equate a retrograde Mercury with its transit in the opposite zodiac
sign. The tarot cards assigned to the relevant zodiac decanates
and the opposite decanates of the zodiac are given below for each
retrograde. The planet Mercury is attributed to the Magician
card, and well represents the Magician's capacity for mental brilliance,
inventiveness, and a wide range of skills that includes linguistic
abilities, illusion, and deception.
This station runs from April 6 - April 20; from 1° Taurus
to 21° Aries. The retrograde station coincides with a Full Moon
in Libra, both in signs ruled by Venus, the goddess of love. Relationship
conflicts and misunderstandings may surface during the first week
of April. Taurus is the sign of values and personal possessions,
as well as the ability to earn a living. Although Mercury only dips
his little toe into this sign, from April 3 - 12 he is in mutual
reception (in each other's signs) with Venus in Gemini.
This gives a heightened interest in social activities, cultural
events, matters relating to children and education, and efforts
to promote self-interest - particularly in intimate relationships.
Schedules and priorities are re-arranged for convenience and comfort,
but people may not be entirely honest about why they're rescheduling!
Venus and Mercury are notoriously amoral, and Mercury is a facile
From April 14 to May 7, Mercury is
in mutual reception with the ruler of Aries, Mars. (From April 20
until May 7, Mercury is moving direct as it prepares to exit Aries.)
Mercury's mutual reception shift from the goddess of love to the
god of war will be noticeable. People will be more hot-tempered
and prone to agitation, arguments, and accidents. These tendencies
escalate on April 19th when Mercury is aligned with a Solar Eclipse
at 29° Aries. This is indicative of ego and identity changes, shifts
of status, and revised priorities. It will be difficult to express
the inner turmoil roused by the eclipse. Aries is the sign of the
hero, and some heroic acts may be ignored, unappreciated, or misread.
This is a period of disorder, where judgments and reactions are
unbalanced. It should hardly need mentioning, but it would be prudent
to complete and turn in taxes early this year! The eclipse and Mercury
retrograde square the U. S. natal Pluto, suggesting that the enormous
bureaucratic machine will be malfunctioning.
Mercury forms triple aspects to Pluto
and Jupiter. Emotional issues may fester as rage, resentment, blame,
or guilt rise to the surface. Individuals may over-react to minor
irritations. The task of this retrograde is not only to express
feelings without excess temper, but to find a means or method through
which issues may be resolved. Aries is the sign of nascent consciousness,
and the eclipse/retrograde combination signals a challenge to ensure
the survival of the ego. Some may find their professional life more
gratifying during this period, as it will tend to present far fewer
problems than the personal life.
The decan-attributed cards for this
retrograde are the 5 of Pentacles and the 4 of Wands.
The 5 of Pentacle's attribution is Mercury/Taurus, and its divinatory
meaning is quite appropriate: confusions, delays, secret love affairs.
The 4 of Wands reflects Mercury's reception with Venus, and the
focus on social events and relationships in the early part of the
retrograde. The eclipse/retrograde combination may appear as The
Sun card reversed. The end of the retrograde partakes of the
energies of the 9 of Swords (Mars/Gemini), as Mercury exchanges
energies with the god of war. The cards ruling the opposite decans
from the retrograde are the 5 of Cups and the 4 of Swords.
Emotional turbulence and unavoidable periods of waiting are to be
expected under this series of aspects.
Close on the heels of the Mercury
retrograde is a Venus retrograde in the sign of Gemini from May
17 - June 29th. As Mercury returns to Taurus, it is again in mutual
reception with Venus. Because of the one-two retrograde punch, personal
issues (whether connected with love relationships, children, or
personal welfare) may extend well into the summer months. This pair
of retrogrades requires solutions that combine meanings that are
relevant to both the perceptive ego and the perspective of personal
Mercury Retrograde #2
The second Mercury retrograde of 2004 is the longest and the most
difficult, running from August 10 - September 2; from 8°
Virgo to 25° Leo. Mercury is retrograde in its earthy sign of rulership,
and this is generally very challenging as pesky details and health-and-wellness
issues are brought into close scrutiny. In 2003, the August-September
Mercury retrograde coincided with a massive power outage, as well
as several violent attacks in the Middle East. A rash of health
problems emerged as well.
This year, the confluence of planets
surrounding this retrograde is similarly ill-omened. Mercury retrograde
will join Mars in opposing Uranus (in Pisces) on August 18th. This
alignment is a violent one, suggesting that mid-August bears the
potential for attacks by hidden enemies, violent and freaky weather,
and a spike in the culture of fear.
Mercury forms three alignments with
the asteroid Ceres during this station. Some mythologies suggest
that Virgo the virgin is Persephone, the maiden abducted by Hades
(Pluto). Ceres (Demeter) is her mother, the great goddess of grain
and the harvest. This retrograde may place strains on ties of kinship,
and test the willingness of relatives to support each other in times
of trouble. Ceres is a goddess who loves the common people, and
works to assure their well-being. She is concerned with food production
and quality, and the previously mentioned Mercury-Mars-Uranus alignment
may threaten food supplies, either through weather that damages
crops, or through diseases that compromise the health of animals.
Food prices may rise drastically on certain items.
This retrograde contacts important
stars in the constellation of Leo. The station begins with Mercury
conjunct Zosma, a star on the Lion's back. This star represents
victims and martyrs, and can bring about unfortunate situations
where dignity is compromised by the dispassionate cruelty of others.
Mercury crosses three times over the star Regulus, the Lion's Heart.
In contrast to Zosma, Regulus is a star of strength and heroic championship.
Cumulatively, this retrograde polarizes the weak and the strong;
those who protect and nurture versus those who exploit. Since 2004
is a presidential election year, this Mercury retrograde should
be carefully observed for its effects on political campaign battles.
