Mercury retrograde? An expert guide in current member edition

An Expert's Guide to Mercury Retrograde.

An Expert’s Guide to Mercury Retrograde.

In today’s premium members’ issue of Planet Waves, Eric delves into the phenomenon of Mercury retrograde with a practical, nuts-and-bolts guide to how to navigate these little astrological detours with The Trickster. As with seemingly most people, Mercury retrograde was Eric’s first introduction to the world of astrology. He has written about more than 50 Mercury retrograde events since starting as an astrology writer in 1995. This article is the distilled knowledge of that experience.

This issue also includes your extended monthly horoscopes for February for all 12 signs (the perfect complement to your Mars Effect readings, by the way, as we edge closer to this next Mercury retrograde), as well as some fascinating astro-news briefs — such as a quick look at the chart for Mike Huckabee’s asinine comments about women’s birth control and libidos yesterday.

You can purchase the issue individually; or sign up for a free one-month trial offer, and receive our twice-weekly mailings directly in your inbox. Additional membership options can be found in the drop-down menus at the top of this page.

Eric Francis

About Eric Francis

Planet Waves began in 1998 as the home of the Eric Francis horoscope, a prominent feature in our premium service. Going far beyond what most Sun-sign astrologers even dream is possible, Eric brings in-depth interpretations to his work. He is a pioneer in the newly-discovered planets, including Chiron and the centaurs, and is able to translate their movements into accessible human terms, offering ideas for life, love and work. Discover a whole new world of literary journalism in Planet Waves. We offer free trial subscriptions, discounts for students and seniors, and gift subscriptions for veterans and those on active military duty.
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21 Responses to Mercury retrograde? An expert guide in current member edition

  1. jinspace says:

    Wow, Eric, that is really an EXPERT expert guide to Merc retrograde. My Mercury rx in Virgo mind thanks you.

  2. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Carlos: Thank you for your correlations from the Mayan calendar which give us a sense of the “Mercury storm” parameters, and a reason to look forward to the Vernal Equinox. We are so very fortunate to have you as part of Planet Waves!

  3. Cosmicjaguar says:

    Hi Eric, I started looking up dates on the Maya calendar for the Mercury retro period.
    Jan. 22, 2014 was 11 Noj/Earthquake. That was the day of a really big protest battle in Kiev, Ukraine. That day 11 Earthquake also as Nov. 9, 1989 when the Berlin wall came down.

    Two days before Mercury comes out of the shadow phase (March 20), we reach 11 Toj/Water when a new 1/5 division of the tzolkin calendar starts.

    11 Toj was also Saddam Hussein’s tzolkin b-day and the day when Katrina hit NOLA!

    So this Mercury retro is bracketed by two days of extreme mental and emotional shake ups.

    The phase when Mercury turns direct until it exits the shadow is 9 Ix/Jaguar, Feb. 28, to 3 Jaguar on the Spring Equinox March 20. This will be a great time for Mother Earth and the shamans!

  4. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Carrie: Thank you for sharing the self-knowledge facet of Mercury retrograde’s gem. You are evidently doing good work (and selflessly sharing the proceeds of that work as well) – please give yourself full credit for that just as you have given us the full benefit of your conscious evolution.

  5. carecare7 says:

    And Merc goes retro at 3 deg. Pisces; right on my Sun.

  6. carecare7 says:

    First; I am already feeling this Merc Retro; I have started going into that phase that happens sometimes where instead of being my usual, practical, efficient, realistic Virgo Rising self, I am turning into my emotional, intuitive, feeling, inefficient, Pieces Sun self. This causes all sorts of problems because I still have a child that needs me so despite being crone-aged in physiology (done with menopause), I am still in mother-mode. The stuff this upcoming Merc Retro is digging up is damn uncomfortable; the two things I am feeling cannot be reconciled without someone being hurt.

    Then there’s this from the monthly just published:

    “When you feel any kind of approach-avoid, the first thing to check for is guilt. Fully soaking in your own reality implies that you will be yourself, and express yourself, without any reservations. Approach-avoid might show up as hesitancy with people knowing who you actually are, as if hiding it from yourself could in some way prevent them from finding out.”

    That is exactly what I am feeling; guilt and a stress of knowing my self but being unable to BE myself because of the harm it could cause.

    I hate these emotional times; they disrupt my otherwise orderly and smooth-running life.

  7. Bette Loreen says:

    I don’t look forward to Mercury Rx spells, but I have found that awareness & willingness to practice patience, along with double-triple checking all matters Mercury-related, eases the trudge through it. It may not be the best time to initiate a project, but does lend itself to the preparation/research one needs to do before starting something new.

