Your Monthly Horoscope Contents Subscribe

A picture is worth a thousand words:
Al Franken, the poster boy of hypocrisy, gropes a sleeping Leeann Tweeden. Image credit

Mercury Retrograde
Nov 15, 2017-Jan 10, 2018
Smash and Backlash

Mercury will travel through Ophiuchus in October, change to Sagittarius in November and backtrack into Ophiuchus in December. Making up for the lost ground will take until Jan 9, 2018.

Although the planets always move in the same direction round the Sun, the apparent motion as seen from the Earth is not always in the same forward direction. They sometimes appear to move in the backward direction. This is known as retrograde motion of a planet. MORE about retrograde.

Anyone with Ophiuchus or Sagittarius placements in the birth chart will be particularly effected by our end-of-the-year retrograde of 2017. Ophiuchus is the unity of life and death; she controls both by giving birth and healing. Occasionally, she has to guide you out of our mortal coil. When Ophiuchus goes back over ground she has already covered, it's to make sure that everyone gets what they have coming to them.

That's why, this time around, Mercury's imaginary dance in space will effect our morals and politics, and any mistakes will be suddenly and completely corrected. Of all the gods and goddesses, perhaps Ophiuchus is the only one who is so enamored by the truth that she will force you to face yourself, whether you are ready or not.

See: The Three Phases of Mercury Retrograde

The villains of this Mercury dislocation are the old, repulsive rapists who are in positions of influence and power. The sexual predator and the dictator are now on trial. They have long been empowered by fear and silence, in spite of their inhumanity and criminal activities. On the day that Mercury went into its Pre-shadow, such discordant events occurred as the 92-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe being deposed after 37 years of dictatorial rule; to the former comedian Al Franken, now a US Senator, who was caught groping a sleeping co-star during his 2006 USO tour in Iraq. (shown in the photo above). The only thing they have in common is that they both overestimated their claim to power.

There's more to come. And, a furious backlash, no doubt. Men--ALL men, to one extent or another, have one thing in common; they have acquiesced to the notion and privilege that women are their own private hunting ground. It's built into the role model of being a male. Women have protested in the past, only to deaf ears, but now they are being heard as they join together in denunciation. Now they are feared. Men who reveled in their power are being disgraced and deposed as a result of women speaking out about their transgressions. It's time to crush the exploitative man, the nemesis of females and males alike.

Mercury has been addressing "women's issues" during its forward motion in Ophiuchus since Nov. 12. Coincidentally, during the same period, the "#metoo" movement has steamrolled to hold in stark light what has been festering in the dark for all our lifetimes; the ceaseless and unavoidable sexual abuse of women in the workplace, and, with it, the dreadful plague of sexual molestation and sexualization of children that is everywhere and yet is universally ignored.

Pedophilia is the retro-virus of capitalism, the exploitation of the weak ratcheted to its Nth degree. Women will see a natural bridge from these humanitarian and justice issues into their ability to use a collective voice like a laser beam of political action to destroy the conspiracy of silence and acceptance, held together by the male ego and a mutual lack of responsibility among men. The ultimate retribution, even redemption of men, may also be fatal to the patriarchy. The moral turpitude, once exposed, can ruin its chances of keeping its secrets and holding on to power. As women point out the criminals, men must help remove them from power.

The two main thrusts of the Ophiuchus revolution are: the rooting out of the infestation of sexual abuse and misogyny in the workplace; and the sacrifices that women are going to have to make to bring about this change.

The exposure of sexual abuse comes as a shock to men, who have become complaisant and comfortable in their roles as predators. There are no "nice" predators. The nature of this assumed power that men have over women is that it comes naturally to men, they see it as part of man's nature. It's so fundamental that it takes some real digging to root it put of the male community. However, if it can't be removed from the men, it can be removed from the workplace. Predation at least can be recognized and rectified as a rule of law.

Yet the laws are made by those who can break them. There's a distinct possibility that women will be persecuted for their new, independent attitudes. As the male supremacists start to regroup, they may carry out retribution against their victims, as a ruse to avoid taking responsibility for their actions--or lack of action. The male motto has always been that the "best defense is an offense".

Male patriarchy will begin blustering on as if it was business as usual. The women, as a class of sexual victims of men in power, have been making the news by exposing, as a group, the tawdry sexual aggression and rape that they have been exposed to, and until now, couldn't do anything about.

Only the political climate and the joint efforts of multiple victims have made the difference, cutting the legs out from under these once invincible, arrogant male power brokers. Ophiuchus has been taking revenge on the male serial abusers who have been tormenting women, and there's nothing that men can do about it because it reveals the gross underbelly of male exploitation and privilege. It's not prudishness that is causing the outrage, it's the injustice--thus the Sagittarius remedies; political power, social condemnation and economic consequences. Ophiuchus is reminding us of that return to a higher morality and idealism that we must take to shrug off the oppression of male venality and greed.

The Three Phases of the Mercury Retrograde

The complete Mercury Retrograde experience includes three phases: the Pre-shadow, the Retrograde, the Direct/Post-shadow. Each phase has a different effect on our consciousness and awareness.

Nov 15-Dec 1
Dec 2-Dec 22
Dec 23-Jan 9, 2018

What the Mercury Retrograde looks like. Image Credit

Nov 15-Dec 1

The Pre-Shadow can catch us unawares. Many astrologers see it as the most dangerous phase. We may feel like we haven't a care in the world, and suddenly, BAM! we are knocked to the ground. It's as if some essential plug has been pulled on our expectations, and our lives are under pressures we didn't expect to have to face. The dropoff can be severe, sudden and shocking. It's breakup time for many couples.

Ophiuchus, and by extension, her modern emancipated sister, has had it. She has tried to use her form of magic and nature to point the way and be rebuffed by an arrogant oppressor. Women are beginning to see themselves as the only agent of change available as men are folding like a deck of cards under the pressures. What can they do to turn the tables on the patriarch, just when the old bastards thought they had it made? They can make the deepest cut, which is payback, and permanent. No relationship can survive such a reckoning without complete destruction.

Ophiuchus--with the collective power of women--can turn the world upside down if she so wished. She did it with same-sex marriage and the struggle for LGBT rights, a forerunner for women's rights, and now she has set the stage for the humiliation of her tormentor. During medieval times, and long after, into the so-called age of enlightenment, women have been brutally and relentlessly tortured and exploited. Ophiuchus has always been the flash point for this; she and her sisterhood of witches, warriors, midwives, herbalists and healers were hunted down and slaughtered by the political, religious, scientific and medical institutions since Roman Empire. Hardly to a lesser extent, this still holds true today.

This pre-shadow retrograde is going to be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks this type of thing will never change. Politically, many people will realize that both the Democratic and Republican parties are too ossified and corrupted to function. The rise of a Third Party is inevitable, and is the only way to avoid further delusion. Don't wait until you get clobbered from behind to realize you have been ignoring the obvious!

Why now? We are divided in so many ways that only "an idea whose time has come" seems to bring us together, and only for a limited time. Even though men have had plenty of time, the society of men--the patriarchy--has utterly failed in almost every possible way to solve any of the Earth's pressing problems, and is likely to drive us into a war that could actually destroy the Earth.

Dec 2-Dec 22

Retrograde Mercury is where angels fear to tread. Anything you do is subject to review. You're probably not thinking this thing through! Even though there may not be any evidence of disaster the most reasonable thing to do is stop and think twice about doing something you haven't planned all the way through.

By the time Mercury actually goes retrograde, it may be already too late to avoid blunders. The pressure from previous crises in our personal lives and relationships, anxiety about outside events, financial shocks and cutbacks, will tend to tempt us into a form of lethargic optimism, and we'll be hoping that things will go back to "normal".

Instead, those who you depend on, and even trust, will use everything from lip service and empty gestures to suck what little you have into their off-shore bank accounts.

You might be tempted this holiday season to buy into a new car or truck, and the finance companies will happily oblige with a high-interest sub-prime car loan, designed to take your money away from you, and still leave you taking the bus. If you have ventured impulsively into new territory, signed contracts, started new projects, or found your life partner, you're in the bullseye for trouble, or at least some major complication. Retrograde is when you find the leak--when it rains.

In the context of the women's struggle, each advance in the rights of women has been met with an even more savage backlash, led by a violent extremist misogynist element in men's society, who are nonetheless supported and protected by the larger group of men who are afraid to give up their sexual and cultural privileges.

Politics isn't considered a part of our everyday existence, but this is bound to change as we learn to apply politics to our grievances. We live in an era of constant crisis whose solution starts with political change. It may start with our response to the intimate experience of being sexually degraded but will expand to the macro, to encompass our economic exploitation, cultural manipulation, and eventually, political action will be our defense against war, climate destruction and poverty.

The agent of change is going to be some kind a retrograde experience--having to look back and reassess how our society works and how to seize control from a psychopathic oligarchy. Corporations cannot steer us out of the storm of injustice that they created. We must face and embrace the necessity to change society and we'll be using politics achieve it.

Our banks, corporations and governments are so corrupted that this has filtered down like toxins into the water table, to corrupt us as individuals as well as a society. When you're surrounded by corruption, to resist or confront it is almost tantamount to setting yourself up for destruction. It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and feel isolated and alienated. Morality and compassion are no longer virtues; they are outdated, quaint notions that seem faint protection from the cannibalistic consumerism that's sucking the life out of us.

Dec 23, 2017-Jan 9, 2018

The time it takes Mercury to get back to speed and back at its original starting position is called the Post-Shadow, and this period can be as shaky as the retrograde period itself. Even worse if we've let our guard down. In this phase of retrograde, rather than plunge ahead, see if you can stall an important decision. Spend the Post Shadow period looking into the details, considering what you have done, and take smaller steps forward. Keep your eyes and ears open; things can knock you out just as you are crossing the finish line. It's a good time to study your failures and learn from your enemies. Look for what can still break down; it could still happen now. Don’t go looking for the grand slam or a big breakthrough, be satisfied with fixing what has been broken or spoiled; be humble. Nothing is perfect, but improvements are possible.

The Post Shadow warns us to stay cautious, don't take the bait even though it seems like you MUST make a decision. Rushing into things now would be like the Zen parable of the fox jumping over the stream--he gets his tail wet and is humiliated. The rules of the Shadow are: if you aren't all in, or are not willing and able to confront whatever problems you encounter down the line--then don't sign up to something you might regret later. It's always more complicated than you imagine during the Shadow. You're not home free--yet.

Although things will gradually improve during this period, it's still not 100%. This is a time for reflection, regeneration and regrouping. Your ego may have already taken a beating, let it heal and don't lead with your chin again for a while! Learn from previous broken dreams and schemes. Mercury is going direct, but hasn't yet reached where it was before it began, 5 degrees Sagittarius, which will occur Jan 9.

It's Over!
Jan 10, 2018


Why worry about Mercury Retrograde?

The Mercury Conundrum
The Backstory

The idea that a Mercurial illusion can drop the bomb on our day-to-day activities is controversial. It's always hard to assign a cause to our troubles, and this seems like a longshot. However, something as old, revered and feared is still part of our human consciousness and can't be ignored.

Of course, Mercury doesn't really move backward; it just appears that way from Earth. This occurs two or three times a year, according to the differences in the orbital speed of the planets. This optical trick fooled our ancestors for eons, until the first astrologers, who would become our astronomers, figured out that our own eyes could lie to us! The meaning of this anomaly has been debated for thousands of years of astrological lore and human observation.

