The significance of the Mercury Retrograde period


It is that time of the year again, Mercury has begun his Retro Station on December 10, an event occurring cyclically every four months or so.

Our little neighbor will move back into Sagittarius on December 19, turn Direct on December 30, and finally re-enter Capricorn on January 13.

Often the period of Mercury’s retrogradation is simply interpreted as a time full of misunderstandings, technical glitches, disruption in communication, odd accidents, mis-communications etc. These effects are often obvious, especially for people who happen to have the Sun, Moon, personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) or one of the four Angles (Ascendant, Descendant, Mid-Heaven or Lower Heaven) within the span of the zodiac covered by Mercury (19° Sagittarius to 6° Capricorn, this time), or in those areas in major aspect to it.

As far as the Sun Signs are concerned the individuals more directly affected by Mercury’s retrogradation, this time, will be: Capricorn, born December 22/29 ~ Cancer, born June 22/29 ~ Libra, born September 23/30 ~ Aries, born March 21/28. ~ Sagittarius, born December 10/21~ Gemini, born June 10/21 ~ Virgo, born September 11/22 ~ Pisces, born March 9/20.

There is a lot more however to the retrogradation of Mercury. First of all, Mercury might retrograde within one Zodiacal Sign, or pass, in retro motion, from one Sign to the one that precedes it, like it’s happening in this case. The Sign emphasis is in fact also important.

In a Birth Chart, for instance, Mercury in Capricorn encourages the mind to think methodically, to plan ahead, to restrain from flights of fancy keeping it on the narrow and straight path, so to speak. This Earthy Mercury is ideal for business dealings, for any constructive or practical enterprise, also for leadership because the individual’s way of expressing him/herself demands respect and trust from others. Mercury in Capricorn is in fact efficient, ambitious and thorough, with a mind which sticks to facts and figures, and delivers.

Collectively these same qualities will influence everyone, at some level, depending on where Capricorn is in your Birth Chart.

The Retrogradation however will soon move the Mercurial focus from Capricorn’s Earth plane to the intuitive plane of Sagittarius, a Fire Sign.

When Mercury is found in Sagittarius in someone’s Birth Chart it indicates an individual whose mind is unfettered by conditioning and rules of thinking. Sagittarius Mercury is the free thinker par excellence, ready to speculate about everything and easily going on far fetched tangents in his thinking and words.

For all of us this period should afford an opportunity to think out of the box, freeing ourselves from the shackles of conventional ideas and unadventurous communication.  This is symbolically a going back to our source of inspiration before we proceed again to do business as usual.

Mercury in Sagittarius is getting extra calendar time, due to the planet’s slowness when retrograde, inspiring us to look for meaning,  and generally expanding our understanding of life.

The transits a Mercury Retrograde forms during this special time are also important. Due to the extremely reflective nature of this planet, absorbing readily the colour and energy of other planets he comes in contact with, especially via conjunction.

Contrary to the usual Mercury’s transits that last only for very short periods of time, indicating passing moods and ideas, the retro transits of this planet last a relatively long time, impressing their peculiar mark on our personal and collective psyche. All aspects in fact that become exact just before the retro period of a planet are repeated three times: the first pass in direct motion, the second in retro motion and the third in direct motion again. If you happen to have Sun, Moon, Planets, Angles or Nodes around the degree of such transits or in aspect to them, then the effect of a retro Mercury’s transit could be as significant as the transit of a slow moving body.

These Transits will tend to have more of an effect on people who happen to have Sun, Moon, Planets or Angles around the degrees listed.

Mercury conjunct Mars, first in Sagittarius, then in Capricorn, while retrograde, finally in Aquarius again, in direct motion. It is exact on November 21 (on 17° of Sagittarius) , December 14 (on 04° of Capricorn), and February21 (on 28° of Aquarius).

This transit will coincide also with the conjunction Mercury-Pluto and Mars-Pluto, energizing the mind, and also intensifying the desire to know things, lifting the curtain of face value impressions. It is an important transit, helping to penetrate through walls of silence and to express things usually left unspoken. It is however also a dangerous connection, bringing up from the depth mental contents, memories, obsessions, traumas that have been repressed for a long time. Those could get out of hand and cause some major havoc in the lives of those who have a direct connection with the degree occupied each time by the transit.

Mercury square Jupiter and Uranus, while transiting Sagittarius. These transits are exact on November 26/28 (on 23° and 26° of Sagittarius), December 21/22 (on 25° and 26° of Sagittarius), and January 11/12 (on the same degrees as the December pass).

This transit may test our capacity to broaden our world view and to think out of the box. It could prove very creative and exciting for some, but perhaps also somewhat hypo and wasteful for others, increasing mental curiosity but also nervous restlessness.


Even after considering all these factors we would still fall short of penetrating the meaning of Mercury’s retro period if we weren’t considering it in the context of Mercury’s entire cycle in relation to the Earth and Sun. The Phases of Mercury are in fact as fundamental to this all important planetary energy as its Sign position, that represents the quality of its energy, or  Mercury’s House placement and the House ruled by Mercury via traditional Sign rulership, indicating the areas of experience where its planetary energy will more likely find expression.

In the light of the entire cycle the Retrogradation of Mercury is a most significant moment, when the planet passes from waning to waxing, from Evening to Morning Star. It is not just the Moon who waxes to the Full phase and wanes toward the New Moon. All planets do, when we observe their relationships with the Sun and the Earth. The phases bring to the ‘reading’ of Mercury an extra dimension, showing it as an ongoing process, rather than a fixed placement to be interpreted in a rigid way.

