Spring Astrology: Retrograde Season
When I tell my clients that Mercury has turned retrograde (in Aries from March 22-April 15), I’m usually met with a horrified expression and the words “not again!” This is my cue to launch into my Mercury Retrograde pep talk, which centers on using the “re” words (re-vision, re-align, re-flect, etc.). I try to explain that this is a time to slow down and assess, or shift direction if necessary, that it doesn’t have to be a big huge communication/travel/appliance cluster f%&*. I feel like a sort of emissary for Mercury Retrograde, calming fears and making assurances.
But then something happens like it did this week, when for no apparent reason, a client session on Zoom didn’t record my end of the audio and Zoom support says it was because I was using an outdated version from six months ago that had “bugs” in it. So my Mercury Retrograde opportunity was a “re” minder to keep my apps updated. But this lesson from the cosmos, while a necessary one, wasn’t all that enjoyable for me or my client.
So yes, Mercury Retrograde can be a giant pain, there’s no doubt. But lessons can also be learned…. First step towards learning those lessons is to figure out where Mercury is retrograde in your natal chart (do a free chart at astro.com and look for the house with Aries on the cusp or book a One Question Reading with me to find out which house this Mercury in Aries Retrograde is travelling through in your natal chart). How much and where in your life you will be experiencing the Mercury Retrograde will depend on where it appears in your natal chart and what (if any) aspects it makes to your personal planets. In my case, Mercury has gone retrograde in my 7th house of the “other”, which includes people that I work with and relate to.
Spring 2018 and early Summer are shaped by a series of retrogrades. The first planet to begin the backwards optical illusion was Jupiter on March 8th. Mercury joined in this week on March 22nd, Saturn comes on board April 18th, followed by Pluto on April 23rd. Mercury will turn direct on April 15th, but then Mars goes retrograde on June 27th, Jupiter turns direct July 10th and Uranus goes backwards on August 6th, followed by another Mercury retrograde on July 27th. It actually won’t be until the end of August that most of the planets will be moving in forward motion.
So what does this intense cycle of retrograde planets mean? First of all, it’s not all that unusual to have a number of the outer planets retrograde in the Spring and Summer, this is pretty much an annual cycle. But Mars and Mercury joining in at the same time adds a particular weight to the Retrograde Party. Basically, there will be ample opportunities to do the “re” in various aspects of our lives. Jupiter will ask us to re-think, re-flect, re-organize our approach to expansion, growth and opportunity. Mars wants us to do the “re” around how we act, do, assert and move in the world. This is a time for planning and preparation, it’s an opportunity to shift gears and change direction, this is “clearing a space for something new to arrive” time. What the Retrograde Party may not support is straight forward linear progress, quick resolution or a crystal clear understanding of what comes next.
In Chinese Medicine, Spring is associated with the Liver and the Liver is known to be a tricky, contrary sort of organ that does not travel in a straight line. The Liver’s personality is powerful, but complicated. A Liver out of balance makes a person impatient, irritable and demanding. While it is important every Spring to focus special attention on our Liver, this Spring’s Retrograde season pretty much demands it. Liver supportive measures include nourishing greens like Dandelion (or take Dandelion flower essence to soothe extra tension in your body), taking walks in nature, using Liver supportive herbs like Milk Thistle and Nettles and learning how to manage and channel anger and irritation into creative rather than destructive pathways. Read your Sun Sign and Rising Sign below for more Retrograde Season Survival Tips and Tricks and also check out my ebook: 3 Astrological Tools for Success: Mercury Retrograde, The Moon Cycle and Moon Void of Course.
Aries and Aries Rising
You love to be first and the very first Mercury Retrograde of the year takes place in your sign. Not exactly what you had in mind? You do have the option to go with the flow of this retrograde season and really review how you move through the world. Are you rushing, pushing or pulling? What would it look like to slow down and listen more? This is not to say you need to squash your passionate Aries self, this time is not about pouring water on your beautiful fire. But it is about reflecting, listening more than speaking and cultivating a more receptive attitude to others. By the time this retrograde cycle is over, you’ll be glad that you made the effort to practice the art of the “re” in your life.
Stone to work with: Black Tourmaline for grounding, patience and protection
Flower essences: Impatience (pretty much exactly what it sounds like-helps you curb your impatience and slow the f**k down).
Supportive Practices: Deep breathing, hard exercise and “vent writing”, where you vent it all out on paper before you talk to the person/people you’d like to vent about.
