Astrologers differ on when the retrograde effects of Mercury begin. Some feel that the effects begin during the shadow period, others insist that the effects are not evident until the retrograde occurs. I personally have found that this question depends quite a bit on other planetary events taking place as Mercury is preparing to retrograde.
Mercury is now beginning to slow down as it stations before turning retrograde in a few days. As we approach the reversal of Mercury’s direction there are several other planetary dynamics that create reversals or a tendency to look back into the past that will reinforce the retrograde effect of Mercury.
The square of Jupiter to Uranus is associated with rapid change and the undoing of established structures, and surprises are expected under this influence. For the next week or so I would expect nothing to operate as planned – new ideas and new ways of looking at the world are in the works. At the same time, Saturn is conjunct the South Node where it wants to calcify (Saturn) our old and familiar patterns (South Node) that hold us back from change. We find ourselves looking backwards when the South Node is involved, yet Jupiter and Uranus are forcing us to create a new vision of the future.
There is a tension here and a feeling of being pulled in both directions, something very like what often occurs during the retrograde motion of Mercury. Knowing what to expect takes a lot of the pain out of a planetary event, so watch now for opportunities to look backward and forward simultaneously. Anything that begins with the word “re-” is highly favored during retrograde periods: repairs, renovations, resuming old friendships, revising forms, plans or websites. etc.
This is very like the African concept of the the African concept of “Sankofa,” which comes from the Sankofa bird which flies forward while looking backwards. Sankofa teaches that we must look backwards to look forwards, reclaiming and preserving the past as tools for the future. In this way we can pass through the gateways without losing any part of ourselves in the process over the next few weeks of the Retrograde period.