How to Handle Mercury Retrograde in 2019

New year, new round of Mercury retrogrades. Good news, though: this year’s won’t be as gonzo and whiplash-inducing as what 2018 brought.

If youre familiar with the term, Mercury retrograde, odds are you dont have good feelings about it. Oh, no, not again! is the usual reaction to learning that one is coming up.

Take heart! It doesnt mean the sky is falling. Mercury retrograde is not a freak occurrence, much less the end of the world. Its a regular phenomenon that happens three or four times a year. We cant stop it, but we can understand and work with it. Read on for how.

What does it mean?

First, the technicalities: Mercury is retrograde when its traveling backwards. Thats an optical illusion, of course, and happens when the planets orbital speed changes in comparison to the earths. Its the planetary equivalent of speeding up on a highway, passing a car and seeing it fall far behind after you in the rear view mirror.

How this works: When Mercury is moving in reverse, the areas of life it governs do not play by the usual rules. Anything related to communication and travel requires extra attention. This includes phones, computers and electronic devices, the mail (remember that?), cars, public transportation and commutes.

The need for that extra attention often comes from things not working properly. Our information flow is always a casualty. Messages go astray. Misunderstandings, confusion, half-truths and deception are rampant. Both sides of a conversation may use the same words, but the words may not have the same meaning at all. Or expectations and assumptions may differ. (Real-life example: an organization awarding a book contract on a Mercury retrograde and terminating it two retrograde cycles later, because the authors and the publisher never agreed on what the book was supposed to be about.)

Vehicles of communication also misfire. Machines or systems with an inherent instability hit the breaking point. Technology malfunctions. Websites and networks go down. Programs stop working. Tasks that should be ordinary turn into a gauntlet of error messages and trouble-shooting.

Challenges rain down on our vehicles for getting around, too. Traffic snarls. Travel gets delayed. Buses dont arrive. Detours pop up and complicate your route.

What should you do?

Postpone launching major projects, signing major contracts and buying big-ticket items if possible. (You may not have complete or accurate information; the subject or purpose may not be what you think it is.) Double-check fine print, backup your data and allow lots of extra time when youre on the road.

The good news? You may get a good shot at a do-over or two, which may take the form of unraveling or restructuring. With this year’s retrogrades in water, emotions will play a role in tackling anything that comes up, or in the substance of what comes up. Mercury retrograde is also an excellent time to investigate and research, finish old business, clean up paperwork and get in touch with people you havent talked to in a while. Pay attention to who surfaces from the past, in person or in thought. Their reappearance could help tie up loose ends or resolve lingering business. Organize and prepare so youll be ready to move ahead when Mercury does!

Mercury retrogrades in 2019

First, the details. Mercury is retrograde in 2019 from:

March 5 – March 28, going from 29 Pisces to 16 Pisces

July 7 – July 31, going from 4 Leo to 24 Cancer (and entering Cancer on July 17)

October 31 - November 20, going from 27 Scorpio to 11 Scorpio

Look for effects before and after these dates. Youre likely to feel the retrograde coming before Mercury stations. Communication and transportation matters usually start slowing (or growing complicated) a couple of days before a retrograde begins. The day of the retrograde station (when Mercury appears to be motionless, as it appears to change direction) can feel as if time has stopped altogether.

The same sensation returns when Mercury stations direct. Communication and transportation matters dont suddenly speed up once the retrograde ends, either. Give the planet time to get moving again. Wait a few days after Mercury stations direct before resuming business as usual.

Almost all of Mercury’s 2019 retrograde time is in water signs. This energy is radically different from the passion and frenetic activity of 2018’s Mercury retrogrades. Water is not a natural, comfortable element for Mercury, because it hinders his preference for quick movement of minds and feet.

This year’s water retrogrades are emotional and not consistent with rational thought. They could heighten the retrogrades’ potential for confusion and make people hear and react with emotions instead of their ears and minds. Expect information with emotional content, or emotions molding or interjecting into research and old business. Also expect a lot of emotional processing, both of matters that occur during the retrograde and situations that resurface from the past.

The first retrograde, from March 5 March 28, 2019, promises blurred boundaries, tenderness and weepiness (sorry), as well as insights and possibly closure on longstanding wounds. Watch out for blame games, martyrdom, scapegoating and underdog issues. There’s also a likelihood of misinterpreting information in a way that make us feel someone else’s pain, take on someone else’s problem, or apologize for someone else’s behavior. (Codependence alert!)

This retrograde starts at the last degree of the zodiac, sometimes called “the degree of ultimate sorrow,” because it is connected to everything in existence. Chiron has been hanging out at this degree while wrapping up a once-every-50-years voyage through Pisces. He’s just days out of the sign as Mercury stations retrograde. Because of this overlap, Mercury’s first retrograde teems with more information about Chiron’s time in Pisces, and especially the previous few months. The outlook is great for achieving understanding and compassion and for coming to grips with ways we soak up the pains of humanity (or fail to address them in a healthy manner).

Dates to watch:

Unrealistic or idealistic thinking, incredible inspiration, lies, delusion and confusion multiply when retrograde Mercury squares boundless Jupiter March 15.

Watch for opportunities for candid, clearing conversations, getting to the bottom of situations, and motivation for follow through when retrograde Mercury sextiles Pluto and Mars March 16 and 17.

Put on your fog lights when retrograde Mercury conjoins transcendent dreamweaver Neptune March 23.

The second retrograde, from July 7 July 31, 2019, from Leo into Cancer, starts out with drama, grandstanding, impatience and frustration (and perhaps playfulness). This stretch has links to January’s Leo full moon lunar eclipse, which gives this portion of the retrograde revelatory and activating properties,

The vibe switches from childlike to potentially childish when the retrograde dunks the cosmic messenger into Cancer starting July 17. Look out for sensitivity running high, taking comments personally, and a higher than usual degree of conversations about home, family, old days, nurturing, food and tribal definitions. This stretch has links to eclipse activity as well, since it crosses the degree of last July’s Cancer new moon solar eclipse and overlaps with this summer’s Capricorn full moon lunar eclipse (July 16)..

Dates to watch:

Thoughts and words lead to immediate action when Mercury retrograde conjoins Mars July 8.

Sweetness, love and good vibes abound when retrograde Mercury meets Venus July 24.

The final retrograde, from October 31 - November 20, 2019, in Scorpio, stirs power ploys, secrets, and undercover and behind-the-scenes dealings. Some of those could be salacious scandalous and flesh out important back stories from a year ago. This retrograde visits the territory of Venus’ retrograde from October 6 – November 15, 2018. Be on the lookout for course corrections and missing pieces that lock situations into place. This retrograde adds depth, intensity, tenacity and high stakes to the emotionality of the 2019 retrogrades.

Dates to watch:

You can say, hear and reveal deep, scary, life-changing messages when retrograde Mercury sextiles Pluto on November 9. (This is the time for conversations that require a big breath to start.)

Loving, guided words flow and offer stability and commitment when Mercury trines Neptune and sextiles Saturn November 13. Speak your piece; speak your peace; speak your heart.

Learn more about the cosmic messenger in Kathy’s Mercury Intensive, available on demand.

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