Mercury, the planet of messages and information, is typically in a sign for less than a month, but because of the upcoming retrograde it will remain in Cancer until August 4th.  Any retrograde Mercury period is important since a retrograde planet applies greater emphasis and tends to dominate the astrological influences. This year, however, when Mercury turns retrograde on June 18th it will  just one of five planets in retrograde (followed by Neptune a few days later for a total of six).  You may want to catch up on this article about the summer of retrogrades.

But back to Mercury in Cancer.  Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the luminary that governs our emotions and our secret inner selves.  To understand Cancer you need go no farther than the Crab which is one of Cancer’s symbols.  With a soft tender shell in their youth, the Crab is very vulnerable and tender, caring deeply for others and for the world as a whole.  However if the Crab is hurt or wounded it may develop a hard shell in later years making it difficult to express those tender feelings.

Mercury is typically objective and seeks a certain amount of order in our thinking and transmission of information, but in Cancer the need for an open mind can be subsumed by feelings and sensation.  Cancer thrives on a sense of being at home, both physically and with our families or our tribe – the people with whom we feel more at home.  Much is being written these days about our “quarantine tribe” – the people that we are closest to and choose to spend time with even while in quarantine – this is a Cancerian question.  With whom do we feel safe?  Who do we want and need to care for in times of crisis?  The inner world of Cancer opens up the mental faculties of Mercury in new ways and encourages us to be a little less objective and rely more on our instincts and trust our feelings.

This will be easier for people with watery charts who already live in the realm of feeling, but those of us with a lot of air and fire may find ourselves feeling a bit lost in the watery depths, especially when Mercury is retrograde. On the plus side though, Mercury in Cancer connects us more deeply to our rich inner life, the life of the soul. Turning off some of the noise of the mind and tuning into the heart will help us to get the most out of Mercury in Cancer.

While in Cancer, Mercury will have a bit of a stressful ride as it bounces off against the other planets in cardinal signs (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto in Capricorn; Chiron and Mars in Aries).  Here are some of the bumps along the road:

  • Mercury in a challenging square to Chiron (wounding and healing) on June 5 – potential eruption of emotional or psychological wounds which require healing and release, but Mercury also begins a series of harmonious sextiles to Uranus, the planet of innovation and disruption, helping us to get unstuck from old patterns and facilitate all of these alignments.
  • Mercury turns retrograde on June 14th, with a week or so on either side when Mercury’s movement slows down for the change of direction.  This shines a focus on the mental realm, and the need to find integration between the impulses of the instincts (Cancer) and the objectivity of reason (Mercury).
  • On June 30th  we see the second phase of the harmonious sextile from Mercury to Uranus facilitating integration.
  • Mercury retrograde in a challenging square to Mars in its own sign of Aries on July 8th.  The story of Mars in Aries in 2020 deserves a post of its own, and will get one.  But we are in the Mercury story now, and the retrograde square from Mercury to Mars is likely to open up old resentments and fan any flames that may be smoldering.
  • Mercury turns direct on July 12th, but will take a week or so to pick up its normal speed.  While Mercury is stationary, which again is for about a week before and after the change of direction, mental patterns and focus take on more prominence.
    • HOWEVER, note that Chiron will have turned retrograde on July 11th, and since IT TOO is stationary there is an infusion of transformational energy to bring up and release habitual patterns that have kept us stuck and unhappy.  This process is not altogether comfortable, but always useful.
    • AND Mars aligns with Chiron on July 14th, pouring accelerant on the flames of emotional transformation to create a bit of drama.
  • Mercury returns to the challenging square to Chiron on July 21st, completing any transformation work and helping to integrate it in the mental realm.
  • And then, happily, Mercury aligns with Uranus in a harmonious sextile on July 22nd to support and facilitate change and energetic realignment.
  • On July 27th there is one last challenging square from Mercury in Cancer to Mars in Aries, but with Mercury now speeding along this aspect will last only a couple of days and will not have the same impact as the earlier phase on July 8th.
  • Mercury opposes Jupiter (expansion and confidence) and trines Neptune (creative spirituality) on July 30th for a few days of letting go and a burst of inspiration and optimism.
  • On August 1st Mercury will oppose Pluto (intense transformation) which could take us into some dark places in the mind for a couple of days. Alternatively, it could assist in the solving of problems in which we have become stuck!
  • On August 3rd Mercury opposes Saturn (tests and challenges) for a couple of days of hard work and self-discipline.  Saturn is productive but not often cheerful, so this time will be good for focused efforts rather than partying.
  • FINALLY on August 4th Mercury moves into Leo.
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