Mercury retrograde tends to cycle through the signs of one element (though sometimes straddling signs) in a given year. This suggests that there are some common themes that may run through each retrograde period for the year. This year, Mercury retrogrades through the Fire signs. These are the dates:

30 March to 23 April 2011, 24+ to 12+° Aries
2 to 26 August 2011, 1+° Virgo to 18+° Leo
24 November to 13 December 2011, 20+ to 3+° Sagittarius

Mercury is most at home in the Air sign of Gemini. In the Fire signs, its airy quality can stir up the flames (like fanning a barbecue!) or, if the force of air is too strong, put it out. People with Mercury in Fire signs think and talk energetically and passionately. Ideas can come fast and furious to them, but can run the risk of burning out if not sustained, or in a different scenario, be no more than a lot of ‘hot air’.

The central theme of Mercury retrograde in the Fire signs this year may be to stop and take stock of our ideas, speech and communications, and to find the balance between passion and prudence, between doing something and simply talking about doing it.

There is a lot of Aries fire energy at the moment, including the Sun and Mercury, and a lot of people may be feeling the heat. Think of Mercury retrograde as a gentle breeze that can regulate the flames, but be wary of starting a forest fire or extinguishing the flame altogether!

Update, 30 March 2011: Really interesting timing. Shortly after I posted this, I received an email from work which clearly indicated that one of my co-workers has been undermining me behind my back to senior management. Mercury stations retrograde today. To speak out or to wait before acting?

Image: Fireplace. Source: Wikimedia Commons.