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Artist: Raoul Dufy
May 28: Mercury enters Cancer
June 17: Mercury stations retrograde
July 12: Mercury stations direct
Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is an optical illusion as seen from Earth due to the fact that all of the planets are traveling at their own respective speeds around the sun. In astrology, this illusion manifests as a “backwards” functioning of the planetary roles. Click here to learn more about retrograde.
Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, more frequently than any other planet. From EarthSky:
On Mercury, for example, the Sun sometimes moves in retrograde! As the planet speeds through its closest approach with the sun, its orbital speed overtakes its rotational speed. An astronaut on the surface would see the sun partially rise, then dip back below the horizon, then rise again before resuming its east-to-west trek across the sky. Once a year, Mercury gets two sunrises on the same day!
Mercury rules communication, travel and technology. These realms are particularly affected by Mercury Retrograde. Expect delays, cancellations and sudden changes; technological failures, especially cell phones, laptops or automobiles; miscommunication; lost/stolen items; general malfunction and wtf moments. I do not recommend starting a new job, buying a car, moving to a new place or signing any contracts/documents. This is not a good time for travel, life-altering commitments or investments. Words also carry more power during Mercury Retrograde.
I know what you’re thinking – didn’t we JUST go through a fucking terrible Mercury Retrograde? Yes, yes we did, and it’s coming again.
This Mercury Retrograde takes place entirely in Cancer. Mercury was also retrograde in Cancer last summer from July 19-31. Think back to this time to see what lessons will be revisited. This year Mercury enters Cancer on May 28 and the retrograde begins June 17; we will begin to feel the effects of the retrograde as early as June 1. Life should feel more copacetic by no later than July 26.
It is time to go back in time and review matters of the heart. Mercury Retrograde shuffles stifled energy out through the mind and across the tongue. With Mercury (Retrograde) in Cancer, we wander softly to the past, to home, to family. Cancer is sweet and low like summertime rain, tumbling in giggling waterwheels of soul springs. She is the constellation of heartfelt anecdotes, rambling tangents, motherly love, and youthful, wide-eyed impressions. She is earnest, protective, and prudent, yet speculating and fanciful. The crab is sensitive, yes, but not weak. Intuition will be greatly heightened. As will complaining ;)
When Mercury fishes for crabs, the heart opens to the mind. This is a cathartic and deeply emotional cycle. Cancer acknowledges our inner child and childhood wounds. Cancer (and the moon) are intimately connected to our emotional wellbeing and divine femininity. It is time to heal the aching heart with forgiveness. Cancer prepares us for Leo, the fiery lion. The crab addresses our emotional imbalances, creating space in the heart for the dancing, golden flames of Leo’s molten self-love.
Animals associated with Mercury include the rooster, ram, goat, and tortoise. Mercury in Cancer is the ancient tortoise, housed in ancient insight: rock solid yet lighter than light. The tortoise, like Mercury, guides souls between worlds. In many cultures, turtles are symbols of rebirth. In Iroquois cosmology, it was the turtle who graciously transformed to become the earth.
Loving friends and family bolster chronically deflated confidence during Mercury Retrograde in Cancer. The crab feels deeply and fights out of insecurity. What we get to work on during this transit is reactivity, and avoiding fearful or dramatic thought patterns. In The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz writes that “nothing in life is personal.” This is important for the crab to remember, beholden as she is to the tides of her innermost being, jostled by the moon. These tides are not inherently uncontrollable – they are the chitta and vritti of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and their unruliness inspired the entire practice of yoga and meditation!
On a global scale, this cycle will bring greater attention to women’s rights issues. On an individual level, we can get to know our emotional selves better. Do you feel blocked in your heart? We store so much here, in the center of our being. Mercury (Retrograde) in Cancer is a soothing, nurturing influence. Stand back and let it flow, do not be afraid. Cancer removes the blocks, and in come beams of emerald light and fresh air. Let go, let go, let go. This is what it feels like to truly connect the heart and mind. Let them fuse. Create your neural pathways anew, updated and informed by the beating heart.
Mark June 30 on your calendar – the sun in Cancer will be conjunct Mercury. It’s the best (read: only) day to do things that are taboo during Mercury Retrograde, such as sign a document or make a big purchase. On July 8, Mercury squares Mars at home in Aries. This is a day to lay low and rest your mind and body; looks like it could be very inflammatory. This aspect comes again on July 27, after the retrograde. Other dates to watch after the retrograde: July 30 (opposite Jupiter Retrograde in Capricorn and trine Neptune – not a good day for travel, but a good day for art, music, and spiritual regeneration); Aug 1 (opposition to Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn – challenging on an emotional level); Aug 3 (opposition to Saturn Retrograde in Capricorn – challenging on a professional and/or financial level).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, meditate on the heart chakra. Calm your heart with Cancer Yoga. Those born with Mercury in Cancer will have an interesting Mercury Return. To find your Mercury sign and whether this planet was direct or retrograde at the time of your birth, click here.
Affirmation: I am an emotional being