MERCURY RETROGRADE – RETREAT OR REJUVENATE?

 

As Originally Published in the March 2012 issue of Dell Horoscope

 

by Sister Ray the Astrologer

 

©Gail Lawson Clough

 

This article is the property of Dell Magazines and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission.

 

Please visit Dell Horoscope magazine at www.dellhoroscope.com.

 

The alarm didn’t go off, and you were late for work.  You lost your house keys.  Your computer keeps locking up.  The guitar won’t stay in tune.  You have to re-do your makeup (but you can’t find your lipstick).  Where is the cell phone hiding?  The car won’t start.  You run into an old friend that you haven’t seen for years (but can’t remember their name).  You finally find the deed to the house that you thought you lost, but in the meantime, you apparently misplaced the stamps.  Oh, and the mail hasn’t been delivered all week.  Sound familiar?  These are typical Mercury Retrograde pranks and surprises that tease us for approximately three weeks three times per year.  Mercury may be a little guy, but he can cause big problems.  He is closest to the Sun and affects our daily lives almost as much as the Moon.  When he is not happy, such as when he appears to slow down from our perspective here on Earth[1], he becomes more mischievous than usual.  Mercury, the trickster, seems to act out during these retrograde periods and those of us who are Mercury ruled can come to dread them.  Since retreat is not an option for most people, we need to find a way to adapt to Mercury’s antics.  After all, Mercury Retrograde’s effects are not all bad, sometimes they are good like when you find that missing gold locket heirloom in the cat’s toy basket one day as you are cleaning!  The classic approach of going back over things, reassessing your options and renewing old ties is still a great way to rehabilitate Mercury Retrograde’s effects.  Here are some more practical suggestions for dealing with him during his cranky periods.

 

Slow Down

 

Mercury is apparently slowing down.  Maybe you should, too.  Be very deliberate and cautious in all of your physical movements and especially your intellectual activities.  For Mercury-ruled people, Mercury retrograde makes you feel like you are running with scissors.  Slow down!  Take a deep breath.  Be careful, think twice before making any decisions and postpone the important ones for now.

 

Sister Ray’s Five Rules for Mercury Retrograde

 

Rule One:  Reflect Carefully

 

Mercury rules the mind and when retrograde, can scatter the mind in too many directions, or else cause confusion and stagnation in the thought processes.  This can be managed by careful observation and reflection.  Try to be objective and observe yourself when you start to go into those endless searches for things you aren’t going to find.  Ask yourself if it really matters whether or not you find that missing grocery list – stop wasting time, just go back and make another one and move on! 

 

Rule Two:  Read and Refresh

 

If you can’t retreat, read!  Read a good book.  It will take your mind off of whatever is worrying you, and you may find your problem solved by the time you finish the book.  Read a long book, and Mercury will be direct before you know it.  When you feel like you are stalled out mentally and can’t continue another minute, take an Internet break.  Have a little fun.  Read the gossip page!  Refresh yourself in some whimsical way (after all, Mercury is the jokester).  Take a crossword puzzle break.  Engage in some positive mental activity.

 

Rule Three:  Review and Redirect

 

Go over that manuscript one more time.  Review your credit card bills carefully this month.  Go over any projects that have hit a brick wall and ask yourself if you should change direction.  Redirect your attention to the bigger picture.  Is all of this going to matter in five years?  Why is it so important to find that matchbook from your brother’s wedding ten years ago?  Question the need to obsess over insignificant details and focus on the important issues.  Instead of worrying or obsessing over trivial matters, redirect your energy into a research project, organize your files, or clean out that closet. 

 

Rule Four:  Repair

 

Fix something that is broken.   Repair that antique, hand-painted jewelry box.  Attack that mountain of mending.  Think about going back and repairing that relationship that soured and give it another chance.

 

Rule Five:  Rejuvenate

 

Rejuvenate your attitude.  If you make a mistake, and with Mercury R, you will, give yourself a break.  Learn from your mistakes.  Don’t repeat them and don’t punish yourself either!

