When Mercury enters retrograde motion within the range of dates for a given astrological sign, be wary of the listed effects.
INAQUARIUS (Jan 20–Feb 18): With Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, the sign that governs relationships, friendships are put at risk. Petty squabbles, misunderstandings, and miscommunications abound. Know who your friends are.
INPISCES (Feb 19–Mar 20): Foggy thinking, daydreams, and escapism are the norm; day-to-day realities confound otherwise clear heads when Mercury, the planet that rules logic, is in Pisces, which governs illusion. Practice creative pursuits—writing, dancing, photography, film, or painting.
INARIES (Mar 21–Apr 19): Expect to be frustrated and frazzled. Assertive, impulsive Aries wants to move ahead, and all of the energy is going backward. Watch what you say and how you say it. Pay attention to what people say to you; you might be pleasantly surprised.
INTAURUS (Apr 20–May 20): Take time to formulate your thoughts. Taurus, an unhurried sign, slows down the mental processes. He also governs banking, so delay money matters. Review financial matters, and position yourself for growth.
INGEMINI (May 21–Jun 20): Because Gemini rules communications, be prepared for miscommunications when Mercury is in this sign. Expect lots of phone calls or none, and lost or misplaced mail. You may not articulate clearly, and gossip abounds. Old friends may reconnect.
INCANCER (Jun 21–Jul 22): Expect annoyances at home with baking, gardening, and household duties under domesticated Cancer. Complete repair projects that weren’t finished or done correctly.
INLEO (Jul 23–Aug 22): Avoid speculative investments. It is not a good time to buy and sell or do any trading. Instead, analyze your investment portfolio. Use your know-how and advisory skills to help friends and associates.
INVIRGO (Aug 23–Sep 22): Challenging situations arise, especially in the workplace. Expect product delays and equipment breakdowns, as well as crankiness among coworkers under finicky, detail-oriented Virgo. Double-check your work before you call it finished.
INLIBRA (Sep 23–Oct 22: Accept your physical attributes; do not have a makeover. Indecision reigns, so limit purchases—or risk returning them. Libra, representing beauty, grace, charm, and diplomacy, is out of balance. Refresh, relax, and rejuvenate.
INSCORPIO (Oct 23–Nov 21): Emotions rule—not common sense—so beware. Avoid affairs of the heart. Passionate Scorpio is also secretive, and your secrets may seep out. Keep them in a diary.
INSAGITTARIUS (Nov 22–Dec 21): It is not a time to travel, so reschedule or expect delays, lines, and lost directions. Instead, take care of local affairs. Patience and a sense of humor are needed.
INCAPRICORN (Dec 22–Jan 19): Avoid buying, selling, or renting real estate un der Capricorn, the sign that governs property matters. Expect problems with paperwork, packing, and movers. Reunite with family or vacation at home.
Mercury comes from the Latin word merx, or mercator, which means merchant. Mercury is the name given by the ancient Romans to the Greek mythological god Hermes.
Mercury is depicted as a male figure having winged sandals and a winged hat, indicating the ability to travel quickly. He was the official messenger of the ancient gods and goddesses and, as such, governed communications.
In 1782, Mercury became the first symbol of the United States’ fledgling postal service. Today, he is recognized as an icon of an international floral delivery service as well as the official symbol of the postal service of Greece.
In astrology, all of the planet’s attributes are rooted in ancient Greek and Roman mythology. In that context, Mercury is the god of travelers, literature, poetry, merchants, and thieves. He is cunning and clever and witty at a moment’s notice. But he is also recognized as a trickster and thief, prone to misbehavior.
For more on the zodiac, see The Man of Signs—a representation of how each astrological sign affects a different part of the body.