It is ye olde timme again.

That special time that only comes three or four times a year!

That’s right, we’re creeping up on Mercury Retrograde (dun dun DUUUUUN!). It starts TONIGHT at 6.17pm MST.

Mercury is the ruler of the signs of Gemini and Virgo, both mutable in quality, as this planet has to do with communication, intellect, and integration. It’s like the corpus callosum in the brain, connecting the two hemispheres into one unit. Most planets have a male or female quality associated with them (Venus is female, Mars is male, etc.), but Mercury is both and neither- it moves between them. It’s language and hearing and listening.

Retrograde motions happen when a planet seems to slow down to a stop in the sky, then go backwards for a while, stop and move forward again. The planet is not changing direction, but rather its orbit relative to the earth makes it look that way from where we are. This means that the retrograde planet appears to cover the same area of the sky three times-first in the shadow zone (this one began on March 9), then in the retrograde phase (tonight through April 15), and a third time as it exits the shadow zone and breaks into new territory (May 3). While the retrograde phase is interpreted as the most disruptive, themes that fall within the shadow zone or total retrograde transit will be revisited three times. When retrogrades occur, we are actually closer to that planet’s orbit than at other times so astrologically it tends to make that energy more personal and internalized.

When Mercury goes retrograde, anything having to do with communication seems to go haywire. Emails and texts get wonky. Conversations can be misinterpreted more easily. Even your steady train service or daily commute might have some hiccups. Traditional advice for these periods includes not signing contracts, beginning or ending a serious relationship, or making major life changes. This is because you are likely to change your mind later, after you have reevaluated your thinking. Impressions are impermanent during Mercury Retrograde.

In the sign of Aries, Mercury is reflecting on Identity. Aries’ motto is I AM. It’s the first sign of the zodiac, and where it falls in your chart is where you want to be a strong and independent leader. Aries are very pioneering, and they burn hot like the Cardinal (initiative or outgoing) fire (spiritual energy) signs they are. Aries rules the head, and like the ram, they knock down obstacles head-on. In the wheel of the zodiac Aries lines up with the astrological First House, which represents birth, the body, and the Self. Mercury is the intellect and how we think and speak, so we might be a little bit self-involved during this time-which is exactly for what the retrograde calls. I think we’ll really be looking at things and thinking, “Is this Me?” during this retrograde. We might have to define what is, in fact, Me. If only to ourselves.

With Saturn and Pluto bringing serious depth and change to the social stage in Capricorn, a lot of this Mercury Rx self-exploration might be because we are experiencing dissonance between what we feel personally and what is going on around us. Things that are going on in the world should make you reevaluate your own position, and a retrograde like this is a great time to change your mind. Because it seems you are being forced to, from all sides. Aries and Capricorn are square to each other, an aspect of tension that expresses through attention to urgent matters.

However, sociopersonal identity crises aside, the very nice thing about this retrograde to me is that it doesn’t seem to actually involve others much. It’s not about examining your relationships, work, or outside social influences. It falls solely in the sign of the Self. As Mercury goes retro tonight, it’s still in conjunction with Venus, which softens and gives grace. So we are actually quite likely to feel good about ourselves, which might be counter-intuitive to everyone who hears me blame everything on Mercury Retrograde ad nauseum (and it might make us lazy with aforementioned social influences, like “I-feel-good-about-me-it’s-thems-who-need-to-change”). This retrograde is harmoniously trine to the North Node in Leo (Part I and Part II), which means that we will be checking in with our overall spiritual goals and development during this time. At the end of March, the Moon will be full in Libra (second Blue Moon since January-real busy year), so you might get some fireworks from others around then but I say just grab some popcorn and watch.

In short, this retrograde will make you examine if what you are doing is in line with who you actually are. You might feel like making big changes, but see what you feel like doing in a couple weeks, too. It might be different by then.



P.S. Used my ephemeris and Buddha Board to make this:)