 

 

Now that we have some tools to conquer Mercury Retrograde, let’s look at the bad news.  The Mercury Retrograde cycles have a Shadow and Storm period[2], both of which extend the influence of retrograde Mercury.  Although they affect us less, we are still under the influence of Mercury Retrograde during the Shadow and especially during the Storm periods.  So, we have to be positive and rejuvenate instead of retreating.  Here are some positive ways that the twelve Sun signs can cope with retrograde Mercury.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – ARIES SUN

If your Sun is in Aries, you are going to chafe at Retrograde Mercury.  As a cardinal sign, you want to charge forth courageously and lead the pack.  Mercury Retrograde has other ideas, however, and symbolically throws pebbles in the Ram’s path to slow him down, thus setting off that hot Mars temper.  Especially because Retrograde Mercury is in a fire cycle for most of the year, you are going to feel its effects keenly.  Now is the time to get the car tuned up, sign up for that boxing class and put off the mountain climbing trip until after Mercury leaves the back end Shadow period.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – TAURUS SUN

Calm, steady Taurus can handle Mercury Retrograde with patience and fortitude.  You take things in stride and don’t let minor setbacks send you into a tailspin of self-doubt.  Simply waiting out Mercury’s retrograde periods works for you.  Cultivate your garden, pull up those weeds, get out the sewing machine and make that new dress or shirt, and go out for long, thoughtful walks in the woods.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – GEMINI SUN

Mercury Retrograde’s effects hit Gemini the hardest, for Gemini is a flighty sign by nature.  Because Gemini likes to flit from topic to topic and idea to idea quickly, Mercury Retrograde profoundly affects them with its delays, slowdowns and snafus.  Gemini Sun people can get bogged down in insoluble conundrums at this time.  More so than any of the other 12 Sun signs, Gemini needs to slow down now and keep the big picture in mind.  Mercury Retrograde will come to an end, so forget about finding those lost keys and make sure you have a spare set in a safe place before Mercury goes retrograde!  Set two alarm clocks and carry a mini memo pad in your pocket so you can make lists and have them all in one place.  Don’t let your glasses out of your sight!

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – CANCER SUN

Cancer copes with Mercury Retrograde in direct, practical ways.  Cancer is a cardinal sign and very resourceful in finding solutions to problems.  Although the conservative Cancer native does not care for Mercury’s added quirkiness during these retrograde periods, he/she endures them stoically.  At this time, the tendency will be to retreat into the home.  Clean out that closet, polish those copper pans, paint the living room and learn how to make cassoulet and coq au vin.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – LEO SUN

If you have the Sun in Leo, your feelings are easily hurt by Mercury Retrograde’s capricious twists and turns.  You take it personally that your friend stood you up for lunch because she put the date in the wrong week in her calendar!  Try not to be too disappointed when the star of that play you have been waiting months to see falls ill and is replaced by a stand-in on the night when you have tickets to see the show.  You are a dignified Leo and can endure these distasteful periods with royal forbearance.  Put off any auditions until after Mercury goes direct, preferably after he leaves the back end Shadow period.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – VIRGO SUN

Virgos fall prey to the same symptoms as Gemini natives – obsessive compulsive behavior, impatience and frustration with the obfuscation and confusion of Mercury Retrograde.  Virgos are slightly better equipped to handle the effects of Mercury Retrograde because they are so methodical, however, the nervous Virgo disposition is quickly worn down by the constant chaos and the disruptions that occur at this time.  The solution?  Same as for Gemini:  Slow down.  Revise that manuscript, dig out that research project about the mating habits of ants you put aside, or read that 1,000-page novel.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – LIBRA SUN

Libra, the sign of balance and harmony, can always see both sides of the story and, for the most part, can assimilate the disruptions of Mercury Retrograde without too much frustration, however, one of the biggest challenges for the Libra person is indecision.  Mercury’s pranks interfere with the decision-making process, slowing things down (and complicating things further for the poor Libran).  It is harder to make up your mind now, especially during the Storm periods, so it would be a good idea to consult a trusted friend to talk over those decisions that can’t wait until Mercury completely exits its retrograde cycle when the back-end Shadow period is over.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – SCORPIO SUN

At first thought, one might not think of Scorpio as a patient sign, but think again.  Scorpio waits for the right moment to sting and is shrewd when it comes to choosing the time to act.  This keen awareness of timing is a great defense against Mercury Retrograde, which is well known for interfering with timing, especially appointments and itineraries.  Like Leo, Scorpios take Mercury’s interference personally; the Scorpio person will wait patiently for the right time to retaliate, regardless of any handicaps like Mercury Retrograde.  Disrupting a Scorpio’s plans can be dangerous, but retrograde Mercury doesn’t hesitate to vex those who are too sure of themselves!

