Mercury Retrograde has become as famous as the Kardashians and for good reason. It affects all of us, no matter our personal Sun or Moon sign, it causes misalignment in our love life and even causes technological meltdowns crashing the all-mighty Instagram and Facebook. So what is this astrological phenomenon that causes so much disruption and why does it feel like it’s happening all the time?
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun taking only 88 days to orbit the big ball of fire. That’s roughly three times faster than Earth, meaning it laps the Earth three times a year. When it does, we have Mercury Retrograde, an optical illusion that makes it appear as though Mercury is moving backward in our sky. The great planet of communication is not actually moving backward, though, it is simply passing by the Earth, waving as it takes down our email servers. Have you ever been on a train as another one passes by? For a split second, it seems like that passing train is moving backward until it overtakes the one you’re on and speeds away. Mercury is that second train, and that split second lasts for three weeks because planets are a lot bigger than trains.
The effects we feel from Mercury Retrograde are due to its alignment with the Earth. While its moving backward is an illusion, its energetic influence is not. Mercury governs our communication. It energetically facilitates the exchange of information whether it be through helping us speak our thoughts out loud, or making sure our technology is running smoothly, Mercury connects us with each other. Through this connection, we share ideas, expand our thought process, and embrace the spirit of community. Mercury helps send energy away from us and then helps others receive it. When direct, Mercury facilities the fast transmission of everything related to our speech, body language, writing, and our systems of technology. It not only helps you create the perfect Instagram caption to share your thoughts but also helps their transmission on the platform itself. Mercury is the messenger of the Universe and when running smoothly, delivers our messages in a timely, organized manner.
In retrograde, the normally outflowing energy of Mercury turns inward. It’s as if there is a kink in the information pipeline from us to the outside world. This effect touches everyone and everything. Nothing seems clear and mistakes are often made when dealing with the transfer of information of all types. Common Mercury Retrograde mishaps include: canceled or delayed flights, misinterpretations of contracts, internet server breakdowns, the resurgence of ex-partners and even typos or grammatical errors. Basically anything can be misconstrued during Mercury Retrograde if it pertains to information or energy exchange. So does this mean we should all sit in an isolated cave for three weeks, three times a year with no human interaction? No….but there are some precautions we can take to avoid any potential pitfalls of this transit AND there are some silver linings we can take advantage of during this time. Believe it or not, Mercury Retrograde can actually be a good thing!
Every Mercury Retrograde is different than the one before. Different things are happening in the cosmos and Mercury changes zodiac signs as frequently as the Sun, switching up the energetic theme of each Retrograde. This first retrograde of 2020 takes place in Pisces and Aquarius. Mercury will start its Retrograde motion on February 16th in Pisces and turn direct in Aquarius on March 9th, which also happens to be the Full Moon in Virgo. Mercury in Pisces takes on a dreamy effect. It allows us to dive deep into our fantasies and turn them into reality. Mercury in Pisces also facilitates us in sharing our visions with those around us. It helps us turn our thoughts into tangible constructs other people can understand and even helps us with as we build our dreams. It connects us to our feelings on a deeper level and communicates them to the people who matter the most. With Mercury Retrograde in Pisces, we heal through sharing our inner world and can open emotionally in ways that may not normally be available to us at other times. Mercury in Pisces is also a great time to delve into spiritual communication. Think Tarot readings, Lunar Rituals, Crystal meditations and the like. Anything to do with spirituality and communicating that energy to yourself and others benefits greatly under Mercury in Pisces.
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces embraces the energies of Mercury direct in Pisces while sending us even deeper into the realm of our own consciousness. It’s a highly beneficial time to communicate with yourself about your dreams and decide which ones are illusions and which ones you want to turn into reality. As you explore your visions, you also have greater access to your emotions around those dreams. Your blocks become more apparent and there is a great opportunity for healing the pieces of yourself which contribute to voices of self-doubt and unworthiness. Mercury Rx in Pisces teaches us that we heal by listening to ourselves. Sometimes this listening can be challenging and even cringe-worthy, but it’s only by truly understanding our inner demons that we shift them and unlock the pathway to our dreams.
Mercury Rx in Pisces is also a great time to go further into your spiritual studies. Find your inner shaman and grab your favorite deck of cards to make a night out of it. Practice your spread techniques and ask yourself, and the cards, any questions which come to mind. Just resist pulling cards for others during this time unless you know how to work with the energy of Mercury Retrograde. This rule particularly applies to Tarot which inherently holds a bit of dark magic. Unless you’re highly trained, avoid pulling Tarot cards for others during Mercury Rx. For yourself, though, do it every day if you desire. You can also learn to read your astrology chart, spending time on Time Passages app or astro-charts.com or focus your studies on the Lunar cycle through honoring the New Moon, which is conjunct Mercury Rx, or the Full Moon, which is also involved in the ending of this transit. Basically, anything that touches on your spiritual and energetic side is wide open for exploration this Mercury Rx. It has the potential to bring you new insights about yourself, your energy, and even your vibrational blocks.
So spiritual growth and communication are the good news. The somewhat bad news is that this Mercury Rx will block a few lines of communication, as it always does. Due to its position in Pisces, then in Aquarius, these blocks can occur while you’re communicating feelings or your visions to others. It’s a time to keep your dreams to yourself. It may be even harder to contain them during this time since this transit will be expanding them, but resist sharing them with others. Protect your dreams and allow the energy to build while not being affected by anyone’s misunderstanding of them. When Mercury goes direct on March 9th, share away and hopefully by that time you will have used the energy normally spent communicating with others to build the foundation of your dreams instead.
Some general rules of thumb during any Mercury Retrograde: back up your computer, double-check plans, and plane itineraries, if possible avoid signing contracts or read them three times over, resist calling your ex, and if any of your technologies breakdown take a deep breath and connect with nature. Also, carry some aquamarine with you or blue topaz to help clear your communication and practice singing or chanting each morning to free any blocks in your throat chakra. Lastly, just let everything flow. If something breaks, take it as an opportunity to rebuild better, if a meeting gets canceled, spend the time on yourself, if Instagram goes down, practice a card pulling ritual. Just go with it- it’s almost Pisces Season after all. Whatever is happening is meant to happen even if all of your emails get deleted.
*Images via Becca Reitz