Mercury is the planet, in Astrological parlance, that rules the transfer of information and objects from one place to another. In a person’s birth chart, it shows how we think, and then communicate those thoughts, to the world around us. As the winged messenger of the Gods, Mercury was rarely a welcome sight, for when he showed up it meant the Gods had something to say, and it wasn’t always pretty. No thing, and no place, was off limits to Mercury (or Hermes, if you wish). He was one of the only Gods who could visit Pluto’s realms and come back to talk about it. Throughout history he has been associated with eloquence and artistry, both of tongue and of trade, and is the patron of honest merchants as well as thieves. One minute he could be bearing gifts from the Gods, the next he is slipping a blade between you ribs and dispatching you to the Underworld. The Trickster. The Jester. The Messenger. The Manipulator. The Teacher. Even the Healer, as represented by the Caduceus he carries. Knowledge. Hidden knowledge. Lost and forgotten knowledge. Divine knowledge. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. How you use that knowledge or share it with others is not of his concern.

Since Mercury’s orbit is within the orbit of Earth as they revolve around the Sun, Mercury is always found near the Sun in our charts and rarely gets more than one sign away from our Sun signs.  A strong Mercury in a person’s chart is easily visible to others. These are the people that can rarely “turn it off”. They are constantly talking or fidgeting, flitting from one place, or idea, to another. Then there are the silent types where when you look at them you know the wheels are spinning like mad behind those eyes. Brilliance is often what others say, again I must stress, for good or for bad.

A Mercury retrograde period is probably the most obvious of cycles when it comes to society. It makes us stop and back-up and go back over that which we have implemented and initiated in the prior few months. And it gives us the opportunities to refine and redirect our energies and path in a more effective and efficient way. Now most folks do not like to look back. We are much more likely to push forward with an inefficient or ill-suited project rather than admit we are off track and should adjust our actions and our thoughts. Here is where Mercury really starts to play with our heads. IF you are going down a wrong path or project, a Mercury retrograde cycle will cause all sorts of issues to begin to happen to try and get you to slow down and reevaluate your actions. Computers and cars start breaking down, messages get misconstrued, travel plans take more time and our efforts to communicate are hampered…if you are heading in the wrong direction. It is Mother Nature’s way of saying, stop, sit down, take a load off. You are moving too fast. Go back and clean up or fix that which you have already started. Finish what you started before you start something else. Think back to your past. How have you handles things? What needs some clean up and correction?

I often tell those clients who have Mercury direct in their birth charts to cut their schedules by about 30% during Mercury retrograde cycles. If you normally do 10 things in a day, cut it back to 7, at max, and then you will not get so frustrated over trying to get everything done. If you want to communicate with others WRITE IT DOWN first, and go back over what you have written and make sure you are clear in what you are wanting to say. Look for where others might misconstrue what you mean. And don’t just automatically expect that they got your message. Follow through on it’s delivery. Confirm receipt of said messages.   Be very careful when buying items that are used in mercurial pursuits, not a time to buy a new auto, computer, software, etc., unless you are buying on contingency and will get a chance to renegotiate the terms of the sale after Mercury is direct. Same goes for contracts. Nine out of ten times, once Mercury turns direct, you are going to find something you wish you could change.

In the 2018 world around us Mercury will be retrograde three times, March 22 to April 15th, July 25th to August 18th and November 16th to December 6th.  Remember, the three phases of any retrograde involve the periods wherein we first bite off more than we can chew, then realize we have done so, and then adjust our actions for more efficient delivery. Then there are the powerful periods of germination and culmination which are represented by the Inferior and Superior conjunctions of the Sun and Mercury respectively.

These periods of time are as follows:

Phase 1 for our first Mercury retrograde of 2018 is March 9th to March 21nd, when Mercury moves from 5 degrees of Aries to 17 degrees of Aries. Phase 2 Is March 22nd to April 15th when Mercury retrogrades from 17 Aries back to 5 degrees Aries. And Phase 3 is April 16th to May 3rd when Mercury moves from 5 degrees Aries back to 17 Aries again. The germination point is April 1st at 12 degrees Aries and the culmination of the cycle is June 5th at 15 degrees of Gemini. The major theme in this retrograde is that we must all put a very personal stamp on what we do. It is not a time to follow the leader. It is a time to be, or become, a leader. This retrograde is about learning how to lead effectively and efficiently, especially those born the last week of March and the first week of April.

Phase 1 for our second Mercury retrograde cycle is July 6th to July 24th when Mercury moves from 11 degrees of Leo to 24 degrees of Leo. Phase 2 is July 25th to August 18th when Mercury retrogrades from 24 Leo back to 11 Leo. Phase 3 is from August 19th to September 1st as Mercury moves direct from 11 Leo to 24 Leo once again. The germination period of this retrograde is August 8th at 17 Leo and the culmination period of the cycle is September 20th at 29 degrees of Leo. The major theme of this retrograde is about honor and respect. How do we live our lives so that we are acknowledged and serve as examples to other of right actions? Do we truly deserve the attention and praise we get or are there things we must do to bring back honor and integrity to our lives? This will be especially important to those born the first three weeks of August.

Phase 1 of the final Mercury retrograde period of 2018 is October 27th to November 15th when Mercury moves from 27 degrees of Scorpio to 14 degrees of Sagittarius. Phase 2 is from November 16th to December 6th as Mercury retrogrades from 14 Sag back to 27 Scorpio. Phase 3 is from December 7th to December 23rd as Mercury moves forward again from 27 Scorpio to 14 Sag. The germination period is around November 27th at 6 degrees of Sag and the culmination period is the end of January 2019 at around 10 degrees of Aquarius. The major theme of this retrograde will be about rededicating ourselves to a higher purpose. Life is not just about how much money we have or how many toys we own. Life is most fulfilling when we serve something larger than us as individuals. How do you fit into the grand scheme of things? Do you think you have God’s ear? Do you go to sleep each night thanking God for the things you were able to do and the people you were able to affect that day? If not, this is the time to do something about it. Especially for those born the last two weeks of November and the first week of December.

In closing, do note that the end of January 2018 is the culmination of the Mercury retrograde period that happened in December 2017, also in Sagittarius. What is it that you are grateful for and did you do all you could in December to live it to it’s fullest? If not, you still have a few weeks to bring it down into your life and own it. Have a happy New Years folks. Part V will be dedicated to some of the very unique events and timing that takes place this year. Bye for now…

2018 Forecast – Part IV – Mercury and Mercury Retrogrades