Mercury enters his shadow – retrograde phase begins

The most significant thing about to happen in the skies is something we probably won’t even notice unless we deliberately look for it. Tomorrow, 18th October, Mercury enters his shadow and starts to come into contact with issues that he is likely to have to go back over in the coming weeks. Plans made for travel, writings and meetings at this time might not work out quite as expected, with mote t’s to cross and i’s to dot than you expect. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s as well to be aware of it and prepare to exercise those patience muscles!

The retrograde moves from freedom loving Sagittarius back into deep, even obsessive, Scorpio suggesting that we will need to back and look at some potentially difficult issues before Mercury can really move on into Sagittarius and enjoy the wider horizons he brings. Looking at how things stand as Mercury enters his shadow can give us some hints about what sorts of things might come into his view during this retrograde.

As with so many things this year the emphasis as Mercury enters his shadow seems to be on relationships and the balance we can find through complementary pairings (in work, love, creative projects) – or the imbalance there can be if the pairing isn’t truly complementary. As he enters his shadow Mercury is still in sextile to Venus who has just passed through the square to Jupiter and a conjunction with Urania and Sappho – Venus has been more focused on creative and intellectual work than intimate relationships, and probably some household and health or beauty related tasks as well.

As Mercury enters his shadow the Moon is connecting Mars and Juno with Mars’s energy being tied into the more commitment focused Juno. Psyche and Cupido are still pretty close and generally it seems as though relationships are on a pretty even keel.

However, Venus is just about to square the infamous Ixion and Pholus indicating that her work is not received as she might have hoped – it’s a set back that affects her sefl esteem, even if only for a little while. For all of us it suggests that towards the end of this week we might need to give ourselves a little extra support or encouragement as it may not be forthcoming from elsewhere. At the same time others might want to persuade us to relax and indulge instead of working (that’s a Pholus influence) and at the same time take advantage of us, maybe taking our ideas, or blaming us if the boss comes along and wonders why we’re slacking (that’s Ixion). This kicks off the Mercury shadow, and what we do now may well end up having to be re-looked at.

If someone persuades you to slack off at work it might be you who gets blamed for everything!

As Mercury progresses on through Scorpio and the North Node Mars and Juno come into opposition with Jupiter – now this seems like a fated encounter – Juno is actually Jupiter’s wife so he is not likely to be too pleased watching her hanging out with Mars. There could well be arguments at this time which could spell a break down in relationships which had previously looked very promising. Again setting up the issues for Mercury to go back over and look at.

Add to this Psyche and Cupido are growing apart and they are about to oppose Eris, the goddess of strife and discord. So the gentle and fairly cooperative vibes around as Mercury enters his shadow begin to unravel.

Mercury will travel over the North Node on the 25th October – a significant time as this is where Mercury will later conjunct the Sun, highlighting the issues which need to be resolved during this retrograde. Look out around this time for any events, meetings, news that might become significant later.

Moving into November sees Mercury moving into Sagittarius – it probably feels a bit like a breath of fresh air to him as he surfaces from the depths of Scorpio. But then, on the 7th November Mercury goes retrograde – he has to head back towards Scorpio. As he does this we can see that the relationships that seemed so pleasant as he entered his shadow have now unravelled – Mars has moved away from Juno who is more interested in Jupiter as she moves into an opposition with him. Juno is also about to move through the Ixion and Pholus conjunction which looks like stormy waters for her. Meanwhile Cupid has moved away from Psyche, he is now in Scorpio and has his heart set on other dreams as he makes a trine to Neptune.

On the 13th November Mercury moves back to the degree of May’s solar eclipse – on the same day as another solar eclipse (I have written about the eclipses in this Mercury Rx phase here: Mercury Retrograde and the eclipses)

At this point Mercury is also square to Neptune who is just turning forwards after having been moving backwards ever since the last eclipse. The timing of this is beautifully symbolic and helps to show where dreams have faded out of our lives over the past few months leaving room for new and more grounded and realistic dreams.

Mercury then returns to the North Node and his rendezvous with the Sun and now we begin to see where things are heading with this retrograde, and what issues need to be sorted out.  Around about November the 17th is the time to look out for this – the conjunction to the North Node points clearly towards your future life direction and goals, so the rest of the Mercury retrograde will be about sorting things out so that the way is clearer for you to follow that path

Mercury and the Sun with the North Node will show the path to the future

As Mercury turns direct on 26th November we find relationships in a very different state than they were as he entered his shadow. Now we have Venus teamed up with Saturn, in Scorpio, indicating a relationship that has much greater commitment and staying power than the ones that were in play earlier. We also have Mars teamed up with Pluto – Mars’s energy now finds a much deeper and purposeful outlet and he’s prepared to put in the spade work to make sure it fulfils its promise. So we now see a situation where things can be placed on a much firmer footing, whether this is with colleagues, partners, friends, children, or just with yourself and your own dreams.

Mercury then moves forward, checking that he has crossed all those t’s and dotted all those i’s and that he is now able to properly enjoy the expanded horizons of Sagittarius. Mercury finally leaves his shadow on the evening of 23rd December – he’ll have been back over a number of things, digging deep to see where the problems are, where there are breakdowns in communication, where relationships aren’t working. If the relationships you have a re strong this time could see developments that move them into a new phase of commitment and depth of understanding. If they aren’t working they will fall apart leaving room for more productive relationships to be formed. And where there is deception, double dealing or dishonesty it will be brought into the open in order for it to be dealt with.

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