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Mercury Retrograde:
(Actions of the Heart)

Mar 27-May 20

Don't Jump!
This is a good time to try to do nothing

At the end of March and through May 20, Mercury will once again confuse our senses, blur our vision, and test our common sense. The more intent we are on winning through force and self-fulfillment, the more we are liable for setbacks. We'll want to trust our hearts, but we should not take action on our heart's desire until late May. Our disappointments in our personal lives and relationships, anxiety about world events, financial instability, the banality of our culture will keep us in a fog of ennui, and we'll be looking for some kind of miracle or quick fix. We may depend on fate or luck, which precedes sloppy thinking and dangerously bad decisions. Reality fatigue can drive us into unrealistic fantasies. Also, Mercury Retrograde is known for snafus in the system, revealing weaknesses in technology, machines and computers. Of course, these events occur all year round, but the consequences during a retrograde seem worse. Take Delta Airlines, for example. A spring-break rainstorm jangled their reservation system, causing over 3,000 cancellations and delays. We should brace ourselves for this type of unexpected glitch to screw up our plans all through the retrograde period.

Mercury retrograde, in its pre-shadow, will start at 33 degrees Pisces on March 27, move into Aries March 30, and then (apparently) reverse itself April 8, retreating back into Pisces until April 22. It will be hard to tell what is fact and what is fiction.

Mercury in Motion


One of the most problematical transits will start to occur April 27, when the Mercury falls back into a conjunction with Uranus. It's worth noting that Uranus has been in Pisces since the summer of 2008, until, after several retrograde periods, it enters Aquarius in the spring of 2018. Although Uranus in Pisces is sometimes called the "Jesus" placement, in that one fish can feed us all, it also means conflict, as its warring factions are diametrically opposed to one another. A new ideology of peace arises, which also threatens the status quo, and leads to confrontation. Historically, peace is almost always preceded by war. As Pisces is weaponless in war, it creates martyrs, misery and insanity, as byproducts of its compassion and higher consciousness. This especially true when Uranus goes retrograde, when it becomes chaotic.

On July 31, 2016, Uranus went retrograde, a repeat performance of 2015, when Uranus started retreating during July-December of that year. All in all, it must be admitted, Uranus in Pisces wants peace, but in retrograde, seems only to get more violence!

In retrograde, Uranus is retreating from confrontation, shirking the tasks of self-sacrifice. Uranus retrograde seeks escapism and intoxication. Freedom is still out of reach, in spite of the a new, kinder and more humane philosophy that is fomenting great changes. However, when people's mentality is the focal point of change, there are no victory parades. Uranus is using stealth and subversion to accomplish its goals of revolution. In Pisces, Uranus is dissolving and eroding away the the colossus that stands in its way. Once the dam is breached, the water then comes crashing through.

As Mercury retrogrades back to 33 degrees Pisces, it will encounter Uranus at the same degree. This is the aspect of genius and enlightenment, but also the crackpot, the fool, or the drunkard. This combination of Uranus and Mercury is sometimes called the "mad engineer".

We all have a choice in late April to decide which way to go. Mercury will start moving forward again May 3, and stay in conjunction with Uranus until May 11, before it moves on. This period--from late April to mid May will be full of controversy and excitement, as if one shock after another puts us and our society into disarray. This might effect the budget talks scheduled for April 28, where the US congress will have to debate not only the Trump tax cuts to the wealthy, but also the possibility of another government shut-down if the debt ceiling isn't raised again, preventing the government from borrowing more money in order to issue entitlement checks and pay off its vendors. The Uranus-conjunct-Mercury transit might derail any hope of compromise.

When Mercury goes direct, it would seem to be signaling a new start, but the post-shadow will last until May 20. Before that date, Mercury is still appealing to our romantic attraction to ill-advised action. This urge for radical change intensifies as Mercury re-enters Aries on May 15.

Mercury in Motion

image: Evolving Door Astrology

The graphic above illustrates the entire sequence of the 2017's Spring Mercury retrograde experience from start to finish, from its Pre-shadow, the Retrograde to the Direct and the Post-shadow events. Mercury won't be a reliable ally again until the cycle is complete on May 20. For the entire journey, our thoughts will be shrouded by alternating emotions: a yearning for peace, and a need of war. We can easily be desensitized to reality, and choose to hide from it. In conflict, our impulses can lead us into danger without being able to anticipate the consequences of the actions we take.

A perfect example of bravado in the face of difficulties is Donald Trump's stubborn, unyielding attitudes to the political disputes in which he is engaged, the ensuing scandals, and the (not-so) secret enemies he is encountering. Yet he intends to double-down, a Taurus (his sunsign) quality that can fall flat on its face during Mercury retrograde. The same Mercury trickery that got him into office can cause trouble for him now that he's there.

The Pre-Shadow
March 27

The pre-shadow is when Mercury's tricks and other people's secret agendas sneak up on us like a thief in the night. A lot of people have concluded that the pre-shadow is as bad or worse then the actual retrograde! We bite off more than we can chew. Maybe that's because we're in danger but we don't know it yet, and can't see it coming. Being aware of the pre-shadow gives us a chance to be on the alert for any signs of self-delusion, and quash them quick. Like the hedgehog sticking its head out of its burrow too soon, we can't know what to expect, the environment isn't friendly to our dreams, and a predator may be waiting silently, ready to pounce. We have to err on the side of caution, and take no chances. Mercury enters Aries on March 30, so any errors of judgment can mean destruction, violence or an accident, especially when we find ourselves in conflict. The tendency will be to push ahead anyway, no matter the dangers. However, like a woman in labor, this is not the time to push ahead. We have to wait until the cervix dilates to accommodate the baby's head. The bold impulse, no matter how visceral, will lead to difficulties, if not immediately, then down the road, where we'll have to face them eventually.

