This Mercury period follows a Venus retrograde period—and Venus has been Aries forever it seems— which all began after the first Mercury retrograde period in January. Some things are in a holding pattern and what is moving ahead may not be what we planned. Mercury will spend 116 days in air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) and 163 days in earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) this year, leaving the other six signs 86 days. So once again, the planet of communication, Mercury, is about to turn retrograde. Happens every four months, but we all hear about it and it is one astro-event we like to blame when we lose things, communication goes awry or our flight is delayed. There is much more to Mercury than meets the eye or ear as the case may be. Mercury is elemental, meaning that each year an element is emphasized. 2009 is a transition from Air of thoughts and ideas into Earth of practical application—rolling up our sleeves and getting stuff done.
The adjacent graphic is the retrograde calendar for 2009. The dates highlighted in green are dates when Mercury is retrograde, the pink ones are Venus dates and the orange shows the Mars retrograde period, which overlaps the Mercury retrograde period beginning on December 26, 2009.
Mercury began to move slowly after April 23, 2009 after which date we have been feeling a shift. Usually the week prior to the retrograde date, which is May 6, 2009, we begin to notice delays. Emails dwindle, there are fewer phone calls, the calls are not returned promptly, etc. We are becoming aware of tasks that we have neglected, and then we also have the new ideas of the past week or two that we want to realize, make concrete. I have written about Mercury on my websites (www.astrologicallyspeaking.com) for the past eight years, observed its action or inaction through clients, students, etc for a couple of decades and over the years my perceptions have changed. One of the statements I still tend to make is that this three week period, has the potential of changing our direction or thinking around an issue. On a trivial note, I personally end up buying a new coffee pot during Mercury retrograde too frequently to think it an anomaly. This year, I ordered one and it’s ready for pick up after Mercury begins its backward journey—I call these cosmic jokes, the Universe has a sense of humour.
I also still recommend travel and cancellation insurance for trips booked or taken during the retrograde period. This particular one ends May 30, 2009. Most of us end up losing and finding objects during these periods, so I still suggest that you pay extra attention to small, portable items such as your wallet, cell phone, laptop, etc. There is more junk mail with potential viruses if we are talking email during these periods, thus keeping that antivirus software updated is important, as is backing up data and keeping important documents safely filed. I don’t recommend signing new contracts, where the process began during the retrograde period; however, common sense dictates that if we are offered something we have worked toward for ages during these periods, we’d be foolish not to accept. Yes, the energy always plays out, but it is typical of Mercury to be the indicator of a change in direction. This time, as we are busy thinking about new things we would like to do and be, seeing that Mercury is in Gemini, we may feel extra anxious; too many things happening or about to happen in our lives.
So once again, Mercury stations retrograde. Stations represent times and degrees when a planet appears to begin to move in a different direction from our earth-bound perspective. A good visual is standing at a railway station waiting for the train to arrive and then there is a sighting, but all of a sudden the train goes into reverse gear and we have to wait a while longer to catch a glimpse of it again. I personally find it unpleasant to drive in my car and see a train moving alongside me… I feel that the train is moving in a different direction and feel that I have to pay extra attention to how I drive (in astrology the first house of Mercury, Gemini or the third house is associated with travel and commuting). I thought I was weird, until I had my daughter’s friend in the car, and we were driving next to a moving train, she blocked her view of it with her hand and said that it made her queasy. Now I felt I wasn’t the only one with that experience—when I drive next to a train, I block that view with my hand… and think of my daughter’s friend. Mercury has always been associated with travel and travellers; he was the god in charge of herms, those markers on the roads that gave indication as to how far we had travelled or how far we were from our destination.
So Mercury makes an ingress into Air and then regresses back to Earth—the theme until later this year. The message is: Let’s do it properly, from ideas floating in the ethers to practical, concrete results. Air is the element associated with ideas, particularly those that have only had a chance to pop into our consciousness over the past week or so (since April 30). Earth is the element associated with our efforts in the material realm. During the past few weeks the stock markets have stabilized and are actually gaining ground. The last Mercury retrograde period beginning late 2009 is completely in Capricorn, and throughout 2010 we will be completely immersed in Earth. Then it is all about doing the work.
