***Mercury stations retrograde Nov. 16, 2018 5:33pm (PST) at 13º29’ Sagittarius***Mercury stations direct Dec. 6, 2018 1:22pm (PST) 27º16’ Scorpio***Post-shadow period Dec. 6, 2018 – Dec. 24, 2018***
Ah, Mercury retrograde! When the electronics become possessed, hard drives are devoured, miscommunications abound, and under their breath many astrology lovers are muttering, “Damnit, Mercuryyyy!” Many astrologers warn not to sign contracts, make big decisions, purchase big items (get a warranty!), and it’s often a good idea to back up your digital life to the cloud. There’s a plethora of stuff out there on Mercury retrograde (here’s a nice article covering the basics), so I mainly want to cover this particular one, and how it pertains to spoonies.
In astrology Mercury rules communication, the way we think and learn, the ebb and flow of the transfer of information, our attention to detail. When mercury is retrograde (as with many retrograde planets) it’s a time to slow down and reflect. Misinterpretation and missed details can be running high, so it’s a good time to take extra breaths and listen. For us spoonies it can be a good time to look back at all we’ve been through the past year, review our treatment plans, and zoom out a little to see the bigger picture. This Mercury retrograde begins in Sagittarius, an expansive and adventurous (especially intellectually) sign that is popularly thought to clash with Mercury’s love of details, but can actually be a nice placement for reviewing and exploring your personal philosophy.
I asked the fabulous astrologer, Mimi Clark (click here to watch her awesome astrology updates), for her thoughts on this Mercury retrograde for spoonies:
”Retrograde is a time to look within, and with Sagittarius I keep saying, ‘reach for the light.’ The truth is, I believe, that we all have the light within us. I love the quote from Rumi: ‘You are the soul of the soul of the universe, and your name is love.’
So it’s reaching, remembering—finding that light inside. I know people with chronic pain/illness can feel like the body is against them, but maybe this is the time to reach for that light within.” —Mimi Clark
That hit home for me because for the past 9 years I’ve felt like I’m in an unending battle with my body. This past Venus retrograde has had me thinking about that a lot, and I’ve been thinking about how really I am in this struggle with my body, not against it. I’m not saying everyone is going to feel this way, or is ready to think about it this way—often it quite literally feels like there is a war going on inside us, so it’s valid to get frustrated and angry with our bodies. But this Mercury retrograde, if it feels right for you, see how it feels to reframe how you think about it—see if you can, as Mimi says, “reach for that light within.”
My musings on medical stuff & Mercury retrograde…
I want to make it clear that I think some of the “don’ts” out there for Mercury retrograde are fairly useless to spoonies. I’ve read all over the place that it’s not the best time to get surgery, but more often than not we don’t have the option to delay surgery—either we need it right away, or we are at the mercy of a busy surgeon’s schedule. I personally went through 6 of 8 fistula operations (including the successful one), and a year and a half ago had a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy, all during mercury retrograde. We can’t necessarily put our medical shit on hold because of the planets, and I’ve never had an operation go badly because of Mercury.
I have had some serious miscommunications and mishaps before and after some of these surgeries that I think were more intense because of the timing. For example, after my hysterectomy I had to unexpectedly stay overnight—the endometriosis excision took longer than expected, and they wanted to monitor my oxygen overnight. Unfortunately there was a massive miscommunication with the nursing staff, and I was not given anything for pain for the first 6 hours after waking up—it was awful, and had to be resolved with a call to my surgeon late at night. The surgery itself went extremely well, but there was some serious miscommunication that led to a particularly rough post-op experience. Sure, this sort of thing could happen anytime, but I definitely noted that Mercury was retrograde.
My advice if you’ve got an infusion, surgery, or medical procedure coming up during a Mercury retrograde is to go in prepared. Go over the details with your surgeon (even if you feel you’re annoying them), and go over them again with the nurses. Doublecheck that you’re given the right doses and medications, that your allergies are clearly listed in your chart, ask allllllll of the questions, reread prep instructions, and confirm appointment and arrival times. I think a lot of mishaps can be avoided if you go over the details really carefully, and really check other people’s work (bug the receptionists with a, “could you read that back to me please, just to make sure we’ve got the same thing?”). I don’t think there’s any reason to be scared—and remember, Mercury retrograde often finds us re-doing and revisiting things, so it can be really good timing for getting things fixed that went wrong before.