Mercury Retrograde
April 10

By the time Mercury actually goes retrograde, it may be already too late to avoid blunders. If we have ventured boldly into new territory, we're not going to be able to proceed without failure. The pre-shadow gave us a chance to stop and double check everything--even the smallest detail. If you did not heed the danger signs, during the retrograde period, your desperation may lead you to even riskier chances, winner-take-all gambles that will backfire on you. This isn't a good strategy. We are dealing with the unknown threat. We must not become lax or overconfident, which will lead to mistakes. We can be the eternal optimist, the luckiest person alive, but optimism and luck will surely fail us now, just when we are counting on it. We have to delve deeper, beyond appearances, with an even greater sense of skepticism. The future lays in wait for us like a plunging barometer, and we must take the warning seriously. The guiding premise is: don't listen to your own needs or desires, Mercury is not favoring them. Life is more complicated.

Mercury's official Retrograde starts April 8, when it has reached 5 degrees Aries. The Sun is still in Pisces until April 17, so Pisces is still milking our egos.

This is not the time for beginnings, or starting projects. Instead of building a new house, fix the roof on the old house. During Mercury retrograde, a new house will not be built correctly, it will have hidden flaws that will only show up later.

If we are susceptible to the liars, open and trusting to them, we will pay the price for their deceit and our gullibility. Anyone who takes out a loan, buys into a get rich quick scheme, empties out their bank account, falls in love, will suffer losses during this period. Above all, avoid becoming another liar, avoid exaggerating your position or power. This will lead to a fall. The bigger the lie, the harder the landing.

A good example of pushing an agenda before it is ready to launch is Samsung introducing its newest phone, the S8 (which they have named the "dream) in late April. Samsung has a history of rushing products to market that are not ready--their infamous exploding batteries--and the announced release date during Mercury's retrograde would place their new phone in that same category.

The best way to face this Mercury in Aries backward movement is to avoid impulsive actions; something-for-nothing windfalls; especially when it looks too good to be true. Take the time to research anyone's claims during the retrograde period, delay any contract or initiation if possible, and not act on them until after May 20. Let the buyer beware and due diligence are the key watchwords of this time period. When a new project involves your own force of will, beware. If you act on self-interest you will be sorry later, and have no one to blame but yourself. The con man gets conned during Mercury retrograde!

Mercury Direct
May 3

The catch-phrase for Mercury direct is: cool your jets and don't take the bait! On May 3, Mercury resumes its forward motion at 32 degrees Pisces, but it's still not safe to make assumptions that everything is OK. We can easily be seduced or enticed to think everything is back to normal. Even though it's moving ahead again, Mercury must get back to where it was in before the retrograde motion began, which is 5 degrees Aries. This won't happen until May 20, even though when Mercury enters Aries for a second time on May 15 it will only tempt us into thinking everything is green-lighted and we can force our way past delicate mechanisms that can trap us. Mercury direct is a period of waiting and caution, were we watch unfolding events with some trepidation that all is not what it seems, in spite of our own determination otherwise. As an added warning, Pisces Mercury goes direct at the same day a Yod occurs, May 3, which is liable to catapult us either into premature action, needless sacrifice, or into escapism and addiction to avoid it.

We should act on our plans and ambitions with renewed vigor only after Mercury has shed the ghosts of the past, and we are operating on facts, not wish-fulfillment. We can then give ourselves over to the future with renewed confidence that things will go as hoped, which only occurs after May 20. Think of it as a bank account where you have been withdrawing money, and shrinking your assets. Although you stop taking money out, you have to deposit new money to build it back up to where it was.

The Endgame: Post-Shadow
May 20


Even though its moving forward, we're in Mercury's post-shadow until May 20. It tells us that we cannot be sure we've won the race until we actually cross the finish line. Last-minute snafus can derail us. If we make assumptions about our success, we can get clotheslined just when we think we have achieved victory. Although Mercury makes progress through the shadow, and things are less liable to hurt us, there are always details that can knock us out of the race, surprises that can still cause loss just when we think we have won victory.

We won't be out of this loop until May 20, when Mercury moves past the point when it started fooling us. Although things will gradually improve during this period, it's still not 100%. This is a time for reflection, regeneration and regrouping. Learn from previous broken dreams and schemes. As Mercury enters the post-shadow, look around, consider what you have done, even turn around to question what you thought you already knew. Make a checklist. Look at your motives and your aspirations carefully. Study your failures and learn from your enemies. 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 final round of the French national elections occurs on May 7. The French voters should stop and think before they elect the right-wing Marine LePen president, a move with unknown consequences and likely to drive France into a paroxysm, much like what Trump has done in the US. If they fail to heed the real intentions her party would try to implement, and she wins, it would be falling into the trap of easy, quick action that would run counter to any real solutions to their problems, and even create more.

At the end of the post-shadow, you can go on your merry way, knowing that, at the very least, your personal strength and force of will can help solve whatever problems come your way, instead of adding to them. Congratulations! you have survived another Mercury retrograde!

Related: The May Yod

Music: "Slipping into darkness" by War

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


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