In this post I am going to offer an analysis of what it means for Mercury to travel backwards through the natal birth houses.
To help you understand more about the retrograde cycle itself, I recommend checking out this post where I discuss it in full.
Mercury rules the mind and communication. His position in the chart shows you how you learn, how you think, your style of speech and the way you make connections with others. He is your intellect and psychology and the knowledge you attain through life. As ruler of transportation, symbolically he shows how you get from A to B in life as well as on the road. On a deeper level, he can show how you communicate with the divine and your own inner spirit. Mercury may tell you the way or recite a tall tale to fool you into going some place else. He is imbued with trickster energy as well as being a divine messenger.
Mercury is a quick moving personal planet. When he reverses he triggers in each of us a period of reflection and re-organisation – in fact pretty much any word with the prefix ‘re’ can be applied during this period. How the retrograde will affect you may manifest in a myriad of ways.
If you know your chart, look at whether Mercury will aspect any planets or points during the cycle and also bear in mind the houses with Gemini and Virgo on the cusp as these may be brought into play. This is an ideal time to read up on or reacquaint yourself with the position of Mercury in your own chart and get a sense of how he works for you.
Along with the aspects transiting Mercury will make, the house that Mercury is transiting can give you a very big clue as to where the retrograde will be most felt. This is like a cosmic signpost saying ‘You are here‘ and if you’re not actually there in your mind; if you’re not paying attention – Mercury just might start acting up, comically sticking his foot out so you fall flat on your face, tinkering with your electrics, hiding your keys, losing the numbers on your phone and so on.
Mercury wants you to pay attention because something about the house he’s transiting needs a re-think in order for you to move forward again. It may be that you’ve lost your way a little or that you simply need to reflect upon where you are. Either way, Mercury is tapping you on the shoulder and coughing loudly so that you turn round and look at him.
Sometimes, as with my own chart during this retrograde, Mercury’s transit will take him across two houses of your chart. In this case, read both houses as each are called upon for reflection.
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 1st house
How you approach the world may need to be re-thought. Consider a change of image – do the research but perhaps wait until the retrograde is over before booking a drastic haircut! Take a long look in the mirror. The most important thing is whether you are happy with what you see.
You may find yourself tripping over words or unable to express yourself in a way you would like. You worry about how you are coming across to others. There’s a growing sense that you would like to express a part of yourself that perhaps you haven’t allowed to come out before. You may feel like the way others perceive you doesn’t reflect who you are on the inside. Mercury retrograde in this house can help bring the inside and outside together, restoring confidence.
Take a personality test, read up on your natal chart – for others to know you, you have to know you.
Keywords – Reframe, reaffirm, re-vamp
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 2nd house
Take a look at what you hold dear. You may find yourself asking the question ‘Is it really worth it?‘. Money due may be delayed so it’s wise to keep some aside just in case. Sometimes unexpected money falls into your lap.
It’s time to think about what you really value in life. Are you happy with how you make money? Are you financially comfortable? What do you really want? Do you believe you are worth it? Are you on the way to getting it or do you feel like you moving further away? Review your bank account; keep any sale’s receipts; pay overdue bills; avoid major new purchases; update or start a record listing your outgoings and income; open a savings account.
Keywords – Re-evaluate, replenish, re-stock
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 3rd house
All forms of communication, transport and thinking are brought into focus. You may feel like your mind is very busy. Sometimes Mercury transiting here can increase worry and nervous symptoms. Ensure you create some quiet time to gain clarity. On a deep level, you are working through what you know. Confusion may mean you need further information.
Repair your car; check the tires; take the car for an MOT/service; check your oil and water before a long drive. Research, replace the battery in your phone; charge up your battery regularly; replace your phone (but avoid a new contract until after Mercury retrograde). Watch your speed limit.
Ask questions to ensure you understand; check someone received your message if you haven’t heard from them; send important items early – by insured post if possible; check appointment times; spell-check before sending! Back up your computer, run your virus and malware checker regularly; double check emails are from who they say they are from.
In personal communications, make sure you have understood the other person’s point of view before going off the deep-end. Diffuse arguments. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep; don’t say yes when you mean no and vice versa.
Reconnect with your siblings – especially if things were left on a difficult note.
