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Photo of the planet Mercury

No matter where you look online where astrology is discussed, you’re bound to see Mercury Retrograde come up as a topic of discussion. While Mercury isn’t the only planet to experience retrograde motion, it has become the most popular retrograde cycle that people recognize and discuss. From people freaking out about it to declarations of technological breakdowns and exes popping up with messages, it is inescapable online. But what actually is discussed, Mercury Retrograde, and why is it significant? How can you best survive Mercury Retrograde 2022?

What Is Mercury Retrograde?

Three to four times per year, from our vantage point on earth, the planet Mercury appears to move backward. This occurs because Mercury is very close to the Sun and unlike Earth, which takes roughly 365 days to orbit the Sun, Mercury takes just 88 days. While all the planets in our Solar System move in the same direction around the Sun, Mercury’s short orbit causes an apparent lap with Earth’s orbit and results in it appearing to reverse directions or be in retrograde motion.

British space scientist, Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, author of Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour Of the Solar System, explains, “Mercury travels around the sun over four times for every one of our orbits. When Earth and Mercury are on the same side of the sun in their orbits, Mercury appears to move through the sky from west to east. As Mercury overtakes Earth in its inner orbit, it looks as if Mercury has changed direction and is in retrograde.”

She goes on to explain, “Imagine we’re sitting on a stationary train. The train on the next platform slowly starts to move forward, but then our train takes off quickly and overtakes it. If we don’t know that our train is moving, what we see is the train next to us moving slowly forwards, then leveling up with us, and then apparently moving backward. We see this even though neither train is actually moving backward. It’s all about the relative positions.”

Astrologically speaking, when a planet is retrograde it is not operating in its direct expression and the planet appears to be holding back its energy. Over time, astrologers have observed that when a planet goes retrograde that it seems not to express itself as easily or directly. Many explain this as saying the energy of a retrograde planet is “pushed inward” rather than expressed as it is accustomed to expressing itself. Mercury going retrograde is indicative of a slow-down in the realms of communication and connectivity.

Mercury is the messenger, the trickster; the way thoughts, ideas, and information are exchanged. When I think of Mercury, I automatically think of Gemini and Virgo, the two signs it rules; Gemini for its wit and chattiness and Virgo for its discriminating logic. Information is vital to both, but processed differently. Their differences, however, can be reconciled when we consider Mercury’s role in connecting people.

Mercury is associated with travel, information, writing, memory, speech, the nervous system, connection, respiration, perception, the rational mind, reason, jokes, gossip, and coordination. Mercury connects us to one another in thought, word, and deed. Sometimes Mercury requires us to be open to collecting information and a variety of ideas (Gemini) and sometimes Mercury prefers we take the information we have, sift through it, and reduce it down to what is most necessary (Virgo). While retrograde, all things Mercurial seem not as normal as usual.

Mishaps connected to devices that we use to receive and share information are marked when Mercury is retrograde. Mercury not only connects thoughts to people, but also connects people to people, hence its association with travel. Planes, trains, and buses being delayed when Mercury is retrograde is something we’re commonly warned about. As Mercury-themed areas of our life slow or shut down, it’s a good idea for us to use the energy wisely by going back over things, double-checking messages, and backing up electronic devices like cell phones and computers. This is when the universe blesses us with the gift of introspection and review. We are reminded that we must take a pause and reflect.

What Happens During A Mercury Retrograde Cycle?

A gif showing Mercury's movement and retrograde cycle in relation to earth from https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/mercury-in-retrograde
Mercury’s Pre-Shadow, Retrograde, and Shadow Phase movement in relation to Earth.

Many people aren’t aware that Mercury Retrograde itself is a cycle. The retrograde motion of Mercury is only one portion of that cycle. It is important to understand how the entire Mercury Retrograde cycle operates in order to be adequately prepared. Here’s a quick rundown of what actually happens during a Mercury Retrograde Cycle.

Pre-Shadow Phase

When Mercury is in direct or normal motion, it is moving forward through the degrees of the sign it is in until it enters a new sign. Before Mercury is actually retrograde, it will move forward over the degrees it will retrograde over. The period of time when Mercury is moving forward over the degrees it will soon retrograde over is called Mercury’s Pre-Shadow Phase. During this time, we get a preview of the issues that will likely arise when Mercury is in retrograde motion. Pay attention to what pops up during this time because it will definitely be revisited over the entire Mercury Retrograde cycle.

