MERCURY RETROGRADE: Harnessing the Energy of the Winged Messenger

*This article was edited and updated on 21 April, 2023

Mercury is a planet known for its quick orbit around the Sun with a period of only 88 days. From Earth, we see that it never appears more than 28 degrees from the Sun and can only occupy the same or an adjacent zodiac sign. In astrology, this is significant because it helps us understand Mercury’s role in transmitting the Sun’s main message to us. During its retrograde periods, we have the opportunity to examine and review these messages more closely.

[image: Alessio Albi]

In mythology, Mercury was the androgynous winged messenger god who ruled over communication and the mind. His name, derived from the Roman god Mercurius, is the equivalent of the Greek god Hermes. He is depicted in classical literature as a trickster, psychopomp, facilitator of transitions and the official scribe of alchemical transmissions.

One of the defining features of Mercury’s operation throughout the year is its frequent periods of retrograde movement, during which it appears to move backwards in the sky. These periods are seen as times when usual communication and transportation may be disrupted, but also as an opportunity for introspection and review. By understanding and harnessing the energy of Mercury during its retrograde cycle, we can gain a different perspective and make necessary adjustments to our thoughts and processes.

Mastering Mercury involves understanding its complex symbolism and utilising its energies effectively. Whether it is through communication, decision-making, or articulate expression, Mercury can help us to navigate the world around us and cleverly implement skills and processes to achieve our goals. By honing our aptitudes in focused areas, we can streamline our mental awareness and perception, ultimately facilitating greater self-evolution.


Mercury retrograde is a phenomenon that appears to cause the planet Mercury to move backwards in its orbit. This is an optical illusion that is caused by the relative positions of Earth, Mercury, and the Sun.

From a geocentric (earth-centred) astrological perspective, when Mercury is retrograde, it is observed to have a particular influence on the mind and communication. During this time, people may experience delays, misunderstandings, and a need to backtrack, to re-do or re-think things. It is suggested that this period is a natural time of rest and introspection and recognising and utilising this time can be beneficial in terms of personal growth and the development of ideas.

The concept of Mercury retrograde is multifaceted and involves examining not only our ability to receive information but also what we do with that information once it is processed and assimilated in our minds. Mercury symbolises the ability to formulate and articulate ideas and to use words as symbols to translate sensory perceptions into concepts. In this way, Mercury represents the human mind’s capacity to interpret reality and, conversely, to translate symbols into facts.

When Mercury is direct, the mind operates on a straightforward, functional level and there is little time for retrospection. Energy is expended in productive activities and the contemplative side is virtually on hold. This is a natural rhythm with no delay between what we perceive and how it is communicated. However, during the period of time that Mercury is retrograde, issues that have lain dormant for the three months prior may arise. This is seen as a time when much of the unconscious information that has been absorbed and stored starts to surface in a fashion specific to the needs of the individual and their own timing.

The retrogression of Mercury is viewed as an instinctive mental “down-time,” which often sees us re-doing, re-thinking, re-organising, and re-associating. It is often a time of reflection and introspection, allowing a seed idea to undergo necessary lateral shifts to evolve into a concrete concept. This process is compared to the natural rhythm of sleep and the importance of recognising the need for unconsciousness and dream time. Without this recognition, the unconscious and conscious mind can become confused and it can be difficult to discern the real from the imagined.

Symbolically, Mercury acts as our companion, guiding our journeys between the conscious and unconscious mind, and the Mercury retrograde cycle is viewed as the natural facilitator through this intermediary of “liminal space”. Just as we recognise and utilise regulatory mechanisms such as days, years, seasons, time zones, and clocks, it is suggested that we should also recognise and utilise the ordering mechanism of Mercury retrograde.

Recognising and utilising natural states of rest, or mental stillness can be a powerful tool to aid in greater consciousness and personal development. An organic and holistic approach to astrology can be a valuable instrument for this process. Practising a meditative technique can assist us in achieving a greater sense of wholeness and stimulate the active emergence of latent or suppressed parts of our mind for conscious development.

