The second Mercury retrograde cycle of 2021 will occur beginning at 6:43 PM Eastern Time on May 29, with Mercury stationing at 0 degrees and 33 minutes of sidereal Gemini. Mercury will remain retrograde until 6 PM on June 22, when it will station direct at 21 degrees and 58 minutes of sidereal Taurus. During this transit, Mercury will align with the Sun and Moon in the June 10 solar eclipse. So having Mercury tied up in the eclipse axis indicates an intensified, super-charged retrograde cycle for Mercury.
The shadow period of this Mercury retrograde cycle extends from May 15 to July 7. During the pre-retrograde shadow period, we are starting to feel and see the themes that will be playing out in our lives during the retrograde period. During the post-retrograde cycle, we are adjusting to the shifts that occurred in the previous month+.
The approximately three-week retrograde cycle of Mercury happens three times a year. It is much maligned as a period when everything can go haywire especially in regard to communication, business matters and especially contracts, purchases made, machinery, travel, and transportation. As Mercury is stationing retrograde in an air sign, this is even truer as this is the element that rules our mental functions, communication, relationships, and air travel.
We may experience more than the usual communication breakdowns, including missed appointments, travel snafus, broken devices, and transportation issues, but this is only likely to be an issue if and when retrograde Mercury is somehow interfacing in a challenging way with our own natal horoscope and planetary cycles.
Mercury will mostly transit in retrograde back through the last drekkana (10 degrees) of sidereal Taurus, which according to Vedic astrology can have an unsteady, fearful, and beleaguered quality. The sign of Taurus related to food supplies, business and trade, monetary concerns, real estate matters, and travel. These are areas of life that may experience some disturbances or interruptions.
Mercury is stationing and transiting retrograde in Mrigashira nakshatra which spans from 23 degrees and 20 minutes of sidereal Taurus to 6 degrees and 40 minutes of sidereal Gemini. According to Bepin Behari in Myths and Symbols of Vedic Astrology, Mrigashira’s characteristics suggest “dissatisfaction with existence or confusion and disorientation created by cataclysmic events. Following the turmoil, a new relationship is established which imparts a different momentum in life.”
As Mercury retrogrades in Mrigashira nakshatra, known as the “Searching Star,” we have a special opportunity to examine and reconsider certain matters and choices made during the tumultuous past year. I say this as the solar eclipse last June 2020 occurred in Mirgashira nakshatra as well (near where Mercury will be stationing retrograde). Many will be digging deep to find and understand how to create more peace, fulfillment, and joy during this retrograde transit, as Mrigashira, whose main deity is Lord Soma, relates to the search for the nectar of life.
Mrigashira is an auspicious nakshatra for travel, though the retrograde Mercury may require extra flexibility and patience to deal with setbacks, delays, and cancellations. I like to go on vacations when Mercury is retrograde, a good time to rest, regroup, and revitalize, and this is especially auspicious with Mercury in Mrigashira nakshatra which is associated with healing and spiritual renewal. However, with Mercury retrograde, we just need to make sure to go with the flow and make sure all is in good order before proceeding (including leaving on a beneficial astrological election/muhurta, and having travel insurance, etc.).
Mercury’s retrograde transit in Mrigashira is also a good time for educational ventures, but not for marriages, and not for making important long-term decisions. It is on the other hand a fitting time to review and reevaluate our goals. Mrigashira is ruled by Mars who shares some enmity with Mercury, and Mrigashira has a suspicious nature, so during this transit, many will experience a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt); this is especially concerning as mass paranoia, confusion, alientation, and agitation are already at an all-time high.
During a Mercury retrograde cycle, and especially in the first 10-11 days of it, our non-linear intuitive mind (right brain) becomes more active than our linear mind (left brain), helping us to think creatively and “outside the box.” However, we need to slow down and take time to contemplate and listen deeply if we want to make the most of this cycle and avoid lapses in memory and communication breakdowns. This is an especially important time to take nootropics like Gotu Kola, L-Theanine, and Rhodiola Rosea to boost cognitive function.
Mercury retrograde may bring some disruptions but also helps us to deepen our understanding of ourselves and of others. As the Messenger, Mercury when retrograde is said to be traveling in the Underworld, where he can help us access the deeper unconscious mind where problems can be solved in surprising ways, and new understandings can be brought to light to help us overcome any perceived limitations. Mercury retrograde gives us a great opportunity to catch up, regroup, and reorganize; to step back, reflect, and reconsider where we have come and where we are going.
Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun will occur on June 10, and around this date, we may tap into some important information and guidance and can begin to metaphorically plant seeds for something new to develop. What is revealed at this time is likely to emerge around Mercury’s direct station on June 22. The last twelve days or so of the retrograde period (after the inferior conjunction) are more about preparing to make a decision and take new action. But we still need to wait until after Mercury goes direct to make any life-altering decisions or to initiate anything significant.
Mercury retrograde periods are a great time for psychotherapy, healing work, astrological consultation, and as already mentioned, a vacation, or health/spiritual retreat. It’s a time when we can especially benefit from deepening creative and spiritual processes and practices. These are good periods for researching, comparison shopping, reconsidering and renegotiating existing agreements, and finishing what has been started previously. Just remember there is nothing to be afraid of with Mercury retrograde, especially if we use this period as suggested.
The last time Mercury stationed retrograde in the last drekkana of Taurus in Mrigashira nakshatra was in 2008 (May-June). This was the third most expensive disaster year in history, with many significant storms and seismic events. Twenty years before that in May-June 1988, there was a massive fire in Yellowstone Park; Mars (fires) rules Mrigashira nakshatra, and Mercury aggravates the fire with the wind.
Something wonderful also happened during this 1988 Mercury retrograde period, an event known as the Singing Revolution in the Estonian SSR, which is a commonly used term for events that led to the restoration of independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. The term was coined by an Estonian activist and artist, Heinz Valk, in an article published a week after June 10-11, 1988 when spontaneous mass evening singing demonstrations took place at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. It’s interesting as Mrigashira is very auspicious for the arts and music, and it represents searching for the nectar, the joy of life, which is absent without freedom.
When Mercury stations retrograde, it will be conjunct Venus and they will form a 6/8 (shasta-ashtakam), also called quincunx or inconjunct aspect, with a Moon-Pluto conjunction. This sets the stage for some intense energy wherein some may be searching for the joy, connection, and peace, which they feel is missing in their lives, but they may go about it the wrong way. (You may have already noticed this happening, since mid-May, which is when the pre-retrograde shadow period began).
The 6/8 Mercury+Venus/Pluto-Moon aspect means we may need to share strong and healthy boundaries to guard against draining or manipulative energies coming from others. This 6/8 dynamic can also have an intense brooding quality, or perhaps can indicate plots and schemes; and some may act in a ruthless way; and it can aggravate impulsive behavior; and the truth can get twisted so that we cannot see clearly. So knowing that this dynamic may be at play, we can be best prepared.
Om Lokah, Samistah, Sukhino Bhavantu
May Love, Peace, and Happiness Prevail on Earth.
This spectacular color mosaic shows the eastern limb of Mercury as seen by NASA’s Messenger as the spacecraft departed the planet following the mission’s first Mercury flyby in January 2008. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington.