It's coming! The first round of Mercury madness, aka Mercury retrograde, descends upon us, starting in February. What can you expect during this retrograde? Read on!
The basics - What is Mercury retrograde?
A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backwards, it just appears that way. Mercury turns retrograde most often, about 3-4 times per year, and lasts for several weeks. When a planet retrogrades, what that planet rules tends to be thrown off, along with what the sign it's retrograding in rules.
With Mercury retrograde, we experience a shadow and a storm. The shadow period starts when Mercury first hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn direct at, and ends when it last hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn retrograde at.
Most people don't feel the effects of Mercury retrograde until it enters the storm period though. The storm period of Mercury retrograde is when Mercury is moving at its slowest, less than 40 minutes per day. Mercury is a fast-moving planet and hates it when he's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces & Aquarius 2020 Dates:
Mercury Retrograde Effects:
The first round of Mercury madness for 2020 descends upon us, starting in water sign Pisces. With Pisces, we can get stuck in the fog, struggle with focus, and feel scattered. Imagination runs strong, and we can get lost in daydreams and fantasies. This is great if you have nothing to focus on, but we always do! So we have to work harder at trying to stay tethered to reality and not get lost in the whimsy.
Pisces is a compassionate sign requiring a gentle touch, and with Mercury retrograde, we can be too sensitive, to easily wounded, and require more boundaries so we're not taken advantage of. Some can lack sensitivity at all and act in cruel ways. Try to have healthy boundaries to protect yourself, but also be mindful of others and what they need.
Pisces is a highly intuitive, spiritual sign, so focusing on spiritual pursuits and strengthening your intuition can be a good thing to do during the retrograde in Pisces. When the fog sets in and uncertainty is strong, your intuition can act as a guide. Just make sure what you're listening to is your intuition and not the Devil in disguise!
Mercury retrogrades for the last few days in air sign Aquarius, and this is the start of Mercury retrograde impacting the air signs. In Aquarius, we can feel extra rebellious, wanting to push boundaries and try things in new ways. We can crave change and feel restless, making us act impulsively and impatiently. But this does us no good, so try to keep that energy under control and focus it productively.
Aquarius rules friends, groups, and the masses, so we can experience issues with any of these. Friends can have a falling out, or old friends can come back; some may leave groups and causes while others pick up old ones and reconnect with old groups; and some may come before the masses and fall while others triumph, some may fade into the crowd, and some crowds may get raucous and need a calming influence.
Aquarius is independent and innovative, the inventor and always thinking outside of the box. With Mercury retrograde, we may think a little TOO far outside of the box and need to be more realistic, or we may struggle with unconventional ideas and have to be more open.
The Pisces New Moon & Mercury Retrograde
There will be a new moon in Pisces on February 23rd while Mercury is still retrograde in Pisces. It's a little wide for the conjunction (over 4 degrees), but with Mercury retrograde, we may still feel it. New moons with Mercury retrograde tend to be pretty positive, so hopefully this brings positive energy for us. Extra intuition, productive imagination, creative pursuits, feeling sweet and whimsical. Some happy Pisces!
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces & Aquarius 2020 Aspects:
During the retrograde, Mercury will make 4 aspects:
- conjunct the Sun on February 25th (this is the inferior conjunction, a positive point in the retrograde for starting something that can be a focus for the next 6-8 weeks; find where 6 degrees 55 minutes Pisces falls in your chart, and that may be where you can start something)
- sextile (positive aspect, two signs away) Mars in Capricorn on February 26th (helping with energy and drive, getting us to take action, and this can be helpful with the new moon)
- sextile Uranus in Taurus on February 28th (helping us think about the future, be independent, and work on change)
- sextile Venus on March 4th (at the anaretic degree, so this aspect has extra energy but in a pleasant way, and we can focus on relationships, connections, and being diplomatic)
Moons of Mercury Retrograde:
With the new moon in Pisces on February 23rd, the Moon is in the same sign as the retrograde during that time, Pisces, February 23rd (1:37AM ET) to February 25th (1:48PM ET). This brings much more focus to the retrograde energy, and we can feel it in a big way. It's a great time to pursue an opportunity for a second chance or do-over, so try that.
The Moon will be in the signs that Mercury naturally rules (Gemini and Virgo) on March 1st (3:21AM ET) to March 4th (12:25AM ET) in Gemini, and then in Virgo March 8th (6:47AM ET) so the retrograde ends with the Moon in Virgo. In Gemini, mental energy can surge, but we can be so much more scattered as Mercury is at the end of Pisces. In Virgo, we can focus on being more practical and getting things done to come out of the retrograde - but may also feel more stressed!
Mercury will be anaretic during this retrograde, which is 29 degrees of any sign. In transit, this is a crisis period where energy is super high, and this can often be a trigger for something. Mercury retrograde will be at 29 degrees Aquarius March 4th - 6th. With Aquarius, there may be something sudden or unexpected that comes about that we have to adjust to, there can be something that happens that impacts a big group of people, or there may be a surge in rebellion.
Mercury will be at a critical degree, which are special degrees of critical energy, February 27th - 28th, at 4 degrees Pisces. Energy can be a bit higher, and we can be a bit more scattered.
The retrograde begins at 12 degrees Pisces, so those of you Pisceans born February 28th - March 4th can feel the start of the retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 28 degrees Aquarius, so those of you Aquarians born after February 16th can feel the end of the retrograde most.
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in of your own natal chart, and any aspects Mercury will make during its retrograde to your natal planets, to fully understand how it will impact you personally.
You can check out an article I wrote for Astrology Answers outlining all of the retrogrades for 2020 if you want to get ready for all of them too.
If you have Mercury retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may not feel the worst of this. Those individuals generally don't experience the difficulties of the retrograde because it feels more natural to them. Of course, chances are everyone else around them doesn't have the same aspect, so they can still experience difficulties brought on by others. If it's in your natal chart, check out this article about Mercury retrograde in the natal chart.
Suggested Reading: Mercury, Venus, and Mars Retrogrades page for general interpretations of Mercury retrograde in the houses and aspects