well as health problems that need to be addressed.

    Of course, the retrograde movement alters the way Mercury is expressed and makes it more an internal, inward journey rather than an expansive outward thrust.

    Astrologer Erin Sullivan (1947-2023) explained the retrograde cycle thus:

    “Mercury’s stations always occur when the planet is farthest from the Sun in longitude so when it appears stationary, it is either travelling toward or directly away from the Earth. When Mercury is at its greatest eastern elongation (Epimetheus) it appears as an evening star and is stationary retrograde. It is heading towards Earth in its orbit, symbolically “bringing home the knowledge of experience”. This phase demands careful consideration and retrospection.

    When Mercury is at its greatest western elongation (Prometheus) and a morning star, it stations direct, moving away from the Earth in its orbit. This phase of the cycle signals the time when risk and adventure are the prime motivating forces.

    The Epimethean phase is a time of reaping results whilst the Promethean phase is symbolized by the need to move away from introspection and experiment, often recklessly, using only inner guidelines.”

    She also adds: “with Mercury’s station in a Fire sign you may well be going through a transition of your creative focus in an outward direction. It might be necessary to relearn how to play.”

    As always, the usual suggestions apply to the Mercury retrograde: great for putting “re” in front of everything, planning, but waiting for the direct station, before acting. Expecting possible delays in transport of all kinds, upheavals in the planning of appointments, electronic equipment going haywire etc. Avoiding signing contracts (where possible, but again contracts are between people so it’s a retrograde season for everyone and if its “bad” for one it may be “good” for the other party).

    The Sabian symbol for the retrograde station at 28° Aries: “A large audience confronts the performer who disappointed its expectations.” Indicating the necessity for mature preparation and self-criticism.

    For the antiscion at 03° Virgo: “Two guardian angels.” Indicating invisible help and protection in times of crisis.

    “Slowing down an activity may meet with greater success than doing it quickly.” Linda Lantieri

    Got plans for this Mercury retrograde?


    Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. p 69, 152, Vintage Books Edition, Random House Inc., New York, USA

    Sullivan E. (1989), “Planets, The Astrological Tools” edited by Joan McEvers, chapter on Mercury, pp. 97-99. Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, Minnesota USA

    Sullivan E. (2000), “Retrograde Planets”, Part Two, Chapter 4, pp 74-75. Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Maine USA