Mercury Retrograde Motion Phase

When Mercury begins the retrograde motion portion of its retrograde cycle, from our vantage point on earth, it appears to move backward over the degrees it moved forward over during the Pre-Shadow Phase. During this three-week period, whatever came up over the preceding weeks of the Pre-Shadow Phase will be accentuated and highlighted. This is the period of Mercury’s retrograde cycle where it is important to understand the theme is revisiting, reexamining, and reflecting.

Shadow Phase

When Mercury stations direct, ending its Retrograde phase, it starts moving forward again. Since Mercury appeared to move backward while it was retrograde, it now has to travel forward over the degrees it moved backward over. It is recovering areas it already visited. Astrologically, this means Mercury is clearing residual “debris” it kicked up while in retrograde motion. This can feel like the final “clean-up” or “walk-through” when it comes to whatever issues came up during the Pre-Shadow and Retrograde phases. By this point of Mercury’s retrograde cycle if we’ve gone made sure to appropriately reflect we’ll gain insight into patterns in our thinking, communication, and abilities to connect with others.

You could look at Mercury’s retrograde cycle as a vacuum cleaning a carpet. Mercury’s Pre-Shadow Phase is when you push the vacuum forward over a section of the carpet. Its Retrograde phase would be when you pull the vacuum back over the same section, and its Shadow phase would be pushing the vacuum cleaner forward once again and continuing past the initial area vacuumed. To view an example of Mercury’s Retrograde Cycle, check out this video I did back in 2019 about Mercury’s Retrograde in Scorpio.

Mercury Retrograde 2022

In 2021, Mercury’s retrograde cycle happened exclusively in all the Air Signs – Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. For 2022, we’ll see a similar trend as Mercury once again goes retrograde primarily in Air Signs, however, unlike its 2021 retrograde cycle, Mercury will retrograde back into Earth Signs. Additionally, at the tale end of December, Mercury will go retrograde in the sign of Capricorn and stay there until mid-January 2023.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

Mercury’s retrograde from the Fixed Air Sign of Aquarius back into the Cardinal Earth Sign of Capricorn signifies a time period where what we think we know is challenged, and we are forced to rethink it all by taking accountability, having integrity, and deciding what is most practical and useful. By the end of this Mercury Cycle, if you’ve used this energy appropriately, you’ll have opened yourself up to challenging ways of thinking that you held fast to and taken the necessary steps to be responsible for how you use what you know to plan and organize and execute those plans.

From January 14 to February 3, 2022 – 10° Aquarius to 24° Capricorn

Pre-Shadow Phase: December 29, 2021 to January 14, 2022 – Mercury enters the retrograde zone (24° Capricorn) to Mercury stationing retrograde (10° Aquarius)

Mercury Retrograde Motion Phase: January 14 to February 3 – Mercury stations retrograde (10° Aquarius) to Mercury stationing direct (24° Capricorn)

Shadow Phase: February 4 to February 24 – Mercury stations direct (24° Capricorn) to Mercury leaving the retrograde zone (10° Aquarius)

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Mercury’s Retrograde from the Mutable Air sign it rules, Gemini, back into the Fixed Earth sign of Taurus indicates a timeframe where any unwillingness to be open to new ideas will reveal our stubbornness. Fixed ways of thinking will be highlighted by those ideas being challenged with a barrage of other people’s thoughts and opinions. By the end of this Mercury Cycle, if you’ve used the energy appropriately, you will realize that staunchly held opinions typically tied into your value system and self-worth should be re-evaluated. What you already know isn’t the end-all-be-all, and sometimes the best way to grow is to open yourself up to new information.