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – SAGITTARIUS SUN

To jolly Sagittarius, retrograde Mercury is just another lark!  So what if the car won’t start – take the bus!  That missing cell phone was obsolete anyway.  Your friend is an hour late for dinner and you burn the roast – no problem, we’ll try that new Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood and have more fun anyway!  Nothing gets a Sagittarian down, not even Mercury Retrograde.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – CAPRICORN SUN

If your Sun is in Capricorn, you just can’t resist micromanaging all aspects of your life during Mercury’s retrograde periods.  You already have a master list of all your appointments, bank accounts and important personal possessions.  Nothing is going to get lost under your watch if you can help it, for you already have a spare set of both car and house keys, a backup cell phone and, of course, you have diligently backed up ALL of your computer files of every nature whether word processing, website documents, photographs, art work, etc.  This was all done well before Mercury’s front-end Shadow because be prepared is Capricorn’s motto.

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – AQUARIUS SUN

Aquarians are naturally adept at dealing with disruption.  You are a law unto yourself, and Mercury Retrograde doesn’t faze you at all.  In fact, you delight it in the disruption, and may throw in a few zingers of your own just to stir the pot.  Aquarians are so naturally quirky, they might not even notice the effects of Mercury Retrograde!   

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – PISCES SUN

Our Pisces friends are disorganized by nature, and able to adapt to the times when Mercury is retrograde.  Mutable sign Pisces can adapt to anything.  Mercury Retrograde probably won’t contribute any more chaos than already exists in your life!  A little chaos is a good thing, for from it can come the highest inspiration, as symbolized by the ruling planet of Pisces, Neptune.  Of all the twelve signs, Pisces can get the most out of Mercury Retrograde, adapting to it like a fish to water.

 

 

The Last Word

            Keep in mind that Mercury Retrograde is a temporary condition that will pass.  We could all take a lesson from our Sun Capricorn friends, and be prepared!  To that end, attached is a chart of Mercury’s 2012 retrograde cycles to help guide us through the times when things might not go as smoothly as we would prefer.  Forewarned is forearmed.  Don’t retreat, rejuvenate!

MERCURY RETROGRADE CYCLES 2015

 

WINTER

 

Date

Event

Sign/Degree

1/5/15

Front-End Shadow Begins

1 Aquarius

1/21/15

Mercury Goes Retrograde

17 Aquarius

1/19-1/25 STORM 16-17 Aquarius

2/11/15

Mercury Disposits

1 Aquarius

3/4/15

Back End Shadow Ends

17 Aquarius

 

SPRING/SUMMER

 

Date

Event

Sign/Degree

5/7/15

Front-End Shadow Begins

7 Gemini

5/19/15

Mercury Goes Retrograde

13 Gemini

5/14-5/24 STORM 12-13 Gemini

6/11/15

Mercury Disposits

7 Gemini

6/27/15

Back-End Shadow Ends

13 Gemini

 

 

AUTUMN

 

Date

Event

Sign/Degree

8/28/15

Front-End Shadow Begins

0 Libra

9/17/15

Mercury Goes Retrograde

15 Libra

9/14-9/21 STORM 15-Libra

10/9/15

Mercury Disposits

0 Libra

10/24/15

Back-End Shadow Ends

15 Libra

 

 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – THE SHADOW AND THE STORM – 2012
How to Use This Chart

            This chart is a comprehensive data collection of Mercury’s three retrograde periods in 2012, including the Shadow and the Storm periods.  This data was collected from The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century, 2001 – 2050 at Midnight by Neil Michelsen.  There are three components to the chart, one for each season, and three columns in each component.  The first column is the calendar date(s) in Mercury’s retrograde period for that component; the second column is Mercury’s sign and degree on the date(s) in question; and the third column is the number of Earth days during which Mercury remains in the same zodiacal degree for that particular season/component.. 