    I have natal Mercury Rx in Sagg, 6th house, & in my career in copywriting/editing/graphic arts, I’m inclined to attribute my abaility to both write concisely & proofread meticulously to that natal Rx. Otherwise, since my Mercury opposes Uranus, I suspect I wouldn’t have had the patience.

    The coming retro transit will all happen in my 9th house; I have some long-wanted books arriving soon & will immerse in the reading – also hope to finish the mural I’m working on, which will probably be installed after Mercury turns direct. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my travel very local, taking extra care of my old truck, & chuckling at the inevitable glitches that come up in news broadcasts & such. Pushing to maintain schedules & routines can indeed backfire, & as Kosmic Mind noted, that can be a message to step back – breathe – find another way.

    Eric & crew, this is an outstanding edition; I’m looking forward to reading/re-reading all of it, while outside, snow continues to fall here in the Great White North.
    Bette

  8. P. Sophia P. Sophia says:

    Kosmic Mind: Thank you for your comment. “The more open minded we are, the more insightful and rewarding the experience is.”

    Keeping a perspective of discovery during this aspect and to ‘allow the leading’, I agree is key to freedom; rebirthing a new expression. Last night I visioned lll of Swords. It often indicates that it is time to let go of things that you know are no longer positively serving you in your life.

  9. Kosmic Mind Kosmic Mind says:

    Ah, Mercury Retrograde. Such a trickster, indeed. You never quite know when or where it will strike or whether it will or not. I’ve attempted to make some sense of Mercury retro through the years, looking for some logical pattern or aspectual relationship to explain the anomalies; but alas, a predictable formula evades me. I think that’s the “trickster” quality inherent to Mercury. In mythology Hermes was always one step ahead of the game; he (or it) could outwit even the gods and goddesses. The trickster is a boundary crosser; no other god can move between realms (human and divine) with such agility.

    I tend to view the retrograde as having this boundary crossing ability–when it speaks to us; it urges us to cross a threshold, to move into new realms and realities. When Mercury is retro I’m actively looking for opportunities to do this, to move beyond what I currently know and understand and open up to something more, something I’ve likely overlooked.

    But if there’s one thing that I do find consistent with each retrograde, it’s the opportunity to learn something new, but not just anything. Mercury retro invites us to question our assumptions of reality, to see things from a different perspective. This often comes to us in the form of random information we may suddenly stumble upon, or it may come through other people we meet or currently know. The more open minded we are, the more insightful and rewarding the experience is.

    So with each Mercury retro I often ask myself, “What do I need to look at to reassess my worldview”? I think that having a humble attitude and an openness to experiences that we encounter during a retrograde really assist us to get the most out of it. You never know what you may discover, or how life changing just one bit of knowledge may actually be.

    When misfortune strikes (as it often does, in the form of minor inconveniences or technical breakdowns), it’s best to see it as an opportunity to slow down and to notice another aspect of reality you’ve forgotten to acknowledge. Maybe your car breaks down, but perhaps it’s a opportunity to take a walk, notice the trees, take in the fresh air. Experience the world in a way you wouldn’t otherwise.

  10. DivaCarla DivaCarla says:

    Len Wallick, I’ve been trying to get ride of this futon for a couple of years. Can you bring your truck over this weekend?

    Alphintern, we must be twins, at least as far and Saturn and Mercury are concerned. Pop the bubbly for merc retro over natal mercury.

    Oh, I posted the Huckabee slime on my FB page for as long as I can stand it. I can’t help but see the cream pies hitting his face about the time he tells women to “stand up …. SMACK! smack SPLAAT! Stand up women, Line up, take a pie, and take aim.

  11. P. Sophia P. Sophia says:

    I had a long list of to-do’s to set out upon this week/today, but found myself knee deep this AM in boxes in the attic hunting for old photos, and old business cards and ancient love letters keep surfacing for re-view. Finding it hard to stay on task today. My gmail has been slower than snail mail!

    This Mercury Rx stations just about exact, conjunct natal Saturn (Rx) 4 Pisces. It’s already stirring up (or better said, clearing up) the old, so hoping it is to free the set, and get ready for more space of open minded play!

  12. ElizMich says:

    Alphintern: yup, I’m laughing. Yikes and good luck!!!!

  13. ElizMich says:

    To quote Amanda, generally I experience Mercury retrograde as a cluster-fuck. I have Mercury rising. When Mercury turns backwards, I cannot get out of my own way. Even my best planning, with my astrological knowledge, will not get me out of my own way. I think of it as someone (that trickster!) just playing a funny game with me– seeing how far Elizabeth can go before she has steam coming out of her ears– but I’m realizing, in retrospect, that it is more likely that I was being a type A personality going in the WRONG direction. Often, in my experience, that’s the blessing with this retrograde– retrospection, whether voluntary or not. Stop and look where you’re going and re-assess. Re-think, re-organize, re-set. Re- anything. Just stop pushing so hard, because you will get frustrated by that “brick” wall, which is actually just Mercury’s invisible hand.

