I think Mercury retrograde is probably the number one “gateway” event that pulls people into the realness of astrology beyond the horoscopes. I have not done a formal survey on this. But it’s one of the easiest astrological events to witness in real-time. For one thing, its influence on everyday things is so apparent that even people who aren’t “into” astrology can get on board with it. And it happens regularly, every four months. Like a familiar friend (or frenemy).
Mercury retrograde is the time when little things can become big things. The computer barfs. The car barfs. The cat barfs. The internet connection goes out. There’s confusion about the schedule. You can’t find that piece of paper you need. The traffic is horrendous. The cat barfs ON the computer… There are literally a million little details that can blow up and cause you to slow down, adjust, and look at things in a new way.
Mercury retrogrades are not all the same
If you have been watching the skies for a while, you might notice that some Mercury retrograde times go by largely unnoticed. Others are like a stinking pile of retro-mess from beginning to end. Why is that?
The answer is simple if you have some skywatching basics down. Mercury’s sign and especially the contacts that Mercury makes to other planets are key. They tell the story of the retrograde and show us the kinds of opportunities, pitfalls, and rehashings that lie ahead. They give us a more complete look at how this three-week retrograde fits into the bigger picture.
The Big Picture
You may have heard of the three major slow-moving planets working their way through Capricorn now: Pluto, Saturn, and (most recently) Jupiter. Their meeting in the skies of 2019 and 2020 reflects the heaviness, crisis, and traumatic transformation that we are seeing in the world around us and, for many of us, within ourselves.
Capricorn is a serious, practical sign that rules obligations, consequences, accountability, discipline, boundaries, and corporate and government shenanigans. That’s on the one hand.
On the other hand, we have Mercury retrograde in spacey, spiritual, drifty Pisces for a few weeks, starting February 16. Mercury shows where our minds are. There will be times when you will want to respond to the demands of planets in Capricorn. You will want to knuckle down, focus, and accomplish. But Mercury in Pisces takes over… and before you know it, you have gone down a rabbit-hole online, binge-watched 17 episodes of your new favorite show, or eaten a whole package of cookies.
Mercury retrograde in Pisces
Mercury is in detriment in Pisces– as far as you can get from the home sign Virgo. This means Mercury has to work a little harder to get results. It’s an excellent configuration for introspection, dreaming, and deep meditation. But it can be frustrating when you expect yourself and others to be more focused and “on point” mentally.
Having said that, this is not a hellacious Mercury retrograde. Even though Mercury is retrograde, there is still way more “yes” than “no” in February’s skies. In fact, Jupiter and Neptune join hands and open the door for some expansion, optimism, and magic to come back into our worlds. (We need this breath of fresh air so badly after the sucky, intense, trauma-stirring alignment of Saturn and Pluto in December and January.) With Jupiter holding the door open for a while, the steps you take and the goals you pursue in February are more likely to meet with success. Especially if there is something intuitive, spiritual, or artistic about the goal or activity.
One last suggestion
Take a little time to go back over old notes, files, writing, artwork, or call up an old friend or colleague. Especially in the last few days of February. Mercury will connect with Mars, Uranus, and the Moon’s North Node, with the good vibes lasting from February 25-28. This easy connection signals opportunities that seem to come from out of the blue. So load up your calendar in February. Even if Mercury retrograde has you shuffling your schedule like a Tetris game, you can still make important connections and get some good work done.
(You could even go back and touch up your astrology skills with a review of the basics.)
- February 2 – Mercury enters its shadow (28° Aquarius)
- February 3 – Mercury enters Pisces
- February 5 – Mercury sextile Uranus 
- February 7 – Mercury trine North Node 
- February 16 – Mercury turns retrograde (12° Pisces)
- (February 20 – Jupiter sextile Neptune)
- February 26 – Mercury rx sextile Mars
- February 27 – Mercury rx trine North Node 
- February 28 – Mercury rx sextile Uranus 
- March 4 – Mercury enters Aquarius, Mercury rx sextile Venus
- March 9 – Mercury turns direct (28° Aquarius)
- March 16 – Mercury re-enters Pisces
- March 21 – Mercury trine North Node 
- March 22 – Mercury sextile Uranus 
- March 29 – Mercury exits its retrograde shadow (12° Pisces)
- via Molly’s Astrology Calendar
Do you have a question about Mercury retrograde? Leave it below.
A version of this post appears in the Aquarius edition of the ezine As Above, So Below by The Astroccult collective.