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Astrology

The secret to surviving Mercury retrograde.

By March 25th, 2024No Comments

Last updated for Mercury retrograde 2 April 2024 to 25 April 2024.

Mercury retrograde is nothing to fear, so you can stop panicking.

Just because the messenger of the Gods is retracing his steps through the heavens, it does *not* guarantee that your phone is going to blow up, your car will get a flat tyre or your mail will mysteriously get redirected to a cattle station in the outback somewhere…

Want to know how I know?

Because we have on average three or four Mercury retrograde periods per year – and your phone doesn’t blow up three or four times a year.

Poor Mercury gets blamed for everything that goes wrong during its retrograde and it’s a little unfair.

When Mercury goes retrograde it’s actually a gift – an opportunity to really learn a lesson and nail an area of your life that’s particularly important to you right now.

That said, I will always recommend backing up your phone, checking your tyre pressure and triple checking any document before you sign it during Mercury retrograde (I mean, these are just good practices retrograde or no retrograde, right?) but there’s something else very easy and very practical you can do to help you make the most of a Mercury retrograde period.

First though, it might be useful to understand what Mercury retrograde actually *is* so that we can understand how it affects us… and therefore how to survive it.

What is Mercury retrograde?

Mercury retrograde is when Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky from our viewpoint here on earth as we pass each other in our orbits around the sun. Mercury doesn’t actually travel backwards, it just looks that way because the earth and Mercury have different orbit speeds around the sun.

It’s kind of like when your train passes a slower train and the slower train looks like it’s going backwards, even thought it’s not.

There are three or four times per year that Mercury ‘goes retrograde’.

First Mercury will travel across a section of the sky (and therefore through a section of your natal chart), then it will appear to pause before moving backwards through the same part of the sky it just covered during a roughly three week period.

Finally, it will appear to pause a second time before once again moving forward, retracing its path for the third and last time.

How to survive Mercury retrograde.

Because of retrograde periods, it looks as though Mercury covers the same stretch of sky (and our charts) three times – once direct, once retrograde and then again direct.

This re-winding, re-tracing and re-visiting process is actually the key to surviving Mercury retrogrades.

The section of our charts that Mercury traverses when it’s in retrograde motion indicates the area of life that we will feel this ‘re-wind, re-trace, re-visit’ energy.

The secret to surviving Mercury retrograde season therefore, is to pay attention when Mercury *first* crosses the part of the sky it will then retrograde over. 

This is also called the retrograde shadow (or as some call it, ‘retroshade’).

Whilst the re-visiting and lessons will mostly fall during the retrograde period itself, you can think of the shadow period like a chance to get a sneak peek into what themes and issues may pop up during the retrograde period. 

It’s a good idea to make notes on what themes you notice during the pre-retrograde shadow in the area of life your sign will be affected by during the retrograde (see below) to get potential insights into how the retrograde may manifest for you and prepare accordingly.

Dates for the next Mercury retrograde.

Pre-retrograde shadow: 20 March 2024 – 2 April 2024

When Mercury first travels across the stretch of sky it will then retrograde over.

Mercury retrograde: 2 April 2024 – 25 April 2024

When Mercury appears to be going backwards through the sky – and your chart, re-tracing the path it already took in the shadow period.

Post-retrograde shadow: 25 April 2024 – 13 May 2024

When Mercury re-traces its steps back through the same part of sky (and chart) for the third and final time.

If you have a copy of your natal chart, Mercury will station retrograde at 27°13′ Aries and stations direct at 15°58′ Aries so you can look to see the exact houses and areas of life it will be retrograding through for you personally.

Mercury Retrograde Survival Guides for each sign...

Look for your ascendant (or rising) sign below to find out which area of life to pay attention to in the pre-retrograde shadow period to indicate potential lessons the Mercury retrograde may have to teach you.

If you don’t know your rising sign, you can create a free natal chart at astro.com or simply look at your sun (or star) sign instead.

Aries

This Mercury retrograde takes place in your first house – the house of perceptions. This house is all about how people perceive you and how you perceive the world. In the pre-retrograde shadow pay attention to seemingly “random” childhood or early memories – or even people – that resurface, any themes around your appearance or the appearances of others (remembering that appearances are more than skin deep – something can ‘appear’ to be a good offer or a person can ‘appear’ to have your best interests at heart but as we know, appearances aren’t always what they seem…). Not a great time for a new image, haircut, change of look etc…

Taurus

With this Mercury retrograde taking place in your twelfth house, or the house of integration, this retrograde season may feel particularly heavy as there may be some big themes to navigate. Twelfth house themes cover how we understand and integrate our experience here on earth. During the pre-retrograde shadow period, pay attention to your dreams, messages from your subconscious, look out for previously elusive or ‘hidden’ information coming to light – particularly when it comes to your family or ancestry. Be sure to spend some time re-flecting, re-gathering and re-treating this re-trograde.

