Yesterday, as you may already know, Mercury went into retrograde (“Rx”) motion. It joined Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, which had already been in retrograde-mode.
As I tend to do whenever a Planet turns retrograde, I began urging people to not just make blanket assumptions about a given Rx event, but to hold each one of these events up to their own birth-charts to see if the event would have any direct impact on anything in those charts. Since several people asked me how exactly you’d go about connecting these dots, I decided to create a post that would set out some of the basics…
The following is slightly oversimplified, but it should get you started on a helpful interpretive path. These are the steps I recommend following in order to see if a given Rx might be personally meaningful for you:
- Get a copy of your birth-chart. If you don’t have one, you can generate your chart for free at sites such as Astro.com and Astromatrix.org. I wrote an earlier post on how you go about doing this – that post can be found HERE.
- Determine exactly where in the sky the Rx that interests you is happening. You can obtain this info easily enough by simply punching the phrase “Mercury retrograde” (or whichever other Planet has caught your attention if not Mercury) into your favorite search engine, and then look at the date listings provided in any of the resulting hits to find the one you’re seeking. You’ll generally also be able to find the location in the sky of that Rx. As an example, take a look at the accompanying image: it’s showing yesterday’s Mercury Rx as it applies to my own birth-chart. The yellow-colored belt around the outside of the chart is the Zodiac, and each of the subsections of it represents one of the 12 Signs. The little symbols rendered in blank ink around the inside of the belt are the Planets as they were arrayed at the moment of my birth. The same symbols are also rendered around the outside of the Zodiac belt in green ink – these represent the locations of the Planets as they were yesterday (April 9, 2017). The birth-Planets are often referred to as natal Planets, while the ones happening in the present time are called transiting Planets. I circled transiting Mercury for ease of reference, and marked it with the Mercury symbol (☿) and the symbol for “retrograde” (Rx). Mercury stationed retrograde yesterday just a bit before it would have reached the 5-degree mark in Taurus.
- Check to see if you have anything placed in your chart at or near the degree where the Rx is taking place. I don’t have much in the way of Taurus placements in my chart, and nothing at or near the 5-degree mark, so at this point, it doesn’t yet appear that this particular Rx will have a ton of personal impact in my world.
- Next, it can be informative to see if you have any placements directly opposite the point of the Rx station. In this case, that means that we need to check the chart for any placements at about 5 degrees into Scorpio. Suddenly, this Rx just got personal for me, as my natal Sun (☉) lies extremely close to that position, and my natal Venus (♀) is only a couple of degrees away – I circled these in Scorpio. Oppositional placements like this – when the Planets involved are 180° apart (give or take a few degrees) – can result in some real tension, so this Rx could conceivably lead to challenges to my own sense of self and my vitality (Sun business), and to my relationships, romantic affairs, and serenity (Venus concepts).
- In addition to oppositions, checking for square relationships can be illuminating, too. Squares occur when Planets are 90° apart (or thereabouts). We again strike paydirt with respect to yesterday’s Rx hitting my chart, as transiting Mercury was square my natal Jupiter when it stationed retrograde. Squares tend to come infused with a certain amount of friction when they manifest, so they’re often not so enjoyable or user-friendly. Here, I might be looking at a retrograde period in which my attempts at communication, logic, and clarity (Mercury stuff) will tend to frustrate and foil my attempts at growing (Jupiter affairs), and vice versa. I circled Jupiter (♃) in Leo. You want to check for squares in both directions, so look from Taurus to both Leo and Aquarius. As it turns out, I have no placements in Aquarius in my chart, so there are no additional squares for me to worry about with this particular Rx (I circled the empty section of Aquarius just to highlight its emptiness).
- You can also take into account questions such as whether Mercury itself is a powerful influence in your own birth-chart – in which case, Mercury Rx occurrences might be more significant for you even when they don’t make direct contact with anything in your chart based solely on position. My own Mercury is in my First House, which placement tends to raise the prominence of a Planet in a chart. I also have a lot of placements in Virgo, which is one of the Signs that Mercury is said to rule, so this further beefs up Mercury’s profile in my chart. I’ve noticed over time that I personally do not feel every Mercury Rx event, though, so this factor may vary in effect from one person to the next (and from one Rx to the next)…although it’s still worth tracking to get a sense of how much it might apply to you and your own chart.
As mentioned above, this post is oversimplifying things a bit simply due to space constraints, but the above guidelines should be enough to get a beginner started on determining whether outright panic is a justifiable response in the face of any given retrograde event. And this month has been offering a wealth of opportunities for practicing exactly this kind of analysis – good luck with the process, and with this heaping helping of Rx activities!