Mercury Retrograde used to be a weird inside trick that only pro astrologers knew about, and then at some point in it became mainstream. It’s on Kate Spade stationery now. It’s gone viral. Music writer Kathy McCabe calls it Murky Retrograde.
Mercury is Roman
A good way to remember what murky Mercury Retrograde actually means, is to go all the way back to the Roman definition of the archetype. Mercury was their Messenger of the Gods. You often see him on courier trucks with his winged helmet and sandals. He’s often in 18th century paintings, delivering messages from one god to another.
The Latin root ‘merc’ means reward, wages and hire. The English words derived from the Latin ‘merc’ include commerce, commercial interests, markets, merchandise and merchants.
When Mercury appears to move backwards and stand still, in your horoscope (and everybody else’s horoscope) we see a state of flux that affects business, the economy, retail and trade. What’s behind this? Sometimes it’s extreme weather. Sometimes it’s a world crisis. Mercury Retrograde coincides with this global mayhem.
Mercury rules sales talk, meetings, negotiations, trades, purchases, paperwork and contracts for obvious reasons. When he appears to move backwards, people find the terms change. The talking points alter.
Roman commerce was down to four things – horses, ships, the abacus and the lingua franca, also known as trade language, making communication possible in foreign negotiations. Roman businessmen were known as mercatores.
On the Mercuralia of May 14th, Roman merchants prayed to Mercury for blessing, despite having cheated customers and suppliers. This is where the centuries-old association of Mercury with liars comes from.
It’s still true that on Mercury Retrograde, you can be caught out by a dodgy deal (or dealer). The worst deal in 20th century history, as we will see in a moment, was struck with Adolf Hitler on this exact cycle.
Updating the Roman Mercury
Today we associate equestrians with horse-whisperers, but about 2000 years ago, equestrians were a class of elite Romans who made their money from tax, the land and the mining. The horse was their FedEx courier.
Today, we link Mercury to the global economy and big business. Instead of horses, we rely on planes, cars, trains and buses. Instead of the abacus, we have the calculator. Instead of the lingua franca, we have internet translation and Skype.
What happens during the first shadow of Mercury Retrograde? Wheels start turning, but on a vehicle, which will stall on its journey, then move backwards, grinding its gears.
The e-mails fly, but later on the discussions may prove to be flawed. The numbers add up but will later change. People start talking, quite seriously, but later on it’s all Lost In Translation.
It’s not just your local dry cleaner losing your coat. Mercury Retrograde is national and global. Everyone is affected by six degrees.
The most famous example of Mercury Retrograde is the failed ‘peace’ negotiation with Hitler before the Second World War – The Munich Agreement. On the day that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met Adolf Hitler for the first time (and took the first plane trip of his life) Mercury Retrograde Shadow ruled.
That ill-fated date, September 15th, 1938, is in a period when Mercury repeated his position in the world horoscope three times in three months, is on the front cover of the New York Times forever, reminding astrologers that the Mercury Retrograde post-shadow period can coincide with disaster.
The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, told the New York Times, “I am going to meet the German Chancellor because the situation seems to me to be one in which discussions between me and him would be fruitful. My policy has always been to seek peace. The Fuehrer’s ready acceptance of my invitation leads to me hope my visit will not be without results.”
And what results.
What Mercury Retrograde Is Not
A lot of people seem to think Mercury Retrograde is just ‘bad’ and they blame it for their relationship break-up or the fact that Fred won’t sleep with them. Sorry – that is another cycle entirely. Ask Fred if you snore.
Mercury rules deals, discussions, information, communication and transportation. My old Latin tutor from university is haunting me over my shoulder, telling me to remind you of the root ‘merc’ in Mercury which is hidden in merchandise. Buying and selling can be complicated, now. Read the fine print on refunds and delivery.
Mercury Chain Reactions
As Mercury rules core areas of our existence, when these swing backwards and forwards, or even stand still (in a state of suspension) everything and everybody is affected by a chain reaction. The chaos is always set up on the pre-shadow, in the days just before Mercury actually appears to stick on the same degree and zodiac sign, over a number of days. Some astrologers still don’t use the shadow at both ends of the cycle. Others, like me, would not bother to predict Mercury Retrograde cycles at all, without the crucial shadows.
The Wall Street Crash on Black Tuesday, October 29th, 1929 was the most chaotic event of the 20th century, leading to the Great Depression. It happened on Mercury Retrograde Shadow.
What is the shadow? The period just before Mercury appears to turn backwards, and just after it appears to turn forwards. The pre-shadow is the period before, the post- shadow is the period after.