Over time, in an attempt to eliminate chaos, human societies have increasingly cultivated their daily processes into highly organised systems. This has rapidly resulted in a mental disconnect from what is sacred and divorced culture and civilisation from nature and its rhythms. As we enter the digital age of AI and augmented reality, we see the danger of the human mind becoming hijacked, an instrument of distraction, distortion or oppression, dehumanising our connection to one another and our relationship to the divine essence. Hence, it is now more critical than ever to unplug our tools, switch off the usual, direct Mercurial processes and take some time out to reflect. During retrograde periods, we are reminded that in order to experience a greater affinity with reality, we must focus on restoring any broken connections to the natural rhythms and processes of the universe.


Three Mercury periods in a row occur in Earth signs, the first was in Capricorn, (Dec 29 2022 – Jan 18 2023), now Taurus (April 21 2023 – May 14 2023), then Virgo (August 23 2023 – September 15 2023), with a fourth being a Sadge/Cap hybrid December 13, 2023 – January 1 2024)

The Earth element (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) relates to the houses that pertain to all facets of material worth, including money, self-esteem, working conditions, physical health, and other practical responsibilities. During Mercury’s retrograde phase in an Earth sign, we become aware of the full potential of our resources and reassess our grasp on reality.

We may have to make changes in areas that resist change, specifically in how we relate to our bodies, jobs, and attitudes towards resources. Taking care of the fundamentals of life can liberate your spontaneity and relieve any guilt you might feel about not paying attention to them.

This is not necessarily an inspiring time, but it can be a productive time for dealing with practical matters and unfinished business, ultimately leading to advantageous returns. It is advised not to make major changes such as moving to a new place, quitting a job, or spending a lot of money during this phase. Do, however, look for opportunities to tie off loose ends and explore options that could be more satisfying on an ego level. Maintaining objectivity and approaching your assets and liabilities with a sense of detachment as if they belonged to someone else is essential.

MERCURY RETROGRADE IN TAURUS (April 21 – May 14, 2023)

During this period, we may experience disruptions and miscommunications related to finances, possessions, and material comforts. Being in a fixed-earth sign, Mercury in Taurus governs the flow and circulation of money, resources, and material goods, so expect delays in financial transactions, lost or misplaced possessions, or reversals to do with the value of goods, stocks, exchange rates and basic services. Taurus is also associated with comfort, stability, and routine, so there may be some adjustment or realignment matters and cumbersome disruptions in your daily life during this time. It’s a good idea to be patient, flexible, and especially cautious with financial issues during Mercury Retrograde in Taurus and to double-check essential details to avoid any losses, misunderstandings or mistakes.

Mercury stations to retrograde around 2º off conjunction to Uranus (April 18-24) and forms a semi-square to Neptune (exact May 1). Being a period between eclipses, such transits can create a period of unpredictability, confusion, and potential misunderstandings, so it’s important to remain super-adaptable and make decisions based on practical considerations rather than impulsivity. Pay attention to your inner voice and be highly cautious with financial transactions to avoid any major blunders.


During the next two to three weeks, Mercury’s station and retrograde in Taurus will encourage you to reflect on the topics and issues that have been at the forefront of your mind and conversations since early April. This is an opportunity for each zodiac sign to improve communication and thinking by aligning it more closely with its true nature. Here are some specific areas to consider:
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A time of reconsidering your finances, taking stock of possessions, and what builds your self-esteem. It’s time to rethink what’s important to you and ensure your lifestyle supports it. This is an excellent opportunity to revisit old financial issues and find new money-making methods. However, be cautious with financial transactions and closely monitor your budget. Don’t cling to things that no longer support who you are today. Instead, replace them or let them go to make space for new opportunities.


There may be confusion about how others see you, leading to a time of introspection and self-evaluation. Take advantage of this period to reconsider your image and whether it aligns with your goals. Avoid making hasty decisions or taking impulsive actions. Instead, take the time to re-evaluate your priorities and make changes to your self-presentation if necessary. While it may be a challenging time, this is also an opportunity for significant personal growth and transformation. Be patient with communication issues, and remember to think before you speak.


A fascination with the more nebulous and unknown may find you revisiting old phobias and secrets hidden in your subconscious. Take this as an opportunity to meditate, reflect, and focus on positive thoughts to release past worries and sorrows. Reconnecting with your spirituality or starting therapy can also help. Be prepared for potential confusion and be kind to yourself if regret or guilt arises. Trust your intuition, but be aware of possible deceit from others. Use this time to reach closure on whatever still haunts you and clear away any negative vibes, confusion and misunderstandings with others, both present and long-gone but still on your mind.


