Mercury Retrograde: Everything you need to know about when Mercury goes retrograde

Mercury Retrograde: Everything you need to know about when Mercury goes retrograde

Mercury Retrograde Cycles for 2020 

What does Mercury Retrograde Mean?

First of all, what do Direct (D) and Retrograde (R) mean, in astrological terms? These are times when a planet moves forward (D) or backward (R) through the signs of the zodiac (an optical illusion, as when a moving train passes a slower train that appears to be going backward).

Influences of the planets when they are Retrograde or Direct

When a planet is in direct motion, planetary energies are more straightforward; in retrograde, planetary energies turn back in on themselves and are more involuted.

How often Does Mercury go Retrograde?

Mercury, planetary muse and mentor of our mental and communicative lives, appears to reverse its course three or four times a year.

What to do while Mercury is in Retrograde

We may experience less stress during these periods by taking the time to pause and go back over familiar territory and give second thoughts to dropped projects or miscommunications. Breakdowns can help us attend to the safety of mechanics and mobility. It’s time to “recall the now” of the past and deal with underlying issues. Leave matters that lock in future commitments until Mercury goes direct.

Those are wise words from Sandra Pastorius, seasoned astrologer. You can read more of her articles in our Galactic Musings blog. We publish a write-up about the upcoming Mercury Retrograde cycles in every We'Moon astrological planner.

Paula Franco Heyoka goddess art
Heyoka © Paula Franco 2012 from We'Moon 2020

How can we make Mercury in Retrograde our ally?

Many people look to Mercury Retrograde with trepidation. “Don’t make any future plans!” “Don’t start a new job or sign any contracts!” “Don’t buy a car, it’ll turn out to be a lemon!” This may also be wise advice, but what CAN we do during these cycles? How can we make Mercury in Retrograde our ally?

Mercury Retrograde and the Physical World

In the words of Sandra Pastorius: “It’s time to “recall the now” of the past and deal with underlying issues.” This is an excellent time to repair what is broken, in physical mechanical terms. Are you the type of person who puts off minor repairs on your vehicles? Maybe that broken tailgate causes you only momentary annoyance every now and then, and you tried to fix it before….now is an excellent time to take the hour or two to repair it one more time. In my experience, long overdue repairs taken care of when Mercury is in retrograde are long lasting and permanent repairs.

Mercury Retrograde and Interpersonal Relationships and Communication

Same with interpersonal relationships. Have you spoken words to your friend or partner that you regret, or is there a long standing miscommunication that keeps coming up? Take some time to think about it. What is the history of your miscommunication? Do you truly understand where the other person is coming from? Why are you holding to your side of the story so strongly?

There may be real moral or ethical reasons. Can you articulate those in a way that opens the other person up to curiosity and understanding? Can you open yourself up to curiosity and understanding about why they are holding so strongly to their side of the story. Is “being right” really that important?

Soul Searching During Mercury Retrograde

This is a good time to do some inner soul searching about the pain-points in your relationships. What can be repaired? What role is ego playing, in your stubborn stance?  What if you didn’t take yourself so seriously? How could laughing at yourself open the way for lighthearted resolution to long standing friction points in your relationships with your partner, your family, your friends.

I look forward to Mercury Retrograde cycles with respect and honor for such a powerful galactic influence. I look forward to it as a revolutionary opportunity.

Thunder Woman in the Far North art by Sandy Eastoak
Thunder Woman in the Far North © Sandy Eastoak 2010

How Long is Mercury in Retrograde?

This year, Mercury is in Retrograde from 21 to 25 days, in the Spring, Summer and Fall. That is generally how long the Mercury Retrograde cycles last, every year. That means you have about three weeks, three or four times a year, to pay attention to mechanics, communications, technicalities, and to tend to what needs repair in those areas.

The We’Moon astrological planner and We’Moon on the Wall wall calendar both let you know when Mercury is going retrograde, and when it goes direct a few weeks later, at the end of the retrograde cycle.

