We have a Mercury retrograde commencing March 22 2018 in Aries. The traditional advice is “Don’t travel, Don’t sign contracts. Don’t marry. Don’t touch electrics!” However, the whole Mercury retrograde cycle actually lasts eight weeks and happens three times, sometimes even four times in a year! That’s a long time to hide under the duvet and a real waste of a truly magical time. Mercury generally zips between two worlds, or rather, the two hemispheres of our brain. First I will look at the general meaning of Mercury retrograde or you can skip forward to the interpretation of this current Mercury Retrograde.
During the Mercury retrograde period, it feels like Mercury has gone down into the underworld. In this realm, closer to spirit, we become more right-brain orientated. It is dark, so other senses are heightened. We will feel extra sensitive here, psychic even. Everything will seem hyper-real… you will notice things you had overlooked before.
This will prompt you to re-evaluate, renovate, re-form, and re-invent. It’s true you might have to redo things because Mercury will hit the same degree three times, but this transit won’t let you go into autopilot. There are danger spots though.
Mercury Retrograde Meaning
When Mercury retrograde is stationing (Changing directions) we are at a wobbly stage where we are likely to slip-up, make mistakes, and misread another’s communications. Once we are over the threshold and into the Underworld, we can safely go about our business, knowing that we are in another realm. The same goes for when Mercury is stationing direct, just make sure you give your brain a few days to adjust back to solar thinking.
The house in your natal chart that the Mercury retrograde falls in will be your Underworld zone. There you will question everything. It will make you jittery about signing contracts because you will be constantly thinking, “Is this what I really want?”. Before the retrograde is a good time to finish off those Solar left-brain projects and gather information to bring down with you into your retrograde cave. Then you can slow things down, let yourself be taken into other dimensions, try on different filters, experiment, shine a light on your demons, then recharge and reboot.
Mercury Retrograde Dates 2018
The Meaning of Retrograde Planets
Retrograde planets are a popular topic in astrology and there is some controversy about the general meaning. For example, Vedic astrologers see retrograde motion as a beneficial influence, while Western astrologers focus on the negatives, such as lost baggage or missing mail when Mercury is retrograde. I prefer to interpret each retrograde phase based on the aspects and fixed stars from the beginning to the end of the retrograde cycle (the shadow zone).
‘Retrograde’ literally means opposite or reverse, so a planet in retrograde motion appears to be moving in reverse. Planets do not, of course, move backward, and the apparent reverse motion is due to the elliptical orbits of the earth and planets. Regardless of the astronomy, the main point is that from where we stand, planets DO appear to move backward from time to time so we should expect this to have some astrological effect on our lives. Generally, we feel the energy of retrograde planets in a more introspective or reserved manner than usual, and there may be a karmic theme or feeling of deja vu depending on the nature of the planet.
The feeling of deja vu may also be because the retrograde planet will go over a certain degree three times over. People who experience this feeling strongest will be those who have a key planet or angle at this spot. For example; Ones IC is hit three times and you are looking to move home. Hit 1 you may see the house you want to buy. Hit 2 (Retrograde) may be when you have to go through surveys and making sure everything is fine to buy it, this will mean re-evaluating finances, whatever you have to do you are always double checking. Hit 3 maybe when you finally get the go-ahead to move and the issue is resolved.
Retrogrades give us the chance to really get our teeth onto a matter because we are forced to go over old ground again and again. This may get frustrating and tedious, but ultimately it is very useful, for tackling something karmic we may have been avoiding and that we have to address once and for all.
The Aries Mercury retrograde 2018 shall be one of intense debates and quicksilver brainstorming. In the next section I look at the Mercury retrograde charts, decans, aspect patterns and fixed stars that it activates on its journey through Aries. Check out your monthly horoscopes for the meaning of Mercury retrograde in your star sign.
ARIES I TAURUS I GEMINI I CANCER I LEO I VIRGO I LIBRA I SCORPIO I SAGITTARIUS I CAPRICORN I AQUARIUS I PISCES
The Mercury Retrograde chart comprises of a learning triangle ignited by Sun square Mars. This aspect has courage and ambition in spades. This supports front line, pioneers with bags of energy to push their dreams to fruition. The only problem is having the patience or stamina to finish a project. We need to get things done quickly before we are bored… Courage is a good word for Sun/Mars in general because ‘Cor’ means heart (Sun rules heart) and well ‘rage’ is rage (Mars). Courage literally means to put ones whole heart into something. At this Mercury Retrograde, there is the tendency to jump into things head first.
Mercury stations retrograde conjunct Venus square Pluto which makes this quite a dangerous one in terms of love affairs. Messages could be misread between the sexes. With one person taking any polite expression of friendliness from the other as carte blanche to go full steam ahead into a love affair. Sun square Mars could easily become unwanted stalking, Venus square Pluto even more so.
With the retrograde taking place in Aries also, the passionate and impulsive energy is ramped up even more. The adjustment is made between Mars quincunx Ceres where ecological considerations need to be made before anyone takes action. Harmony is restored by Sun trine Ceres. This aspect is about lying back and gorging on mother nature’s sweet, ripe fruit.