Mercury Retrograde Tarotscopes
I’ve pulled two cards for each sign. The card on the left is what your sign is reviewing during this retrograde, the card on the right is what you’re getting out of this period of reflection & review. Please read your Sun sign and your Rising sign. You can get a free chart and find your Rising sign here. I also recommend looking in your chart to see what houses you have Sagittarius ♐️ and Scorpio ♏️ (I explain how to find what house a planet is affecting in my last blog on the New Moon in Scorpio) , as those will tell you what areas of life this retrograde has you reviewing (click here to read about the houses).
Deck: Crow Tarot
Pisces & Pisces Rising (Feb. 19 – Mar. 20): I pulled the High Priestess for what you are reviewing, and the 3 of Pentacles for what you are getting out of this review period. Mercury will be transiting your house of responsibility and career, and then your house of belief systems and higher learning. You could find yourself reviewing what has transpired for you in your work life (if you haven’t been able to work, you might be thinking about your contributions in other ways), and how you feel about the responsibilities you’re shouldering. As Mercury moves back into Scorpio the High Priestess energy has you going deep within to find answers and taking a deep listen to your intuition. The 3 of Pentacles indicates you’ve put in a lot of work, and it’s going to pay off in some way (this is often a positive card for health stuff—good results coming in, a new health regime or therapy being worthwhile). If you’ve been feeling stuck, this period of introspection and review should at the very least leave you with a fresh perspective.
Aquarius & Aquarius Rising (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): Mercury will be transiting your house of aspirations, goals, and groups, and then your house of career and responsibility. I pulled the 7 of Pentacles for what you’re reviewing during this retrograde. Where have you lost your way with your hopes and dreams? Where do you feel you’ve lost control over how you’re interacting in your groups (friend groups, social groups, etc.)? You might find yourself reviewing these areas of your life, and thinking about how you can get things back into balance. We spoonies can often feel we’ve fallen behind in our aspirations, and with our various groups, so this can be a difficult area to reflect on—be gentle with yourself. The 2 of Pentacles popped up for what you’ll be getting out of this review period, and I see this as a card of positive change. This card is all about finding balance with all of the things you’ve been trying to juggle, and sometimes making a decision about the next step, figuring out what needs to change to move you forward.
Capricorn & Capricorn Rising (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): This Mercury retrograde will be transiting your house of soul growth, undoing, privacy, and secrets, and then your house of hopes and dreams, goals, and groups. I pulled the Devil reversed for what you’re reviewing over the next few weeks. Funnily enough, the Devil is the card associated with Capricorn. I see the Devil reversed in this reading as an indication that you could be reviewing all the ways in which you’ve been restricted or had to practice restraint over the past year. How have these restrictions been holding you back from growing in the ways you really want to? I know that as spoonies we often have to be more careful about dietary restrictions, allergies, even just the amount of energy we can expend on any given activity can be limited. Where can you break free from some of those chains, and where are you perhaps restricting yourself where you don’t need to be? I pulled the Knight of Pentacles for what you’ll be getting out of this review period. Knights are all about change and forward motion, and the Knight of Pentacles is about slow and steady movement. It might feel like things are moving at a snail’s pace, but keep patience, things are changing.
Sagittarius & Sagittarius Rising (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): Mercury retrograde will start out transiting your first house of self-image, and end up in your twelfth house of soul growth, undoing, and secrets. I pulled the 6 of Pentacles for what you’re reviewing over the next 3 weeks, which I see as a time of looking back over how you’re feeling about yourself and where you are on your path. What have you given a lot of yourself or your energy to—especially what you’ve given when you’re starting things, making first impressions, what you’ve put into your image? Or have those areas been neglected lately? What have you let yourself receive? The message of the 6 of Pentacles is often to look at whether you are able to give and take freely, and to review how this can be more balanced (if you have trouble receiving, for example, this might be a good time to think about how you can feel more comfortable with that). For what you will be getting out of this review period, I pulled the Knight of Wands. This review of the balance of give and take in these areas of your life will help propel you forward. You’ll be ready to start something new, make some changes, and break out of any boredom you’ve been feeling.