Why do we see chaos? Maybe it’s because a percentage of the astrology-loving population is still following the wrong Mercury Retrograde rules! (Okay I’m being cheeky). Often, it’s because those in charge don’t use astrology. Seriously! Prime Ministers and Presidents around the world have a habit of calling elections and referendums, or scheduling voting, on this chaotic cycle. We end up with voter fraud, wrong results, hung parliaments, spills, hanging chads and all manner of insanity when those at the top ignore the people’s timekeeping – astrology – and make random decisions.
Google and Mercury Retrograde
Mercury rules the markets. If you’re in the market for business success, don’t make your first trade on Mercury Retrograde. Why? That first moment is the ‘birth’ of your company and if the enterprise comes into the world when Mercury is apparently moving backwards, the cycles of time will not be kind.
Google made its IPO (initial public offering) on 19th August 2004 when Mercury was retrograde. Google’s Larry Page clearly did not have a company astrologer on board, when they decided to organize their company results for October 18th, 2012 when the planet of shocks, Uranus, made an exact aspect or pattern, with Google’s dodgy Mercury.
What do I mean by a dodgy Mercury? For all of us astrologers watching from London, Google was ‘born’ on 19th August 2004 when Mercury Retrograde was at 5 Virgo, Mars was at 5 Virgo and Uranus was at 5 Pisces. That line-up in the horoscope of a major corporation is what we in astrology call ‘bonkers.’
Google then chose a month when transiting Uranus was at 5 Aries, kicking the whole pattern off, to pull together its figures. Gah! You too can send out an unfinished financial press release by mistake, on this cycle, and that accidental e-mail can wipe $22 billion off your value. Classic Mercury Retrograde.
Choosing a Horoscope
Is it true that companies, businesses or even whole countries can relaunch, or pursue a new constitution, and thus obtain a better horoscope? Absolutely. A quick and easy way to find a date is simply to avoid Mercury Retrograde because you really don’t want to be hit by recurring computer issues, for the rest of eternity.
If you are happy to do a little learning, you can teach yourself astrology and then figure out your own best date for any new enterprise.
It’s no secret that I set my alarm for some cruel hour, in the middle of the night, so I could wake up and start a petition for the late, great Divinyls’ star Chrissy Amphlett, to acquire her own laneway in Australia. It took a lot of coffee, but I wanted to give our Chrissy the perfect astrological send- off. I still have the chart and it’s a beautiful thing, created to align with her own horoscope. I scanned for Mercury Retrograde first!
I am happy to say the petition went nuts within an hour of it appearing online and Amphlett Lane, in the heart of Melbourne, is there any time you want to pay a visit. I popped Chrissy into a story I wrote for Vogue when we last spoke a few years ago. She wanted to make it very, very clear to me that she was a Scorpio and not a Libra – but that’s another story!
The Titanic and Heathrow Airport
Oh, Heathrow Airport, how I love to hate you. You are the gateway to the beautiful British Isles, but you are also a nightmare. Why? Because you were ‘born’ or launched on March 25th, 1946 on Mercury Retrograde.
If you have ever queued (and queued, and queued) for check-in, or your bags, or the lavatory at Heathrow – then you are experiencing first-hand what can happen when an airport – of all things – begins its life with Mercury Retrograde embedded in the chart.
Suspensions. Snowfall. Strikes. Protests. Security Scares. Fog. Train delays. Traffic jams on the way to the train. Can we just relaunch Heathrow and elect a new horoscope please?
The RMS Titanic launched on 10th April 1912 on Mercury Retrograde. We all know why it sank, by now, and it wasn’t just the iceberg. The Radio Act of 1912 was passed after the tragedy – probably the only good legacy of Mercury Retrograde.
Mercury and Wall Street Chaos
Along with computers, Mercury rules radio, because Mercury the Messenger of the Gods rules communication. Throughout history, the technology changes, but the symbolism remains the same. Mercury rules the news.
The Radio Corporation of America (R.C.A.) was the hot tech stock of the Twenties but it plunged in value when the market crashed in October 1929.
Mercury also rules cars, because it is also in charge of transportation – the wheels that turn, to carry the news from one place to another. Investors in 1929 went broke with the other hot stock, Ford.
Today, Mercury rules Microsoft Word, Apple, the Internet and your iPhone. Watch what happens to them whenever Mercury is retrograde.
The Ford/RCA story spelled a dreadful double whammy for the mom-and-pop investors of 1929 who lost their life savings. Mercury, the planet which rules commerce, was stalling and then moving backwards, when two stocks ruling Mercury concerns – communication and transport – dominated Wall Street.
Of course, it takes more than Mercury Retrograde Shadow to create a Wall Street Crash. You need other, more serious, background patterns.
