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This Year’s Mercury Retrograde

Is Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury is now direct (moving forwards), not retrograde.
Next Mercury Retrograde period:
August 4 to 28, 2024
From 4º Virgo to 21º Leo

You’ve probably heard about Mercury Retrograde, the celestial event most discussed by the astrological beginner. But what exactly happens when Mercury goes retrograde? And does this event deserve its bad reputation?

When Mercury, god of communication and ideas goes retrograde, it marks a time of tangles and confusion. But this can also be a fruitful time to reorient and reflect, if you know how to handle it.

Here’s our video about the 3 Mercury Retrograde periods of 2024. After viewing it, read on for a deeper understanding of how Mercury Retrograde works and how to navigate it.

What is Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury goes retrograde about three times a year. When it does, it marks a three week long period of rest, reflection, and reorganization. These periods call into question our automatic ways of communicating, rushing around our daily activities, and way of thinking.

Mercury Retrograde periods are usually marked by communication problems and breakdowns of office equipment, as well as technology of all kinds.  When Mercury is retrograde, there’s an excellent chance that letters and packages will be lost in the mail and information will be delayed. This could leave our projects and lives in disorder. 

How Long Does It Last?

A Mercury Retrograde period lasts around 3 weeks. Actually, it’s part of a bigger Mercury cycle that lasts about 4 months. The Mercury Retrograde period of August 2024 will last from August 4th to 28th.

Understanding the Mercury cycle can help you in all
of your business dealings. It can also help you
find time for introspection and soul searching.

 
To learn how Mercury functions in your chart
and how to use the retrograde cycle to your advantage,
 c
ontact Pandora Astrology for a
Natal and Transits Reading.

The Upcoming August 2024 Mercury Retrograde Period:

In August, Mercury will turn retrograde at 4º of Virgo on August 4, 2024 and travel backwards to 21º Leo, turning direct on August 28, 2024. This will bring up communication, contractual, and logistical issues which will not fully resolve until May 13, 2024. That’s when Mercury once again turns direct and also passes the degree of Virgo where it first turned retrograde. After that day, Mercury gets back up to his normal speed and thus logistics and communications can smooth out also.

Mercury will travel retrograde from 5º Virgo to 21º of Leo. Therefore, if you have anything at all in your chart between 21º Leo and 5º of Virgo, you will feel this transit strongly. Also, if you have anything in your chart in the same degree span of the other Mutable and Fixed signs (21º Aquarius to 5º Pisces, 21º Taurus to 5º Gemini or 21º Scorpio to 5º Sagittarius), you also will feel this strongly.

Mercury Retrograde 2024 in Fire Signs:

Each Mercury retrograde period has a theme based on the sign Mercury is moving through at the time.  In 2024, all Mercury Retrogrades happen in the Fire signs. This indicates a general focus on faith, optimism, and action. Mercury in the Fire signs is subjective, enthusiastic, theatrical, and impulsive. On one hand, she can be charismatic and persuasive. On the other, she can mistake opinion for fact and put her foot in her mouth. Mercury in Fire is charming in conversation, but also sometimes aggressive or overbearing. 

The retrogrades of Mercury through the Fire signs will teach you how to think before you speak. Additionally, you are learning to express enthusiasm and positivity, and how to turn ideas into actions.

Click each diagram to read more about the upcoming Mercury Retrogrades of 2024:

Mercury Retrograde in Aries, April 2024Mercury Retrograde in Virgo and Leo, August 2024Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius, November and December 2024

April 2024’s Mercury Retrograde in Aries
August 2024’s Mercury Retrograde in Virgo and Leo
November and December 2024’s Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

How Can I Use the Mercury Retrograde Cycle To My Advantage?

Astrologers look at the position of Mercury to understand the current mental chemistry of human beings.  Mercury tells us how the day-to-day details of life will be handled. Additionally, it tells us how communications will proceed, and how office relations will go.  When Mercury is “direct” and fast, these matters proceed easily and with few obstacles. Luckily, Mercury is direct and fast for most of its cycle.

