In Praise of Mercury Retrograde in Virgo


As I mentioned in my last article, Mercury turns retrograde in Virgo tomorrow (Tue Aug 30), and remains so for the next three weeks, returning to direct motion on Sep 21.

While I'm not an astrologer who usually makes much ado about Mercury's thrice-a-year retrogrades, I felt moved to compose a quick note about this one… mainly because I'm struck by its well-timed supportive promise. (So no freaking out, please.)

Mercury generally functions well in rational, efficient Virgo, the earth-sign which it rules and the zodiacal sector where it'll spend this entire retrograde. Of course, this will not magically exempt Mercury from falling prey to those most-notorious retrograde antics. Standard Merc-rx warnings apply: Please beware of mangled communications, malfunctioning equipment, transportation detours or delays, mislaid plans, and overlooked fine-print details—and please be mindful that hasty human overcorrections are often the leading cause of our worst irritations, upsets, and snafus. With Mercury in Virgo, though, we have a better-than-usual chance of catching the glitch before its havoc spreads too far.

Mercury in Virgo is the classic logical-ordering perfectionist, applying its observant analytic savvy toward getting every small feature and critical component just so. One can imagine how much this Mercury might detest the unclear intimations, uncertain answers, and ungoverned loose-ends which typically accompany a retrograde. Yet, if we're mindfully working with Mercury-in-Virgo's sensible strengths during this retrograde, we would pause in our tracks promptly upon encountering a snag or slip-up. We'd study the conditions, think through our various responses… and proceed into the fix-it stage only after we'd properly examined the situation, crunched the data, and carefully selected a course.

Rather than creating a snowball-effect disaster with our reactive scramble, we might actually enhance the overall clarity, efficacy, and/or soundness of a given undertaking, as a direct result of meeting any Mercury-retrograde mischief with Mercury-in-Virgo's keen problem-solving skills and eye-for-improvements.

I highlight this positive Mercury-retrograde-in-Virgo spin now, as we move through 2016's big pivot, away from a period marked by much Mars-centered madness, a disillusioning Saturn-Neptune square, and a palpable sense of mutable 'in-betweenness'… and into a more distinctly cardinal moment (courtesy of Jupiter's move into Libra next week), with Saturn moving into a constructively reformist trine to Uranus by year's-end, when we'll be better positioned to create new ventures, setups, and circumstances for ourselves. With the huge amounts of sheer will required to sustain our efforts and desires through the year's first two-thirds, our recent efforts would be more accurately described as 'strong pushes' rather than 'delicately precise maneuvers'. Now, therefore, is a fitting Merc-rx occasion to go back and clean up any collateral messes, readdress details which had been inadequately handled, and reorganize our scattered thoughts, Virgo-style. Whatever breaks down, screws up, or tumbles over could be seen, quite sincerely, as a gift of constructive feedback from the planet-gods.

As it stations retrograde, Mercury is conjunct Jupiter during the final week of its yearlong transit through Virgo. While Jupiter's influence is generally considered favorable, Jupiter is not at its most comfortable in Virgo, a sign where it's in detriment (that is, opposite its rulership sign). In the context of this retrograde, this Mercury-Jupiter conjunction in Virgo threatens to exaggerate the relative relevance and/or magnitude-of-importance of particular specifics, causing us to scrutinize every detail of this microscopic view—and, in the process, to potentially lose sight of the big-picture reasons why we're even doing so at all. Should you get stuck trying to resolve a frustrating particularity, you might consider stepping back from it… so you can better see what else you might turn your attention to and still actively support your guiding purpose.

Expect the gnarliest Merc-rx problems during the few days leading up to Mercury's square with Mars in Sagittarius (exact on Sep 12). This fiery, broad-strokes Mars has very little patience for those minor concrete details which Mercury adores while in Virgo. This Mars-square moment is when we'll be likeliest to rush through important business, overlook critical distinctions, respond with too much blunt force, and/or otherwise make something harder on ourselves by not thinking it through.