Mercury begins its latest retrograde process on February 16th/17th , which will last until March 9th/10th. In the weeks (and especially days) leading up to it we start to notice its influence as Mercury slows down and comes to a stop before moving the other way. This is part of the ‘pre-shadow’ period which began on February 2nd.
If you have read my previous Mercury retrograde articles, the first two sections of this article are nearly the same and you can skip to the third section if you don’t want to re-read all the general themes associated with these periods. The other sections are more specific to this edition of it.
Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Some people even get headaches near the beginning of it. We could experience some challenges, misunderstandings, and errors around our communications, numbers/details, and commerce, as well as changes, cancellations, or delays in our schedules. We may also feel more challenged when we are doing excessive analytical work without using our internal guidance.
Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to revisit or redo tasks, projects, ideas, or anything else that was initiated in the past. It can give us a different perspective or shift in thinking that can help us to approach these things in ways we wouldn’t have done before. This may also be a period of reconnecting with old friends, family, lovers, or others we haven’t seen in a while. When we reconnect with people during a retrograde, it can help to facilitate a shift in the relationship. In some cases, issues from the past can come up which may need to be hashed out.
The Deeper Purpose of Mercury Retrograde
Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to recalibrate and adjust specific areas of our lives as well as how we apply our minds towards these issues. It is a period in which we may receive important insights and see things in a new light. In most cases, it can be mildly transformational, but in some cases it can facilitate more major transformations depending on how it corresponds to your personal astrological chart.
During and following the retrograde, certain areas of our lives can go through changes or shifts, or we can experience a re-orientation of some sort which influences how we proceed over the coming months or in some cases, it can have a more long-term significance. In the three weeks afterwards, known as the ‘post-shadow’ period, we move forward with some sort of new awareness, adjustment, as well as new ideas and thoughts that have been seeded which will develop and become more defined as time progresses.
The things that you have been doing or circumstances in the two weeks leading up to this period could determine how and where this energy plays out. It is also possible that there could have been changes or things that came up at that time which may go through a sorting-out process. There could have been unknown variables, either positive or negative, that were either unseen or hadn’t been conceived yet, which may become apparent over the coming weeks.
The sign(s) and element(s) in which Mercury retrograde travels shows the energy we are re-orienting ourselves with. More importantly, if you are familiar with your natal astrology chart, then your house(s) or any planetary placements being affected will show more specifically what areas of life you will be experiencing its energy in. For the astrologically literate, it begins at 12’53 degrees of Pisces and will retrograde all the way to 28’13 degrees of Aquarius, before turning forward again.
Occurring Mostly In Pisces and Partially In Aquarius, Part of a Series in Water Signs
Mercury Retrograde always happens in primarily one element for 1-2 years. This is the fourth of a series occurring in water signs, with the final one happening in the Fall of 2020. The water element is about emotion, feelings, sensitivity, compassion, intuition, and fluidity. This period is about re-aligning ourselves with these qualities and expressing them in new or revamped ways.
This one is primarily a reorientation around Piscean energies and themes. This sign is mystical, spiritual, divinely inspired, imaginative, idealistic, healing, compassionate, and empathic. Pisces is about the subconscious, dreams, faith, and oneness. It is also associated with large bodies of water and creative outlets such as visual media, music, and poetry.
Negatively, Pisces energy can be delusional, flaky, forgetful, deceptive, evasive, confusing, and can lack direction and understanding of boundaries. Escapism and intoxication are also potential Pisces shadows that could come up during this period.
This retrograde is also partially in Aquarius, and although the Pisces themes are stronger at this time, the qualities of Aquarius can be tied into this period as well. This sign is associated with friends, social networks, the group, the team, humanity, ideals, and what is in the best interest of the collective.
Aquarius is intellectual, objective, and rational. It can be unconventional, innovative, original, inventive, progressive, technological, scientific, reforming, and even revolutionary. Negatively, it is be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and stubborn about ideas.
Mercury Retrograde Significant Dates
Below are some of the dates and information for some of the major astrological configurations during this retrograde.
*The dates below are based on the Americas. The further East you are located, you may need to consider it as the next day.
Feb 16th-17th Mercury begins its retrograde at 12:54 am Universal Time. Mercury retrograde themes and complications may come up strongly at this time and in recent days leading up to this. You may get some sort of indication of the things that may be playing out for you over the next month based on how you feel or what transpires. It’s possible that things that happen, which may seem insignificant at the time, can somehow be connected to how this retrograde process will affect you.
Feb 19th-20th (Feb 14th-26th) Jupiter Sextile Neptune. Jupiter in Capricorn is moving towards its first of three sextiles to Neptune in Pisces happening in 2020. This one is strongest from February 14th-26th with it peaking on the 19th and 20th. This energy accentuates all the Pisces energy that is already occurring. It can also be expansive, explorative, and ambitious in a creative, spiritual, idealistic, or compassionate way.
Feb 24th-26th Mercury Retrograde Conjunct the Sun in Pisces (Inferior Conjunction), Sextile Mars Conjunct The South Node. This is the halfway point of Mercury retrograde, known as the ‘inferior conjunction,’ which is when it returns to the Sun. This can be a period of increased insights, and the themes or circumstances pertaining to how this retrograde is affecting you may come up more during this period.
Complications and frustrations can also be stronger at this time depending on your circumstances or how you are applying yourself. This may also be a period of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you while the potential for new ones may be seeded.
Mars on the South Node may also reflect other types of purging as well. For some people this can be a period of needing to let go of negative expressions of Mars that can be holding us back. This may be connected to anger, aggression, force, competitiveness, or aspects of our sexual behavior or relationships.
March 4th Mercury Retrograde enters Aquarius. As Mercury changes signs, it’s possible that issues pertaining to Aquarius themes (mentioned in previous section) and other areas of life (depending on your natal chart) may come up more strongly in comparison to the previous weeks.
March 9th-12th Mercury transitions from Retrograde to Direct during the Full Moon in Virgo. Mercury will slowly begin to move forward from March 10th onward. The areas of our lives that have been affected by this retrograde will start to become more clear and things will fall into place more easily as we progress into the coming days and weeks. As Mercury gradually picks up speed, we can move forward in the areas of life that have been affected. However, usually the first few days after it ends can still feel like its retrograde, as complications may occur due to Mercury’s stationary position. It’s usually best to wait until at least 3 days afterwards before finalizing decisions, agreements, etc.
A Full Moon in Virgo will also be occurring on March 9th as Mercury transitions, aspecting four planets in Capricorn. With strong Earth energy combined with the direct motion of Mercury, we may feel more productive at this time in comparison to the previous weeks. (I will be writing a separate article on this Full Moon, you can join my mailing list here to get notified when this and other content of mine is published.)
Later on around May 4th and/or in the days following, there may be even more clarity around certain things that have been seeded during this retrograde. From there, things may develop further with a better perception, or circumstances may indicate lack of sufficiency, not what was anticipated, or that something needs to change.
Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order.