Understanding the Mercury cycle is incredibly useful 
for help in staying organized, running your office and all forms of writing.
To learn how to maximize its usefulness, 
Contact Jamie for a reading.

Mercury Retrogrades

Mercury is now direct, not retrograde.

Current Mercury Retrograde period: January 21st to February 6th, 2015
From 1 to 17 degrees Aquarius

About the Mercury Cycle

Astrologers look at the position of Mercury to analyze the current mental chemistry of human beings. Mercury tells us about how the day-to-day details of life will be handled, how communications will proceed and how office relations will go. When Mercury is fast, such things proceed swiftly with few obstacles. When Mercury is retrograde there are obstructions and snarl-ups. Mercury forward (which astrologers call “direct”) periods are best used for forward motion and starting new projects; Mercury retrograde periods are best used for rest, contemplation, research and cleaning up old projects.

Every year Mercury goes through its normal cycle three times. This cycle has several parts: first we see Mercury race forward ahead of the Sun. Then it slows down and turns retrograde, or backwards. The Mercury retrograde period lasts for about 3 weeks, during which the forward-moving Sun will pass backward-moving Mercury, and they greet each other in a day of illumination (“Lesser Epiphany Day”). After another week or so, Mercury will slowly turn and start moving forward again. Then it speeds up and races to catch up with the Sun, greeting the Sun as it rockets past (“Greater Epiphany Day”). Finally, it will slow down again and turn retrograde. The whole of Mercury’s cycle lasts about 4 months, while the retrograde part of that is only 3 weeks. Naturally, this means Mercury goes through this cycle 3 times a year.

On this diagram above, Mercury begins its cycle moving forward, entering the Mercury retrograde period in the few days before January 21, as shown by the red line. Mercury moves so slowly as it’s preparing to turn retrograde and after it turns direct, that those additional days might just as well be considered part of Mercury retrograde. By the end, Mercury is direct again, and moving fast.

What is Mercury Retrograde? How does it feel?

The Mercury retrograde period happens every 4 months and lasts about 3 weeks. It is usually marked by snarl-ups in communication and breakdowns of communications equipment and networks, and of office equipment of all kinds. During Mercury retrograde, there’s an excellent chance that letters and packages will be lost in the mail and information will be delayed, leaving projects and lives in disorder.

Mercury is the god of communication, which sometimes takes a less concrete and more metaphorical form: when he is retrograde, people will experience that their words are received in a way entirely different from how they were intended. Or we experience so many interruptions that our train of thought is entirely derailed and we cannot get anything done. It’s best to plan for this and pad your schedule thoroughly. Allow more time than you think you need for everything you have to do. If there are things you need to accomplish and deadlines you must meet, be prepared to have to do things twice, perhaps even three times, to achieve your normal efficiency rate.

This is often experienced as a frustrating time because our modern society has a bias that things should always progress forward without a halt. When Mercury is retrograde, it is moving backward (in apparent motion as viewed from the earth), reminding us that, regardless of our notions of how things should be, life is actually lived in cycles of work and rest. Rather than trying to get things done or finish current projects during a Mercury retrograde period, it is better to go back and pick up the pieces of something old. People frequently find to their surprise that some long-shelved project gets finished effortlessly during this time, and that it shoves more current things aside to do so.

Plan to meet your current deadlines and be as finished as possible with current projects before Mercury goes retrograde. Then use this time as a period of introspection and reflection. It is a great time to clean out closets, both physical and metaphorical.  In fact, doing so physically can be very powerful, so go ahead and clean that desk, closet, garage, basement or attic. You might be surprised what you uncover and how much peace of mind results from the order you create.

Unfortunately, many people work in a business where it is simply impossible to contemplate your navel or avoid deadlines when Mercury goes retrograde. At work you may just have to deal with the fact that the business you are in goes against the tide and requires you to meet deadlines and to barrel ahead even though Mother Nature is saying “relax, people!” In that case you’ll deal with the usual Mercury retrograde annoyances: broken fax machine, lost messages, poor cell phone service and any of a hundred unexpected delays and miscommunications which will force you to slow down. If you go into it knowing that nature is forcing not only you, but also everyone, to slow down, then you don’t need to take it personally. It doesn’t mean you (or others around you) are inefficient or incompetent; it’s just that you’re all trying to have a picnic in a rainstorm. It makes no sense to complain that it’s raining—it just is. It’s better to stay inside, but if you can’t, the least you can do is bring an umbrella.