The decan-related cards are the 8
of Pentacles and the 7 of Wands. The 8 of Pentacles demands
careful attention to details and work skills; the 7 of Wands is
a card of courage in the face of multiple challenges. The 10
of Pentacles is attributed to Mercury/Virgo, and is closely
related to critical issues in this retrograde - traditional food
supplies, national leadership, and debates about health care concerns
that reflect the core values of the collective. The confluence of
angry planets on August 18th may be represented by the Magician
in contact with the Tower (Mars) and the Fool (Uranus).
The cards attributed to the opposing decans are the 8 of Cups
and the 7 of Swords. These two cards suggest that the potential
for depression and uncertainty are high during this station.
Mercury Retrograde #3
This retrograde begins on November 30 and ends on December 20;
and moves from 26° to 10° Sagittarius. This retrograde (as well
as the first two in 2005) is entirely contained in a fire sign,
so concentrates on re-assessing issues of freedom, belief, education,
medicine, and the law. There may be a focus on international diplomacy
and shared languages (including computer languages), and on distant
travels and the result of journeys.
The retrograde begins at the exact
degree of the Galactic Center. This area of the zodiac is a source
of concentrated universal energies, and its effects are often termed
the hand of fate or the will of the gods. It is the heart of our
galaxy, the Milky Way. The GC is our local star nursery, a source
of magnificent light, radio waves and infrared; but it is obscured
by clouds of star dust that obscure our view of this phenomenon.
Planetary conjunctions to this degree of the zodiac are considered
a conduit to divine inspiration.
While Mercury's contact with the
GC may cause some to struggle with issues of fatedness, this is
the least problematic retrograde in 2004, although that is a forecast
made with a cautionary note! Mercury enjoys three sextiles with
Sagittarius' ruler, Jupiter in Libra; and a triple sextile to Neptune
in Aquarius. Sextiles promote opportunities, and sextiles to these
benefic planets are visionary, magical, inspirational, and humanitarian.
This series may promote concord in issues of religious strife, as
global welfare should be held above religious differences. It is
certainly an opportunity to promote tolerance, as Mercury, Jupiter
and Neptune combine to promote the universal truths sought in the
sign of the Archer. The entire retrograde is under the auspices
of the Jupiter-Neptune trine that is exact on November 29th.
Potential danger comes from Mercury's
triple conjunction to Pluto. This occurs near a black hole in the
galaxy, so may account for things disappearing (or long-lost items
reappearing) during the station. Pluto is the lord of the underworld,
and scars to the soul that have resulted in repression of deep feelings
or needs, or compulsive behaviors, may surge to surface awareness.
This underworld power may spur others toward peak experiences or
spiritual awakenings. Some may be particularly motivated to clean
out mental, emotional, or material garbage, as it arouses powerful
urge toward elimination. It may also bring about deaths or finalities,
or dramatic changes in the status of children during December.
The decan-related cards of this retrograde
are the 10 and the 9 of Wands; the 8 of Wands shares
the attribution Mercury/Sagittarius. The 10 of Wands is concerned
with finalities, burn-out, and lost ambitions, and relates to the
triple alignment with Pluto. The 9 of Wands is watchful of allies
and enemies, reflecting changing trends in international relationships
at the end of 2004. The 8 of Wands is a card of velocity and messages
that hints at the visionary quality of this station. The high-vibration
energy of Mercury combined with Jupiter and Neptune is equivalent
to Magician with the Wheel or Justice; or with
the Star and the Hanged Man. The Mercury-Pluto conjunction
may also be expressed as Magician-Tower (or Judgment).
The Mercury Retrograde Spread
This is a simple tarot spread for
gauging the effects of a Mercury retrograde. You may wish to extract
the Magician as a significator c
ard (or any card that represents Mercury
to you). You may also use your own birth chart as a meditation mandala.
Write in the degrees of the Mercury retrograde on your chart, and
concentrate on the house or houses being activated by the retrograde.
Shuffle the deck while focusing on
the significator card or chart, and meditate on Mercury's energies.
When you have finished shuffling, take three cards off the top of
the deck, and place as shown:
This spread delineates the three major phases of a Mercury retrograde:
Card 1 - The Retrograde Station.
Represents how the Mercury retrograde will begin, and may offer
warnings, tips, or areas of extra caution. It may also show a person
that will be involved in your experience of the Mercury retrograde,
or someone who may show very obvious Mercury retrograde influences.
Card 2 - Inferior Conjunction.
This is the mid-point of the Mercury retrograde, when Mercury is
directly in front of the Sun. This card represents when Mercury's
energy is at its weakest. The card may show where a communications
vacuum may occur; or show an issue, person, project, or situation
that should be re-evaluated at this point in the retrograde cycle.
It may indicate possible weak areas that require protection or great
caution at this point in the cycle.
Card 3 - The Direct Station.
This is the end of the retrograde, and this card shows the predominant
influences at the time of the direct station. A new understanding
may be apparent in this card, or cumulative fall-out from the entire
retrograde may be revealed. Errors or misunderstandings may also
be indicated as the cycle winds to a close, requiring special effort
to correct or repair.
Card 4 - Results. This card
shows the cumulative effects of the entire Mercury retrograde cycle.
It may encourage a special attitude or focus to maintain during
this cycle, or an emotional tactic that should prove effective for
coping with the cycle. For instance, if the Queen of Cups should
appear here, a fine strategy would be to be loving, gracious, and
sympathetic toward others, and if all else fails - feed people
1 The more technically
accurate term would be a "Mercury eclipse," because this
phenomenon physically resembles the relationships of the Sun, Moon
and Earth during eclipses.