Marcury Retrograde Awareness by Erin Sullivan

Final Mercury Retrograde in 2014

Mercury turns retrograde on 4 Oct 2014 at 02°Sco18' (Water)
Mercury turns direct on 25 Oct 2014 at 16°Lib4'

Mercury Cycles Through Every Four Months

Every four months, Mercury stations and turns retrograde, remaining so for approximately twenty-two days. The retrograde cycles occur in consecutive zodiacal order as the calendar year progresses, yet the overall cycle indicates a subtle subcycle of a gradual precession of Mercury backwards through the elements. This is because Mercury stations-retrograde in each of the signs at an earlier degree each time, gradually dropping back into the previous element. In doing so, it traverses the three signs of each element -- the trigons -- each station connecting a loose grand trine over a full cycle of three stations of Mercury in the course of thirteen months.

Mercury Retrograde: Introspection Time

The use of this cycle alerts us to the unconscious rhythms of reflection, and attunes us to our inner clock by dint of knowing where concentration and introspection are most needed. When to consider and reconsider ideas, projects, relationships and lifestyle according to one's own unique timing is the greater purpose of Mercury retrograde.

The entire cycle of elemental focus is repeated approximately every six or seven years. The cycle indicates that our entire planet, the collective, experiences retrogression according to the element, but that the individual brings it into personal focus through the lens of his or her own chart and refines the experience within the houses that contain those elements.

Mercury is a Tricky Teacher

Marcury Retrograde Awareness by Erin SullivanIn this way, Hermes/Mercury is a teacher. Within the subtle movements of the retrograde cycle we can learn much from this tricky god, but we too have to play the game. The retrograde cycle is part of the archetypal journey from a known place, or from a set of values which are suddenly thrown into question. Then follows the transition from that place of certainty down into the place of the unknown, where we battle with unseen or strange forces. It is in this liminal place that the wisdom of the unconscious is allowed to loosen and float to the surface giving instruction from that most intelligent source, the intuition.

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When we struggle against the inevitable, or strive to alter the unavoidable timing of Mercury, we oppose the tao of existence. Therefore, understanding the principles of transiting Mercury retrograde as it moves through the elements maximizes potential within a natural rhythm. That rhythm is best expressed in a question form, and as each element in your horoscope is highlighted, a question arises that can act as a meditation guide.

Water: What is the quality of my life?

Mercury turning retrograde in Water signs [all Mercury Retrogrades in 2013-2014 will be in a water sign] is an opportunity to rethink old habit patterns and emotional responses to life challenges. The desire to retreat is strongest when Water is the element that is being emphasized over the two-year period. There will be between six opportunities to experience interior reflex responses and to comprehend them consciously.

Mercury retrograde in Water is the best time to analyze patterns based on inherited psychological traits. The houses that contain the three Water signs will present situations in which one finds oneself needing to resist overreacting to moods, feelings and free-floating anxiety. Subliminal messages in the environment signal what requires attention, and often one becomes more sensitive to the psyche/soma balance. One's psychological needs and their physiological manifestations are particularly in synchrony during the years of the Water retrogression cycle.

Dream analysis and journal writing is particularly effective over this time. By noting closely the symbols that arise spontaneously from the unconscious, one can become aware of emotional issues that remain unresolved. Water represents the greatest depths and also the stagnant ponds of our most sensitive, private places. One's emotional needs in relationships with others could also probably use some revising, though only through time will the complex web unfold.

Retrogression in Water signs activates the feeling function, and our ability to trust the intrinsic value assigned to our life. If this aspect of our nature has been ignored, it will now demand attention. Circumstances arise in life in relation to the house transited by Mercury that require careful examination for their contribution to the quality of life. The last retrograde cycle of Fire did not allow for much introspection into the nature of feelings.

Emotional and mental balance are challenged. Forthrightness in relationships is recommended because if one attempts to escape from emotional responsibilities during this time, they surface later with increased complications. Out of the past may come old associations, representing who one was in the past, provoking an evaluation of emotional growth and change. This is one of the best times for self-evaluation. Emotional and spiritual growth become pressing issues, though they may be disguised as practical matters. If one probes deeply enough, it becomes apparent that the source is deep within and related to the submerged past. This will be the time in a six-year period when this particular overhaul can be performed in synchronous balance with one's own inner timing.

When Mercury turns direct, these issues may be left behind for a few months, but any unfinished business will resurface for continued work three months hence. All the Water sign houses will be focused on several times in the course of the full cycle, bringing more to the surface each time.

FYI: Previous Mercury Retrogrades (2013 + 2014)

Mercury turned retrograde on 23 Feb 2013 at 19°Pis52' (Water)
Mercury turned direct on 17 Mar 2013 at 05°Pis37'

Mercury turned retrograde on 26 Jun 2013 at 23°Can06' (Water)
Mercury turned direct on 20 Jul 2013 at 13°Can21'

Mercury turned retrograde on 21 Oct 2013 at 18°Sco23' (Water)
Mercury turned direct on 10 Nov 2013 at 02°Sco29'

Mercury turned retrograde on 6 Feb 2014 at 03°Pis20' (Water)
Mercury turned direct on 28 Feb 2014 at 18°Aqu09'

Mercury turned retrograde on 7 Jun 2014 at 03°Can10 (Water)
Mercury turned direct on 1 Jul 2014 at 24°Gem22'

Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Red Wheel Weiser. ©2000. 2006.

This article is excerpted with permission from the book:

Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape
by Erin Sullivan.

Retrograde Planets by Erin SullivanThe movement and cycles of retrograde planets are based entirely on the apparent motion of the Sun through the zodiac. Erin Sullivan has interpreted these movements in a way that is immediately apparent and useful to both novice and professional astrologers, and provides both psychological and mundane interpretations of retrograde planets.

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About the Author

Erin Sullivan, author of the article: Mercury Retrograde Awareness - 2011-2012Erin Sullivan is an internationally renowned astrologer and author. Canadian born, she spent ten years in London where she was the Series Editor for the Contemporary Astrology series, published by Arkana-Penguin, and taught for the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London, where she remains a faculty member. She has written numerous books, of which "Saturn in Transit" and "Dynasty: The Astrology of Family Dynamics". Erin Sullivan lives and practices in Tucson, Arizona. You can contact her directly at her website