The problem then is the tendency of the trine to slide into complacency and decadence which can bring into effect nature’s cruel way of balancing the books… Enter Pluto! The weed killer. So Ceres in trine aspect can be a little too much of a good thing. However since we already have had the conflict of the dynamic Sun square Mars, Sun trine Ceres can heal those wounds through spending time creatively in nature, for example; water-colour painting or making sculptures from found objects.
Mercury Retrograde Dates & Times
March 8 ~ Mercury enters shadow retrograde zone on at 4°Aries.
March 22 ~ Mercury stations retrograde at 16° Aries.
April 1 ~ Sun conjunct (Cazimi) Mercury at 11º Aries (Exact 5.52pm UT, 1.52pm EDT )
April 15 ~ Mercury stations Direct at 4°Aries.
May 3 ~ Mercury leaves shadow retrograde at 16° Aries.
The Moon on Aldebaran is significant as it also has quite a combative feel. But this is healthy, honest discussion. It is about getting things out in the open and dragon-slaying. I’m thinking of the new YouTube craze called ‘Bloodsports’ where representatives from opposite ideologies go head-to-head. There have been some very entertaining discussions and far more illuminating than the ultra-policed and regulated debates you get on mainstream media.
Now we are halfway through the whole Mercury retrograde 2018 journey with Sun cazimi Mercury at 11º Aries. Here opens a window of wonderfulness where we can stand in the eye of the hurricane but miraculously come out in one piece. You can make use of the special Sun exact conjunct Mercury moment (Cazimi in traditional astrology). Send a message that really hits the mark or pitch a business idea. Try as close to these times as you can. Apr 1 Exact 5.52pm UT, 1.52pm EDT. Use Time/Date to find exact time in your city. (Cazimi lasts about 3 hours either side of the hour.)
The conjunction falls on Alderamin. Mercury here has “quiet confidence, to maintain integrity in business dealings. To bring a quiet confidence, dignity and gentle, persistent determination to one’s work”  while the Sun “ To be a person who identifies themselves with an idea and works toward its protection or propagation. To be noted for one’s dignity and honour.”  Mercury at this moment seems to be acting with integrity and is less of the trickster.
The Mercury Direct chart becomes edgier as Pluto replaces Mars in square to the Sun. Sun square Pluto can be stalkers and obsessive callers, they panic if their lover doesn’t return a text or goes off radar, it’s like they have died or something. This is also a real fear of death, but in its panic, this aspect is often self-sabotaging and creates the very scenario it fears the most.
At this Mercury Retrograde then, we can see the potential for jealousy over texts or emails being sent to the wrong person. An innocent friendship could easily be spun into something far seedier. At the same time, really inappropriate behavior is glossed over and gas-lighted. The Mercury retrograde starts off brutally honest but seems to get more secretive and tricky as the retrograde period progresses.
Mercury Retrograde In The Decans
Mercury Retrograde In Aries Decan 2 ~ March 22 to April 3
Mercury here seems to work great schemes, indeed, some would say these schemes are Machiavellian. Mercury here can be exceptionally cunning and be quite controversial with its communications. This position ensures the sovereignty of one’s own mind and supports free-thinkers. Mercury Retrograde in Aries Decan 2 is a great teacher, helping humanity break the chain of enslaving thought-patterns.
Paradoxically anyone touched by this Mercury retrograde could spend the period being ridiculed as the scapegoat since they are so often ahead of time with their thinking. Eventually these folk sway public opinion in their favour since their sales pitch is so very convincing. This decan is one of the most persuasive for Mercury to reside in. Like the great dragon in Draco which falls under this decan, here we find the guardians of occult knowledge who are on this planet to help disseminate information.
Mercury Retrograde In Aries Decan 1 ~ April 4 to 15
The brain cells fire like quicksilver in this super fast zone, sometimes the mind can be so lightning fast that we can suffer headaches. The brain is so active that we could have great difficulty meditating. It is imperative that we find a way to remove the build-up of worries, thoughts and super-deas jostling around in our cerebellums at this time. Sometimes the only way is to write it all down or construct something. This way we can get it out of our system and allow our mind to rest in a meditative way.
Mercury here argues, a lot. This is due to having such independent thought that it finds it hard to find anyone to agree with them. Mercury Aries decan 1 adores a juicy debate but can get rather carried away with its opinions and become quite hostile toward anyone that opposes them. Mercury retrograde here loves to play devil’s advocate, but can negatively use words as weapons.
Mercury Retrograde Summary
This looks like it will be a Mercury retrograde of fierce debates. It would be a fantastic time to hold a conference where many minds can come together and brainstorm. It will be hard to wind down the discussions as the ideas flow out thick and fast. Talking will be impossible to distinguish is because of the competitive edge fuelled by Mercury in passionate Aries and the Sun’s squares to Mars and then Pluto.
Watch out for schemers during the first half of the retrograde as their sales pitch could really sweep you off your feet. Not so bad if you are the one making the pitch. If you are an Aries or another fire sign you will probably be the ones who are making the biggest impressions during this period. Other cardinal signs will get the sharp edge of the squares so should wait until this retrograde is safely over before making any grand business deals or stepping into the debating ring.
In affairs of the heart, take a breath and count to 20 before sending that provocative text. It could be incriminating! And whatever you do, drunken bedroom selfies are a definite no-no. Impulsivity will be regretted once Mercury is direct and Pluto will have to work very hard (And expensively on the cover-up.)