Mercury stations retrograde at 23:34 (BST) on May 29, 2021 at 24°Ge43′ R.
Typically, Mercury retrograde tends to come with dire warnings – don’t sign this, don’t travel anywhere, don’t buy anything, just don’t do anything until it’s all over! But life isn’t like that. Whether appearing to go backwards or forwards, life down here on planet Earth continues and not every decision can be delayed until the retrograde is complete. Sure, if you’re Mercury retrograde aware, you might want to delay if you can or check and re-check the small print. Maybe you’ll want to wait before making a big decision. But sometimes, Mercury retrograde is exactly the right time for a certain event or situation to happen – especially if it’s something that was meant to be done but hadn’t been or we’re revisiting or revising a past decision. If an event is scheduled during Mercury retrograde and cannot be changed, we can choose to think the best instead of the worst. Maybe it’s exactly as it’s meant to be. Mercury retrograde takes us out of human time, into cosmic time. Given that Mercury is also the dispositor of the Gemini North Node at the moment too, it’s possible that the matters we explore now also have relevance for our soul’s evolution and karmic story.
Mercury will be travelling through its own sign of Gemini, a place where it truly feels at home. This retrograde period offers us a time to go within to examine our thoughts. How we learn, how we communicate, how we think, what we know, what we think we know…Mercury will raise question after question. Gemini is represented by the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, who bat between them experiences of heaven and hell as well as earthly stories. Gemini is the first of the air signs and in a natural chart covers the 3rd house. Gemini is how we learn to think and talk and most importantly, to make connections. It is through Gemini that we begin to interact with something beyond ourselves and explore our surroundings. Our mental faculties develop as we learn language. In learning language, we are then able to express our own internal world to the world outside. We learn to identify that there is me and there is you. These pronouns are important. Those who identify as trans or non-binary may ask to be referred to with the pronouns that make them feel comfortable and we need to honour that. The pronouns we use say something of how we identify ourselves in the world and how others identify us. Think of the words ‘everybody and nobody’. Both are pronouns yet each have a very specific and very different meaning.
Few animals may understand personal pronouns (although some primates and dolphins display self-awareness). But when referring to an animal, many people will ascribe a gender when talking about them. I do it myself – invariably referring to my pigeon, robin, blackbird and geese friends as ‘he’ or ‘she’. When I hear someone using the word ‘it’ for an animal, it makes me cringe. It’s depersonalising, dehumanising. And yes, whilst of course an animal is NOT a human, they are still alive, ensouled, a living breathing being. ‘It’ speaks of inanimate objects like rocks. ‘It’ creates emotional distance. Animals aren’t human but humans are animals. The words we use can affect our emotional engagement with others and whether we emotionally connect at all.
Primatologist Jane Goodall said :-
“I’ve often said that to make change you must reach the heart, and to reach the heart you must tell stories. The way we write about other animals shapes the way we see them — we must recognize that every individual nonhuman animal is a ‘who,’ not a ‘what.’ I hope that we can advance our standards in this regard globally to refer to animals as individuals, and no longer refer to them as objects, so that the stories we tell spark compassion and action for these fellow beings.”
What we say and what we think is important. The way we describe an event or memory resonates on a physical level. If we use words that catastrophise and stimulate fear, our immune system responds in kind. Affirmations can provoke a different response – calm, confidence, poise. Words and thoughts have the power to shape our world and can alter how we see the past, present and future. Asteroid Melusina (a mermaid who hid her fish tail from her husband) is conjunct Mercury as it stations. This asteroid speaks of needing to be true to ourselves rather than live a lie.
During this retrograde period, think about the words you use to label yourself. Labelling can be constructive or destructive. I’m an astrologer and I’m a writer. These are labels, ones I apply to myself and in doing so, I can express an important part of who I am. But they are not all I am. Internally, I have also used words like fat, lazy and stupid to describe myself – words I would never speak to a loved one, words that reinforce shame. Can you recall the words you use when your inner voice speaks to you or the words you mutter under your breath when you make a mistake? Are they loving and kind (Venus) or are they the kinds of words that slowly but surely erase you (Neptune)?
Mercury stations retrograde on the Sabian symbol ‘A Gardener Trimming Large Palm Trees’. This symbol tells us that there is something that we need to trim or ‘cut out or cut back on’. Where can we apply this to the mind? What have we been thinking? How has our education framed the picture of the world we see? Which thoughts are crowding us out? Maybe we’ve been taking in too many opinions, too much information, too much social media! We’re charged with the task to clear overwhelm so that we can still the mind and think clearly. As Mercury stations right on the heels of a conjunction to Venus, it tells us that we need to listen to our heart. Part of the purpose of this retrograde is to create harmony within and without.
The challenge during this retrograde period is that Mercury will form squares to Neptune. By the time Mercury stations retrograde, it will have already made one square to the Lord of the Ocean on May 23 and the second square will occur on June 5, a few days into the retrograde. Mercury will remain in aspect of the square until June 15. The square will then dissolve, only to return just after Mercury stations direct. The final square between Mercury and Neptune will occur on July 6, the day before Mercury exits the shadow zone.
So then, due to Mercury retrograde, we will have around six weeks of this disorientating, confusing, uncertain influence where it is difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction. Mercury in Gemini is focused on information, facts, figures, reason, and logic, whereas Neptune in Pisces is concerned with intuition and imagination, unconscious thought, whispers from the beyond. It’s almost as if every time we think we’ve made up our minds, something occurs – a dream, a vision, atmosphere, body language – something that makes us question our decision, conception or perspective. Positively, this atmosphere is super creative, wonderful for writers and artists, perfect for poets. But this hard aspect also can manifest as distrust, a vague sense that some important part of the puzzle is missing; mental fatigue; lying to oneself or others; misunderstandings; muddled thinking; forgetfulness.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
The midpoint of the retrograde occurs on June 11, when Mercury meets the Sun, receiving information directly from source, This is often the time when the purpose of the Mercury retrograde becomes clear. Mind is illuminated. But we still need to give time for the rest to unfold, more so this time because of the Neptune effect.
This period is about listening more than speaking. Embrace silence. Use peaceful mantras. Meditate. Go to bed early. Keep a dream diary. Listen to inspired speakers but take nothing as gospel. Doodle ideas, try bibliomancy, use oracles. Alternatively, spend some time learning a new language, even just a few new words and phrases. Language acquisition stimulates the brain and helps us think in new ways.
The Sabian symbol of Mercury’s station direct on June 22 is ‘The Head Of A Robust Youth Changes Into That Of A Mature Thinker’. This symbol tells us that time for contemplation is never wasted. Our minds are malleable, neuroplasticity is miraculous. We are endlessly changing, growing and evolving. There are endless avenues of possibility for expression and understanding – 100 billion neurons seeking to make new connections, reinforce old connections, break old connections, reshape connections. As above, so below – 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. The mind is a wheeling galaxy, revolving around the centre point of the soul.
Important Dates for Mercury Retrograde in Gemini
15-May-21 Mercury enters the shadow zone
23-May-21 Mercury square Neptune
29-May-21 Mercury conjunct Venus
29-May-21 Mercury stations retrograde
05-Jun-21 Mercury square Neptune
11-Jun-21 Sun conjunct Mercury
22-Jun-21 Mercury stations direct
06-Jul-21 Mercury square Neptune
07-Jul-21 Mercury exits shadow zone
I have listed below the house affected for each sign (read for your rising sign for best accuracy). Once you’ve located the house for you, read more on Mercury Retrograde through the Houses which will give you ideas on how to work with this retrograde period.
Painting – Lake. Evening by Isaac Levitan