Merc Rx experiences

Mercury retrograde never fails to make me laugh, even as I’m grinding my teeth in exasperation.

Two years ago, I organised an event and I put in an expense claim through the company’s internal mail for a guest who had missed a flight (during the front-end shadow of Mercury retrograde in January 2010!).

Earlier today, I got a message from the expenses administrator saying the claim form had just turned up on her desk…!!


Mercury is currently station retrograding in my 4th house (past reflections here). Conjunct Uranus, expect, as I mentioned previously, increased volatility in thought and deed, as well as some radical problem-solving.

The 4th house, apart from being about where one is at home, is also (together with the 10th house) part of the axis of parents. My relationship with my parents have always been fraught with ambivalence, and a bewildering mix of love, pain, struggle and fear.

There was a heated exchange this past weekend (Mercury in fiery Aries) and an epiphany (Uranus) this morning — new information from the past was revealed and a piece of the puzzle fell into place. Something clicked. And I woke up to the fact that their pathology wasn’t mine. I wasn’t responsible for their neurosis and never have been. A sense of relief. And liberation. I give myself permission to be me.

It’s funny how you can ‘know’ this in your head, but knowing it in your heart is what makes it real.

Most of us know that Mercury retrograde can signal frustrating delays, mistakes and u-turns, but if we adjust our expectations, it is possible to be productive during this period. I have a 6th house natal Mercury placement; being ‘productive’ keeps me sane.

Bee on a flower

Mercury retrograde may not be good for starting new projects, but as I’ve mentioned before, it can be a pretty effective time to revise, resume or reinvigorate old ones. In the past week, I have been averaging 300-500 words a day on a writing project I began quite a while ago but could never find the time to finish. The general slowdown of other activity is giving me the space to do so.

Here’s a tip: if you don’t have old projects to clear up, but still want to use the energy of Mercury retrograde, it is possible to plan ahead. What I sometimes do is I look in my calendar to see when the next retrograde period is coming up, and I start a project several weeks ahead of time, well before the storm, and then leave it aside until which time I can then complete or revise it during the retrograde period. If you can catch the energy of a new moon when you make this start, all the better. I don’t always get to time things so well, but when I do, it’s worth the effort.

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’.


I have been trying to publish this for the past two days, but either kept getting interrupted or had connection problems — oh well.

Mercury is currently stationed in Taurus and due to retrograde from 17/18 April to 10/11 May 2010 (depending on which time zone you’re in), from 12°38′ to 02°40′ Taurus. And as usual I have slid straight into it.

I lost my car key today (Friday), but as with me and Mercury, it is never just the one instance of loss that makes it a Merc rx moment. For me, a real Merc rx moment has to have an element of cheeky coincidence about it.


I’m going to try a one-event-a-post format rather than accumulate them all in one long post. None of these are likely to be accompanied by long analyses — with Mercury retrograde, I’m usually swimming upstream or stuck in quicksand — but I might make a comment or two.

While all sorts of communications glitches may occur during a retrograde, my favourite are the quirky ones — what one reporter calls ‘holy mackerel stories’.* I think the unexpected punchline characterises Mercury’s tricksiness best. Like when I was switching SIM cards in my mobile phone last week while travelling, and double-checking that the other one was safely stored in my pocketbook, only the act of checking caused it to fall out, and I lost it anyway… Anyhow, that is not the subject of today’s post.

I just read this piece about the White House’s objection to a clothing company’s use of Obama’s image on their billboard in Times Square.

The Merc rx moment is: the company agrees to take it down, but only two weeks later… ‘after figuring out a new ad campaign’.

That puts it at 22 January, on the day Jupiter (expansion) ingresses Pisces (illusions) — good for advertising, I reckon.

*Thanks to Chris Brennan of The Horoscopic Astrology Blog for the report and the mention.

I’m late with this post on Mercury in Virgo, but I hope you all saw a shift in your productivity (Virgo) when Mercury stationed direct in 21+ Virgo on 29 September 2009.

Mercury rules Virgo but while Mercury is chatty and curious in Gemini, Mercury in Virgo is much more circumspect. Here is Stephen Arroyo’s delineation:

  • Communicates logically, critically, helpfully, humbly — sometimes negatively and skeptically
  • An urge to express one’s perceptions matter-of-factly, demonstrating one’s analytical skills
  • A need to discriminate among ideas and to put them in logical sequence in order to learn
  • Practical, helpful ideas contribute to the ability to make connections with others
  • Over-attention to details can hinder perception of the larger viewpoint and all its interconnections and broader implications (64)

Mercury stationed direct close to my midheaven in my 10th house, and just a few days before, I encountered an exhausting run-in at work to do with miscommunication and carelessness with editing (both Mercury-ruled activities). However, at the same, time I got two amazing pieces of news regarding projects that have been developing for sometime, which were commensurate with the forward-moving energy of Mercury direct: I received a book contract for an edited collection after three years in the making, and an invitation to speak on local radio over a media event I spent the summer organising.

If many of you have felt ‘blocked’ like I did most of the summer, I hope Mercury stationing direct in a work- and service-oriented sign, together with the recent Full Moon in fiery Aries, have provided some renewed energy. It may be a while before I recover from the PTSD of the summer eclipses, but at least I feel new hope!

Arroyo, Stephen. Chart Interpretation Handbook. Sebastapol, Ca.: CRCS, 1989.

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