Keywords – Re-think, rewrite, review,
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 4th house
Your home is your sanctuary. Does it reflect who you are? If you feel stuck in a rut in life, maybe energy in your home is also ‘stuck’. Change the furniture around to give yourself a new perspective. Revisit each room and try to see it with the eyes of a stranger. What does it say about you? Release objects that no longer have any meaning.
The 4th house is also your foundation, your childhood, your roots. What were you told as a child that you still believe is true? You may become aware of negative thought patterns that have a significant impact upon your life. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself fundamental questions.
Old family/childhood issues may resurface or there may be a need to walk down memory lane. Reconnect with your family. Make peace with your past.
Keywords – Re-route/re-root! Redecorate, re-establish, retrace, refurnish
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 5th house
There may be a withdrawal of creative energy. Let the process happen, your project may need time to ferment. Loss of confidence may be an underlying reason for creative stalling. Check in with what you are telling yourself about your ability to express yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. You are who you are.
Seek out new inspiration. Visit a gallery, the theatre, the beach, a local park. Try out a new craft. Take yourself on an artist’s date.
This can be a wonderful time to reconnect to your inner child. Aim to re-capture your spontaneity. Play a game. Spend time with your children, see through their eyes. Be curious.
An old flame may reappear. Past partners may remind you of how far you have come or how happy/unhappy you feel. Alternatively this is an excellent time to inject some romance back into a jaded relationship. Put your thinking caps on and devise new ways to ‘play’ together 🙂
Traditionally this isn’t the best time to start a new love affair. Whilst life must
go on during Mercury retrograde, it’s wise not to fall head over heels just yet.
Keywords – Re-ignite, reanimate, rehearse, rekindle, recapture
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 6th house
Re-organise your workspace, office or desk. Sort out your diary, create a calendar or to-do list. re-work your routines. Re-connect with your colleagues and/or reflect upon your relationship with them. Sometimes this transit may manifest as mix-ups in communication and team work can suffer. Check everyone else has the right information to hand. Sometimes this transit can feel like your schedule has been thrown out of the window. Mercury may be asking that you become more flexible. Routines and habits can be an excellent structure to work from however they can also make life a little dull, safe and predictable.
In matters of health, this is the time to do a personal inventory. How do you feel? Are you full of energy or weighed down by aches and pains and undefined maladies? This is the perfect opportunity to do some research into your own health issues. Unless there are serious consequences for postponement, a second opinion (when Mercury is direct) is advised before embarking on a course of treatment for an illness or problem. Test results now may be inconclusive. Avoid starting a new diet. Time is better spent researching the foods you will eat, gathering recipes and nutritional information.
Keywords – Reorganisation, rejuvenation, relapse, repair, recover, refresh
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 7th house
Whether marriage or business partner, Mercury’s transit here may call for
re-negotiation of terms. In personal relationships, we often have unspoken contracts and agreements that have developed over time from who takes the trash out to who sleeps on what side of the bed. There are also others such as ‘don’t ever disagree with my Mother’. These ‘rules’ can be taught to us through certain behaviours and body language. What remains ‘unspoken’ is likely to be given voice during this transit and perhaps this is necessary in order for you to clear the path ahead.
Alternatively, old issues that you thought forgotten may rear up and you may find yourself having to bite your tongue. Mercury retrograde in the 7th house can serve to bring you closer together by airing differences of opinion. By the time this transit is over, you may both feel like you understand each other a lot better.
Traditionally it isn’t recommended to get married or set a wedding date under Mercury retrograde. If you have to sign a contract, read the small print! If possible, defer until after Mercury has gone direct.
Keywords – Re-negotiate, refine, reunite
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 8th house
In the house of shared resources, Mercury here offers you the chance to find out if you are getting and/or giving your fair share in a relationship. It may be time to redistribute the wealth. Renew your insurance, check when your insurance runs out, avoid taking out a loan, pay off your debts and taxes. There may be issues or delays with jointly held resources during this time. It is not the best time to take out a mortgage or loan or invest in a new business.
Sexual issues may need to be discussed. Divine intimacy can be achieved through sharing your thoughts. It may be important to recall previous intimate relationships in order to understand better your preferences and needs.