When Mercury is “retrograde”, it moves more slowly. Mercury’s direct periods are best used for forward motion and starting new projects. On the other hand, Mercury’s retrograde periods are best used for contemplation, research and cleaning up old projects.

Let’s get deeper into how to plan for Mercury Retrograde and how to adapt to its demands.

1) Allow More Time For Everything.

Mercury is the god of mental activity, machinery, communication technology, logistics, commuting and travel. When Mercury goes retrograde, technology breaks down. Messages get lost. Plans are derailed, trains are delayed, tires are flattened, and files are lost. In fact, we tend to experience so many interruptions that our focus is shattered and we can’t seem to get anything done.

It’s best to plan for the upcoming interruptions, misunderstandings, and logistic problems by padding 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. You may have to have to do things twice, perhaps even three times, to achieve your normal efficiency.

The best way to fully prepare for Mercury Retrograde is to plan ahead. In other words, meet your current deadlines and finish current projects before Mercury goes retrograde.

2) Be Extra Careful In Your Communications

Mercury is the god of communication. Therefore, when Mercury is retrograde, you notice that your words are received differently than you intended.  Your words can be spoken hastily, and are subject to misinterpretation. Or mishearing. On the other hand, you may be so introverted with your thinking that we fail to communicate thoroughly and clearly.

Double check dates, details, and plans. Ask for clarification when discussing anything, but especially logistics and schedules. When speaking and listening, pay attention to tone. Try to conduct important conversations in person. Better yet, delay extremely important conversations that require nuance until Mercury is direct and moving at a decent speed.

Mercury Retrogrades can be wonderful times for improving communication problems and clearing old misunderstandings. They can also be good times to fix something that was already broken before this period began. These periods work best when you curb your irritation, maintain patience and express yourself with warmth and sympathy. Relating to people by focusing on their good intentions instead of their failures will help everyone get through it more smoothly.

3) Ditch The Productivity Mindset

Mercury’s retrograde cycle is often experienced as a frustrating time. That’s because our modern society has a bias that things should always progress forward without a halt.  When Mercury is retrograde, it seems to move backwards. Likewise, regardless of our notions of how things should be, life is actually lived in cycles of work and rest.

Rather than trying to finish current projects during a Mercury Retrograde period, it’s better to go back and pick up the pieces of something old.  People often find to their surprise that some long-shelved project gets finished effortlessly during this time, somehow shoving more current projects aside.

Use this time as a period of introspection and reflection. It’s a great time to clean out your closet, both physical and symbolic. In fact, doing so literally can be a very powerful exercise. So go ahead and clean that desk, closet, garage, basement or attic. Who knows? You might be surprised what you uncover and how much peace of mind results from the order you create.

What If I Just Can’t Plan Around Mercury Retrograde?

Unfortunately, many people work in a business where it is impossible to avoid deadlines. We can’t all contemplate our navels for a significant amount of time. Therefore, you may just have to accept that the business you are in goes against the celestial tide and requires you to barrel ahead. All despite Mother Nature’s message to “relax, people!” 

In that case, you will find ourselves dealing with the usual Mercury retrograde annoyances. For example: broken fax machines, lost messages, poor cell phone service. Be prepared for unexpected delays and miscommunications which force you to slow down. 

At best, you can enter retrograde times with the awareness that nature is forcing us all to slow down. That’s the key to avoiding emotional reactivity and taking it personally.

It’s not that you, or others around you, are inefficient or incompetent. It’s just that we are all trying to have a picnic in a rainstorm. However, it makes no sense to complain that it’s raining—it just is.  Maybe it’s better to stay inside, but if you can’t, the least you can do is bring an umbrella.

What if I Have Mercury Retrograde in my Natal Chart?

Interestingly, a Mercury Retrograde period is usually less freaky for people who have Mercury retrograde in their natal chart to begin with.  That’s because these people naturally prefer a slower pace. Similarly, they’ve already learned to field a wide variety of constant interruptions from their lifetime of Mercury Retrograde experience.

