Mercury takes about 88 days to orbit the sun, and every time he passes between the Earth and the Sun, he goes retrograde. His orbit does not actually turn backwards, it just appears that way, similar to passing a car on the freeway.
Mercury rules the mind, short trips, and conversations, and he may actually be the most important planet in the zodiac. He rules our perceptions of the world - how we see and interact with things in our environment.
All of Mercury's cycle influences us more than we realize, not just when he is in retrograde. When Mercury is in retrograde, it is a time for reflecting on our past. After Mercury turns direct, new projects are most likely to succeed. As Mercury moves forward, he circles behind the Sun, and that will herald the time for seeing the results and reaping the benefits of the projects initiated earlier. After another forty-seven days or so, Mercury will begin his retrograde again, and it will be time to reevaluate our progress once more. The more we can stay in rhythm with Mercury, the less we will be discomforted by his retrogrades.
Our upcoming Mercury retrograde will begin on October 4th in the passionate Water sign of Scorpio, and it will end on October 29th. This will be Mercury's third retrograde this year, and all have been in Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces). Water signs are sensitive and emotional - the feeling part of the zodiac - so, we can expect excitable, zealous, and even fanatical behavior during this retrograde.
Mercury's last retrograde ran from June 7th to July 1st. Think back. Any unresolved issues from that time are likely to surface again during this retrograde. There will also be two eclipses occurring while Mercury is in retrograde, so it is likely there will be many upsets around this time, and not all of them will be of Mercury's making.
When Mercury is moving direct, he rules our attention, but when he is in retrograde the subconscious becomes more dominate and awareness becomes Mercury's focus. Ideas from the subconscious will make their way to our conscious minds more easily. We can put our problems "on the back burner," and let the latent part of our minds work on them. Mercury is also the Trickster, and surprises are likely. Great discoveries can happen, but unexpected accidents are also possible. That is probably the most annoying feature to Mercury's retrograde, and that is another reason why many have felt that Mercury Retrograde is a curse.
When Mercury is in retrograde, it is time to review our lives. In fact, almost anything that begins with "re" will be possible - reevaluating, redoing, rethinking, reorganizing, reconciling, etc. But, it is not a good time to start a new project (and that includes a new love affair). It is likely that new endeavors will fizzle out, or they will move in an unexpected direction. Some tasks begun under a Mercury retrograde wait until another Mercury retrograde is happening to fail. But, Mercury's retrograde is probably the best time to reunite with old friends and lost lovers. I've had clients tell me that exs seem to be coming out of the woodwork during Mercury's backward dance. It is not a good time, however, to start anything new, sign contracts, or make any major purchases. If you have to start something new during a Mercury retrograde, try to stay flexible, because it is likely to end up much different than you expected.
The most critical times of Mercury's retrograde are the stations (when it begins and ends), and when he crosses the Sun. Mercury's velocity will appear to have dropped to a standstill against the background of the universe. This is when the Trickster is at his finest. Astrologers warn of travel and communication problems when Mercury is at his stations. Mercury's tragedies most often occur near the stations. When Mercury crosses in front of the Sun (half-way through the retrograde), we hit another pivotal point. As Mercury's gravitational pull is added to the Sun's, our minds awaken, and new ideas begin to erupt.
We really need to look at Mercury's complete cycle to make the most of any Mercury retrograde. When Mercury is at the beginning of his retrograde, retrograde station, our minds begin to turn inward, and it is a time on introspection. After Mercury crosses in front of the Sun, the new ideas flowing through our minds encourage us to make changes in our lives. But, the tension of Mercury's retrograde will also be holding us back. This is the time when many of us "jump the gun" and get caught in the Trickster's lair. When Mercury reaches the end of his retrograde and begins to turn direct, direct station, we are ready to move from awareness back to attention. The next forty-seven days, or so, will be a time for putting new ideas into action. The next phase of Mercury's cycle begins when Mercury crosses behind the Sun. This will be the time of reaping the rewards of our labors and completing projects until Mercury's retrograde begins again.
Mercury will reach his next retrograde station on October 4th at 2 degrees, 17 minutes Scorpio. If you are wondering how Mercury's retrograde will affect you personally, check your natal chart. Find 2 degrees Scorpio and see what house it lies in. That will tell you what area of your life will be most heavily influenced. Also check to see which houses begin in Gemini and Virgo, because these areas could also be influenced. If you need help, call an astrologer. We can usually explain it pretty quickly.
During this Mercury retrograde, after the crisis of retrograde station is complete and Mercury is established on his backward path, but before Mercury reaches the half-way point and crosses the Sun, he will not aspect any planets, except the Moon. But, we may experience more than the average retreat into our subconscious, because the Sun and Moon will reach a total Lunar Eclipse on October 8th, only 4 days after Mercury's retrograde begins. And, there will be a lot of planetary activity around this eclipse. This will magnify the Trickster's power, and some of us may have to endure personal tragedies. Eclipses bring changes, and Mercury's retrograde basically says, "Don't change," so this could push many into uncomfortable situations.
Mercury will cross the Sun and begin the second half of his retrograde on October 16th. Venus and Mars will be aspecting Mercury and the Sun at that time, so we may really want to make some changes in our lives. This will be a very good time to start making plans for change, but not for initiating those plans.
One week after Mercury crosses the Sun and begins the second half of his retrograde, on October 23rd, the Sun and Moon will reach a partial solar eclipse at the crises-oriented point of 0 degrees Scorpio. Many may find that the Universe forces them to act around this time, no matter how much they try to wait and stay in phase with Mercury. And, this will give the Trickster even greater strength. Sometimes there is no way to avoid tragedy, and it will be important for those of us who manage to escape the "fire" to help others.
Mercury will be at direct station (turning direct again) two days after the last eclipse, on October 25th, the Islamic New Year, and we will probably still be cleaning the "fallout" from the extra ecliptic vibrations at that time. Try to be ready for the typical Mercury retrograde problems, like misunderstandings, travel delays, and computer problems, because they will likely hit most of us to some degree.
A few days after Mercury's direct station, we should find that it's full steam ahead. We will have learned many lessons over the past twenty-two days, and we will be ready to take a more practical approach to our lives. Until Mercury moves ahead and circles behind the Sun on December 8th, it will be time for putting plans into action, and expanding our horizons. After December 8th, we should begin to see the fruits of our labors and hopefully the profits. We should see projects coming to completion until Mercury turns retrograde again on January 21, 2015, and the cycle begins once more.
Author Janet (Sparrow) Moon is a professional psychic and astrologer. You can visit her web site for more articles about upcoming events in astrology and to read her daily astrology general tendencies forecast. www.sparrowmoon.com/