Photos: Willow, Renegade Heifer Photography
Mercury, considered the "winged messenger" planet of the zodiac, is associated with communication, connections, messages, transportation, the mind and intellect, and the exchange of information.
Mercury enters home sweet home Gemini on April 30 (8:00 p.m. CST), a sign it rules, indicating that mental function and the movement of information will start to flow more freely. Mercury functions well in Gemini and gets a lot done in this air sign. Communication and connections are made without much hassle, and there is a great deal of chit-chatting and networking, particularly in local neighbourhoods and societies.
The movement of Mercury into Gemini comes as a relief after the locked-in conjunction between Mercury and Mars in slower-moving Taurus that we've been experiencing since mid-April.
Mercury in Gemini enjoys "the buzz," being right in the thick of the activity and whatever is going on, and this "busy social buzzing" will be a focus through the first week of July. Mercury makes an extended stay in Gemini, including a retrograde period from May 18 to June 11, and won't enter Cancer until July 8.
Mercury enters the degrees of its retrograde shadow on May 4 following a 13-degree Scorpio Full Moon on May 3 (9:42 p.m.). The Sabian Symbol for the Scorpio Full Moon is, very fittingly, "Telephone Linemen At Work Installing New Connections." Indeed.
This means, whatever we're talking about or thinking about between May 4 and May 18 will be coming back up for review and revision during the three-week Mercury retrograde period. The conversations being had and connections being made during the first weeks of May are potent, complex, and even divinely-guided. Things are buzzing, information is flying, and further details are pouring in. But don't worry if it's all a bit much to wrap your head around - we're coming back to this.
Mercury in Gemini will oppose Saturn Rx in Sagittarius exactly on May 3 (2:35 a.m.), just before entering the retrograde shadow. The opposition to Saturn Rx in Sagittarius indicates a challenge to hold to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth even as multiple angles on the same situation come into play. There is an ultimate truth here, no matter which crowd Mercury in Gemini happens to be playing to at the moment. Digging for this truth and holding the authority of this truth throughout the Mercury in Gemini transit are keys to successful navigation.
This will be a highly Neptunian Mercury transit, as Mercury in Gemini will be within range of a square aspect to Neptune in Pisces for two full months. Exact squares between Mercury and Neptune occur May 9, May 29, and June 23. This indicates the potential for confusion, mental chaos, and rapidly changing perspectives over the next couple months.
Mercury-Neptune contacts have a tendency to convince us of things that sound good but are not actually true. Again, in order to counteract the fantasizing, clouded thinking, and influence of "slippery tongues" under this square aspect, we are challenged to get to the truth and to hold to that truth as situations evolve.
Mercury Retrograde Basics
Three times per year, Mercury appears to stop in the sky and then move backward for three weeks before turning direct again. This period of time is called a Mercury retrograde, and it is becoming known by more and more people – even those who are not usually interested in astrology.
Some of the most marked characteristics of Mercury retrograde periods are: confusion, plans changing, people changing their minds after receiving new information, and glitchy communication/electronics.
Mercury will station retrograde at 13 degrees Gemini on May 18 (7:49 p.m.), and it will remain retrograde until turning direct again at 4 degrees Gemini on June 11 (4:33 p.m.). Mercury will be moving slowest on the days around the stations (May 16 – 20 and June 9 – 13), and these periods of time could be particularly frustrating with confusion, mental stress, and communication breakdowns.
Traditionally, Mercury retrograde is not considered a good time to sign contracts, make deals, or solidify plans. This is a period of time when we are going back over things, coming into new information and perspective that we may have missed the first time around, and it’s very common to change our minds – sometimes more than once – during this three-week period. It’s a “thinking it over” period of time as we gather, disseminate, and process more information. For this reason, making hard-and-fast decisions during Mercury retrograde can be difficult, if not impossible. We have to be very adaptable, adjusting as perspectives and plans change.
Our minds are basically moving in reverse during Mercury retrograde, and we’re required to slow our brains down. This can be challenging during these often-frenetic times with people glued to cell phones, computers, and social media. However, Mercury retrograde is definitely not a time to push full speed ahead mentally, verbally, or with written communication, or Mercury retrograde “symptoms” will pop up.
Some of the glitchy aspects of Mercury retrograde periods include:
- Communication problems, delays, glitches, mistakes, and misinformation, both written and verbal.
- Telephone lines, internet, TV, radio, faxes, electronics, and computers can go a bit haywire: delayed connections, e-mails or texts that don’t go through, messages sent to the wrong people or messages that seem to disappear into thin air, slow or no internet connections, computer programs that refuse to work, television and telephone problems.
- Transportation problems with both private vehicles and public transportation. Transportation break-downs are more likely. Transportation may be late. We may take the wrong turn. We may receive the wrong directions. Air travel during Mercury retrograde can be especially challenging.
- People have a harder time understanding each other. We're forced to slow down or go back over things in an effort to be understood. We may have to repeat ourselves. Misunderstandings are common that have to be ironed out during or after the Mercury retrograde.
- A feeling of déjà vu: didn’t I just say that? Didn’t we already talk about this? Things come back up for review and revision during Mercury retrograde. Old conversations, connections, ideas, and information come up for a second look. We rediscover crucial information that perhaps we didn’t realize was important before, and we receive missing details so that we can move forward with plans once Mercury goes direct.