Taurus and Taurus Rising
There is so much happening for you right now behind the scenes of this play we call life. Mercury has gone retrograde in your 12th house, the house of spirit, the realm of letting go, the domain of the unconscious mind. If you feel anxious, antsy or as if you need to make something happen but you don’t know what, then this retrograde cycle is about taking some time to retreat from the outside world. You’ll likely benefit from a quiet, calm place, preferably somewhere that involves the natural world. Plants, trees and dirt are good for you right about now. Dig, weed, mow or plant. Wear yourself out repeatedly while you breathe in fresh air. Try not to let your thoughts control you, let your body and spirit take the lead right now.
Stone to work with: Lapis Lazuli for connecting to spirit and your own wise self
Flower essences: Star Tulip to deepen receptive listening to spirit and your own wisdom.
Supportive Practices: Gardening, farming, cooking.
Gemini and Gemini Rising
During this Mercury retrograde cycle, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to step back and take a big picture look at your life. What are your dreams for the future? Envision both your own personal future and also the future of the world at large. You may feel inspired or even compelled to revise some of these dreams now as you receive new inspiration and information. The house where Mercury has gone retrograde in your chart (the 11th), is also the home of friends, groups and community. It’s entirely possible that you will either hear from or spend time with a friend or community member from your past during this retrograde cycle. Take careful note of what you learn and experience as you peruse your connections to the people in your community, past, present and potential future.
Stone to work with: Clear Quartz for vision and clarity
Flower essences: Walnut for transitions and protection from influence from others that doesn’t serve your highest self.
Supportive Practices: Make a vision board or create a Pinterest board of your dreams for the future.
Cancer and Cancer Rising
Your public role and reputation are at play during this retrograde as Mercury activates your 10th house of career. You could be asked to take an important action or move more quickly than you are used to in your work environment. Or, you may feel challenged to stand up for yourself and fight for what you feel is right. However this retrograde cycle plays out for you, remember to allow your intuitive Cancer self to weigh in on decisions, even if you feel pressured to act, do or respond. You may be called on to temper the Aries fire with your gentle, soothing Cancerian waters.
Stone to work with: Moonstone to tap into your innate wisdom and knowing.
Flower essences: Indian Pink which helps keep you centered in yourself in the midst of lots of activity.
Supportive Practices: Spending time in or near water: especially baths, hot springs or other bodies of water where you can relax for awhile.
Leo and Leo Rising
Your fire self thrives on all the fiery passion of the current planetary weather, but you may need to rein in some of the high energy and action packed vibes during this three week Mercury retrograde. You’ll be taking another look at how you expand your consciousness during this cycle. It can be helpful to spend time rethinking your beliefs in this arena and realigning yourself with what is really meaningful to you. You may change your travelling plans travel during this time, or decide to explore an area of the world that you would never have been interested in before. Try to stay open to new ideas and people and feed the flames of the season slowly and with care.
Stone to work with: Sodalite to recognize and express your own truth.
Flower essences: Vervain for balanced leadership and moderation in all things.
Supportive Practices: Reading about belief systems that you have always been interested in but not taken the time to explore. Spending time around diverse groups of people.
Virgo and Virgo Rising
You’re going to be re-assessing how you share, what you share and who you share with during this Mercury retrograde cycle. Your 8th house of energy exchange (and sex, death and shared resources), is getting some extra attention from Mercury as the planet of communication slows down in this house and moves backwards. You may realize you need to step up to the plate more and express your needs, as it’s possible you have not been sharing your deep self enough in your most intimate relationships. Or you could come to understand that you have been sharing too much with others who don’t appreciate what you have to offer. If you do feel compelled to take action now, try to be as intentional and forthright as you can.
Stone to work with: Malachite to bring clear awareness to your deep emotions and help with expressing them.
Flower essences: Sticky Monkeyflower to bring greater warmth to emotional and sexual relationships.
Supportive Practices: Taking an inventory of everything (emotional, spiritual, physical) that you share with others. Assessing if what you are sharing feels good, right and true.
Libra and Libra Rising
How do you communicate to the people in your life that you spend the most time with and how does your communication style effect your relationships with these people? Mercury retrograde in Aries can help you learn how to be more direct and up front in the way you state your needs and wants to others. Sure, you may stumble and even fall a few times as you practice a more “Aries” style of saying what’s on your mind, but if Mercury retrograde is good for one thing, it’s practicing, learning and researching what works and what doesn’t. You’ll be gazing deep into the mirror of the “other” over this next few weeks, so learn what you can from the reflection looking back at you.
Stone to work with: Rose Quartz for an open heart.
Flower essences: Pink Monkeyflower for courage in opening up emotionally. Helps to support real and honest expression in relationships.
