The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
By Leah Mueller
In astrology, Mercury is the planet of communication. In mythology, he is the trickster. In the tarot, he closely aligns with the Magician card. Just as the Magician pulls rabbits from hats, Mercury finds lightning-fast solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
Mercury goes into apparent retrograde motion 3-4 times every year. Most of us are well familiar with the shenanigans that occur during these times. Cars break down, computers crash, flights get cancelled. A trip across town that normally takes half an hour ends up taking two. Even the best-laid plans fall through. We remind ourselves to be flexible—because Mercury retrograde—but find ourselves in the middle of yet another meltdown. We end up losing our tempers and saying exactly the wrong thing. Of course, we’re only human.
It seems as though the minute we complete another arduous retrograde, another looms around the corner. That’s because Mercury remains retro for nearly four weeks. The two-week period before and after is known as “the shadow.” Though the two words conjure images of late-night monster movies, their real meaning is less sinister. Think of a train that stalls and then takes a while to speed up. It also slowed down for a while before screeching to a halt, right? That’s what the shadow’s energy feels like.
Luckily, 2021 gave us only three Mercury retrogrades. Thoughtful of it, huh? The October retrograde will be the final one of the year. It begins on September 26 at 25 degrees Libra and completes its backwards dance on October 18 at 10 degrees of the same sign. Libra aligns with the concept of balance. Think of the Justice card in the tarot. A proactive, cardinal air sign, it can administer justice like an impartial, unemotional judge. Fairness is not always warm and cuddly. In fact, it’s often the opposite.
Mercury retrograde in Libra sends the concept of fairness into a tailspin. This showcases Libra at its most waffly, seeing both sides of a question to the point of being unable to make a cogent decision. You may find yourself in an intellectual and emotional tailspin, constantly sifting through arguments from a variety of perspectives, unable to take a stand. On a mundane level, you might be unable to choose which groceries to buy, where to go on vacation, whether you should even leave the house.
Mercury makes several alignments with other planets during this retrograde period. Perhaps most notable is its conjunction with Mars, exact on October 9th. Mars represents anger, lust, passion, and aggression. When it teams up with Mercury, words fly like bullets. Be careful of what you say (even if you think you’re being perfectly fair!) and try not to get caught in someone else’s verbal crossfire. Mars’ energy is physical, while Mercury’s is mental. It’s a good time for an intense workout, writing a persuasive treatise, or working on important home projects. Just don’t overdo it!
On October 1, Mercury squares Pluto. The two planets literally “square off” in a 90-degree alignment. You’ll feel the energy for a few days before and after. Yes, that can be as stressful as it sounds. Pluto’s domain is power, secrets, death, and rebirth. During the first two days of October, long-buried information may come to light. Often, it will surface at the most inconvenient time. The already volatile global situation can become explosive. On a personal level, you might find yourself obsessed with an idea or emotion that may or may not serve you. Meditate, go for a walk, do some dancing or journaling. Try to work with this energy instead of letting it get on top of you.
Spirits lift at the tail end of the retrograde period when Mercury trines Jupiter in Aquarius. Jupiterian energy creates a feeling of luck, expansion, and joviality. A trine is a harmonious, flowing, 120-degree angles between two planets that are usually in the same element (in this case, air). Suddenly, solutions to problems come more easily, as do the words to express them. It’s a great time to have a vigorous, lively discussion to clear the air or take on a new creative project (especially writing). You will likely feel an immense sense of relief!
Keep in mind that the planetary alignments, including retrogrades, affect everyone a bit differently, depending on your astrological makeup. If you have planets in the cardinal signs Libra, Capricorn, Aries, and Cancer, you will likely feel the energy more intensely. But even if you sail through this period, many other folks in your orbit might be experiencing more difficulty. Do your utmost to be kind! In fact, that’s usually a good policy, no matter what the planets are doing.
Avoid taking a duck-and-cover approach to Mercury retrograde. It’s a time to slow down, re-do, reflect, and spend some time working on your inner landscape. With a little work and self-awareness, this time can be quite productive. That is, if you can avoid pulling your hair out first!
Remember, Halloween is just around the corner. My favorite holiday, and probably many of yours, as well. Meanwhile, enjoy the cool autumn breezes!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.