From May 10 to June 3, 2022 – 4° Gemini to 26° Taurus

Pre-Shadow Phase: April 26 to May 10 – Mercury enters the retrograde zone (26° Taurus) to Mercury stationing retrograde (4° Gemini)

Mercury Retrograde Motion Phase: May 10 to June 3 – Mercury stationary retrograde (4° Gemini) to Mercury stationing direct (26° Taurus)

Shadow Phase: June 3 to 18 – Mercury stations direct (26° Taurus) to Mercury leaving the retrograde zone (4° Gemini)

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury’s Retrograde from the Cardinal Air sign of Libra, back into the Mutable Earth sign of Virgo, which it rules, is a time when superficiality in our thinking and communicating comes up for careful and precise examination. Do we truly have an understanding of what we adopt in our thinking as it relates to how we communicate with others? Are we glazing over details that would better help us understand how we think about the relationships we have? By the end of this Mercury Cycle, if you’ve used this energy appropriately, you will have sifted through how you think about relating and separated the wheat from the proverbial chaff; through what is necessary and what is not.

From September 9 to October 2, 2022 – 8° Libra to 24° Virgo

Pre-Shadow Phase: August 21 to September 9 – Mercury enters the retrograde zone (24° Virgo) to Mercury stationing retrograde (8° Libra)

Mercury Retrograde Motion Phase: September 9 to October 2 – Mercury stationary retrograde (8° Libra) to Mercury stationing direct (24° Virgo)

Shadow Phase: October 2 to October 16 – Mercury stations direct (24° Virgo) to Mercury leaving the retrograde zone (8° Libra)

How Will Mercury Retrograde Affect You?

While we can speak on Mercury Retrograde in general and how it will affect the collective, it’s important that we look to our individual charts to best understand how we will be impacted personally. Make sure that you get a copy of your birth chart so that you can look for the house(s) where Mercury will retrograde. Even if you don’t have planets or placements in the sign(s) Mercury will retrograde through, the retrograde will still impact your chart. Need help locating where Mercury will retrograde through your chart? Book a mini birth chart reading or a full birth chart reading with me and I will be glad to help you figure it out! Also, if you’re curious about learning more about how to use astrology practically to navigate everyday life, make sure you sign up for my Astrology Course Wait List. I’ve got some amazing courses coming!

Steps To Understanding Mercury Retrograde In Your Birth Chart

Locate The House(s) In Your Chart Where Mercury Will Retrograde

This works best when looking at your birth chart as a birth chart wheel, not a Cafe Astrology grocery list of your placements. No shade to Cafe Astrology as it’s a great source of astrological information, however, the natal chart grids it provides are not as useful as an actual chart wheel. If you want a better understanding of astrology, you should get comfortable looking at chart wheels.

Tina Turner’s birth chart in Cafe Astrology grocery list style. This is NOT the sort of chart you want to look at.

Tina Turner’s birth chart in chart wheel style. This is the sort of chart you want to look at.

I will use Tina Turner’s chart as an example to locate where Mercury’s retrograde in Libra back into Virgo will transit. Remember, Mercury Retrograde is a whole cycle consisting of the Pre-Shadow, Retrograde and Shadow phases. For the sake of helping you understand the entire cycle, we will start by locating the house in her chart ruled by Libra. In your own chart, find the house that Libra rules and take note of the degree and minute.

Tina Turner’s 3rd house is ruled by Libra beginning at 8 degrees and 9 minutes.

In your chart, what house does Libra rule? What degree and minute mark that house? For Tine Turner, her third house is ruled by Libra, beginning at 8 degrees and 9 minutes. Keep in mind that Mercury will enter its retrograde motion on September 9th, 2022 at 11:38 pm eastern at 8 degrees and 55 minutes of Libra. For Tina Turner, we see her third house begins at 8 degrees and 9 minutes. This tells us that when Mercury begins its retrograde motion, it will be in the very beginning of her third house.

We see that Mercury will begin its retrograde motion in Tina Turner’s 3rd house.

Where does 8 degrees and 55 minutes of Libra fall in your chart? The house where you have Libra energy at this particular degree is where Mercury will begin its retrograde motion. Since Mercury will appear to be moving backwards during its retrograde motion from our vantage point on earth, this means it will be moving backwards through your chart. Mercury’s retrograde motion will end on October 2nd, 2022 at 5:07 am eastern at 24 degrees and 11 minutes of Virgo. This means that Mercury will move from Tina Turner’s 3rd house back into her second.

Mercury’s retrograde motion will end and begin moving forward again in Tina Turner’s 2nd house.