Nevertheless, history and astrology tell us it’s true – the old God of commercial interests does coincide with chaos when he’s not moving swiftly and easily across the skies.
Between October 24th and 29th, 1929, when the madness was triggered on Wall Street, Mercury moved through 11 through 18 degrees of Libra. He was repeating himself, crossing over the same zodiac sign and degrees he’d passed on September 8th through 15th.
This strange backtracking often results in people rethinking, reneging, reselling, retracting, reversing and all the other ‘re’ words that can create a chain reaction of muddle – and worse. We associate product recall with this cycle too.
Those old Hollywood films of Wall Street traders in their hats, yelling ‘Buy, buy!’ and then ‘Sell, sell!’ within the space of one screen wipe, are good illustrations of what Mercury Retrograde involves.
We are in Mercury Retrograde now until February 21st, 2021 and look at all the stock market chaos from the last week – read more about that here.
Mercury Retrograde Time Warps
If you really want to tap Mercury Retrograde secrets, go back in time – years if necessary – to see when Mercury was last appearing to move backwards in the exact same zodiac sign. You will soon see the equivalent of a television mini-series on a very long rewind.
You will not be surprised to hear that Mercury was at 11 through 18 degrees of Libra in September-October 1922 when the greatest bull market of the 20th century began. Mercury was Retrograde Shadow for some of this time. This was several years before the crash, but the time warp had devastating consequences. Mercury retraced his steps, retraced his steps, retraced his steps in 1922 and 1929.
The 1987 Wall Street Crash happened on the Mercury Retrograde cycle. On Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, the planetary god of commerce and merchants basically roller-skated backwards and fell over.
On May 6th, 2010, the United States saw a trillion-dollar Flash Crash. Once again, Mercury was retrograde.
Only use this astrological secret knowledge in business or on Wall Street if you know exactly what you are doing or have an expert astrologer steering you. People devote their entire careers to specializing in Mercury cycles and money.
I am not one of them, but I do want you to know what Mercury Retrograde is about.
Your horoscope is just one tool in the toolkit of your life – and you must make your own decisions. No astrology book like 2020 Vision or astrologer (like me) can ever make them for you. This applies to every aspect of your birth chart. You are responsible for your own life.
Talk Another Time!
Any negotiation is a classic candidate for Mercury issues, like bold-faced lies, or even simple communication problems (like spam filters) Mercury rules deals or trade-offs.
We hit Mercury Retrograde right after 9/11 and, because I was in New York, I took notes, working through the night in Greenwich Village (because the military aircraft overhead made it impossible to sleep).
That dreadful cycle, including the shadow periods, began the day after 9/11 and lasted until November 7th, 2001. I am sure you remember the chaos which surrounded the tragedy.
I was standing on Greenwich Street when I saw the second plane hit, and the Mercury Madness began within hours. No money in the banks. The queue for the New York Times went round Astor Square. No flights.
The majority of us only experienced minor frustrations, unlike those who carried the full burden of the tragedy. Yet – it was textbook astrology.
Again, you have to put Mercury Retrograde in context. It occurred on a far more serious, difficult astrological cycle for the United States and her allies.
Mercury is local/global. It’s a chain reaction. It’s way more than ‘Fred just left me and broke my heart’ because if the cycle tallies with something serious in the heavens, the whole planet can grind to a halt.
Using Mercury Retrograde
Is Mercury Retrograde always bad? No. It is what it is. Communication, information and transportation delays, alterations and reversals. You have to put it in context with the rest of the chart.
You can read more about Mercury Retrograde on my website including all the dates until 2020 with both the vital pre- and post-shadows.
You can also read about the potential positives of the cycle. Why it’s great for dress rehearsals. For first drafts. For initial discussions.
Some people deliberately play the cycle. If they don’t want to commit to something/ someone they begin talks or the paper trail from one shadow to the next. Of course, that’s pure evil.
Obviously, you would never do any such thing, but the cycle is wonderful for creative attempts, research, musing, contemplation, loose talk, brainstorming and the conscious use of your journal for ideas, sketches and the kind of scribbling that you can just erase.
Mercury Retrograde and Your Chart
If you have your birth chart available (Premium Members can see below), you can stun and amaze your colleagues or staff, by using astrology voodoo. You’ll just know when to avoid key meetings, contracts, presentations, launches or trips away.
Your Birth Chart
Are you a Premium member? Login now to see your birth chart. Or choose a membership plan to create your chart.
If you can’t avoid key plans, have Plan B and maybe Plan C – and double-check more than you usually would. I do not let Mercury Retrograde stop me from travelling,
especially because my other job is working as a HarperCollins travel editor on the Holiday Goddess guides to New York, Paris, London and Rome. I just become lightly paranoid and do a lot more pre-planning. I also try to have Cascade Light beer on hand, for emergencies.