If you are one of these natives, Mercury’s retrograde period can mark a time when the world is finally on your wavelength. And it can feel great!

The Mercury Cycle and Its Milestones

As you can see in each diagram above, Mercury begins its cycle direct. The red line shows Mercury retrograde period, and the few days before it pivots. Mercury moves so slowly as it changes direction that those additional days may as well be considered part of the retrograde. The period when a planet is in the process of changing direction is called a “station.” By the end of the cycle, Mercury is direct again and moving fast.

Mercury’s entire cycle lasts about 4 months. Meanwhile, the retrograde part of the cycle lasts only 3 weeks. Naturally, this means Mercury goes through this cycle 3 times a year.

Here are the stages of the Mercury Retrograde Cycle:

1) Mercury Direct and moving fast:  Efficiency is high

Mercury is moving forward at a swift pace.  This helps us to handle details smoothly and stay organized.  It’s a great time for meeting deadlines, planning long-term projects, and generally getting a lot done. Enjoy the easy ride by getting as much done as you can. Meet every deadline as efficiently as possible. Stay organized as you go.

Mercury direct usually lasts for about 2 months—more than half of Mercury’s total cycle. No wonder we feel this is how it should always be!

2) Greater Epiphany Day—A day of illumination

At some point along Mercury’s headlong scamper, it catches up to the Sun.  This is a day of illumination.  It’s a day when breakthroughs are possible, new understandings emerge, and mental clarity is at its height.  I call it “Greater Epiphany Day”. It’s like a natural peak on a wave. Therefore, the weeks leading up to it are a great time to push into that day of natural epiphany.

Surf this wave and take advantage of its rhythm. For example, set up your current projects so that the peak in mental clarity will be advantageous and well-timed for you.  Schedule your most difficult and detailed work for the weeks leading up to Epiphany Day. Plan to spend the following period responding to the events that happen around that peak.

3) After Epiphany Day, Mercury still direct:  Post-peak and gearing down

Right after Epiphany Day is past, Mercury is still direct and moving fast. Efficiency will still be high.  You can continue to set and meet deadlines, request rush jobs, and generally get a lot done. Finish projects now and celebrate your achievements.

However, about a week before the station, Mercury begins to slow down, and you should too. Start winding things down to prepare for the Mercury retrograde period that’s coming. Expect less of yourself and others. Likewise, don’t take on more than you could handle if the lines got clogged. Any loose ends you tie up here won’t return to bite you once Mercury reverses.

You can start thinking about future projects after the current ones are complete. However, don’t set any goals yet.  The Mercury retrograde period will be the perfect time for ruminating and meditating on those future projects. Even more so if you go into it with a clean slate.

4) Mercury Retrograde:  Look backward instead of forward; clear the old instead of initiating the new

The day Mercury stations retrograde is a day of realization. We realize that we’ve been moving too fast and skipping over important details. We realize that we need to slow down. 

It’s a great time to look inward and examine yourself, your life and your values. It’s also a great time to clear up old messy communications between yourself and others. Be prepared: people in your life who need to do that with you may pop up now.

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 smooth and streamlined your life will be after this purge.

5) Lesser Epiphany Day–A Day of Insight

For every time Mercury goes retrograde, it will also meet the Sun and conjunct it.  The day this happens will be a peak of epiphany during the retrograde. Let your mind build up to it slowly and intuitively. As a result, you may find that on this day you have an idea that solves the problem you’ve been stuck on for weeks, or even months.

Alternatively, 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 in the 5 days surrounding Lesser Epiphany Day.

6) Mercury Retrograde period ends, Mercury turns direct

The day Mercury stations direct again is marked by a sense of urgency. You will want to finish up any clearing and cleaning that you haven’t done yet. That applies to your conversations as well as your closets.

When Mercury is finally direct, you can leave the introspective period behind.  This is your last chance to get the most out of this retrograde period. Take advantage of it while it’s happening!