Mercury Retrograde isn't really a thing. Nothing is really happening in the real world, the planets go about their business as usual. This is strictly an earth-bound mind-fuck. The Mercury Retrograde problem is literally only going on in our own heads.

Then why is such a non-event so difficult to get through? Only us humans are accountable to these mental hiccups, it seems. The retrograde dance of Mercury is a trick where the eye deceives the brain. Mercury is advancing normally, systematically, but what we view in the sky is Mercury slowing to a crawl, stopping, moving backward, and stopping again to restart a forward motion. Ancient humans were by turns terrified and confused by this, and passed the feelings down through the generations.

The sense of confusion seems to still exist in spite of the fact we know that it's because Earth's orbit is moving us faster than Mercury, at least for a few weeks, 3 or 4 times a year. It's as simple as the famous example of two trains side by side going at different speeds, causing the slower one to appear to move backwards.

The apparent motion of Mercury disoriented our ancestors. We still retain that sting of vulnerability. The visceral reaction to Mercury retrograde carries over to modern generations the same way any long-held belief does, as a collectively held suspicion, some might say superstition, around unexplained phenomena.

The Mercury Retrograde experience teaches us caution and fear of the unknown. When we have blind faith in success, the less prepared we are for any delays or other obstacles which could prevent it.

The long-held notion that Mercury is already the ruler of tricks and quick transactions makes its retrograde a time when we would notice our weaknesses to overconfidence the most. Such as when we try something that we haven't fully vetted, trust in someone we don't really know, or fall for a slick sales pitch or Ponzi scheme. Mercury retrograde isn't as much about Mercury as it is about us and out assumptions. The skies are merely a backdrop for all the drama we cause for ourselves on our Earthy stage.

Music by Ophiuchus

The Works of Zearle (Double Ophiuchus)




Comparison of the Zodiac systems





Aries Mar 21 - April 20 April 15 - May 15 April 19 - May 13
Taurus April 21 - May 20 May 16 - June 15 May 14 - June 19
Gemini May 21 - June 20 June 16 - July 15 June 20 - July 20
Cancer June 21 - July 21 July 16 - Aug 15 July 21 - Aug 9
Leo July 22 Aug 22 Aug 16 - Sep 15 Aug 10 – Sep 15
Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22 Sep 16 - Oct 15 Sept 16 – Oct 30
Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22 Oct 16 - Nov 15 Oct 31– Nov 22
Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21 Nov 16 - Dec 15 Nov 23 – Nov 29
Ophiuchus NA NA Nov 30 – Dec 17
Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21 Dec 16 - Jan 14 Dec 18– Jan 18
Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 20 Jan 15 - Feb 14 Jan 19 – Feb 15
Aquarius Jan 21 - Feb 19 Feb 15 - Mar 14 Feb 16– Mar 11
Pisces Feb 20 - Mar 20 Mar 15 - April 14 Mar 12 – April 18


Get a Mug, etc.

Always get the latest 13 sign news!

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter

[previous campaigns]


These books are for 12-sign astrology; However, aspect and transiting angles are the same in all systems.

Go to our Ophiuchus Rising page for the meanings of the angles, planets and asteroids in Ophiuchus

Key Words for Astrology -- Paperback
by Hajo Banzhaf, Anna Haebler
BUY ON Amazon

Aspects in Astrology: A Guide to Understanding Planetary Relationships in the Horoscope -- Paperback
by Sue Tompkins
BUY ON Amazon

Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes -- Paperback By Stella Starsky, Quinn Cox
BUY ON Amazon

Transits Simplified -- Paperback
by Sakoian & Acker
BUY ON Amazon

Astrology of Human Relationships -- Paperback
by Frances Sakoian
BUY ON Amazon



13 sign astrology app for $13/month


13 Sign charts and real time transits

MacHighway - Web Hosting for Mac Users, by Mac Users, Since 1997

Our host service: $5/month


don't forget the girls

Don't forget the girls

Back to contents

CONTACT 13 sign Astrology

Copyright © 2017 all rights are inherent