Supportive Practices: Explore what it feels like to be more direct in saying what you need in your relationships with others. Start with people who you don’t have as much emotional investment in and work your way up.
Scorpio and Scorpio Rising
A popular article that has recently been making the rounds on social media reminds us that self-care isn’t always about bubble baths and chocolate cake. As Mercury retrogrades through your 6th house of health and wellness, you may need to re-assess how you are taking care of yourself. What are your current self-care practices and how much are they contributing to your highest good? It may be time for a refresh of your daily routines and habits as you think more deeply about what health and well being really means for you. This can also be a good time to assess your day to day work and whether you are serving and/or contributing in a way that feels authentic and alive.
Stone to work with: Amethyst for intuition and freedom from bad habits.
Flower essences: Self-heal, to take responsibility for your own healing process and gain deeper insight and awareness.
Supportive Practices: Explore new wellness tools and notice what feel authentic and true to you and your own integrity.
Sagittarius and Sagittarius Rising
What makes you feel the most creatively juicy and alive? As Mercury goes retrograde in your 5th house of fun, creativity and romance you’ll have an opportunity to explore this question in depth. You may feel impatient during this cycle to immerse yourself in activities that bring you joy and pleasure, but prepare to slow your roll as you may need to take the time to research and realign yourself towards a deeper and more authentic pathway of connection to your true creative self. You can use the fire of Aries to support your own Sag fire in leading you in new directions and sparking new adventures, so stay open to some potentially unexpected twists on your journey.
Stone to work with: Amazonite to promote your inner creator and remove blocks.
Flower essences: Iris for creative inspiration from spirit.
Supportive Practices: Experiment with a creative form you’ve never explored. If you usually write, try drawing, if you take pictures, explore collage. If you don’t have a creative outlet, look for one.
Capricorn and Capricorn Rising
Your roots need some attention during this Mercury retrograde. Home, family, nesting, resting, etc. It’s time to turn inward and listen up. What’s your inner voice trying to tell you? Can you take some time from your work in the outer world to feed, water and nurture your base? As Mercury travels backwards through your 4th house, you’ll be asked to re-assess how you communicate with those you share a home with. You’ll be asked to take another look at how you talk to yourself. Things are happening down below, underground, hidden from view. The more you pay attention to the people, activities and messages that you encounter in your most private of places, the more fruit you will bear when this retrograde passes.
Stone to work with: Smoky Quartz for grounding, protection and seeing beneath the surface.
Flower essences: Calendula to soften and support receptivity in communication.
Supportive Practices: Spend time at home, nesting, re-arranging furniture or re-decorating.
Aquarius and Aquarius Rising
Communication is a process that goes beyond words, with intent, emotions and tone all playing a part in getting your message across. Of course the best kind of communication also involves cultivating the ability to really listen, with your heart as well as your mind. As Mercury goes retrograde in your chart in its very own 3rd house, you will be challenged to re-assess your communication skills and take stock of what is working for you and what might need an upgrade. Are you getting your thoughts and feelings across in the most effective way? With Aries shaping this retrograde, it can be important to figure out if you are taking other people’s needs, ideas and thoughts into account. Or, on the flipside, maybe it’s time to stand up more forcefully for your right to say what’s on your mind, and to accept that sometimes conflict is necessary.
Stone to work with: Turquoise to enhance powerful and truthful communication
Flower essences: Cosmos to bring your ideas down to earth and enable more effective, clear communication.
Supportive Practices: If there is anything important that you need to communicate during this retrograde cycle, practice a few different methods or modalities of communication before you launch the final version. Try experimenting writing, imagery, dance or movement. Notice how these alternative methods of communication may express something different than verbal communication alone.
Pisces and Pisces Rising
You’ll be spending time thinking about what really matters to you during this Mercury retrograde. It is entirely likely that this will be a mostly inward journey, as you explore what you value in yourself and also look at what qualities of behavior you value in other people. But you may also have a more literal experience, by having opportunities to notice which physical objects and possessions you most appreciate. Take some time during this retrograde cycle to hone in on your own unique skills and talents, showcasing them or sharing in a way that makes you feel good. If you are questioning what you have and feeling at all lacking, now is the time to give yourself an extra special self-love talking to, surrounding yourself with words of love both on the inner plane and the outer.
Stone to work with: Tiger Eye for a solar plexus chakra re-boot.
Flower essences: Sunflower to enhance your self-esteem and confidence.
Supportive Practices: Take a self-love inventory, writing, drawing, collaging or Pinteresting all the qualities, skills and gifts that you have and appreciate about yourself. Remind yourself of these daily via written messages or other creative means.