Scorpio & Scorpio Rising (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21): This Mercury retrograde starts out transiting your house of self-worth and money, and closes out in your first house of self-image (the image we show the outside world, first impressions we make, how we interact with our immediate environment). I pulled the 10 of Wands for what you’re reviewing during this retrograde. I often imagine with the 10 of Wands that you’re coming to the end of a journey (with these houses lit up, possible a journey or cycle of self-discovery and learning about how you feel about yourself and the way you interact with your world), and though the things you are carrying helped you along the way, they are heavy now, and you need to put some of them down. During this Mercury retrograde, maybe it’s a good time to think about what you’ve learned about yourself—what tools helped you feel good about yourself, enhanced your sense of self-worth? What ideas and behaviors helped you get here, and which ones are no longer all that useful? What can you let go of to lighten your load? I pulled the Hermit for what you will get out of the next few weeks. The Hermit is about searching for answers, finding inner peace, and yes, more reflecting. While the Hermit does often indicate wanting to spend more time with yourself, it’s not about isolation (though you could sometimes find yourself impatient with others). The gift of the Hermit is that this can be a peaceful time of figuring big things out, discovering important truths about yourself, and this ripples out into all the other areas of your life.
Libra & Libra Rising (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): This Mercury retrograde travels through your third house of communication, and then through your house of self-worth and money. The 3 of Swords popped out for what you’ll be reviewing during this period—this is often viewed as a scary card, especially with the depiction of a heart pierced with swords, but as with most of the “scary” cards, this one has a very positive side to it. The truth comes out with the 3 of Swords, allowing you to move on and forward. Some of this review of how you communicate and interact with others, and how you feel about yourself, could be unpleasant (especially if you’ve been having trouble in some of your relationships, or financial complications), so plan for some happy things to keep you afloat the next few weeks. I pulled the 4 of Pentacles for what you’ll be getting out of this review, the gift of it all—a doorway opens for you to step towards more solid ground, an opportunity for getting in a better position financially or with your home, something that will help stabilize your foundations.
Virgo & Virgo Rising (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): This Mercury retrograde begins in your house of family, home, and roots, and closes up in your house of communication. I pulled the 2 of Swords reversed for what you’re reviewing over the next 3 weeks. If you’ve been dealing with disappointment with your family interactions, feelings of being betrayed or misrepresented, this could be a time of reflecting on all of that. This could also mean things you’ve been unhappy with regarding the physical state of your home, and trouble communicating your thoughts and ideas. The 2 of Swords often comes up when no compromise can be reached, and maybe this is a time of reviewing what you’ve been through, a time of recalibration. I pulled the Magician for what you’ll be getting out of this retrograde period. While you might begin this retrograde in a heavy heart space, you’re coming out of it with Magician energy—you can create whatever you want, you have the tools you need to make something magical out of all of that you’ve learned from the past year. You can come out of this review period with a new sense of determination and drive.
Leo & Leo Rising (Jul. 23 – Aug. 22): This Mercury retrograde starts in your house of self-expression, creativity, pleasure, and romance, and finishes up in your house of family, home, and roots. I pulled the 9 of Cups reversed for what you’ll be reviewing this period—where have things fallen apart when it comes to how you express yourself, experience/receive pleasure, romantically, and with your family and home? This next few weeks could have you going over where things have gone wrong lately, where you haven’t gotten what you wanted or hoped for. If you’ve been struggling with your chronic health condition, perhaps you’ve not been able to find joy in the same things; maybe it’s put a strain on some of your close relationships. This could be a heavy time of reflection, so factor in some light and fun things to keep you from sinking into the abyss of the what-could-have-been’s. I pulled the Fool for what you will get out of all of this reflection and review—moving on and up! The Fool embarks on a new beginning, a new journey; this is a fresh start for you, especially with your loved ones, and the way you express yourself. Something totally new is on the horizon for you.
