In astrology, the planets all have jobs to do. The Moon feels, Mercury thinks, Venus desires, Mars acts, Jupiter expands, Saturn restricts, Uranus innovates, Neptune transcends, and Pluto transforms.
Here on Earth, we are the embodiment of these planetary energies. The saying “as above, so below” can be seen within us and around us through our individual and collective experiences.
But astrology doesn’t make us do anything – we are all still responsible for our own actions and choices.
Instead, can we use astrology to understand why certain themes may emerge when they do, and to look to the skies for answers to our own lessons and personal evolutions.
We can also look to astrology to tap into a different kind of timing than what we see on our weekly schedules. Astrology reminds us that there are times to act and times to wait, times to create and times to rest – and that those times exist beyond the Gregorian calendar.
While many aspects of our modern world are focused on constant growth, steady production, and maximum productivity, astrology reminds us that our natural world – the world we are all connected to – thrives through ebbs and flows, teaching us that we can’t always be focused on one direction alone.
Retrograde periods are great times to allow yourself to slow down. Even though Mercury retrograde gets talked about a lot, the rest of the planets retrograde, too.
But we tend to hear a lot more about Mercury retrograde. Why? Because it is a faster moving celestial body, taking just 88 days to orbit the Sun. In 2019, we will have three Mercury retrograde periods, which is typical for a calendar year. Compare that to another planet, like Mars, which takes 687 days to orbit the Sun and won’t retrograde again until 2020.
When a planet is retrograde, we can look to that planet for advice as to where the universe is asking us to reflect, review, or relax our efforts in whatever areas of life that planet rules.
With Mercury ruling our thoughts, communication, travel, and ideas, it’s no wonder that Mercury retrograde periods cause such a stir throughout each year – and why so many people fear these transits.
In our modern world, Mercury is working overtime. We are all plugged in 24/7, communicating at an unprecedented pace.
We can hop on planes, trains, and automobiles at any moment. The things that Mercury rules never stop, and so Mercury retrograde periods can feel challenging. Mercury wants a break, but we won’t give him a day off, let alone the three weeks or so that he needs for each retrograde.
Remember: Mercury retrograde doesn’t exist to introduce chaos into your life. It’s not here to sabotage your plans or intentionally crash your computer. But if you do feel challenged during Mercury retrograde, try to see the greater lesson in it all:
Is the universe telling you to take a break from your devices?
Is it time to review or revise a plan or project?
Is it time to give yourself some breathing space, clear your mind, and rest?
When we get too caught up in our to-do lists, or too attached to a specific outcome, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there may be different ways of doing things. Mercury retrograde gives you an opportunity to step back and see where things are at, whether there is a new door available to you that you haven’t seen before.
Connecting with Mercury retrograde can be especially helpful for those of us who work with tarot or other divinatory practices, as Mercury also rules divination. When you give yourself space to clear your mind, you will be able to serve your clients and community in a way that is much more aligned with the natural energies of the moment.
In 2019, Mercury retrograde occurs in March, July, and October, through the water signs of Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio.
Here’s a look at what each retrograde period represents, and how you can work through each one using tarot.
March 5 to March 28: Mercury retrograde in Pisces
Mercury is in its detriment in Pisces, which means it is challenged here. That doesn’t mean that Mercury in Pisces is bad, just that Mercury has a harder time doing his job in this sign. Why? Because Mercury is so analytical – it is the ruler of cerebral Gemini and efficient Virgo – and Pisces is more concerned with dreams, poetry, and spiritual transcendence.
Pisces is a creative, compassionate, divine energy. That means that cerebral Mercury has to learn how to communicate from a more intuitive, spiritual place.
March’s Mercury retrograde period can be an especially important time for each of us to check in with our own barometer of compassion and intuitive connection.
Consider questions like:
Does your heart need to be more open? Do you need to let your voice speak your spiritual truth?
Or, does your compassion run so high that your boundaries are blurred?
Are you neglecting your own creativity, or are your spiritual practices suffering?
Use this time to communicate with your higher self with this three-card spread:
1. What do I need to hear from my higher self right now?
2. What can I do to speak from the heart?
3. What kind of break does my soul want me to take?
July 7 – July 31: Mercury retrograde in Cancer (beginning in Leo)
In July, Mercury’s retrograde period actually begins in the fire sign of Leo. On July 19, Mercury will slip back into the water sign of Cancer.
This means that this retrograde period may begin with questions around your self-worth, your value, and your desire to be seen in this world, as Leo is expressive and enjoys the spotlight.
But when Mercury leaves Leo – a sign ruled by the Sun – and enters Cancer, its focus will change quite a bit. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, which is our feelings. It is also a softer, more introspective energy than Leo.
This means the focus will shift towards questions like:
How does your expression relate to your sense of place in the world?
How are you validating yourself so that you can build the confidence to let your ideas shine?
How are you communicating your needs and desires to those closest to you?
Mercury in Cancer is a sensitive, accepting energy. It is also non-judgmental, and so this retrograde period may ask you to accept all that you are. Use this time to reflect on the ways in which you want to be kinder to yourself so that you can come out of your shell in a way that feels true to who you are.
use this time to do a gut-check with this three-card spread:
1. What is it time for me to value within myself?
2. How can this help me shine in the world?
3. Which of my needs is most important to focus on to support my path at this time?
October 31 to November 20: Mercury retrograde in Scorpio
Scorpio is another sign where Mercury can feel a bit challenged. Scorpio can be secretive, or guarded, which is not always an easy place for communicative Mercury to work from.
Even though Scorpio has a mysterious vibe to it, it’s important to remember that Scorpio is a potent truth-teller. That means that when Mercury enters Scorpio, we are being asked to skip the small talk and speak from a place of deeper meaning.
You may find yourself re-evaluating the power of your words and the impressions you make when you communicate. You may also feel called to release the past, let go of an old grudge, or clear the air.
As this Mercury retrograde period begins on Halloween, or Samhain, and carries on throughout Scorpio season, you may also choose to explore some ancestral healing during this time. It is believed the veils between the living and dead are at their thinnest this time of year, and Mercury retrograde can help us to revisit the past.
Use this time to connect with your truth, and your roots, with this three-card spread:
1. What power do my words hold?
2. What old wound is ready to be transformed?
3. What support do I have from my ancestors that can help my healing?
If you love tuning into the astrological energies with your Tarot spreads, why not plan your whole year with seasonal spreads and more from the Biddy Tarot Planner? Manifest your best year yet, using the Tarot as your guide.