If interested please check my next post on planetary phases (Mercury’s in particular), to be published soon.

Mercury, Mars, Pluto’s conjunction and Wikileaks’ troubles

This Tuesday, December 14, 2010, seems the appropriate day to begin talking seriously about the Retrogradation of Mercury, while our small neighbor has just reached the triple conjunction with Mars and Pluto. It is the second time that Mercury becomes conjunct Pluto this month, having already done so, in direct motion, on December 6.

This is the first post in a short series discussing the significance of the phenomenon of retrogradation and, in particular, of Mercury’s retrograde period in the light of the whole Mercury-Sun mutual cycle of 116 days. This present retrograde period will go from December 10 to 30 2010.

Between 3.05 and 3.15 pm (Australian Eastern Summer Time) Mercury will conjunct Pluto and Mars and Mars will also conjunct Pluto. Mercury, already dealing with the underworld of his own Retro period, is now in the presence not only of Pluto himself, the underworld’s supreme ruler, but also of Mars, the Warrior God.

Such a configuration, if found in someone’s Natal Chart, could make him/her a profound thinker, and perhaps also a fanatical thinker and talker, one who is apt to dig for dark secrets and is naturally pulled toward the underbelly of any situation. They could be harsh and judgmental at times, but also mentally very active,  resourceful and shrewd. They may be interested in the occult sciences, or in doctrines or discipline that can help them to gain personal power over others.

At the collective level this could be an explosive combination, Mars, with his sheer force, helping to bring to the surface the hidden contents of the psyche that the underworld symbolizes and over which Pluto presides.  Mercury, go-between Heaven and Earth, will manifest this eruptive and dangerous energy through the Mercurial agent of communication: talking, writing, reading, and all intellectual pursuits.

Today also the Moon is reaching her First Quarter Phase, a challenging time, when obstacles need to be removed in order to power ahead toward the Full Moon climax, in a week time. That Full Moon, let’s not forget, will be also a Total Lunar Eclipse, on a powerful zodiacal cusp, Gemini/Cancer, spanning the Capricorn Solstice, one of the foundation time of the year (shortest day in the Northern hemisphere, longest day in the Southern).

I don’t believe it is a coincidence that this is the very day a second court hearing has been scheduled for Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder and spokesperson. His trial has, after all, to do with the revelation of dark secrets the world governments would prefer to keep hidden from public scrutiny. Those secrets have been revealing the lies of planet Earth’s most powerful people, those who decide about war, peace, distribution of wealth, human rights etc.

The Moon was transiting over the area of this conjunction, on top of Mercury, Pluto, Mars and the North Lunar Node the Day Julian Assange was arrested in London (9.30 am, December 7, 2010, GMT). Mercury was on Pluto the day before the arrest too, all facts that make this configuration more significant for him and in tune with the collective events that have followed his arrest and charges. See the ‘revenge attack, appropriately named Pay Back (in true Plutonian fashion) from hundreds of cyber pirates intent at punishing those giant web domains that recently denied support to Wikileaks.

All three cosmic players, Mercury, Pluto and now Mars are transiting in proximity to the Lunar North Node in Capricorn, fact that link them all to the Eclipse season, and therefore to the collective destiny of the planet.  The conjunction with the North Node becomes exact for Mars on December 12, two days before the second court hearing, for Mercury on December 16, two days after, and was exact earlier for Pluto, on November 28, setting the dark tone of the whole proceeding.

It is also a test, at the personal level, of Assange’s own handling of the power Wikileaks has afforded him since he started his exceptional  journalistic scoops  in 2006. Open dissidents, led by Wikileaks’ second in command, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (also known as Daniel Schmitt) who resigned from Wikileaks last Saturday, will be soon launching a rival web site, called , that will be apparently less obsessed with American foreign policies and more concerned with world-wide issues.

This new whistleblowers’ venture promises to be more democratic and transparent, and also more careful when releasing potentially dangerous information that could harm the whistleblowers themselves. Assange in fact has been accused of having an autocratic attitude and to have unilaterally decided the release of important documents, without proper security encryption in place. This attitude has turned many of the people working for him against him, since July this year. The fact that they are ready to kick the man now that he is down shows, I feel, the depth of the rift between them. So Julian Assange seems to have, at the present time, powerful enemies even amongst his own ranks of cyber freedom fighters.

Due to retrogradation the present conjunction of Mercury to Pluto in Capricorn, will occur one more time on January 18, but by then Mercury will be traveling in direct motion. Hopefully that last pass, with Mercury entering his waxing phase, will bring a resolution to Julain Assange and Wikileaks present nightmare.

I am preparing a proper post on Wikileaks and his founder, with a delineation of Assange’s Birth Horoscope  (birth data provided by the reputable American Astrology magazine, the Mountain Astrologer), considering also the Transits, Secondary Progressions and Solar Arc Directions that have constellated his career in the past and will become active in the foreseeable future.

Here is Julian Assange Birth Chart:

Click to enlarge

I need some time though, because I am also still editing a longish article for the Art of Healing, looking at the major transits for the March-June 2011 period. The deadline for that one is already a week old. Using Mercury Retrograde as an excuse never works with magazine editors and publishers, I’m afraid, even if it is often the true cause of the writer block and of the mental meanderings slowing down all forms of rational communication. A longer version of the future transits’ article will be also posted here.