Paradoxically, a Mercury retrograde period is usually enjoyable to people who have Mercury retrograde in their natal chart to begin with. This is because such people already prefer a slower pace and have learned to field interruptions from their vast experience with them. If you are one of these, for once the rest of the world is on your wavelength and it can feel great.

Mercury Direct, speed increasing: Back to business [Mid-February 2015]

It’s back to the workaday world for the human race as Mercury slowly and gradually puts back together all the pieces mixed up during the last Mercury retrograde period, which lasted 21 days and ended on February 11.

In mid-February, Mercury is direct, but still moving slowly, so it’s a good idea to continue avoiding deadlines and contracts through February 17. Once the Mercury retrograde period is well over, it’s “back to business” and you can set deadlines and begin projects with expectation of finishing them on time (as long as the deadline isn’t during the next Mercury retrograde period, May 18 through June 11). You can also feel good about signing contracts, as they are less likely to need revising while Mercury is direct.

By the end of February, Mercury is moving swiftly, which suggests that events, office work and communications should proceed swimmingly for the most part. Fewer obstacles apply and you are free to move forward with speed and efficiency. It’s a ride with great momentum and I suggest you get on it. You’ll find others are doing it too and that meetings are easier to run than last month.

Mercury’s increasing pace sets a wonderful tone for beginning new 3-month projects. Now is the time to initiate, brainstorm, get started on those new ideas you’ve got. There will be a peak in mental efficiency on April 9 (Mercury crosses the Sun that day), so plan to expand on your projects until then and to begin trimming and contracting them after that, preparatory to Mercury’s next retrograde period, beginning in May.

While this is happening, make your plans and enjoy the ride!

Mercury Direct and moving fast: Efficiency is high [late february 2015 to early May 2015]

Here Mercury continues moving forward at a swift pace. This helps us handle details smoothly and stay organized. It’s a great time for meeting deadlines, planning long-term projects and generally getting a lot done. You won’t find yourself facing the kinds of snags that come up when Mercury is retrograde. This condition continues until Mercury slows down in early May preparing to turn retrograde on February 6. In the meantime, enjoy the easy ride by getting as much done as you can and by handling and clearing as much paperwork as possible during December and January.

Greater Epiphany Day—A day of illumination [December 28, 2013]

At the end of December, Mercury’s headlong scamper will cause it to catch up to and then pass the Sun. The day this happens, December 28, will be a day of illumination. It will be a day when breakthroughs are possible, new understandings emerge and mental clarity and focus are at their height. I call it Greater Epiphany Day, because the insights and clarity are bigger than the other Mercury-Sun connection (“Lesser Epiphany Day”).

This is like a natural peak on a wave. The weeks leading up to it are a great time to push into that day of natural epiphany. To surf this wave and take advantage of its rhythm, set up your current projects so that a peak in mental clarity that day would be advantageous and well-timed for you. Schedule your hardest, most detailed work for mid-December, right up to the 28th, and spend early January responding to the events that happen around that peak. Once late January rolls around you’ll want to start winding things down to prepare for the fallow Mercury retrograde period beginning February 6.

After Epiphany Day, Mercury still direct: Post-peak and gearing down [December 29, 2013 to January 28, 2014]

Mercury is still moving direct (i.e. forward) and fast as 2014 begins, so in that period efficiency will still be high. Continue setting and meeting deadlines, requesting rush jobs and generally getting lots done.

In late January, as Mercury begins to slow down, you should slow down too. Tie up loose ends and be more methodical. Expect less of yourself and others. Don’t take on more than you could handle if the lines got clogged (because rest assured, during the upcoming Mercury retrograde period, they will). Any loose ends you tie up here will not return to bite you when Mercury goes retrograde.

Finish projects by the end of January and celebrate your achievements. Set your final project (or project-phase) deadline for January 31. Get ready for the period of introspection that is coming in February. Start thinking about future projects you might do after the current ones are complete, but don’t set goals yet. The Mercury retrograde period will be the perfect time for ruminating and meditating on those future projects, especially if you go into it with an already-clean slate.

Mercury Retrograde: Look backward instead of forward; clear the old instead of initiating the new [February 6-28, 2014]

By the end of January 2014, Mercury slows down and prepares to go retrograde. Similarly, human beings should slow down, be more deliberate, tie up loose ends and otherwise prepare for the introspective 3-week Mercury retrograde period.

The day Mercury turns retrograde, February 6, will likely be a day of “getting it,” getting that you need to slow down, that you’ve been moving too fast and skipping over important details. During the Mercury retrograde period you will find yourself wanting to clean out closets (actually or metaphorically) and resolve old issues rather than create new ones or make strict deadlines. Why not start early to prepare for this natural time of inner searching? It’s a great time to retreat into your shell. It’s a great time to reexamine yourself, your life and your values in any area that comes up for you at present. It’s also a great time to clear up old messy communications between yourself and others, so be prepared—because people in your life who need to do that with you may present themselves. Mercury retrograde happens only three times a year, so pull out some large garbage bags and get ready to move a mountain or two. Imagine how sleek and streamlined your life will be after this purge.

What can I expect from this particular Mercury Retrograde period?

Each Mercury retrograde period has a theme based on the sign or signs Mercury is moving through at the time. This time Mercury begins his backwards journey in Pisces, then moves into Aquarius.

Mercury retrograde in Pisces can be a time of chaos and confusion, when things get muddled and muddied beyond recognition. It can also be a very intuitive time, and a time rich in imagination. On the other hand, Pisces can be the repository of some very unconscious stuff, so this Mercury retrograde period may draw your attention to thoughts and behaviors that are usually left unexamined. You may find your tolerance for the unconscious behavior of people around you is low. If you decide to speak of it, be gentle rather than pointed, and the results will be better.

As Mercury backs up into Aquarius, the situation shifts. Mercury loves being in Aquarius, and should provide us with an electric epiphany on February 15. Aquarius rules electricity, electronics and breakthrough thinking, so you may experience that you need to go “back to the drawing board” or back to the brainstorming table to cut through the confusion of the previous weeks. And be prepared for electronic items to go on the fritz, so have redundancy in place beforehand if you can.

Lesser Epiphany Day happens on February 15 this year, so close to Valentine’s Day that I suspect many couples will be having disagreements about things related to friendship, such as whether they are capable of being friends as well as lovers, and which friends support the relationship and which undermine it. These arguments should come to a head around February 15, hopefully resulting in a communication clearing that can leave the couple stronger and all friendships involved stronger too. Everything should be clear again by the time Mercury returns to the degree in Pisces where it turned retrograde in the first place. That’s 3º Pisces and it happens on March 20.

Lesser Epiphany Day, February 15: A Day of Insight

Every time Mercury goes retrograde it will also cross over the Sun, conjuncting it. The day this happens, of all the days of Mercury retrograde, will be rife with epiphany. Let your mind build up to it slowly and intuitively and you may find that on this day you become possessed with an idea which solves the greater problem you’ve been ruminating on for weeks or it might even solve a problem that got you stuck months ago. Alternately, it may be a day when you connect with or meet exactly the right person to help you solve that problem. Look for this kind of epiphany or connection anytime from February 13-17.

The last day of Mercury retrograde is February 28. That day and the days leading up to it may be characterized by a kind of urgency to finish up any closet-clearing you haven’t done yet. When Mercury turns direct we leave this introspective period behind. So take advantage of it while it’s happening!

How does this affect me and what should I do about it?

In Mercury retrograde there is purging. Cleanse your soul of all those things you’ve needed to say, wanted to say, dreamed of saying. Don’t forget that there are good things you’ve wanted to say! Be kind about how you do it, and you’ll find Mercury brings you closer to, not further from, others.

Mercury’s cycle impacts each individual in a personal way, according to the house it’s traveling through in that person’s chart. This personalizes its effect on you, because while Mercury’s passage affects everyone, one person may have it activating the area of sexuality while another is experiencing it in the area of money or home. If you find out exactly where Mercury is affecting you, you can target your purging and get much better results.

The last few Mercury retrograde periods:

February 23, 2013 to March 17, 2013 from 20º to 6º of Pisces
June 26, 2013 to July 20, 2013 from 23º to 13º of Cancer
October 21, 2013 to November 10, 2013 from 18º to 2º of Scorpio

The next Mercury retrograde period will begin in June of 2014. More news on that when the time comes.

Where are you having a communications breakdown-and-cleanup Mercury cycle? Contact Jamie for a reading. Get a look at this rogue’s dance through your chart this month and helpful suggestions for making good use of it in your unique life.

Astrology blogger since 2007

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