Cancer & Cancer Rising (Jun. 21 – Jul. 22): Mercury retrograde begins its transit in your house of work and health, and ends in your house of creativity, self-expression, pleasure, and romance. You could be spending the first half of this retrograde reflecting on the ways you’ve felt defeated, or at the very least blocked when it comes to your health issues and your ability to work. If you are able to work, perhaps it’s taken a toll on your chronic health issues. What ways have you felt blocked, unseen, or unheard when it comes to how you express yourself, in your romantic life, in your ability to feel good physically? These can be really hard things to look at if you’ve spent the past year battling chronic conditions, or if your health has been holding you back from letting your voice out. What is the gift of this Mercury retrograde period for you? I pulled the 6 of Cups, which is all about finding harmony, past problems coming to a resolution, a period of happy nostalgia, even reconnecting with someone from the past in a joyful way. I see this as a break from all the heaviness we crabs have been experiencing, perhaps even some solutions coming forward.
Gemini & Gemini Rising (May 21 – Jun. 20): This retrograde begins in your house of partnership and marriage, and winds up in your house of work and health. I pulled the 2 of Cups reversed for what you’ll be reviewing during this Mercury retrograde. With the 2 of Cups reversed you might be reflecting on relationship problems, breakups (of all kinds, not just romantic), fights and disagreements, unrequited love. It could bring up where things have been falling apart at work or with your health issues. It could be a time of reflecting on where things have gone wrong, and how you can bring them back together, how to turn those cups back around and refill them. If you’ve been feeling pulled in two directions as to how to move forward with your chronic condition, or like things haven’t been coming together, this is a good time to explore where things might have been missed. For what you’re getting out of this retrograde I pulled the King of Cups. With all of this reflection comes a new level of emotional maturity, balance, a way forward towards more balance within your partnerships.
Taurus & Taurus Rising (Apr. 20 – May 20): This Mercury retrograde starts its transit in your house of transformation and sexuality, and finishes in your house of partnerships and marriage. This retrograde period could have you reflecting on how you’ve been coping with crisis and change, what sort of personal growth you’ve undergone, and how things have been in your relationships. I pulled the Queen of Pentacles reversed for what you’ll be reviewing over the next few weeks—where have things been impractical? Where has there been resistance to change, or blockage preventing things from getting done? Maybe you’re reflecting on how your chronic illness/pain has been hindering your ability to grow and move forward in your personal growth and in relationships. I pulled the Queen of Cups for what you’ll be getting out of this retrograde period—finding more trust in yourself and your ability to cope with the changes swirling around you, this queen is about emotional balance and harmony, trusting your intuition. Generally I feel like this card brings hope of happier times.
Aries & Aries Rising (Mar. 21 – Apr. 19): This Mercury retrograde lights up your house of belief systems and higher learning, and your house of transformation and sexuality. This period of reflection could have you pondering your philosophy on life, reviewing your beliefs, and thinking about how you’ve been coping with crises and change in your life. I pulled the Queen of Wands reversed for what you’ll be reviewing over the next few weeks. Where have you been unwilling to change your thinking, or unwilling to see things from a different perspective? Where have you been resisting change, or refusing to face problems? This is also a card that comes up when you’ve been extremely tired, so plan for naps and restorative sleep over the next few weeks. I pulled the Chariot for what you get out of this Mercury Retrograde—things you thought couldn’t come together do, you find more confidence and motivation to grow in your beliefs and how you handle change.
Thank you for reading…I’ll be back for some winter solstice astrology musings and tarot readings! Hang in there my spoonies, I feel like solstice will bring some relief for a lot of us.
Solidarity & Love,
Leah Ruthe Chatterjee
The Tarot Reading Companion by Thirteen
Mercury Retrograde by Big Sky Astrology
Mercury Retrograde – Uber Sorcererby Marina of Darkstar Astrology
Mercury Retrograde in Sagittariusby Pandora Astrology