• sculpture Paul Manship Flight of Europa 1925, gilded bronze….and more so when he rides it backwards!

    Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus on 28th April 2016. Mercury in this Fixed, Earth sign can be associated with common sense, down-to-earth thinking and practical intelligence with an eye on security and self-worth issues. When contrasted in the natal chart, he could turn narrow-minded, stubborn, inflexible and suspicious of new ideas and theories. In all cases he takes his time to make decisions but once made they usually become irrevocable.

    Mercury will station retrograde at 23°26’ on the 28th of April and turn direct at 14°20’ Taurus on the 22nd of May. This is the second time this year that Mercury retrogrades in an Earth sign and he becomes the fourth planet now in retrograde motion (the others being Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto).

    Taurus rules the 2nd house in traditional astrology and so it regards all things connected to our value system, not only our monetary and material comforts but also our self-esteem.

    During retrograde periods in the Earth signs, questions such as “What are the tangible results of my life?” “Which security issues or practical concerns do I need to deal with in this moment?” often float to the surface of our sub-conscious. We may also become excessively self-critical during these times too as we turn our thoughts inwards away from the mundane and become more self-engrossed.

    The Mercury retrograde periods are particularly important for those of us who have planets in Gemini and Virgo (both ruled by Mercury) and/or angles in these signs. Also of great interest are the matters of the house with Taurus on the cusp where Mercury is now transiting. Also not to be ignored is the degree (23°26’ of Taurus and its antiscion point at 6°34’ of Leo) of the retrograde station since this could also be particularly sensitive in your chart.

    As is customary, all the usual precautions are valid during a Mercury retrograde period such as not signing important documents, not buying cars, travel tickets, IT gadgets etc. Plans previously made may also suffer delays or cancellations as we become less interested in the details of matters.

    However, we could also use a Mercury retrograde period to correct errors of the past (usually connected with the house where the transit occurs) or we may even retrieve hidden or lost objects (and persons) that we believed gone for ever from our lives. It could be a time when corpses do actually return to haunt us!! But please make sure that you really want them back in your life before saying “yes”.

    During its backward journey Mercury will make the following aspects:

    • trine North Node on 8th May indicating that our plans may be aligned with our life path but it’s not time to act yet
    • conjunct Venus and trine Pluto on 12th May indicating that we might be slightly obsessing about our values and plans but it’s still not the right time to take action under the retrograde

    This could be a rather heavy period for Gemini but I think it may be less so for Virgo since Mercury is in an Earth sign and therefore in a trine aspect to the latter and this should take off some of the rougher edges of the retro period.

    The Sabian symbol for 24° Taurus “An Indian warrior riding fiercely, human scalps hanging from his belt.” Indicating the aggressiveness of human instincts when fighting for their earthly base of operation.

    For 15° Taurus: “Head covered with a rakish silk hat, muffled against the cold, a man braves a storm.” Indicating the courage needed to meet the crises precipitated by social ambition.

    Which house is mercury transiting in your chart?  Have you any stories to tell?


    Rudhyar D. (1974) “An Astrological Mandala: the cycles of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases”. p 80, 85, Vintage Books Edition, Random House Inc., New York, USA

    Sullivan E. (1992), Retrograde Planets, pp 73-74, Samuel Weiser Inc, York Beach, ME, USA

    Tierney B. (1983) “Dynamics of Aspect Analysis”, Chapter 10, Retrograde Planets, pp 203-204, CRCA Publications, Sebastopol, CA, USA

    Image: Paul Manship Flight of Europa 1925, gilded bronze, source unknown