Always have travel insurance. Read the fine print. Copy crucial documents to a memory stick. Keep back-ups on paper, not just digitally – in a safe place. I am sure you can think of a few more things you could do. Check for extreme weather. Be wary if someone you are negotiating with, already has a reputation for being dodgy or even downright deceitful.
If you are dealing with the news-gathering profession on Mercury Retrograde, then you may be dealing with a journalist who literally goes ‘back on her word’ which is an exact description of what happens when Mercury appears to go back over his cycle.
Lois Lane may be loose with the truth. Clark Kent may be a con artist. Be aware of who/what suddenly pops up in connection with multimedia, internet or publishing on this cycle. Are you being hacked, for example?
When he is moving normally and not triggering anything difficult in your chart, Mercury is the media we need to tell us the truth about the world. When Mercury is out of sorts, I don’t have to tell you what happens.
Remember, in your personal horoscope, the times Mercury Retrograde really counts, are when he activates a pattern that’s already big in your chart. If he triggers an aspect that is already pinned in your Third House (Gemini) or Ninth House (Sagittarius) then use your common-sense when you plan commuting, travel, negotiation, paperwork or multimedia.
If you have planets or asteroids in Aries in the First House, then Mercury Retrograde in Aries could play havoc with your new Twitter profile, because this house is about your image. You may appear with a random Muppets avatar pinned to your name, and you really don’t want that.
If you have Taurus elements, then Mercury Retrograde in Taurus could result in you going to the bank to change your coins into notes, only to find the machine regurgitates your coins. This house rules your cash. The following list shows how
Mercury Retrograde in each sign/house can affect you. Check my website to see what sign Mercury is in, at any time. We have a daily guide, so you can see.
Mercury and Your Stelliums
It’s a bigger deal if Mercury passes over a stellium in your chart – one of those heavy clusters in a particular sign and house. Why? Because it’s a bigger part of you and your life, that is affected.
You’ll hear news that is not the final story. Have discussions which get stuck. Get involved in ‘final’ promises or outcomes which come to nothing, later. Have issues with the internet, your phone or the mail which screw things up.
Grab your chart. What’s going on with the Messenger of the Gods, the mail, the train, the plane, the car and the internet? Which sign or house is he in? It’s time for rehearsal, now, not delivery or launch. It’s the moment for tentative research, not grand-slam commitment. If you really have to go ahead now? That’s fine, just have a contingency plan.
First House and Aries
Do you have Aries elements in your chart? You’ll have a lot to think about where the world of ‘Me, Me, Me’ is concerned, because your physical appearance, your style, and your reputation (the box people put you into) is such an issue. For a simple life, though, you may want to postpone those big decisions about haircuts, eye laser surgery, personalised number plates, business cards and so on, until Mercury is moving forwards, well out of the shadow period.
You will have an unusually high number of chaotic, shambolic days to deal with at this time. There may be an information overload to deal with (far too many quotes about your new glasses) or you could find that other people are so disorganised, en masse, that the confusion filters down to you. This can make what appeared to be a straightforward dental appointment very complicated.
If you buy anything with your image in mind, you may change your mind later (when you see it priced lower elsewhere) or…you may just change your mind, full stop.
Getting the right, fair, market price on almost any procedure or purchase connected to your face, body or personal style could be a challenge.
You might get it right now, but there are good chances you’ll get it wrong.
If you are organising personalised writing paper, a website, a scrapbook about your life, or anything that involves paper, pens, computers or technology, then be very wary. If you’re giving a talk now, check that the microphone works (talks and speeches are showcases for ‘Me, me, me’ so they do come up during this cycle. As with all Mercury Retrograde periods, don’t risk mistakes!
Remember, this is the part of you that charges forward, pushes hard, knocks heads together, thrusts herself/himself into battle and so on. Honestly, do you want to do all that now?
Taurus and Second House
There are two key financial cycles in astrology. One is Mercury in the Second House, the other is Mercury in the Eighth House. These are crucial times for fact-finding missions and networking, yet you are going to hit delays, reversals or changes. I once tested astrology out by putting in a mortgage application when I was a baby astrologer at Elle magazine.
Reader, I lost that $600 mortgage application, and it was a lot of money at the time!
This is a good time to watch, wait and take notes on your next purchase, sale or transaction. It’s not a good time to plunge in and put your savings on the line – or to mess around with contracts, or other kinds of paperwork, unless you are one of those financial astrologer queens like my friend Olga and you know exactly what you are doing. The market is in flux now. Say that carefully.
