The challenges of Mercury retrograde

TWH – Mercury began its optical illusion of moving backward in the wee hours of  Monday morning on the east coast. For the west coast, it was late on Sunday evening.

An aurora blankets the Earth beneath a celestial night sky as the International Space Station orbited 261 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North America Image credit: NASA – Image cataloged by Johnson Space Center of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Photo ID: iss061e138167 – Public Domain


A lot of misinformation tends to get circulated whenever Mercury goes retrograde, and virtually anything that goes wrong is often attributed to the planet’s motion. Even mainstream sources can end up leaning into not only the potential effects of Mercury retrograde but also attempts to monetize it.

The reality is that Mercury stations retrograde anywhere from three to four times a year and the astrological impact varies depending on the other planets it has interactions and which astrological sign(s) it travels through. This particular retrograde may feel more intense to some people depending on the positioning of Libra in their own charts.

According to Sam Belyea, a professional astrologer who writes daily horoscopes on social media, the early impact of the retrograde reflects how the planets transit. What occurred after the new moon with Venus, in Scorpio – Venus being the ruler of Libra the sign the retrograde occurs in — and then the full moon rocked the boat, causing large waves.

Belyea also points out that this retrograde is “going to shake things up more than usual.”  And there are also six planets total in retrograde that include the outer planets. Belyea said, “Big planets have greater impact.”

Additionally, there is liable to be an increased focus and impact on relationships during this retrograde since it occurs in Libra and the solar seventh house.

According to astrologer, Diotima Mantineia, “October’s Mercury Rx brings a focus on relationships and gives us an opportunity to work through difficult relationship issues over the next three weeks. But to do that successfully, we’ll need to admit to our fears, share our feelings, and listen with compassion to the fears and feelings of others. And that won’t be easy under this sky.”

Not being “easy” may be an understatement.

Mantineia went on to say, “The planetary patterns suggest that we may see an epidemic of foot-in-mouth disease and some serious power struggles. This is how relationships can get derailed if we aren’t careful and attentive with our communications.”

She also notes the other astrological aspects that will have an influence, “Astrologers will note that Mercury, Mars, Sun, and the New Moon on the 6th are in Libra. Check out the New Moon chart, and also the Sun-Mars-Mercury conjunction on October 9th. Also, note that Mercury goes Rx in a tight T-square with Pluto and Eris.”

Then there are the broader social implications that are likely to be seen in policy decisions, especially those that affect women’s health and particularly reproductive rights.

Belyea told TWH, “Astrologically important—Venus in detriment [in Scorpio] affecting women’s rights. Mercury retrograde could help us to understand and highlight the oppression of women, but it is likely to be a slow road to recovery.”

For those looking for a cosmic fix or realignment of the social order when it comes to women’s issues and rights, Belyea said, “Venus is going to conjoin Pluto in December highlighting the past touching feminine history in ways that are visceral,” and “No breathing room until next year, around the beginning of April.”

When a planet is identified as being “in detriment” it indicates the planet is in a sign opposite the sign(s) it rules and is usually considered to be an unfortunate placement. For Venus who rules Libra and Taurus, the sign of Scorpio represents a detriment. Mars who rules Aries is in detriment when in Libra.

Image credit: 2758992 from Pixabay

Mantineia offers how the impact of the planetary placement could play out, “Venus is in Scorpio through the 8th, which means Mars and Venus are both in detriment, in each other’s signs. Mars in Libra tends to be passive-aggressive. Venus in Scorpio projects a ‘f*ck around and find out’ vibe into relationships. It’s a difficult combination.”

Belyea continued, “One thing we need to understand is that Venus and the idea of women’s oppression is one of the issues surrounding this retrograde and the influence of the Mars-Mercury-Sun conjunction on October 9. Mars tries to move forward but is scattered in Libra, the Sun unable to move forward, trying to do the same also highlights Mars in detriment.”

His advice regarding the broader social impact is that “Community needs to band together and observe and understand how we are being taken advantage of. Any action is compromised, and the Sun brings all issues to light but you may not like what is revealed during the conjunction.”

Belyea outlined how some of the issues may present themselves such as, “Where are you are weak; what is your weakest link; the need to correct your perception; and people feeling extremely exposed.”

He stressed that such a widespread alignment can have varying impacts and the importance of practicing compassion, especially for those who are hit harder.

All indications are that this Mercury retrograde is likely to require careful navigation and thought without driving ourselves crazy by overthinking everything. Generally speaking, any activity that incorporates a “re-” provided it is not a new project is favored: re-evaluate, re-discover, research, relax, restore, etc.

Belyea said, “It’s so tricky to find stability. Try to find a way to be okay with it. In some cases, the idea of people who have too much chaos all being asked to do all the re-s deeper could result in more profound venting of things that need more clarity.”

According to Belyea, questioning everything is what Mercury does. This makes it an excellent time to do a vision board map, work on your own perspectives, re-evaluate the purpose of your life. And offers opportunities to really be frank with yourself while not necessarily attaching it to an action plan. It allows us to ask, ‘If I had to start from zero where would I go?’

Belyea said the placement of Mars will make us want to take action and that would be premature. His advice is to step back and review but take no action and wait for a clearer picture on October 31, when Mars has moved into Scorpio.

“The work is internal but the shift in October will become more external. The hardest part will be to wait it out a little longer. Mercury is trickster type,” Belyea said.

Mantineia added, “Mid-October may bring some important news about the pandemic, as Mercury opposes Chiron and sextiles Venus while Mars forms an inconjunct with Neptune.”

An inconjunct also referred to as a quincunx, reflects the positions of the planets being such that they do not understand each other and do not blend well. This can require an adjustment or redirection to move past potential obstacles but can be softened somewhat by increasing awareness of the issue.

In this case, the combination of Mars being a planet of action but constrained and scattered in Libra, and retrograde Neptune in Pisces being more dreamy and leaning towards internal exploration and possibly feeling more isolated, do not compliment each other.

Image credit: Free-Photos from Pixabay

She continued, “At the same time, Sun and Mars are creating another T-square with Pluto and Eris, as they move into the degree in which Mercury went retrograde. They are also trined by Jupiter, but with Jupiter also retrograde, this may indicate big blowups rather than an easing of tensions. Watch your step, hold your boundaries and don’t overreach, or make mountains out of molehills.”

Mantineia concluded, “Overall, this is a somewhat difficult Mercury retrograde period, but it offers opportunities to make important adjustments to our relationships on personal, community, and national levels. To make the most of it, we’ll need both self-awareness and careful attention to what’s going on in the world around us.”

Belyea summarized his advice for the retrograde and October, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Be very cautious of yourself and others, moving forward does not equal greater comfort.”

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