Gemini

Mercury will be retrograding through your eleventh house, the house of networks. This is how and where you fit into the bigger picture of your friendship groups, alliances and society as a whole. This house is also associated with our hopes and dreams for the future, so during the pre-retrograde shadow, observe what’s happening in your friendship groups, the wider groups you belong to, notice what comes up when you think about your future, where you’ll be and who you’ll be with. Mercury retrograde will have you re-visiting these arrangements, providing you with new insights and understandings…

Cancer

The tenth house – the house of recognition – is in the spotlight this Mercury retrograde. Tenth house themes you may encounter during this period are all to do with your public perception or status, which may include your career, your ambitions, your higher calling, your legacy and public achievements. Our parents and authority figures also fall into this house. From March 20th onwards in the shadow of the retrograde period, observe what’s coming up for you in these areas of life as you will visit, revisit and re-revisit these themes during the retrograde! Definitely not an advisable time to change jobs, sign contracts etc at work.

Leo

Your Mercury retrograde experience will take place in the domain of the ninth house – the house of expansion. This house is where and how you explore and expand your horizons and may include higher education, spirituality, philosophy, religion, ethics, law and anything else that covers your search for truth and meaning in life. The ninth house is also associated with overseas or long-distance travel, so if you’re travelling during this retrograde period, be prepared for potential delays, missed connections etc by allowing extra time (and patience!). If you’re planning a trip or studying etc, you might want to hold off on submitting projects or finalising arrangements until post-retrograde or else just be sure to double, triple and quadruple check everything before it’s finalised!

Virgo

This retrograde period takes place in your eighth house – the house of integration. This house is where and how we integrate, make sense of, change and grow from our lived experience. Typically associated with birth, death, rebirth, awareness and healing – as well as anything taboo, occult (meaning hidden), esoteric and to do with other peoples’ resources. The pre-retrograde shadow period is the perfect time to pay attention to what’s happening with shared resources, how, where and what you’re currently working through, processing and healing from and what you’re integrating – as you’ll likely be revisiting what you thought (and assumed) to be true, or thought you’d understood, only to have new layers revealed.

Libra

Relationships are the theme of this Mercury retrograde, as it takes place in your seventh house, the house of relationships. This house shows us how and where we relate to others – this is commonly associated with spouses or long-term partners, but in reality it encompasses anyone we have a long-term, one-on-one relationship with (good or bad) so it may also allude to business partners, collaborators and contractual relationships. Pay attention to your relationship dynamics in the lead-up to the retrograde as these are the people, conversations, themes and dynamics you’ll be revisiting once Mercury goes retrograde.

Scorpio

Mercury retrograde brings your daily routines into focus this time around, with the retrograde occurring in your sixth house. This is the house associated with how we spend our days, so themes you may want to pay particular attention to in the pre-retrograde shadow include your work, your co-workers, your health and nutrition, your talents and how you are of service to others as well as any pets you may have. When Mercury goes retrograde on 2 April, you will revisit some important themes and lessons in these areas to absorb more information or gain more insights.

Sagittarius

This Mercury retrograde is taking place in your fifth house, the house of creativity or where and how we express our spontaneous creative joy. Themes that might be visited, revisited and re-revisited during this retrograde and its shadows include how you relax and let your hair down, pleasure, romance, your inner child, your children and how/where you take risks (or don’t!) – paying attention to these areas in the pre-retrograde shadow will give you a sneak peek into the retrograde and help you feel better prepared to navigate the potential challenges and lessons of this Mercury retrograde.

Capricorn

The house of the home – the fourth house – is the house under the microscope for you this Mercury retrograde. The fourth house is how and where you feel most at home and doesn’t *just* mean your physical living space. Themes that may pop up for you during this retrograde period and present you with the opportunity to learn and re-learn their lessons include literal houses or real estate, your parents, your upbringing, your roots or ancestry, inherited patterns, behaviours (and wounds) and the foundations in your life. Consider holding off on buying or selling property, signing leases or contracts etc and if that’s not possible, be sure to read *all* fine print and be prepared for delays on settlement or receiving your keys/bond back.

Aquarius

Your Mercury retrograde experience takes place in Mercury’s own house – the third house, the house of communication. This house is where and how we give and receive information and may bring up themes of thinking, learning, speaking, listening, writing, technology, short trips and also matters to do with your siblings if you have them. During the pre-retrograde phase just be observant of any significant events or themes in these areas as they will likely re-surface during the retrograde period 2-25 April to provide more insight, teach you more lessons or re-hash conversations. Beware of buying any new tech or transport this retrograde or you may find yourself returning it or working out unexpected bugs and issues!

Pisces

The second house is where you’ll feel Mercury’s retrograde most this time around. The second house is the house of resources – or how and where you use what you have – and doesn’t just refer to money. Second house themes you may find yourself reliving this Mercury retrograde period do include your finances and wealth, your earning and spending and your possessions, but also your inner resources like your patience, your resilience, your tolerance your value and your worth. Pay attention to how and where your resources are being used and perhaps challenged – especially in the lead up to the retrograde so you’re prepared for how Mercury’s illusions may show up for you during the retrograde period 2-25 April.

If I haven’t yet taken a peek at your natal chart, the best way I can help you navigate Mercury retrograde is through your rising sign, like I’ve done above. With your rising sign on the cusp of the first house, I can then see which house Mercury will be in during its retrograde period and therefore which house it’s in and which area of life you’re most likely to feel it… However, you have a completely unique chart with many more factors than just a rising sign at play, such as potential other planets in the same house as Mercury, shaping its energy for better or for worse or aspects to Mercury that will direct or redirect energy and lessons to other parts of your life, shaping your overall retrograde experience.

So if you want more personalised advice for this Mercury retrograde season based on your personal natal chart, be sure to book in a one on one reading with me here.