Mercury, the planet of information and communication, is now going backwards in your Second House of cashflow, shopping, banking, profits, losses, debts and credits. The chances are high that your best-laid plans may also go backwards. I know very few astrologers who will buy or sell anything in this cycle. Even though this will be a busy time for what you earn, own or owe – take care. Once all the fast-talking and enthusiastic trading is over, you may be left with question marks instead of certainties (or worse, left with a bad result you can’t change.)
People are confused, flaky, unreliable, late, unfathomable and uncertain when Mercury goes retrograde. If you work in retail, or trade on eBay, you will be astonished at how people change their minds – or how easy it is for you to change yours! For this reason, astrologers traditionally advise their clients to avoid signing important paperwork when Mercury is going backwards in the Second House.
Because the general local and global atmosphere now is so chaotic, there can be a trickle-down effect on your financial affairs, which means the ATM seizes your card, or the online banking system crashes, or the rock-solid deal you thought you had on buying your first home, falls through. Always read the fine print now. Remember, Mercury Retro is about rehearsal, rethinking, review…
Gemini and Third House
With my hand on my heart, I can tell you that this entire section just vanished. I have a Gemini stellium (many authors do) and just writing about this cycle made 500 words disappear into thin air. As you might have guessed, Mercury Retrograde in your Third House, touching your Gemini factors, is about computers, books, multimedia, publishing, education, language, commuting and travel.
(For the record, the bus also stopped running for two weeks, so until Sue turns up with her taxi, I’m stuck at the beach for good).
This is a really good time to organise a first draft of something you want to say, write, sing, film or televise. Allow for one or two revisions.
Make sure you allow for changes, delays or reversals which affect your big project or idea. Do not buy a telephone or computer on this cycle or switch to a new ISP unless you have read the fine print on delivery and refunds.
Back your content up on a USB stick and as a general rule, have Plan B for commuting and travelling. Allow extra time to get to the airport and be hip to the possibility of flash flooding, train strikes or simple computer issues at the terminal which send you to the wrong gate.
Gemini is ruled by Mercury himself, so when Mercury is retrograde in the Third House, ruled by Mercury, you can expect the courier to get stuck or go backwards. The post gets stuck or goes backwards.
Mercury moves in a peculiar forwards-backwards motion through your house of speeches, essays, websites, blogs, social media, taxis, trains, buses, cars, planes – as follows.
First, he appears to move normally so the plan or loose talk begins. Then he runs on the spot as if he was caught in quicksand. Then he actually runs backwards, retracing his steps.
At this point you may want to ‘fix’ things or complicate the issue by adding changes, new plans, extra details. This will add to the situation later on.
Mercury then runs on the spot again, before moving forward. At this point a lot of astrologers will tell you he is D for Direct and everything is just fantastic – what a relief! Except your new laptop just spontaneously combust in front of you.
Allow more time. Mercury running on the spot the second time, means he is preparing to lurch forward over the same place in your chart where he got stuck before.
The smart way to use this cycle is to factor in changes or delays as part of the actual progress of the project or trip. Look at your chart! Put it all in context. Are there serious issues about Gemini/Third House and Sagittarius/Ninth House too? Then this is also a great concern. Talk to a pro astrologer and make sure she uses the shadow periods.
Cancer and Fourth House
You’ll now spend a few weeks obtaining quotes on home repairs, renovations, furniture, domestic appliances, gardening equipment – or more ambitiously, you’ll be researching the property market, as a sale, purchase, mortgage or lease will be on your agenda.
The Fourth House also rules your family, and any flatmates or live-in partners who share your home. Expect a lot of phone calls, e-mails and debate, probably about issues which are central to your house, flat or garden – or just as likely, the family itself.
Your hometown, neighborhood, homeland and roots, culture and heritage are also issues on Skype now, or your phone. There will be news. Yet – remember – Mercury is flakey now.
Astrologers say, don’t sell your house, flat or land when Mercury is going backwards in the Fourth House. Don’t interview new flatmates either. The worst-case scenario here is a complete U-turn from one of the people involved (it may be you!) The best-case scenario is a period of chaos: too many people coming and going, too much talking, too many questions and not enough answers. There may be a long and drawn-out process or, perhaps, an undelivered promise.
This general picture of Mercury Retrograde in the Fourth House also applies to almost anything that’s domestic in nature, from the oven that needs repairs, to the new tablecloth you’re dragging home. Prices are reduced, or inflated, with no warning now. People are late for appointments, or don’t turn up at all. Now – do you really want all that stuffing up your precious home life?
This cycle also influences family relationships, and the connections you have with your flatmates, as well as the bond between you and your live-in partner. If you consider your animals to be part of the family, the chaos can extend to them as well.
