Mercury Retrograde – the last hurrah of the mutable retrogrades.

This weekend, to accompany the new moon, Mercury enters his shadow – that part of the sky that he will retrograde over in a couple of weeks’ time. This retrograde is more significant than usual significant for a couple of reasons – one marking the ending of a cycle and the other marking the beginning of a different cycle.

The ending cycle is that of the mutable retrogrades that began with Mars entering his shadow over a year ago now. Mercury has ruled that series of retrogrades and is now serving his own time in backwards motion in direct and hard aspect to where Mars, Venus and then Jupiter have all been retrograde over the past months. Mercury is finishing off the business that was started back in November 2011 and has continued in one way or another reshaping, rethinking, reformulating and reimagining our lives. It is likely that much has happened over the past months that leaves you looking onto a very different landscape than the one you were looking out onto 15 months ago – whether that is a real, physical landscape or a metaphorical, imaginative one. There are few people who will have been able to escape the slow changes and re-ordering that this particularly intense series of retrogrades has brought.

Sabian symbols

6 Pisces, the degree at which Mercury enters his shadow and will later turn forwards again after his journey backwards gets ‘A Parade of Army Officers in Full Dress’

The dedication of human beings to the service of their community, and the assurance that it will be emotionally sustained by the people at large.

Keyword – Group responsibility

20 Pisces, the degree at which Mercury turns backwards and where later he will leave his shadow has ‘A table set for an evening meal’

An indication that in the end and at the appointed time the individual’s needs will be met among those to whom he is linked by a spiritual (or biological) web of energies

Keyword – Nourishment


And the degree of the inferior conjunction with the Sun, the point at which we see the purpose behind the retrograde motion, 15 Pisces has ‘An officer instructing his men before a simulated assault under a barrage of live shells’

The need for thorough rehearsing before any complex and inherently dangerous social ritual in which power is used or evoked

Keyword –  Valorization

All in all the story the Sabians tell for this retrograde phase of Mercury is that we learn to balance our needs for individual fulfilment with our need to belong to a community. It also has a very lovely message of trust – trusting that our needs will be met – and from that position of trust being able to go forward and give our best no matter what gets thrown our way. In many ways this theme should not surprise us as it forms the basis of the ongoing cardinal square with Uranus in Aries wanting to assert his own individual identity and Pluto in Capricorn wanting to adjust social structures and bring individuals into line with the needs of community. What Mercury retrograde brings is another element to this energy – the ability to learn to trust in something other than ourselves.

Chart for the inferior conjunction

Chart for the inferior conjunction

It is this ability to trust that will bring some sense of completion to the workings of the previous retrograde cycles of Mars, Venus and Jupiter and will stand us in good stead for the oncoming ones which will contact that cardinal square directly.

At the same time we have Mercury retrograde entirely within watery and receptive Pisces – this begins a series of Mercury retrogrades all within water signs and indicates some months of learning where our true values lie, what makes us genuinely happy and enriches our lives and what we expect to do so because that’s what society tells us ought to make us happy. It’s a time of really understanding our own emotional value systems and also what values we have taken from others but that we don’t genuinely relate to.

Bringing these two themes together we can see that there is a theme of learning what our true needs are – not just physical and material (although these are important) but also emotional, intellectual, spiritual. As we learn these we also come to understand our own unique contribution to our community and also come to trust that all our needs will be met. The difficulties may come if we have a distorted view of our needs, wanting things because that’s what society/parents/friends say we need, not because it is genuinely what we need. Pisces is great for spinning webs of illusion and so the Mercury retrograde through this part of the sky will be a good opportunity to learn to untangle some of those webs.

Take the opportunity to catch your own dreams, not chase the dreams of others

Take the opportunity to catch your own dreams, not chase the dreams of others


Here is Darkstar Astrology’s write up of this coming Mercury retrograde

And here is one from Alpha Life Trends



11 thoughts on “Mercury Retrograde – the last hurrah of the mutable retrogrades.

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