The 8th house favours eliminating the old. Cleanse your mind. Secrets and hidden things may come to light during this time. Psycho-analysis and other forms of healing are beneficial.
Keywords – relinquish, repay, re-allocate, relent
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 9th house
Re-examine what you believe about the world as Mercury backs up in the 9th house. Your beliefs create what you experience. It’s time to consider the future. What you do now effects the outcome. What’s your overall philosophy to life? Are you really living it? This house is also connected to morals and ethics. During this transit you may be called upon to re-assess what the truth really means.
This is a good time to re-sit exams previously failed or to go back into education. Use this time to revise, to edit writing, to re-write and proof read your work. Explore books that make you think differently about the world.
You may have a sense that you have lost the big picture somewhere along the line. Take some time to re-visualise where you want to be.
You may find yourself needing to revisit a place. Generally however, travel plans at this time need to be triple checked. Be prepared for delays, cancelled flights and roadblocks. Mercury would like you to see where you are so you can be clearer about where you want to go. Sometimes we just have to stand still.
The 9th house is also associated with the concept of faith. Your faith in yourself or in a higher being may be called into question. Faith adhered to without question can bind you. Keep asking the big questions!
Keywords – revisit, re-examine, retrain
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 10th house
Take care of old business, finish the job you started. A change in status can
sometimes be indicated by this transit from promotion to job loss. There may be communication problems with a manager or team leader. Misunderstandings can lead to frustration. Patience and a cautious approach are necessary. This is not the time for a career change or to apply for a new job. Reapplying for a job you didn’t get before however is favourable. Use this period to consider whether you are happy with your career to date and what you would like to achieve. Researching a new career and connecting with people who work in that sector is a beneficial use of the retrograde period..
If you are self-employed, take care with new contracts and clients. This may be the time to re-consider how you market yourself and the clients you want to work with. Re-vamp your public image.
Alternatively, a great way to make use of Mercury in the 10th is to take a holiday from work, spend some time at home and recharge your batteries.
Keywords – redefine, re-assemble, reappoint, resign, retire, re-orientate.
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 11th house
Time for a catch up with old friends. You may bump into each other unexpectedly. On the other hand, this transit can indicate a withdrawal from the social scene for a while which may happen by choice or circumstance. If this occurs, it may be that you need to take some time to discover who you are away from others. Most often this can happen when too much time has been spent socialising and not enough time alone.
There can be misunderstandings with friends at this time. Be sure you have the right end of the stick before you cross them off your Christmas card list. Gossip and rumour may play havoc with otherwise good relationships. It’s wise to follow the ‘hear no evil, speak no evil‘ motto right now. It could however be time to weed out connections that no longer serve you. Mercury retrograde in the 11th can help you to discover who your real friends are and why you move in the circles you do. It also serves as a reminder that people make their own decisions in the end. You can’t control what others decide to do.
The 11th house is also connected to your goals and dreams. Re-capture a dream that you once had to get inspired about the future. Research networks that may help you towards your goal.
Keywords – Reconnect, regroup, reconvene, reform
Mercury transiting retrograde in the 12th house
As I start to write this piece, I hear Simon and Garfunkal singing ‘The Sound of Silence’ in my mind. When Mercury transits retrograde in the 12th house, the need for retreat and quiet may be very strong. For some this can manifest as a strong pull towards their own inner psychology. Mercury may bring you messages from your deep unconscious mind through dreams. Keep a record of dreams during the retrograde period as they may well provide information you need to be aware of. Images from past lives may surface.
Sometimes it may feel like you have been left alone with no one to rely on. It may be because only you can decide what comes next. Regrets may characterise this time, with sorrow bubbling up about what could have been and should have been. Be kind to yourself and let it go. If you are telling yourself dark and twisted stories, give the tale a happy ending. Trust that you can make the right decision by yourself and move forward.
Your spiritual life gets a boost when Mercury retrogrades the 12th. As the outside world loses its pull over you, you may find yourself more psychically aware and sensitive to subtle vibrations. Synchronicity speaks to you vividly. Spiritual renewal is a possibility. Meditate, remove your mental chains, set up an altar, commune with the world soul, pray.
Keywords – redeem, release, recharge, re-consecrate, repent
Painting – ‘Planet Mercury passing in front of the Sun’ by Giacomo Balla