What house does 24 degrees and 11 minutes of Virgo fall in your chart? This area is significant for two reasons. This area starts both the Pre-Shadow and Shadow phases of Mercury’s Retrograde Cycle. For Tina Turner this means that from August 21st, 2022 through September 9th, 2022 Mercury’s Pre-Shadow phase is giving a preview of what will occur while Mercury is in retrograde motion. Then from October 2nd, 2002 to October 16th, 2022 this same area is revisited for a final clean-up of any residual energetic debris.

In your own chart, you’ll want to identify the Pre-Shadow, Retrograde Motion, and Shadow areas of Mercury in your chart. For example, using Tina Turner’s chart:

Pre-Shadow
August 21 to September 9, 2022
2nd House to 3rd House
Retrograde Motion
September 9 to October 2, 2022
3rd House to 2nd House
Shadow
October 2 to October 16, 2022
2nd House to 3rd House

For some, Mercury’s Retrograde cycle will occur all within the same house. If you notice this is the case for your chart, you only have to focus on the energy of that house. Let’s take a look at Mercury passing through each house to give you an idea of what area of your life will be affected based on your natal chart.

Mercury Through The Houses

Use the following chart to determine what area(s) of your life will be affected during Mercury’s retrograde cycle through your birth chart.

HouseArea Of Life
1st House
Naturally ruled by Aries
Appearance, Sense of Self, Awareness of Self, Who and How You Show Up To Others
2nd House
Naturally ruled by Taurus
Personal Resources, Money, Possessions, Values, Self Worth
3rd House
Naturally ruled by Gemini
Neighborhood, Neighbors, Siblings, Cousins, Mental Activity, Learning, Communication, Short-Distance Travel
4th House
Naturally ruled by Cancer
Private Life, Home, Family, Emotional Inner World
5th House
Naturally ruled by Leo
Self-Expression, Creativity, Children, Vitality, Romance, Fun
6th House
Naturally ruled by Virgo
Daily Life, Habits, Health, Routines, Services, Pets, Self-Improvement
7th House
Naturally ruled by Libra
Partners, 1-On-1 Relationships, Others, Marriage, Contracts, Open Enemies
8th House
Naturally ruled by Scorpio
Sex, Death, Secrets, Transformation, Shared Resources, Other People’s Money, Rebirth
9th House
Naturally ruled by Sagittarius
Higher Education, Publishing, Long Distance Travel, Religion, Foreign Cultures
10th House
Naturally ruled by Capricorn
Public Life, Career, Reputation, Vocational Purpose, Status, Outer World
11th House
Naturally ruled by Aquarius
Groups, Networks, Friendship Circles, Organizations, Social Consciosness, Hopes
12th House
Naturally ruled by Pisces
Dreams, Isolation, Self-Sabotage, Hidden Enemies, Solitude, Transcendence, Subconscious

Given that Mercury’s retrograde cycle is a time the universe supports Mercury-themed areas of our lives slowing or shutting down, it’s a good idea for us to use the energy wisely by reviewing, redeveloping, revisiting, restarting, revamping in the areas affected in our charts. Regarding Tina Turner’s birth chart, we know that Mercury Retrograde will affect her 2nd and 3rd houses. This means the universe is blessing her with the gift of introspection and review when it comes to 2nd and 3rd house themes. Let’s take a look at how that breaks down for her.

TimeframeAreas Of Life AffectedAffect Of The Transit
August 21 to September 9, 2022
Mercury’s Pre-Shadow Phase
2nd House: Personal Resources, Money, Possessions, Values
3rd House: Neighborhood, Neighbors, Siblings, Cousins, Mental Activity, Learning, Communication, Short-Distance Travel
A preview of what needs to be reviewed and revisited regarding finances, values, and self-worth, followed by a glimpse of what will issues will arise with neighbors, delays in short-distance travel, and wonky communication.
September 9 to October 2, 2022
Mercury’s Retrograde Motion Phase
3rd House: Neighborhood, Neighbors, Siblings, Cousins, Mental Activity, Learning, Communication, Short-Distance Travel
2nd House: Personal Resources, Money, Possessions, Values
Miscommunication with neighbors, interruptions / delays with short-distance travel, dropped calls, or problems with communication devices are followed by a review of personal resources and rethinking of values and spending.
October 2 to October 16, 2022
Mercury’s Shadow Phase
2nd House: Personal Resources, Money, Possessions, Values
3rd House: Neighborhood, Neighbors, Siblings, Cousins, Mental Activity, Learning, Communication, Short-Distance Travel
After reviewing spending, taking a closer look at personal resources, and reevaluating values, the ability to to best handle any communication issues, issues with neighbors, or problems that popped up close to home are resolved.