Mark Your Calendars

A good way to remind yourself that this is a time to pay special attention, maybe take a pause on any “serious” decisions, is to use a highlighter to mark the days in each of Mercury’s retrograde cycles. That gives you a visual reminder to step carefully, and put a pause on legal commitments, new projects, travel planning, and to be forgiving when communications break down, because indeed breakdown they will! Take it lightly. This, too, shall pass.

Cannabis Goddess Blessing art by Katalin Pazmandi
Cannabis Goddess Blessing © Katalin Pazmandi 2017 from We'Moon 2020

What Happens when Mercury Retrograde Begins, and When Mercury Retrograde is Over?

It’s especially important to pay attention to when Mercury is about to begin its Retrograde cycle, and to when Mercury is due to go direct. The days leading up to and directly after Mercury changes course can be especially volatile.

Life can get Bumpy When Mercury Changes Course!

Imagine you are cruising at a speed of 60 miles and hour, and suddenly you put your car in reverse. That’s not going to be a smooth transition for you. Similarly, when Mercury stations Retrograde, this massive planet of communication, travel and thought, changes direction, lots of moving parts—our plans, hasty mechanical repairs, edgy communications from the past—these energies whose imprints are stores in the orbit of Mercury, they all have to be gathered in and carried into Mercury’s new trajectory, whether that trajectory be direct or retrograde. A bit like a huge snow globe, with Mercury in the center, when that planet suddenly changes direction, all those energies get shaken up, and the dust take several day to settle.

So be aware, and especially intentional a few days before and a few days after Mercury changes course on either end of those retrograde cycles.

Goddess Hathor art Hathor Pours Cosmology by Lindy Kehoe

Hathor Pour Cosomology © Lindy Kehoe 2017 from We'Moon 2020

When is Mercury Retrograde in 2020?
Your Mercury Retrograde Calendar!

Given all of this, you can see how important it is to know when Mercury goes retrograde. The We’Moon Datebook and the We'Moon Wall Calendar track when these cycles begin and end throughout the year, and one of our in-house astrologers, Sandra Pastorius, writes an article about the year’s upcoming Retrograde cycles for every edition.

Mercury Retrograde: 2020
Mercury has three retrograde periods this year in water signs.

      1. February 16 — March 9
      2. June 17 — July 12
      3. October 13 — November 3

Mercury Retrograde of February in the sign of Pisces:

February 16 — March 9: Mercury’s retrograde in Pisces reminds us to revisit dreams and release our tears, regrets and best laid plans. When direct again, renew with what feeds your soul.

Mutable water-sign Pisces, is marked by characteristics of introspection, imagination, sensitivity and intuition. Pisces asks us to slow down and contemplate. It’s time to metabolize last year’s complexities and make it safe to be sensitive; nurture the subtle voices within before we spring forward. Dream, listen; feel the complex tapestry of life, and prepare.


Pisces Influences: Feeling all the Feels

Pisces inspires dreamy visions, and deep emotions. So it makes sense that this retrograde cycle is asking us to tend to the emotional, to pay close attention to our communications with loved ones. Maybe look into repairing communications that have cause you or them emotional pain. Share your dreams. 

Mercury Retrograde of June and July in the sign of Cancer:

June 17 — July 12: When Mercury retraces steps in Cancer look for cracks in the hard shell of protective attachments that keep you stuck. When direct again emerge in greater awareness into your circle of kinship. 

Cancer Influences. Does your home life seem out of balance?

Cardinal Water-sign Cancer is about family, home, emotional awareness, nourishment. So when Mercury is in Retrograde in the sign of Cancer, it makes sense that our home life might seem to get out of balance. Take this time to do inner work. Be gentle with your beloveds and ask them to be gentle with you. You may be able to work out some differences in communication, but tread carefully during this time.

Is your home in good repair?

Are there some minor home repairs that you have been putting off completing, especially having to do with plumbing? This may be a good time to finish off that project. But remember, this is not a recommended time to START a project.

Moon Dancers art by Leah Marie Dorion indigenous artist
Moon Dancers © Leah Marie Dorion 2018 from We'Moon 2020

Mercury Retrograde of October and November in the sign of Scorpio:

October 13 — November 3: Take time when Mercury retrogrades in Scorpio to investigate your underlying motivations. When direct again allow space to have the real conversations.

