Your Handy Clip & Save Mercury Retrograde Guide

For April and May 2010 — By Eric Francis —

This guide is designed to be printed and put on your bulletin board or fridge. Print extras and tack to office or community bulletin boards and get people hip to the fact that the astrological weather changes constantly. Knowing and being aware of the dates of a sequence of astrological events can be very helpful for planning. Note the vocabulary word ‘station’ means change of apparent direction by Mercury, the god of the mind. Nothing actually changes directions — it just looks that way because Mercury is close to the Earth. This giant magnet affects all our electronic stuff, but mostly it affects our awareness.

The fleeting androgynous god Mercury is associated with the planet Mercury, which changes apparent directions faster than any other planet, and is retrograde three times a year. Note the caduceus — he is one of the original gods of healing, associated with Virgo and also with Gemini.

Mercury retrograde used to be counted as just the 23 days of the exact retrograde. Then astrologers gradually began explaining that the effect actually spreads out for nearly two months, if you include all the time that Mercury is in the degrees of the retrograde, both before and after. These are called echo or shadow phases.
If you read this carefully and follow some of the basic ideas, your life will go smoother the next couple of months. The key to Mercury retrograde is to slow down and finish old stuff. Catch up with yourself. Mercury’s penchant for problems with mechanical and technical devices is usually a trick effect; things are rarely as broken as they seem (though sometimes they are, but you have to figure this out). Work problems out slowly and carefully. Wait to get that iPad or the new cell phone contract. Avoid doing what you can until after the station direct, and if possible, after the echo phase.

We have a relatively simple Mercury retrograde this time around as compared to the last one in early winter, which happened in the midst of the holidays, Mars retrograde and two eclipses.

This Mercury retrograde occurs exclusively in Taurus, which emphasizes a Venus-like flavor: a focus on values, resources and decisions based on those things. During the retrograde cycle, there are two other highly significant planetary events: Saturn opposite Uranus and Chiron entering Pisces for the first time since the 1960s. Those ‘other events’ are listed below. The one highly distinguishing characteristic of this retrograde is how close to the Chiron discovery degree the station-direct is (which coincides with Chiron changing signs and the Chiron-like contact of Saturn and Uranus. This is interesting stuff and I will detail this in an upcoming Friday edition. There is occasional coverage on Daily Astrology & Adventure, especially around the times of the stations direct and retrograde.

Readers in Southern Hemisphere, please check local times against UT or your pocket planner.

Key Dates This Cycle

People have been fascinated with Mercury since it was discovered. Oh wait, it was always here! This is a 1949 Mercury, named for the planet and the androgynous god. Photo by Serious Wheels.

Sunday, April 4 — Venus also in Taurus, Mercury in Taurus entered echo phase (sometimes called shadow phase). This is when Mercury enters the degrees when it will be retrograde. Some of the effect begins. Depending on your chart, you feel more of the effect. This is when to slow down spending money, avoiding large purchases, starting new projects and making decisions that you don’t plan to reevaluate after the retrograde ends.

Sunday, April 18 — Mercury stations retrograde in mid-Taurus at 12:06 am EDT  / 4:06 UT. The day of the station and the days immediately surrounding it can bring some of the most interesting effects, a sense of change, and instability. Things begun (for the first time) immediately before the station can have a tendency to be temporary, subject to revision or subject to reversal.

Tuesday, May 11 — Mercury stations direct in early Taurus at 6:26 pm EDT / 22:26 UT. Again, the days surrounding the retrograde can be some of the strangest, with events like ‘the truth comes out’, ‘the cause is determined’, and ‘here is a totally new way to look at this’.

Friday, May 28 — Mercury echo phase ends as Mercury leaves the degrees where it was retrograde. The beginning and ending echo phases have different feelings; one is about gradually getting into something and one is about gradually moving on.

Other key dates:
April 14 — Aries New Moon conjunct Eris, and even more precisely conjunct 1992 QB1
April 20 — Sun enters Taurus
April 20 — Chiron enters Pisces
April 26 — Saturn opposes Uranus for the 4th time since late 2008
April 28 — Scorpio Full Moon with the Sun conjunct Mercury.
May 20 — Sun enters Gemini

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