©7-18-2016 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
Something prompted me this morning to look for the next Mercury retrograde period, since I regularly plan much-needed projects to tackle during those intervals. I was surprised to discover that Mercury will be in Virgo this year for total of 42 days starting on July 30th. It goes retrograde on August 30th at 29° Virgo and turns direct at 15° Virgo on September 21st, so it’s retrograde for 24 of the 42 days.
Would you think I was batty if I told you that that was the best news I’ve had all week? My regular readers know that I take the prevailing hysteria about Mercury Retrograde with a grain of salt—well, more like a whole shaker full of salt. Too many people make these retrogrades sound like some terrifying boogie man, and I think they’re addicted to high drama.
Many horror stories people tell about Mercury Rx meltdowns aren’t due to Mercury at all, but are:
- exaggerated for the sake of drama
- due to transits by Uranus, especially those stories involving computer, internet or mobile device problems.
- or due to Neptune transits that set off hazy thinking
- or to already existing ADD-HD patterns
A Rational Approach to Mercury Retrograde
My approach is more sensible, I like to think. I make a point of using these intervals productively, while consciously avoiding the pitfalls. I double check everything I do during that time, hold up on major outreach, don’t start major new projects, and back up my computer after every writing session.
Mercury retrograde is a good time for reviewing and planning. If we insist on going forward as fast as possible and never take time to look back, poor decisions and unwise strategies can become entrenched and contribute to bad outcomes. We can profit from these periodic stages of evaluating where we are and considering what the next steps need to be.
As a writer, I consider the regularly recurring retrogrades by Mercury excellent times to be consciously reviewing my work and refining it. I cherish those intervals as opportunities to revise writing projects already in process. The novel I’m working on now about a past life therapist has so many meandering stories and themes that even I get lost in trying to sort them out. I’m at the midpoint of the book, and it’s important that I get the first half of the book solid right now and to plan the structure for the second half, leading to a rewarding finale.
Why It’s Especially Helpful in Virgo
The Virgophobes among us may be bewailing the fact that the whole retrograde period is in Virgo. I can hear them now: “Whyyyyyyy does this have to be happening in Virgo? My boss/spouse/mom/mother-in-law will be pick, pick, picking at me. Criticizing, demanding details, fussing about punctuation and spelling, nagging, correcting every little thing I do. I swear she/he goes over everything with a stiletto pen.”
Now, now! Is it really that bad? I would consider myself extremely lucky to have a Virgo secretary/editor/factotum if I could afford one. They would banish my Archnemesis, The Forces of Chaos, and keep them ever at bay. They would remind me of those tedious details and deadlines and prompt me when they need doing–even, best case scenario, take care of them for me….automatically.
Virgo’s good qualities are often ignored, but here’s a (fairly) detailed list. (Not every Virgo has all of them or puts them to good use. It depends on other chart placements and aspects to Virgo planets.) Who among us couldn’t use some of them? Down to earth, practical, sensible, helpful, organizes, tends to details, analyzes, good work ethic, many work skills, wants to be useful, modest, good at fact checking, discerning, observant about human nature, puts others’ needs first, willing to help, steady, strives to do their best. While Mercury is in this sign, use some of those qualities to make progress.
Mercury’s Stationary Periods—a Key to Mastering this Retrograde Period
As you’ll learn from the articles linked below, the stationary periods when a planet turns retrograde or direct are key times when a project might stall for a week or longer—and the informed reader is wise not to spin their wheels when that happens but instead to turn to WHAT?
The stationary periods for this Mercury cycle are from August 19th to September 2nd as it turns retrograde at 29° Virgo and from September 19th to 24th as it turns direct at 15° Virgo. The 29th is a degree marking times of transition. If you’re new to this blog, you might find it informative to read the article about that degree and our amazing dialogue about that degree in the comment section of that article. (See the link in the list below.)
My interpretation of this stationary time at 29° Virgo is that those of us affected by it are likely to be on the threshold of some important transition in our work or personal life, but it’s not quite time to embark on it. First we need to clean up any chaos that’s accumulated and put it right so we don’t leave a mess behind. If you’ve been directly impacted by transits to your natal chart positions by Neptune in mid-Pisces and Saturn in mid-Sagittarius, then you’ve probably been struggling with chaos, disorder or confusion in those areas of life.
Readers, can you think of a Mercury retrograde project that would improve your work or personal life? Or do you have an inspiring example of long-needed projects that worked out well under Mercury Rx? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Here are links to previous blog articles that spell out ways to use these periods productively and to avoid certain difficulties that come up.