Scorpio's Influences: Scorpio has attitude!

Smokey and primal, the mood is deep and mysterious. Scorpio lends sharpness to every situation—both sharp witted and sharp tongued—so watch out for shocking conversations, this Mercury Retrograde cycle! Use the Scorpionic influence to aim your laser focus on clear, compassionate communication. You may find that you have extra powers of perception at this time. Use them for the higher good! Be wary of undermining close relationships because of an overinflated ego. Let the mood pass. Take some quiet time to brood, if need be.

Investigate that Which is Not Working at 100%

This is a great time to lay bare some harsh realities about what isn't working at top capacity in your life. This could be technology, mechanical (e-hem, how's your jalopy running?). House need repairs? Check for drippy faucets, with Mercury Retrograde in a water sign. You may be looking at your relationships with an extra critical eye. This could be a good time for an overhaul, for clearing out some relationships that aren't serving the highest good anymore, but be aware that the mood tends to be more prickly and critical, when Mercury retrogrades in Scorpio, so best to take note for re-evaluating well after Mercury has gone direct. 

This is a Time to Take it Slow

Don't rush your decisions. Take time to formulate your most compassionate words. Get curious and investigate the potent and magical happenings around you. Give yourself time to contemplate the deep mysteries in your life and in the world around you.

This Mercury Retrograde cycle may just be the excuse you have been looking for to take a nice long refreshing break—some alone-time.


Eternal Waters © Autumn Skye Art 2018 from We'Moon 2020

Interested in exploring more? Visit our Journey into Astrology blog post collection to browse through our constantly updated collection of interesting and informative posts about astrology and celestial influences like:

What Sign is the Moon in, What is My Moon Sign, and What Does it all Mean?

The Moon changes signs every two or two and a half days, and passes through all 12 signs of the zodiac every 27 and 1/3 days. That's one Sidereal Month. So we have ample opportunity to experience how the sign that the moon is in affects ourselves and those around us. 

This article explores the influences of the 12 signs of the zodiac in relation to the world, the moon and you.

Solar and Lunar Eclipses that are Coming Up, and How They Influence Us

Use eclipse degrees in your birth chart to identify potential release points. Eclipses serve as catalysts for us to aspire to our destiny’s deeper calling. Use creative self-reflection to experience inner alignments and transmute the past into new sources of energy.

This article goes over all of the eclipses, both lunar and solar, for the year, their dates and times, and theri specific, unique affects.

Astrological Overview for 2021: The astrology for 2021 looks like another bumpy road

The year 2020 has been a rocky road for the whole year. What can we expect for 2021? Heather Roan Robbins has written the astrological prediction for our upcoming edition of We'Moon , where we have the entire article. Here is an excerpted sneak peek.....

These, and many more articles come from our best selling Moon phase planner, and astrological calendar: We'Moon: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn

Highlights of our desk top date book include information for every day:

  • Astrological data in PST
  • Notations of planetary retrograde cycles
  • Moon phases depicted for every day
  • Notation on when the moon changes signs
  • Indications of Void of Course Moon times
  • Announcements about when the Sun changes signs
  • Astrological predictions for every sun and rising sign in the zodiac
  • Holiday / Holy Day writings about each of the wiccan / pagan holy days
  • Over 100 images of fabulous feminist art and over 100 righteous writings by amazing poets and storytellers. All of these works are submitted by women from all over the world.
  • Week-at-a-glance format
  • Month at a moon phase calendar pages in the appendix
  • year-at-a-glance calendars with full and new moons for both the current and following years, so you can schedule your full and new moon circles well in advance.
  • Bylines for the hundreds of contributors whose work is included in the day planner.
  • Information about how you can contribute your creative work for possible publication
  • Intro articles about astrology, both Chinese and Western, herbs, the wiccan / pagan holidays, eclipses and mercury retrogrades that are coming up for the year
  • Appendix articles on how to understand the various influences of the planets and signs, a veritable feast of Astrology 101
  • ...And So much more!



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