The Shadow is the time (before it goes retrograde) when Mercury occupies the degree at which it will eventually go direct – this is called The Front End Shadow; once Mercury goes direct, the time it takes to go back to the degree at which it went retrograde is called The Back End Shadow.  The Shadow periods are underlined and appear at the top of each of the chart’s three seasonal components.

            The Storm:  Mercury’s Storm periods are the times when Mercury appears to come to a standstill, staying in the same degree from 4-7 Earth days.  The Storm periods are shadowed in grey and appear within each seasonal component of the chart.

            To make use of the information in the chart, i.e., to work with and around Mercury’s complete retrograde cycles, you should look at the transits and progressions in your own natal chart, paying close attention to the storm days.


 

MERCURY RETROGRADE – THE SHADOW AND THE STORM – 2012

Front-End Shadow Begins 27 February 2012; Back-End Shadow Ends 23 April 2012

 

Date of Mercury Transit – WINTER/SPRING

Degree/Sign

# of Days in Same Degree

March 9 2012 – March 15 2012 – THE STORM

6 Aries

MARCH 12 2012 – MERCURY RETROGRADE

6 Aries

Day 3 of 7

March 16 – March 17

5 Aries

2

March 19 – March 20

3 Aries

2

March 26 – March 27

27 Pisces

2

March 29 – March 30

25 Pisces

3

March 31 – April 2

24 Pisces

3

April 3 – April 6 – THE STORM

23 Pisces

4

APRIL 4 – MERCURY DIRECT

23 Pisces

Day 2 of 4

April 7 – April 9

24 Pisces

3

April 10 – April 11

25 Pisces

2

April 12 – April 13

26 Pisces

2

April 17 – April 18

0 Aries

2

 

Front-End Shadow Begins 27 June 2012; Back-End Shadow Ends 22 August 2012

 

Date of Mercury Transit – SUMMER

Degree/Sign

# of Days in Same Degree

July 3 – July 4

7 Leo

2

July 7 – July 8

10 Leo

2

July 9 – July 11

11 Leo

3

July 12 – July 18  - THE STORM

12 Leo

7

JULY 15 2012 – MERCURY RETROGRADE

12 Leo

Day 4 of 7

July 19 – July 21

11 Leo

3

July 22 – July 23

10 Leo

2

July 25 – July 26

8 Leo

2

July 28 – July 29

6 Leo

2

August 1 – August 2

3 Leo

2

August 3 – August 4

2 Leo

2

August 5 – August 11 THE STORM

1 Leo

7

AUGUST 8 2012 – MERCURY DIRECT

1 Leo

Day 4 of 7

August 12 – August 13

2 Leo

2

August 15 – August 16

4 Leo

2

 

Front-End Shadow Begins 19 October 2012; Back-End Shadow Ends 15 December 2012

 

Date of Mercury Transit – FALL

Degree/Sign

# of Days in Same Degree

November 1 – November 2

2 Sagittarius

2

November 3 – November 4

3 Sagittarius

2

November 5 – November 8 – THE STORM

4 Sagittarius

4

NOVEMBER 6 –MERCURY RETROGRADE

4 Sagittarius

Day 2 of 4

November 9 – November 11

3 Sagittarius

2

November 24 – November 30 – THE STORM       

18 Scorpio

7

NOVEMBER 26 – MERCURY DIRECT

18 Scorpio

Day 3 of 7

December 2 – December 3

20 Scorpio

2

 


 

[1] Mercury isn’t really going any slower, it is just that since he orbits the Sun four times as fast as Earth does, when we pass each other, each appears to be moving backwards from the other’s perspective like cars on a racetrack – when one passes another, the slower one appears to go backwards as the faster one overtakes it.

[2] Mercury’s Shadow period is when it crosses the degree in which it will eventually become retrograde (the front end Shadow), and once it goes direct, the period it takes for it to catch up to the degree at which it went retrograde (the back end Shadow); Mercury’s Storm period is when it appears to stop completely and stays in the same degree for 4-7 days.  The Storm Period is the climax of Mercury Retrograde and the time when its effects are the greatest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: 
http://cseligman.com/text/sky/retrograde.htm

http://jshawvan.homestead.com/mercrx2009.html

Michelsen, Neil F., The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century, 2001 to 2050 at Midnight, San Diego, ACS Publications, 1992.