Aside from Sun sign astrology and eclipses, the Mercury retrograde phenomenon is extremely well publicized. Every horoscope column will address it during the time frame, which is May 6-May 30, 2009. Mercury slows down some weeks prior to the date it turns direction. This is something that happens from our earthly perspective. All of the planets move around the Sun, the one star in our solar system, and Mercury whips around in 88 days. Now it is approaching Earth slowly. Mercury is known as the messenger, the god of the cross roads and in this ‘phase’ in particular linked to changing plans and changing our mind. These Mercury degrees activate planets in natal charts at the same degrees.
In the course of a calendar year we may have up to four retrograde periods begin within those 365 days. Mercury’s cycle around the Zodiac is about 400 days. This time Mercury has been moving at a pace of less than one degree per day since April 26 and reached the stationary direct degree of 22°Taurus around April 23, 2009. We tend to feel the shift around those dates; a hint of things to come. At our house we have had to fiddle with the cable feed for the TVs. Did you know those are rebooted by unplugging from the wall?
As you may have gathered I am fascinated by the cycles of the inner planets, Venus and Mercury. Both create incredible geometry in the heavens. The pentagram shape belongs to Venus and Mercury stations and conjunctions with the Sun form a Star of David, hexagram or two equilateral triangles during three successive retrograde periods—yes, grand trines. Not always perfect, but within orb. In the diagram the orange degrees are the conjunctions coming up of Mercury and the Sun. The degrees highlighted in green are the direct stations—that’s a beautiful grand trine isn’t it. The red degrees are the retrograde station degrees: 2-6-7. And the degrees of the conjunctions of Mercury to the Sun while Mercury is retrograde are 28, 28 and 0°. The cycle is inching toward being completely within the element of earth. I like to refer to the beginning of this cycle as the New Mercury, and its complimentary pair is the Full Mercury, which will occur in the element of water. These are significant degrees of fullfilment of actions begun at the New Mercury.
The grand trine is the nicest aspect in astrology; it brings opportunities and represents ease. Isn’t it interesting to contemplate the fact that these potentially irritating Mercury periods show us how we might want to change our thinking in order to achieve our goals with ease? These periods become personal when the degrees interact with our own. If you have planets at these degrees, the cycle will influence your life, thinking and choices. This time Mercury stations retrograde May 6 at 22:00 PDT at 1°Gemini 45′, returns to Taurus May 13, has a meeting with the director of the show, the Sun on May 18 at 10:02 PDT @ 27°Taurus 36 and stations direct May 30 at 18:22 PDT, the degree is 22°Taurus 52′.
US president, Barack Obama, was sworn in on the day a new cycle of the Sun and Mercury began at
0°Aquarius44′, which was on his Jupiter in Aquarius. See the orange highlight on the left side of the illustration of his chart. In my article about the Obama Era I stated that the ‘honeymoon’ would last about 116 days—I wasn’t aware of the 100 day marker of each presidency—I was talking about the length of the average Mercury cycle. The next new cycle begins May 18, and the conjunction of Mercury and the Sun is at 27°Taurus 36′, see the orange highlighting at the bottom of the chart. This is Obama’s IC, one of those highly personal points in a natal horoscope. The retrograde station was ‘kissing’ his Moon at 3° Gemini 21′, but didn’t quite make it (the orb is 1°36′). The Moon is about home, connection to people and security. That is likely to be questioned in the media over the next 4-8 weeks. Some of those promises have to be brought forward and acted on quicker. This may mark a time when the Obama’s begin to make personal touches to the White House in terms of furniture, etc. It is time to get settled in despite the challenges.
Again in September the Mercury degrees activate planets in Obama’s chart, the retrograde station is on his Pluto of power struggles. His Pluto squares the Moon in his chart and that Moon is sextile his Mercury in Leo. Now the promises he made in the course of May and June are back in the media. The direct station on his Mars at the end of September shows promise of recovery for the country. On a more personal note, he should be keeping stress under check and not work quite as hard, it may begin to show at this time.
As I stated earlier there is more to Mercury than meets the eye. If these degrees are active at your personal planets, the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven or IC, you need to pay extra attention to health and vitality. See your doctor, dentist and health care provider rather than think that a cold that has bugged you for several weeks will simply vanish. There are guidelines to how long you can expect a simply Virus to run its course, Mercury’s symbol is after all associated with health and well as communication.
Copyright Anne Massey, May 5, 2009