In the solar month ahead we enter into the third Mercury retrograde cycle of this calendar year. A Mercury retrograde takes on the flavor of the one or two signs of the zodiac through which Mercury is traveling. Therefore each retrograde cycle has its own style, tone and manner, expressed through the sign and degrees that are transited. This month Mercury retrogrades from 8 degrees Libra to 24 degrees Virgo.
The signs and degrees of the retrograde are in one or more houses in your horoscope, or natal chart. These houses represent the areas of life, associated themes, subject matters and issues, where you will experience the affects of the retrograde cycle most strongly. The houses in your horoscope where 24 degrees Virgo through 8 degrees Libra fall signify the area, or areas of life that will come under review during this retrograde.
A planet moving retrograde moves through the same part of the zodiac three times. It is as if the planet is walking back and forth over this area looking at its issues and processes from different perspectives. We may feel a sense of stuck-ness in these areas, or as if matters are not moving along smoothly, or at a more satisfying faster pace. This “sensitized” part of the zodiac is referred to as the Retrograde Shadow area.
On August 21st, the day before the Sun’s ingress into Virgo, Mercury enters the Shadow area of its retrograde. During its first pass through the Shadow area, issues emerge that will be revisited and re-examined during the remainder of the retrograde cycle. In Libra, themes concerning maintaining balance in one’s life, or within relationships, may surface. Notice what is coming up in your day to day life. Pay attention to your internal responses. Any issues that come up now can be reviewed, revised, and re-worked during the retrograde.
In Libra, we may have tendencies to be other-centered, and compromise our self. We may have difficulty with anger, in ourself and in others, and want peace at any price. If we are a people pleaser we may be flattering, or dishonest at times. We might tend to be superficial, concerned with outward appearances, and strive to maintain an appearance of graciousness and refinement. We may be ambivalent when needing to make decisions, vacillating, or indecisive out of fear of displeasing or going against the wishes of others. This may make us unable to act, or act in our own self-interest.
Mercury moving back into Virgo guides us to go back and reconnect with the grounded, discerning, practical real-world attitudes and approaches of Virgo. What qualities do we need to foster that will help us regain our balance, in ourselves and in our relationships? What steps do we need to take to improve our health and well being? Where can improving our life skills and competency lead to better outcomes? Can we place improving and problem-solving ahead of people-pleasing? Can adopting the approach of Virgo to be of greater service help us be better partners in our personal and business partnerships?
At the end of its first pass through the Shadow area Mercury slows in preparation to change direction, or station retrograde. We may feel a slowing down of energy in us, or in our life, or a reversal of energy. Mercury stations retrograde at 8 degrees Libra on September 9th and begins its second pass through the Shadow area in reverse direction. During this time it is helpful to slow down, re-direct our attention internally, and review what has happened during Mercury’s first pass through the Shadow area. We have an opportunity to go back and retrieve missing information, consider other perspectives, and look at matters from other viewpoints in order to consider issues differently.
As Mercury reaches the end of its retrograde phase it slows down once again in preparation to change direction. On October 2nd Mercury stations direct at 24 degrees Virgo and begins moving in a forward direction, making a third pass through the Shadow area. This is a time to gain insight and better comprehend issues that recently emerged. We can integrate new or missing pieces of information retrieved during the retrograde, and absorb new understanding and different perspectives on issues.
On October 18th Mercury leaves the Shadow area, having completed the current retrograde cycle. Mercury moves into new territory, with its associated themes and issues. Our awareness moves into new areas in life, with different matters and issues.