April 17 until May 11 by Jeff Jawer
Mercury, the planet of communication, short trips and details, appears to stop dead in its tracks on December 26 at 22 degrees of Capricorn. The planet then turns backwards in its apparent path through the zodiac. It stops again on January 15, then turns to resume its direct motion at 5 degrees of Capricorn.
Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, spending a bit more than three weeks in "reverse" gear each time. The retrograde cycle is due to the fact that we are viewing the planets from a moving platform, the
What Does It Mean?A retrograde planet is generally considered more introverted than when it's in the normal direct motion mode. Astrologers have traditionally considered Mercury retrograde to be a time of difficulty in Mercury related endeavors like communication, travel and matters of detail. Some counsel the avoidance of launching new projects or signing contracts at this time. Glitches are considered more commonplace now, as are misunderstood or poorly delivered messages.
There are, fortunately, more optimistic views of what Mercury retrograde means. Rather than hunkering down in your bunker, this is a positive time to tie up loose ends, reconnect with people from the past, make mechanical repairs and get systems in order. This can also be a productive period for psychological review as new information can be gleaned from old experiences.
How Long Does It Last?The primary effect of a retrograde is felt during its backward phase, in this case, from April 17 until May 11. However, there is an additional period of lesser influence called the "shadow" that extends the Mercury retrograde effect for roughly two weeks before and after the retrograde. The "front end" of the shadow began on April 4, the day when Mercury first hit 2 Taurus, the point where it later turns direct. It ended on April 17, the first day of the retrograde. The "back end" of the shadow begins on May 11, the last day of the retrograde, and ends on May 28, when Mercury returns to 12 Taurus, the place where it first went retrograde.
The greatest likelihood for Mercury mishaps is in the actual retrograde period, but issues associated with this cycle may start as early as April 4 and may not be resolved until May 28.
Mercury retrograde, in spite of the fears of some, is not a "bad" time. It is, rather, a period in which the flow of information is easily diverted and can be associated with a variety of challenges. Yet, the purpose of astrological prediction is to increase, not limit, our choices by describing the energies of the moment. Pay attention to how you communicate and gather information now. Look at the details in your life more carefully. Take the time to be introspective. These steps may not only reduce the risk of undesirable snafus, but open doors to new levels of awareness and effectiveness.
Who Gets It?
We all do, but in different ways. The idea of being more careful with communication and details is a good one for all of us now. Yet, some people are more sensitive to Mercury retrograde than others. Generally, those with strong Gemini or Virgo (the two Mercury-related signs) in their charts are more tuned to this cycle.
About fifteen percent of the population was born with Mercury retrograde. Experience shows that some of these people do quite well with this planet moving backward, yet others struggle even more than usual. Each case is unique.
Individuals with planets close to the station (turning) points of 2 and 12 Taurus are more likely to be touched by the current Mercury retrograde cycle. Also, each of us has these degrees somewhere in our charts. The house(s) where these