Use this time to reflect on your friendships and social networks. Take a closer look at who your true friends are and whether your social circles align with your values. Reconnect with old friends and clear up any misunderstandings. This cycle also challenges you to rethink your hopes and dreams – do they still resonate with you? Don’t rush into making any big purchases, especially electronics. Take some time to recharge and rediscover yourself in the context of broader society – are you a good citizen? Take some time to view your dramas from a different angle to gain new insights.


Boss and career-related delays and confusion, but also the opportunity to reconsider your ambitions and make important changes about who you want to be and where you want to go in life. Take extra care in whatever you say publicly to avoid silly blunders that could impact your professional standing or get you ‘cancelled’ or fired. Use this time to update your resume, broaden your professional network, and rehash new ways to redefine your reputation. Be ultra cautious of misunderstandings with your boss and avoid applying for new jobs now. Reflect on your preferred legacy in the world – how do you want to be remembered? Tie off loose ends and settle any old business to set yourself up for success in the long term.


The focus now is on the effectiveness and stability of communicating your thought processes. When Mercury retrogrades in this fixed-earth sign, it’s time to reconsider your most fast-held beliefs and philosophies about life. Take extra care when travelling or studying, as there could be confusion or unexpected plan changes. This may be a great time to revisit a beloved getaway spot, restudy a favourite subject or resit exams; be prepared for delays and complications in legal matters. Use this period to revise written work and explore books that expand your understanding of the world. Remember to keep the bigger picture in mind and stay optimistic.


A good time to review loans, outstanding debts, and renew insurance policies. Avoid relying on other people’s money, however intimate the bond, and review your financial situation. If someone owes you money, now is the time to send out reminders. On the personal front, old flames may reappear, but be careful not to let jealousy and obsession take over. Take a closer look at your intimate relationships and work on breaking down barriers. Be aware of delays and broken promises related to resources received from others. Avoid making binding commitments or critical transactions until Mercury goes direct.


Upsets and miscommunications in your most significant relationships, be they past, present, or potential new partners, including love interests, business partners, and even known enemies. You seem perplexed about how to handle them. It’s a time for reconsideration and renegotiation, and old flames may resurface. Be wary of misunderstandings, reach out to missed contacts, and take the opportunity to bury the hatchet with an enemy or reconnect with an old friend. In business, it’s a good time to find new customers and recommit to partnerships. Just be sure to check the fine print before signing any contracts.


Perfect time to reassess your daily routines and healthy habits. Any disarray and built-up mess in these areas and old health issues may resurface, providing a chance to tidy up loose ends and finally put them to rest. This is also an opportunity to renegotiate your work duties and rebuild relationships with colleagues. Take care of your body by changing your diet and increasing exercise. Some flexibility in your routines is good. Watch out for potential clashes with coworkers or missed deadlines. Avoid making any hasty decisions about your job, and don’t just suddenly quit – remember that this period, however chaotic, is only temporary.


Take this opportunity to rethink situations and indulge in playful activities. You may hear from a past love or find new ways to express your creativity—a chance to rethink relationships and unfinished projects. Watch out for a lack of creative energy, and don’t rush things, as dates and arguments with loved ones could go wrong. Stay calm and remember to have fun; ultimately, it’s a time for exploration and rediscovering the fun-loving parts of yourself.


It’s wise to be prepared for potential communication mishaps during this Mercury retrograde period. Misunderstandings can quickly arise, especially among family members or those close to you, so it’s a good idea to be clear in your communication and double-check that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, try to avoid making any drastic decisions regarding your home or property during this time, as it may not be the best time to make big moves. Most importantly, be mindful of any unresolved issues from the past that may resurface, and take the time to address them constructively.


Take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with lost contacts, relatives and siblings or finish old writing projects. You’re often returning to an old scene for some reason. Review data and old notes, back up your computer, charge your phone regularly, and be careful with technology and transportation to avoid mishaps. While sometimes frustrating with everyday matters, this cycle can provide insight and opportunities to sort out important issues. Just be patient and avoid making promises you can’t keep.

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