  14. Alphintern Alphintern says:

    During the entire time of this Mercury Rx I also have the following transits going on: Merc conj Merc, Merc square Saturn, Saturn square Merc, Merc square MC, and Mars trine Merc.
    By the way I’m in my second Saturn return. Doesn’t it look like I’m about to go into mental institution with an iron ball and chain around my ankle? (I’m laughing too.)

  15. Amy E says:

    I’m Virgo Asc with MC and Sun ruler in Gemini, also Mars-Jupiter conjunct in Virgo.

    During Mercury Rx, my brain invariably turns to mush. :) I try to make a habit of reading more, i.e. taking in information, as opposed to writing, which has a tendency to slow down.

  16. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    If you have a pickup truck, you have some knowledge of what it’s like to be an astrologer during Mercury retrogrades. Once people find out you have a pickup, you are always getting requests to to help folks move. Those who know i’m an astrologer are constantly asking me “What’s going on?” during Mercury retrogrades.

    Also…what Fe said.

    Finally, many thanks to Nina Gabriel for her inspirational pieces.

  17. Fe Bongolan says:

    Love how the retro will start one degree from my natal degree of Aquarius and end at one degree from my Mercury, which is at 29-30 Aquarius. This feels like a great time to write for theater – political and lyrical!!

    That probably is also why found my dreams and imaginings journal buried under the bills on my kitchen table this am. That visual metaphor alone says alot about this upcoming retro. Got to follow!

  18. astrodem says:

    I’ve got Mercury retrograde in my birth chart, within a degree of where Mercury will be stationing on February 6th. Neat, huh?

    I think retrograde Mercury in Pisces has given me an unusually introspective yet visionary outlook on life — which can feel isolating much of the time. Mercury retrogrades sometimes come with their usual bag of tricks, but just as often they are periods where it feels natural and normal to be introspective and visionary.

  19. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    i’ll be curious to see how this Merc Rx plays out, and when it peaks. for some retrogrades, i feel it and see its effects during the first echo/shadow phase and/or the post-Rx echo/shadow; sometimes it’s strongest around the stations; sometimes it’s the retrograde itself that is a cluster-fuck.

    i can’t say that i recall any that i can pinpoint to Rx Mercury transiting my natal planets, but i’m sure if i paid closer attention (SO MUCH to pay close attention to in the sky!) i would. or rather, i guess it’s most likely that i have noticed the personal transits at times, but like the swift mercury itself, my mind quickly moved on to the next thing.

    i think the most striking retrograde phase i can recall was a couple years ago almost, when we had a mercury rx, venus rx in gemini and mars rx in virgo all very close together spanning a few months, like passing the baton in a relay race. it felt like one long, massive mercury rx because the other planets were ruled by mercury. electronic/technological gifts given to me while the other planets were dancing around, even though mercury was direct, either did not work, or were not used by me (or at least, not for a long time). it was fascinating.

    other times, it’s interpersonal communication that seems to get especially squirrelly, esp over email. though there have been a few times when i will get a cluster of wrong numbers on the phone right around mercury stationing, which always makes me laugh. at least a couple times, i’ve had my phone go wonky or stop working during a mercury rx. but i heeded eric’s general advice to wait out things like that — and sure enough, my phone started working again of its own accord both times.

    i can’t recall any true travel disasters, but have certainly experienced delays when traveling during a mercury station or storm. i’ve always found some patience and faith that things will work out & i’ll get where i need to go eventually to be the best method for dealing with it. good humor really can go a long way in those situations.

    and of course, i’ve been locked out of my house often enough to know that if i’m not ***paying attention*** to the task at hand (getting ready to leave my home) instead of thinking of any number of other things, i have only myself to blame — for not noticing where my thoughts are. mercury did not hide my keys. i simply was not present and focused.

    but he’s still a tricky little bugger, that mercury!

  20. Shelley says:

    Yes, thanks for the written insight and also the art by Nina Gabriel that encourages understanding on another level.

    I’ve found that relaxing allows me to have a more positive Mercury retrograde experience. If I’m feeling I need to control an outcome or strive for immediate results during this time, it tends to backfire, which is part of why it has such a bad reputation—our culture has an affinity with control which leads to feelings of powerlessness.

  21. Amanda Painter Pauline via email says:

    Please give my regards to Eric, never seen anyone so spot on in their astrology readings.
    Amazing, really!

    Love, pauline

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