Making Sense Of It All In Your Chart

Some important keywords to remember to describe Mercury are:

  • Agile
  • Brain
  • Communication
  • Commerce
  • Connection
  • Coordination
  • Cunning
  • Dexterous
  • Eloquence
  • Expressive
  • Flexibility
  • Gossip
  • Guile
  • Information
  • Intellect
  • Learning
  • Logic
  • Messenger
  • Messages
  • Mental Faculties
  • Mind
  • Nervous System
  • Perception
  • Rationality
  • Respiration
  • Speech
  • Thinking
  • Thought Processes
  • Transport
  • Travel
  • Trickster
  • Wit
  • Writing
  • Youthfulness 

Remember I said earlier that when I think of Mercury, I automatically think of the signs Gemini and Virgo? To dive deeper into the flavor of what Mercury retrograding through your chart will be like, I think it’s wise to consider some keywords for Gemini, Virgo, and the sign(s) Mercury will retrograde through. Let’s take a look at how this works with Mercury’s Retrograde in Libra.

GEMINI

Quick-witted

Curious

Chatty

Duplicitous

Fickle

VIRGO

Perfectionist

Critical

Precise

Discerning

Meticulous

LIBRA

Relationship-oriented

Harmonious

Indecisive

Social

Impartial

Using one keyword from every sign above, try filling in the blanks of this sentence:

The __(Gemini)__ and __(Virgo)__ planet of __(Mercury Keyword)__ is fixated on being __(Libra)__.

You wind up with sentences like:

  1. The curious and meticulous planet of communication is fixated on being relationship-oriented.
  2. The chatty and precise planet of travel is fixated on being social.
  3. The fickle and critical planet of information is fixated on harmony.

These are just a few of many combinations of sentences we could come up with using the plethora of keywords associated with Mercury, Gemini, Virgo, and Libra. For maximum effect, apply some of these sentences to the house(s)/area(s) of life where Mercury will retrograde. Using Tina Turner’s chart again, looking at Mercury retrograding from her 3rd house to her 2nd house, bringing it all together, we get the following information:

From September 9 to October 2, 2022, miscommunication with neighbors, interruptions / delays with short-distance travel, dropped calls, or problems with communication devices are followed by a review of personal resources and rethinking of values and spending. The chatty and precise planet of travel is fixated on being social, so, it will be hard to avoid interactions with others locally, even if those interactions don’t run smoothly. Also, the fickle and critical planet of information is fixated on harmony so when it comes to rethinking values and spending, it will help to be honest about a tendency to frequently change how you deal with those things. Awareness of your fluctuation when it comes to money and value systems you hold is key to adopting more solid practices.

Mercury’s Retrograde Motion Phase through Tina Turner’s 3rd and 2nd houses

Mind you, this information comes from simply looking where Mercury will be transiting Ms. Turner’s chart. We’re not even taking in account any aspects Mercury will make to the planets in her chart yet, there is still plenty of information available about how she will be affected. What information are you able to derive from your chart? When you bring it all together, what can you expect? You’re being give the opportunity to revisit something in the areas Mercury’s Retrograde Cycle will transit through your chart. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and remember how much of a gift it is to have another chance to have a do-over. Even if it’s a toxic ex coming back, there’s much to be learned by going backwards. Sometimes the biggest blessings the universe gives us come in the form of lessons.

If you’re interested in learning Astrology for practical use in your everyday life, make sure to sign up here on our Course Wait List. You’ll be notified as courses go live and become available. First up, will be Practical Astrology 101: WTF Is it All About?, a course that gives a solid foundation of astrological knowledge to train you to recognize astrology in everything and use it to have a more fulfilling life.

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