Because there is a general, global increase in uncertainty and instability at this time, the ripple effect can have an impact on your town, your street, and your home as well. That’s why your father can change his mind about the family’s holiday home investment, or your normally reliable flatmate can lose her keys. At its least harmful, this cycle brings muddles, a slightly rushed or panicky atmosphere, and uncertainty. At its worst, Mercury Retrograde in the Fourth House can screw up a property auction. Some people do make this cycle work very well for them. They are astrological professionals or madly psychic – they buy houses cheap, then sell for a profit – rapidly. You truly have to know what you are doing. Don’t plan a family reunion now unless you have beer on a drip.
Leo and Fifth House
If you find yourself doing extra homework about pregnancy, fertility, impotence, termination, adoption, sons, daughters, young relatives, godchildren, sex, intimacy, contraception – or just the whole Lover/Offspring/Youth basket – that’s understandable now. This also applies to the entertainment, interests or sport that brings children and adults together. Kidult entertainment, like TV talent shows, or football matches, which close the generation gap, are one example. So is riding.
Save yourself the stress, and tackle important issues about babies or children, another time. This applies to your own sons or daughters if you have them – or other people’s. It also applies to the world of children in general (for example, any professional connection you might have, to kids.) For a few weeks now, or even a few months, you are unlikely to get much in the way of certainty, commitment, security or guarantees. Seek schools, midwives, nannies, adoption agencies, IVF specialists and other child-related professionals another time.
Mercury Retrograde brings far too many U-turns and confusion, for you to put your feelings, time or money on the line. I can’t think of too many astrologers who would even pick a babysitter out, during this cycle!
The Fifth House also rules sex because of course it is about planned and unplanned pregnancy and also stepchildren, adoption and co-godparenting. If you are single and speed dating, web dating (or just looking at parties), then it’s a case of buyer beware. You can lose people now – or they can lose you. What appears to be a done deal could be anything but (‘Oh look, there’s my ex!’).
The possible complications and ramifications are like every Hollywood romantic comedy you’ve ever seen, but without the laughs. And shall we talk about condoms, HIV tests, the morning after pill, and all the rest of it? Frankly, when Mercury is misbehaving like this, you don’t need the hassle. This planet says ‘Watch, wait, and take notes.’ This strongly applies to your sex life now. It’s also important in terms of your weekend interests or part-time passions. Can you sign or promise another time? Can you at least allow for delays, changes or even reversals?
Virgo and Sixth House
You’ll probably be involved with some kind of fact-finding mission about your health and wellbeing now. The internet will probably be involved, or you’ll be ploughing through library books, magazines, or the phone directory – as you gather sources and contacts. Sometimes the issue is stuff that isn’t healthy at all. Drugs and alcohol. Addictions to prescribed drugs, even. Over-eating or just cigarette hell. Please allow for plenty of restarts, revisions or ‘definite’ pronouncements which will later be reversed. It does happen.
This cycle is also about your full-time or part-time job. If you run the home instead of working, then it applies to your daily routine in the house, or flat. An issue will arise now, which requires a lot of calling, e-mailing, reading, web surfing, or face-to-face discussion.
As you might expect, this is rehearsal time – with rescheduling or rewriting of the story – with the world of doctors, dentists, hospitals, alternative health, gyms, healers, diets and opticians. It’s extremely common for people to join gyms at this time and resign their membership later. You may want to ‘re’ visit opinions from people in charge of your acupuncture, homeopathy and so on.
Workplace shenanigans and chaos are also in store now. Pick another time to hire someone, fire someone, or find a new career because it could go round and round – or seem to be settled, only to be unsettled later on. At its most diluted level, this cycle brings no-shows, reversed promises, and a confusing information overload. The world in general is more chaotic now – in one or two countries, there may even be outright mess. This all has a domino effect, which can result in strange developments in your own workplace. If you have full-time home chores, this also applies to your kitchen-laundry routine. Astrologers say, ‘Buy a washing machine at this time, and you’ll be doing your undies in a bucket forever.’ Virgo rules the virginal maiden’s home duties, you see.
Scorpio and Eighth House
There will be quite a lot of gossip and loose talk now, most of it about a financial, business, charity, retail, ownership or property question which is on your agenda. It will be deadly serious or sexually intimate in nature – a mortgage or life insurance is typical.
People will change their minds, or you will change yours – don’t write anything in stone, unless you actually like wasting your own time! The Eighth House typically brings up important questions about sales, purchases, settlements, financial claims, contracts, tax returns, bank statements, and other complex matters involving family members, lovers, partners, ex partners and sometimes hookers and the Mafia too.
