This Year’s Mercury Retrogrades

Mercury is now direct, not retrograde
Previous Mercury Retrograde period: October 4th to 25th, 2014
From 2 degrees Scorpio to 16 degrees Libra
Next one begins January 21, 2015.

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.

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.

The Mercury Cycle Oct 2014On this diagram above, Mercury begins its cycle moving forward, entering the Mercury retrograde period in the few days before October 4, 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-July 2014
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 24 days and ended on July 1.

In early July, Mercury is direct, but still moving slowly, so it’s a good idea to continue avoiding deadlines and contracts through July 8.  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, October 4 through 25).  You can also feel good about signing contracts, as they are less likely to need revising while Mercury is direct.

By mid-July, 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 August 8 (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 October.

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

Mercury Direct and moving fast:  Efficiency is high
Mid-July through late September 2014
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 late September preparing to turn retrograde on October 4.  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 July, August and September.

Greater Epiphany Day:  August 8, 2014–A day of illumination
At the beginning of August, Mercury’s headlong scamper will cause it to catch up to and then pass the Sun.  The day this happens, August 8, 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 July and August, right up to August 8th, and spend the rest of August responding to the events that happen around that peak.  Once late September rolls around you’ll want to start winding things down to prepare for the fallow Mercury retrograde period beginning October 4.

After Epiphany Day, Mercury still direct:  Post-peak and gearing down
August 9, 2014 to October 4, 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 September, 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 September and celebrate your achievements.  Set your final project (or project-phase) deadline for September 27.  Get ready for the period of introspection that is coming in October.  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
October 4-25, 2014
By the end of September 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, October 4, 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 Scorpio, then moves into Libra.

Mercury retrograde in Scorpio can bring a deep purging, but sometimes this is a result of some pretty pointed truth-saying.  Some truths are hidden for a reason, and when they all come surging up to the surface, they can bring destruction in their wake.  This may be the only Mercury retrograde sign that makes me say, “proceed with extreme caution,” because things said cannot be unsaid and there may be consequences that leave the landscape entirely changed. Anything you have to say that feels like poison within you—as if it will kill you as long as you keep it inside—is especially cause for caution.  Approach your listener with a desire for healing, not revenge. Clearing old stuff from the past should be done carefully and gently, because it may land with much more impact than you expect and its effects may well be permanent.

As Mercury backs up into Libra (and it does so promptly—on October 10th), the mood lightens up a great deal.  Now instead of revenge being a motivator, it’s about fairness.  Mercury in Libra wants to negotiate, to hear as well as speak, and is capable of selecting what to say according to the listener’s ability to hear.  Lesser Epiphany Day comes on October 16, bringing insights along with it.  While there many be many lovers’ quarrels and other kinds of partnership arguments, clarity should descend around the 16th, and peace be restored—on a new footing—by the time Mercury returns to the degree in Scorpio where it turned retrograde in the first place.  That’s 2º Scorpio and it happens on November 10.

Spending the whole of this season’s Mercury retrograde period with an open, curious heart and a willingness to hear is the very best approach.

Lesser Epiphany Day, October 16–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 October 13-19.

The last day of Mercury retrograde is October 25.  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:
June 7, 2014 to July 1, 2014 from 3º Cancer to 24º of Gemini
February 6 to 28, 2014, from 3º Pisces to 18º Aquarius
October 21, 2013 to November 10, 2013 from 18º to 2º of Scorpio

The next Mercury retrograde period will begin in January of 2015.  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.

Return to Forecast page.