• Discerning the “could be” from the “might be”….

    Mercury starts its second retrograde period of the year at 4°50’ Taurus and backtracks to 24°16’ Aries where it again stops in its tracks on 3rd May to station direct.

    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.”

    Mercury sets off on its introspective journey in the practical and common-sense sign of Taurus which should facilitate formulating practical uses for the ideas and plans we have expressed during the past three months. It then backtracks into Aries, 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 Gemini and Virgo as well as the other two mutable signs of Sagittarius and Pisces and those with planets and/or angles between 2° Taurus and 26° Aries.

    Gemini and Virgo, both ruled by Mercury, may respond differently to the signs the planet moves through on its journey backwards. Virgo, being an Earth sign, may find the Taurus retrograde a tad easier since rationalisation and common sense often go together whilst the Aries period may create some nervousness. Gemini may feel rather bogged down by the “let’s do it slow” attitude of Taurus but the more sparkly style of Aries may be more comfortable for these natural jitterbugs.

    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:

    23rd April conjunct Venus (28°08’), 24th April trine Saturn retrograde (27°31’) and 28th April conjunct Uranus (25°16’).

    The Sabian symbol for 5° Taurus: “A widow at an open grave.” Indicating the impermanence of all material and social bonds.

    For 25° Aries: “The possibility for man to gain experience at two levels of being.” Indicating the revelation of new potentialities.

    “The intuitive mind is where our genius resides.” A. Artemis

    Got plans for this Mercury retrograde?


    Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. p 73 and 67, 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: Hermes photo, author unknown