- A lot of mental processing related to what’s going on in our lives. "My brain hurts." Headaches, stiff necks, mental overload, and burnout are possible during Mercury retrogrades if we don’t consciously slow things down. Overactive minds can keep us up at night.
- General delays and a feeling that things have slowed down. Having to wait on things, especially electronics.
- Any job involving information or working with the public can be especially stressful during Mercury retrograde periods. This includes reporters, writers, teachers, administrators, data entry, waitresses, bartenders, retail, other service workers, and any job that involves some degree of public speaking or information processing.
So remember: from May 16 to June 13, slow it down a little. Don’t force a lot of new information between your ears. This is a period of review and revisiting information and details we may have missed the first time around.
The first Mercury retrograde of the year in cerebral Aquarius (January 21 - February 11) was an absolute "singed circuits" beast, so prepare yourself. Give yourself plenty of time for mental processing, and watch closely for mistakes before they wreak havoc.
This is especially the case with Mercury in Gemini in an extended square aspect to Neptune in Pisces (exact May 9, May 29, and June 23). This indicates the potential for heightened Mercury retrograde symptoms, confusion, misunderstandings, mental and psychic overwhelm, and even screwier communications than usual.
The universe is doing its best to make certain connections and to get certain information across to us via this Mercury retrograde square Neptune, and it may throw a monkey wrench or two into our plans as it does so. No worries. When you're frustrated on a personal level, allow your mind to go "transcendent big picture" in order to receive the perspective and messages flowing to you and through you. Under these influences, we're just conduits.
Understand that there may be a larger message coming through or an important connection being made when you hit a snag with the daily goings-on in your life. There may be a change in plans coming from on high that you just have to roll with. These are mutable (changeable) signs we're dealing with. Be flexible.
Mercury square Neptune for an extended period of time like this indicates openings to otherworldly insights, communication and communion with the divine, and increased psychic or telepathic abilities.
Conversations take on dual meaning - there is meaning at the daily physical level as well as at the broader spiritual level. We're dealing with very layered situations now, layered connections, layered communications.
Creative ideas and creative problem-solving are highlighted under the influence of this aspect. Music and writing, in particular, can bring people together in new ways.
Worries may dissipate under the extended influence of this Mercury-Neptune square as we surrender personal concerns to the loving higher intelligence. The information, connections, and changes in perspective coming to us via this Mercury retrograde process are out of our hands, to a great extent.
We may be more aware of signs and signals from the universe under the influence of this Mercury-Neptune square, particularly in the time periods around the exact square aspects. Dreams may be potent and prophetic. Keep a pad of paper and pen at your bedside to write things down after waking.
Under the influence of this square, we may come into a fuller understanding of the invisible connections we have to others in our local societies, and this can provide support and a sense of connection during these often-isolating times.
Everything truly is connected, but we have a stronger spiritual harmony with some. The spiritual harmony we have with others as we go about our daily lives will be more apparent than usual now. Make note of the people who seem to randomly cross your path - it likely isn't so random.
Day-to-day circulation in our local societies and neighbourhoods will be very spiritually supportive for ourselves and others over the next couple months. We will not even be fully aware of the boost we're giving others just by participating, talking, chatting, communicating, and staying socially active. A kind word or taking a genuine interest in the life of another person goes a very long way now.
Mercury in Gemini is also often a bit of a gossip (maybe more than a bit). It likes to stay up on the local news, and it likes to pass on a juicy tidbit or two, as well. Be careful with loose lips, however, as the squares to Neptune in Pisces will have a tendency to carry and disseminate information even more widely than usual. Major social cross-pollination, possibly unintentional. Don't tell anyone anything that you don't want spread around. The grapevine is extra potent until Mercury enters Cancer July 8. Saturn Rx in Sagittarius reminds us again: stick to the truth, no exaggerations.
(On a macro level, the "wide dispersion" effect of this Mercury-Neptune square is great for disseminating information far-and-wide that must get out to the masses...)
The Mercury-Neptune squares indicate the need for a little isolation, quiet time, and mental disconnect in order to process the heaps of information coming to us. This includes taking short breaks from social media and internet, despite the often-intense desire of Mercury in Gemini to stay glued to the hub of activity.
Mercury in Gemini will form a conjunction to Mars in Gemini on May 27, and both bodies will be square Neptune in Pisces. This makes the final week of May particularly prone to the Mercury retrograde symptoms and to the potential for mental/psychic overload and "hot brains." Slow it down, and use meditation to clear your minds regularly.
Overall, the extended stay of Mercury in Gemini (including retrograde period) will bring people into closer contact with each other, making many new connections. Many of the connections forming now and over the next weeks are divinely-guided and requested by the universe at this time.
Telephone linemen are laying down new lines for the new astrological era. A different mix of people is coming together in new networks for the Aquarian era, and this mix may seem unusual, unconventional, or even downright bizarre to some of the more traditionally-minded folks.
We are connecting in new ways at the same time as we are being made more fully aware of the invisible connections that have always been there.
Neptune stations retrograde at 9 degrees Pisces on June 12, following the Mercury direct station at 4 degrees Gemini on June 11.