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Budh Vakri: Back to the Future

Mercury has reached its station at 22° Pisces/ Revati before it turns retrograde on Friday 23rd. It collides with Venus moving direct at 22° Pisces today, with both planets still sandwiched between the Sun and Moon. All four are ruled by Jupiter in Libra, and with Venus and Jupiter exchanging signs (parivatana yoga), you might get a second bite at making or accepting an introduction. Yet a debilitated – let’s say obstructed – Mercury in Pisces is better with vision than details, and you can’t rely on tacit understanding or telepathy when business is at stake. Or whatever the issues are in your own chart’s Pisces house. With a current aspect from Mars, you can also put energy and urgency into your plans, but don’t be hurried or painted into a corner.

This is a full 24 day retro period, up to April 15th, though Mercury at least keeps up a reasonable lick, retreating 12 degrees in all, in Pisces throughout. The retro spells to watch out for are those that move only 10°, especially in fixed signs. Mercury retrogrades follow in elements: 2018 finds them in all the water signs – Pisces, Cancer, then Scorpio. There then follow a couple which cross elements – Water to Air - before another three fully in the Air element, after which the pattern crosses in the same way to Earth, then Fire. The ‘shadow’ and ‘mirror’ phases, where Mercury first reaches its maximum retrograde degree, then passes its stationary point on the way out increase its retro arc from March 9th to May 4th. This can be relevant, but a little excessive – taken this way, Mercury spends more time ‘retrograde’ than direct.

Mercury retro is an astrological chestnut that, like cusps and compatible elements, has reached virtually the level of common knowledge. Still, to clear away myths and misconceptions its messages bear repeating: this isn't an inherently evil or malefic period, but it can take you over the hurdles. Allow longer to travel and exchange information, be careful of committing yourself irrevocably either in a purchase, contract or promise. Backing up your data doesn't hurt. Old plans and projects come out of mothballs in this spell, and people resurface in your life – either from last week, ten years ago or a previous incarnation. The bottom line is you will learn something during Mercury retro you couldn’t possibly have known before. It doesn't do to be too blasé; treat it like trying to overtake a car in front around a sharp bend. Case your target for the three week window, then commit once it has passed.

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