When a planet appears to move backwards, its astrological influence is altered somewhat. The matters that the planet represents tend to work differently – not as straightforward, and often somewhat murky. Mercury rules communication, conversation, mental function, and short travels so all of these kinds of things are sometimes affected when Mercury is retrograde.
Mercury will change direction on the 7th, but before the actual turn it slows down to a crawl and we begin to see the effects of Mercury’s upcoming retrograde. Sometimes this is called the “shadow period” and you can read more about that here if you like. Mercury is retrograde for three weeks about four times a year, so this is not a rare occurrence. Much has been written about how you should basically never do anything while Mercury is retrograde, but that kind of advice isn’t only unhelpful, it’s just wrong. We can’t stop living our lives just because Mercury is retrograde, but we DO have to be more careful about the things we say and the decisions we make, and we should expect that we may encounter glitches along the way.
Every Mercury retrograde period is different, depending upon the signs that Mercury travels through and the angles that are made to other planets. This particular retrograde period begins with Mercury in the sign of Leo – the sign that celebrates the Self and seeks joy in everything. Mercury is pretty happy in Leo – it’s love for movement and discussion is enhanced by Leo’s expansive view of the world. But Mercury is aligned with Mars right now, and that alignment will tighten when Mercury turns retrograde on July 7th. Expect tempers to flare, resulting in arguments or heated discussions. Both planets are in Leo which can be a bit self-righteous, especially between July 6th and the 9th. During this period we may tend to act more impulsively which is NOT a good idea under Mercury retrograde. Try to reconsider every decision, and then reconsider it again.
Mercury will retrograde back into Cancer on July 19th. Mercury’s need for objectivity and thought is less happy in the emotional sign of Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon and deals with more subtle and secret matters. Under that influence we tend to think emotionally and make decisions that are based on instinct rather than carefully considered strategy.
Mercury will turn direct in Cancer on July 31st and will move back into Leo on August 12th.
Journaling is a very helpful way to get through a Mercury retrograde cycle, since in putting our thoughts and feelings down on paper (physical or digital) we are able to examine them with greater objectivity and our decisions can be less prone to confusion. Mercury retrograde periods are excellent for re-evaluation, renovation, restoration of something, clearing out old things and decluttering. While it’s true that they are not optimal times to begin something new or sign a contract, sometimes we must. In that case, we simply be as careful as we can to avoid mixups, but then expect that glitches may happen. After all, Mercury is retrograde!