• …slowing down is a must

    Mercury starts its first retrograde period of the year at 16°53’ Aries and backtracks to 4°48’ Aries where it again stops in its tracks on 14th April to station direct.

    Mercury starts this retrograde movement on the contra-antiscion point of transiting Neptune (14° Pisces)  adding mental confusion, anxiety and misunderstandings to this initial phase but giving great insight for those more spiritually aligned because the veil thins allowing clearer vision and insight.

    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.

    The persons most affected by this period will be those with planets and/or angles between 17-3° 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. 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 explains the retrograde cycle:

    “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.”

    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).

    During its retrograde period Mercury will make the following transiting aspects:

    4-5th April square Mars conjunct Saturn (8-9°) – thoughts, plans, ideas need to be taken seriously and action must be carefully planned rather than on the whim of the moment, physical movement may also be hindered in some way so extra careful here! These could be red flag days for some.

    The Sabian symbol for station at 17° Aries: “Two dignified spinsters sitting in silence.” Indicating the ability to transform a natural lack of potency into poise and inner serenity.

    For the antiscion at 14° Virgo: “An aristocratic family tree.” Indicating a deep reliance upon the ancestral roots of individual character.

    For the contra-antiscion at 14° Pisces: “A lady wrapped in a large stole of fox fur.” Indicating the use of intelligence and mental sublety as a protection against storms and trials.

    “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 63, 159 and 276, 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


    Image: Hans Thoma Merkur