7) Mercury Direct, speed increasing:  Back to business

It’s back to work for the human race. Mercury is slowly putting all the pieces back together. When Mercury first goes direct, it’s still moving slowly. Therefore, it’s a good idea to continue avoiding deadlines and contracts at this time.

Once Mercury speeds up, it’s “back to business.” At this point, you can set deadlines and begin projects with the healthy expectation of finishing them on time. You can also feel good about signing contracts. While Mercury is direct, contracts are less likely to need revising.

8) Mercury Direct conjuncts the Sun—Greater Epiphany Day again

Two weeks after Mercury turns direct, it is already moving fast. At this point, there are fewer obstacles, and you can 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. Mercury’s increasing pace sets a wonderful tone for beginning new 3-month projects.  Now is a great time to brainstorm and get started on any new ideas you’ve got.

The last point on the diagram is exactly like the first point. It marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. A peak in mental efficiency comes on the day Mercury meets the Sun. Therefore, plan to expand on your projects until this peak. Likewise, plan to trim and consolidate your projects after this peak, before Mercury’s next retrograde period.

Does the Upcoming Mercury Retrograde Affect You?

You will feel this transit in the area of life (the house) that Mercury is in while retrograde. Also you will feel it in the house that Mercury rules in your chart. (That’s something you can learn more about in a reading.) Lastly, if your Sun falls within Mercury’s upcoming retrograde path, you will definitely feel this transit.

Generally speaking, here are the birthdates (in any year at all) that are most affected by the April 2024 Mercury retrograde:

April 4 to 17
July 6 to 19
October 7 to 20
January 5 to 18

If you want to understand
this Mercury Retrograde period’s effect on your life,

request a reading on our services page.

What house in YOUR chart is this Mercury retrograde period in?

If you find out exactly where Mercury is affecting you, you can target your purging and get much better results. The house Mercury is retrograding through in your chart provides the key and tells you where in your life to look for clearing that needs to be done. (Don’t know your chart’s house structure? Cast your own chart on astro.com with the help of this article I wrote showing you how.)

Mercury Retrograde by House:

First House: This one is personal. Look at your own behavior for changes that you need to make and ask others for mirroring about it. Listen to them.
Second House: Clean up your finances. Your disorganization or lack of awareness there is holding you back.
Third House: Your communications need some work. There are things unsaid or unheard. Ask those you speak with frequently.
Fourth House: Your home needs better organization. Cleaning closets, basement, attic or a visit to the container store will yield a better nest for you.
Fifth House: You’ve got a backlog of creative projects that need your attention. Trim, prune and finish. Make space for more future creativity.
Sixth House: Clean your desk. Your way of handling papers, capturing ideas and managing projects needs an update. Doing so will bring revelations.
Seventh House: Your relationships have gotten messy because of things unshared. You may need to revisit the original contract and remind yourself what it says.
Eighth House: Clean up and become aware of all the ways you intersect with others financially. Know what your stocks and IRA are doing. Know how your spouse is earning and spending. Oh, and talk about sex instead of just having/not having it.
Ninth House: Reexamine your ethics and what the things in your life mean to you. Reconsider your beliefs. Reread/revise the mission statement.
Tenth House: Clean up the message your reputation is communicating. Clean up relationships with business partner, boss, employee, contractor, agent, client.
Eleventh House: Clean up communications in your friendships. Which missed, unspoken or botched words have tangled your tribe’s web? Clear them up.
Twelfth House: Open up channels to listen to your conscience. Ask what you can do for your Greater Self, instead of what it can do for you.

Go Deeper into Mercury Retrograde

Read about Mercury Retrograde in the last couple years.

2023
April and May 2023’s Mercury Retrograde in Taurus
August and September 2023’s Mercury Retrograde in Virgo
December 2023 and January 2024’s Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

2022
December 2022 and January 2023: Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn
September-October 2022: Mercury Retrograde in Libra and Virgo
May-June 2022: Mercury Retrograde in Gemini and Taurus

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