Mercury Retrograde 2014
We say that a planet is retrograde when it appears, from our viewpoint here on earth, to be moving backwards. It's an optical illusion, caused by the Earth "overtaking" the planet in question – planets do not actually move backwards, they merely seem to, in much the same way as a vehicle seems to fall behind when overtaken even though it is still moving forwards. This happens with all of the planets at various points, but the most well known and most anticipated is without doubt Mercury retrograde.
Mercury turns retrograde every year, usually three times a year, sometimes four times. Since Mercury rules communication, we often see communication chaos, mixups and delays during periods of Mercury retrograde, but there is a positive side to Mercury retrograde periods too. It's not a great few weeks in which to sign contracts or make new starts, but these periods are wonderful opportunities to look at the world with fresh eyes, and to see and perceive things we normally tune out in our busy days. The specifics of what to expect depend upon the sign or signs where the retrograde motion occurs.
JANUARY 6 – FEBRUARY 2
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces/Aquarius
This Mercury retrograde period begins in dreamy Pisces, and will manifest for the first few days as a vague and slightly confusing vibe. It's during this period that many of us will find it hard to concentrate, or will find ourselves gazing out the window and barely noticing as the hours pass by and our task remains unfinished. As Mercury re-visits Aquarius, however, something a little more significant begins to emerge. Aquarius is a very logical, detached sign, and Mercury's logical, thoughtful energies work well through this filter. Here's a golden opportunity to turn our thoughts, unemotionally, to our place in the wider world. It's about questioning how you fit into the greater human family, why you're here, and what you will leave behind in terms of how you have made a difference in the world.
Mercury retrograde in Aquarius does still have a confusing edge to it, particularly when it comes to remembering things from the long distant past, or trying to plan for the very distant future. Expect memories to be shaky, and efforts to pin down the future to be frustrated. Aquarius as a sign has strong links to technology and electronics, so during this period laptops, computers, smart phones and other "indispensable" modern tools may refuse to play ball – but isn't that just another opportunity in disguise? Learn to live for a few hours without all of these modern accoutrements. Get outside and smell the fresh air, or talk to someone face to face instead of online. Make a greater connection to those around you and lose some of the faceless anonymity that our digital world gives us.
Mercury's retrograde motion in Aquarius also links to struggles between our humanitarian instincts and our selfishness. During this period, we'll be challenged to stop and think about what we're doing to our planet, and about how we each, as individuals, can be kinder and more aware of where our consumerism is leading us. Think about ethical purchasing, give to charity or take time out to do something yourself which improves someone else's life.
JUNE 7 – JULY 1
Mercury Retrograde in Cancer/Gemini
When Mercury turns retrograde in Cancer, it's time to count to ten before you speak. This influence hampers our ability to communicate kindly, and can lead to some very rash words being spoken, particularly when someone feels defensive. As the retrograde progresses to Gemini, however, the effects become more keenly felt, since Mercury rules Gemini.
Mercury retrograde in Gemini manifests in some ways as the "typical" Mercury retrograde we hear so much about. Communications are hit hard, whether through technological problems or simply because we struggle to make ourselves understood as easily as usual. There's a level of superficiality, with people quick to take offense at perceived slights where really none was intended at all. Travel and transport suffer from delays, and thoughts can become foggy.
However, it's not all bad news. When Mercury is retrograde in Gemini, we're more aware than normal of how shallow our words (and deeds) can sometimes be. The media and press will find it harder to direct the news agenda at this time, because people will simply see through to the heart of a story much faster than normal – indeed, during this time scrutiny of the press and of journalism as a whole is quite likely. On an individual level, we'll each be able to analyze what we say and how we say it with a laser focus we usually reserve for other people's communications rather than our own. Learning how to be more tactful and diplomatic will benefit many of us, as will a pause from the endless – but usually fairly meaningless – social chatter which surrounds us. Mercury retrograde in Gemini can help us to zero in on what matters, and to filter out some of the time wasting, energy sapping superficialities which dominate so much of our everyday lives.
OCTOBER 4 – OCTOBER 25
Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio/Libra
Mercury in Scorpio highlights our suspicions like nothing else, and during Mercury retrograde these suspicions can go out of control. This is definitely a time when we should judge ourselves before judging others, as our own actions at this time can be vindictive, spiteful or malicious without due cause. Of course everyone can have a bad day, but during Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, those bad days can have some very lasting effects.
As the retrograde is filtered via Libra energy, however, some of the heat goes out of the situation and we're left feeling remorseful and socially awkward. Libra is normally such a charming and diplomatic sign, but here we struggle with small talk and even the most sociable of people will find it harder to engage with strangers. Indecision is also an important part of Mercury retrograde in Libra, and for many of us, our constant wavering back and forth between various options is frustrating in the extreme. It's difficult, under this influence, to just make a choice and stick with it – because we over–analyze and we over–think. We second guess ourselves constantly during Mercury retrograde in Libra, and then we end up resenting the time we've spent trying to make a choice in the first place.
As ever, however, it's not all bad news. During Mercury retrograde in Libra, one of the most useful things to do is to try to switch off your logic. As crazy as it sounds, it's not helping you to be rational at this time. Stop making lists, stop weighing up pros and cons, stop asking others for advice – just listen to your heart, your instincts, your inner voice. Somewhere deep inside, you know the answer, and Mercury retrograde in Libra gives you the opportunity to access that answer, and to follow your intuition.