If you lead a simple life in a share house, and don’t actually own anything at all, it will just ask you to manage complicated questions about the household potato patch. All the more reason to refuse to sign, buy, sell, wheel or deal. At best, you’ll feel slightly lost and confused. At worst, you could lose financially. It really depends on your personal chart. If you have a ton of squares and oppositions to your Scorpio factors and Mercury Retrograde lands, there – be ultra-careful.
Astrologers say, don’t lend or borrow at this time. And on no account bank on anything, even the bank! Always read the fine print on paperwork, and don’t expect computers, the postal service, telephones, or the traffic flow (or airline industry) to automatically smooth the way for you. At this time, Mercury’s chaotic backward motion will affect the entire planet. In the grand scheme of things, your divorce settlement, family inheritance, job redundancy, tax bill or bank loan may well get caught in the mess. If you get off lightly, you can expect at least one person to change their mind about what’s been ‘agreed’ (and it may be you.) How irritating! If you have serious Mercury Retrograde problems, though, you can find a deal costs you.
It’s a fantastic time to rehearse, review, review, rethink, reconsider. Not so great for absolutes and definites.
Sagittarius and Ninth House
This is a confusing (and sometimes frustrating) period for travel, emigration and relocation. Can you choose another time? If you must be on the move, however, do read the small print, and take sensible precautions before you pack your bags. Have insurance and allow for delays, changes or reversals. Check before you go via trains, buses, certain traffic lanes or the airport. Make sure your passport is updated and be hip to the weather.
Mercury rules cars, trucks, bicycles, motorbikes, boats, ships, airplanes and helicopters – so you can see why its backward motion, in your house of travel, can also turn your life upside-down or at least hold you up. This cycle also describes the relationship you have with people from other cultures and countries. The potential for confusion, delays and chaos is very high with these people now! Give yourself a safety net if a decision is pending. Allow for language issues or time differences – even date differences – and basic communication gah factors.
Education (from weekend workshops to University degree courses) is also affected by Mercury madness at this time. You could enroll in a class and change your mind later, losing your application fee. Or – the professor you thought you were getting, turns out to have changed his mind, and run away to Barcelona with a teenage supermodel. You get the picture. Do you really have to make big decisions, as a teacher or student, now? Religion, or other belief systems (like Scientology, or TM) can also be the route to frustration, or even serious problems, during this period. And finally, this cycle is about publishing, in all its forms. I have seen books be pulped in this cycle – and ‘watertight’ contracts be shredded. Astrologers say, choose another time to publish, sign or print. It’s an excellent time for first draft, second draft. It’s a fantastic time to have a visualisation board or scrapbook, with which to roughly envision your vacation. Just act on things when Mercury is out of shadow.
Capricorn and Tenth House
Keep your career options open now. There will be a lot of questions, and apparently ‘conclusions’, but they’re subject to change, and you will either alter your decisions at some point or find other people’s U-turns screw up your own plans!
This also applies to your other ambitions and goals, if you are a student, unemployed, retired, or have full-time home duties. Your most ambitious projects and plans can be thrown into chaos during this cycle, thanks to the global domino-effect which is now taking place (there will be pockets of anarchy all over the world) but also because of x factors you cannot see or control. There are easier times to write your resume, apply for a job, ask for a promotion, train for a new career, or call a domestic summit. Can it wait?
If you have a part-time or full-time job, the atmosphere will be so frenzied at times that it may be hard to remember where you put your coffee – or your brain. Expect a lot of ‘news’ through the media, about those projects, plans and goals which most concern you, as well as your particular field, industry or workplace. There will also be quite a lot of gossip and debate, but it is unwise to take it seriously when Mercury is misbehaving. What appears to be a done deal (your boss is definitely leaving) or a final conclusion (your old company is definitely expanding) may not be so. This cycle is best used by standing well back, taking mental notes, and waiting for the dust to settle! Then, and only then (when Mercury is direct) should you make costly or complex decisions.
Aquarius and Eleventh House
Action stations with friends, or for them – but also backwards stations! If an old friend re-enters your life now, he or she will connect you to a large network of people, but the wheels may go backwards.
If you make a new friend at this time, this man or woman will also open up your world, either online, or through a whole chain of invitations and introductions, yet be aware of stray e-mails or missing messages. The Eleventh House is also about existing friends, of course, which might explain why that person who has been there forever suddenly goes to the top of your list, and you find yourself with a larger phone or internet bill; your friend is likely to make waves in your life now, and a lot of questions, plans and mini adventures will result.
If you have been feeling bored or lonely, this cycle can fix it. A little bit of work on your part can trigger a new social life, if you want it – or a new angle on the old one but do allow for delays.
