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Mercury retrograde: is it just a lot of fuss about nothing?

Mercury retrograde in Libra Image author unknown.

Despite being so widely feared, Mercury retrograde is not a particularly heavy transit. In fact Mercury is retrograde about 18% of the time! Yes, clarity around communication, thinking and decision-making is reduced, but at the same time our capacity to see and understand our mental habit patterns, such as negative self-talk, is increased. It’s a time of turning inwards instead of outwards, for reflection, rather than action.

Certain transits affect us differently depending on what else we have going on in our charts. For example Mercury retrograde can cause absolute havoc in the life of someone who’s Mercury is badly aspected, or receiving a major transit from one of the outer planets, while another person will barely feel it at all.

Like everything in astrology, we have to look at the chart, and the person, as an interconnected whole. Just because Mercury retrogrades doesn’t mean you’re going to experience it in the same way everyone else does. For this reason, blogging on astrology can be challenging – it’s difficult to convey the general energetic feel of a transit while also communicating the vast array of uniquely personal outcomes it can represent in each individual’s here and now.

On 30 January 2021 Mercury retrogrades in Aquarius

This is the first of three retrograde periods in 2021. Between 30 January and 21 February Mercury will appear to travel in reverse motion. During this time we’ll have an opportunity to allow our minds to be reflective, and take advantage of this time for inner work and the analysis of our thought patterns and self-talk.

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius will affect you most strongly if you have planets or points between 11 and 26 degrees of the Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius) as well as anyone who is currently experiencing an outer planet transit to their natal Mercury.

The area of life most likely to be affected by Mercury retrograde in Aquarius can be seen by checking which house (or houses) lie within 11 to 26 degrees Aquarius. For me it will be the Ninth House, suggesting that philosophies, dogmas and ideologies may come up for reflection and analysis.

Despite its reputation Mercury retrograde has a purpose, as do all the planetary transits. That purpose will be clearer to you if you remain present and aware instead of allowing yourself to be caught up in the story. We humans are such melodramatic creatures and I am one of the most!

Working with Mercury retrograde in Aquarius

Like all astrological transits, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius can be a gift or a challenge depending on how we work with them. We can choose to ride the wave or swim against it. If we surrender to the impulse to turn inward, to slow down and to quiet the mind, we are more likely to get the most out of this transit.

How do you expect this transit to affect you? What strategies do you intend to utilise to ensure your communications and thinking remain clear and loving during this period?

To understand how this transit applies to your own life, grab a free birth chart at and download my free ebook The Language of Astrology.

16 Comments on Mercury retrograde: is it just a lot of fuss about nothing?

  1. Faith, you just summed up my whole life in that one post… I particularly resonated with the make sure you are speaking from love not fear about urges to get things off my chest. Looks like more interesting times are ahead for me :)

  2. Hi Faith, I have Mercury 1.03 degrees from Aries. A few weeks ago you pointed out to me the polarity of houses IV and X in Pisces and Virgo respectively (Sun conjunct Moon in Pisces in opposition to Jupiter conjunct Midheaven). Jupiter is also my chart ruler and Mercury square Jupiter in my chart.

    I read that squares invite action to resolve the tension; however what you are saying here is a temptation to action when surrender could be the best and most viable path.

    In the past pursuing my vocation has seemed to threaten my sense of security, and an added obstacle to finding that balance between the two has been not being able to control how my communication style affects others. So I am going to try and use this time as an opportunity for thinking positively about a potential breakthrough in how these different aspects of my life work together for the best possible result between me and those I can affect constructively through pursuing my vocation.

  3. For me, Mercury will affect the last part of my 7th house (Libra) plus a good share of the 8th. My moon is at 12,55 degrees Libra, so I expect to speak what’s in my heart, and thinking deeply/revisiting issues regarding intimacy and communinicating issues around this. But it might also be about equality in relationships too. If you don’t have equality, you can’t have intimacy between two people in the 8th ;-) So if Mercury retrograde finds that there is an imbalance here, I expect myself to able to speak up about it!

    Also, my moon is square my natal mars, so this square is probably also activated. My feelings might try to say or do something that is bound to hurt me in a self-defeating way – like manipulating or power plays which I’ve become better at spotting when it happens. Transiting Pluto squares my natal moon from his transit in the 12th house at the moment, so emotional clarity will probably have to be excused for emotional uhm… storms. At least I will be fully aware of them, since the Pluto/moon the past 1,5 years have brought a lot of insight.

    Now … I will need to buy myself a closet to hide in and some astrological rain coats for all the pouring ;-)

  4. Where does this mercury retro fall for me. 10-16-1963 12:45 pm

  5. This is really interesting, but I am at loss to work out what it means in terms of how it effects your sign. I am born 12/4/67 at 2pm in NZ… Does the fact I am an Aries sun with a Cancer ascendent mean I will feel this more than most – and in my relationship house?

    • Hi Lisa… Without actually seeing your chart I can say that with Cancer on your Ascendant you probably have Libra on the cusp of the 4th House (of Home and Family) so Mercury will move back through this House and into the 3rd (house of Communication). You need to check where 0 to 15 degrees Libra falls on the outer edge of your chart and that will tell you which houses Mercury will be passing through. If you haven’t got a chart you can generate one here:

  6. I’ve got a better understanding now. Libra for me is 11th House. Mercury in Aries

    This is really stretching my understanding of myself in relation to others and what the role of communication is operating, as a bridge in achieving connection between myself and others or as a bridge between our differing understanding of ourselves in relation to each other. I think this time is restoring my relationship to communication as a bridge and not as something destructive, because everything depends on the expectations I bring of myself and others in the process of communication, and investing my self-identity in the perceived success of connecting with others is not necessarily conducive to others feeling not pressured by me, that they can speak without judgement from me. I realise my own feeling of not being able to speak without judgement creates a pressure on others as well where they end reflecting to me my own exact issue. So this time I’m using as an opportunity of claiming the power I have to break this cycle, if I simply would own the power I have of recognising what my issue is with feeling unable to speak without judgement, and so remove its power of projecting itself onto my relationships by simply recognising the detriment it has on me, my mental health and my close relationships. My issue only has as much power as it has if I do not recognise it and legitimate my need of feeling able to speak without judgement.

    • Hi Liv… Isn’t it empowering when we take responsibility for our interactions with others? It opens up so much potential for growth that are simply unavailable to us when we are trying to force others to change. x

  7. A. I wish I read this before the eclipse (reacted out of fear to a comment that was made out of fear and have felt a rather large disconnect with that person for the last week) B. Had a very productive discussion with the soon to be ex-husband regarding moving forward on our legal separation on the 30th. My 7th libra house is getting hit and I am fully experiencing the effects…all very applicable and insightful. Thank you!

  8. Avatar Janelle Elleman // October 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm // Reply

    Thanks for the great post keep up the amazing work.

  9. Thank you Faith and we go for it every time and we become aware. Have a good weekend. Anna

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