A group, club, team, organisation, association or social network will also take up your mental energy now. If you are permanently involved with some kind of group, and it’s central to your life, then do use this time to find solutions to all those unanswered questions you may have. This will be a rehearsal, as all retrogrades are. It’s a good time to review, rethink, rehearse the action for later.
You will be amazed at the number of resources, and sources, which suddenly become available to do this. Even if you’re not a joiner (and can’t stand group dynamics) you will still find it hard not to cross paths with some kind of people-pack now. An issue will arise which involves a lot of debate or gossip with them – or about them.
You really meant it when you told your friend she could borrow your lawnmower, but now your other friend won’t give it back. You believed what your union promised, when you sent them a membership cheque – but it’s been four weeks, and your card still hasn’t arrived. You and your bridesmaids truly, deeply made a commitment to ivory silk and pearl buttons for your wedding – but now someone’s up the duff, and she thinks she’ll look fat in the frock…These are just a few examples of the chaos which can unfold, via friends or groups, when Mercury is Retrograde in the Eleventh House.
If it’s going to cost you time, money or tantrums (or create rip-roaring anarchy in your social life) then consider delaying a plan until Mercury is behaving itself.
Astrologers are not alarmists, but there is so much evidence on the chaos that Mercury Retrograde brings, that you really need to approach friends, or group commitments, with your eyes open. If you know that someone is Gemini or Virgo, or you were born under either of those signs, then the potential for trouble is doubled.
If you join any kind of group now, it may not last, or you may not last, or it may not deliver what you expected. If you make a new friend, now, he or she could be a complete Cadbury’s Flake, and remain in your online address book for about as long as this cycle lasts. It’s an excellent time to stand back and watch the entertainment, as people run around like headless chickens. Take notes and learn! But why not make your big decisions later?
Pisces and Twelfth House
This cycle unfolds two ways. Firstly, Mercury will force you to prioritise a secret plan, or extremely sensitive, confidential issue. It could be anything from a cosmetic surgery procedure, to an affair with a married man. The possibilities are endless!
Just because you can’t talk about it, though, doesn’t mean you won’t be doing your homework. For a few weeks, you’ll be gathering as much information as you can, about this rather delicate, hush-hush matter. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Mercury Retrograde means you’re going to hit delays or changes.
If this particular issue would cause serious problems for you, if it was ever made public, then be discreet about your enquiries and your contacts.
This cycle can also bring a period of hibernation, as you remove yourself from the outside world and turn your attention to your inner world instead. You might take a sabbatical, claim sick leave, check into a spa, or just spend a lot of time sitting in your room with the door locked! You may also be researching a retreat of some kind – a period of time in your life, or a special place, where you hope to find some solitude and privacy.
The Twelfth House rules the time we spend by ourselves, when we discover who we really are, without other people. It describes a private encounter with your own soul. For this reason, you may also be curious about any of the following areas now: dreams, mediumship, tarot, astrology, psychology, hypnosis, psychiatry and so on. Just remember – Mercury Retrograde means it’s all-in flux.
You will go backwards and forwards with a secret, sensitive issue now. This may be a private plan that you cannot tell anyone else about – or it may be a rather delicate ‘thing’ about yourself and your life, that is only suitable for your diary. Expect mild chaos in connection with this, or at worst, a result which is a complete waste of your time, energy and effort. The reasons for this confusion and frustration could be as simple as a change of heart (people are unreliable now, and you are too) or as complex as a power cut, or a transport strike, or a worldwide computer virus. The general madness of Mercury Retrograde ricochets around the planet as a whole now. Along the way, it may touch your private plan, or your big secret. Make your plans accordingly!
The reversals, delays, confusion and chaos will also affect your plans to get away by yourself. If you want to organise a spa holiday, a retreat, a sabbatical or any other kind of solo time, then keep your plans flexible, because what is apparently in place now, could change in the next 24 hours. This also applies to anything already in motion – perhaps your solitary holiday or meditation weekend is already under way. When it is travelling backwards, Mercury has a funny way of up-ending things, though. At best, you can waste your precious time, as you go back to the drawing board, or deal with other people’s flaky behavior. At worst, everything can go wrong. For a simple life, astrologers suggest that you organise your ‘me’ time when Mercury goes direct again.
Dates to Watch
In 2021, Mercury will be in apparent retrograde motion during the following date ranges:
- January 30 to February 21
- May 29 to June 22
- September 27 to October 23
In 2022, Mercury will be retrograde 4 times:
- January 14 to February 3
- May 10 to June 2
- September 9 to October 2
- December 29 to January 18, 2023
Edited extract from 2020 Astrology: Your Five-Year Horoscope Guide by Jessica Adams.