On August 12, Mercury goes Retrograde at 11’38 Virgo. It stays retrograde for about three weeks, until September 5, and I think we’ve all been feeling the “shadow” period that starts a couple of weeks before the full retrograde — in my area there was a problem where cell phone service was disrupted for almost an entire day! That’s the kind of thing we usually expect from Mercury Retrograde: communication breakdown, technological glitches, seemingly endless little challenges where the only explanation is that a “trickster” is at work. Retrograding in earthy, organized Virgo, one of its power placements, this Retrograde’s obstacles should be seen as springboards: you are being challenged to rethink your plans, to know them like the back of your hand, so that nothing can stop you once things feel “back to normal” and it’s time to go full steam ahead. The tarot cards for Mercury and Virgo are I – The Magician and IX – The Hermit, and in reverse, together these cards suggest trusting yourself to find new approaches when you’re feeling stuck, and banking on your inner strength to see you through this retrograde. You’ve been building it up all summer, and you’ll surely be put to the test, but remember that any setbacks to come are only temporary — momentary — and are helping you know what to do when even bigger challenges arise much further down the line, and ensuring you come out on top when you get there. Mercury Retrograde is less about actual setbacks and more about learning ways to think through them!
The following 3-card reading is an example of what’s included in the $45 Planetary Retrograde/Direct Readings tier on my Patreon page. This reading is drawn from Crystal Reading Cards, the Thoth Tarot, and Revelations Tarot — I’ve been loving using my “bigger” tarot decks as oracle decks lately! I laid out a crystal grid centred around a stone astro-chart wheel, with sunstone for brilliant expression of your ideas, angelite for protection and connection with your higher guidance, aventurine for heart-centredness, magnesite for clear thinking, amazonite for understanding of both sides of situations, and labradorite to remind you to go with the flow and expect good surprises.
Shadow Cards: Nuumite | Healer + XXI – The Universe + XIX – The Sun
No matter what comes your way this Mercury Retrograde, you can rest assured that everything is coming together! The Universe has stepped in to heal and protect what you’re working towards, and all you need to do is trust that and keep the positive outcome you envision at the forefront of your mind. Your structures are in place and they will sustain you — keep pushing forward, knowing you’ve come too far for any real setbacks anyway!
Oracle Cards: Chrysotile | Animals + 3 of Wands | Virtue
This is a time to trust in the direction your heart has carried you in, and to know that the calls you sent out for your dreams to be made reality have been heard — it’s all on its way to you, and now you have to trust the parts of the process that lie in others’ domains. Keep your heart open, and try to be understanding when other people act in ways that are just beyond anything you’d ever imagine doing — you’re in the “eye of the storm” where it comes to your passion-project, leaving you just idle enough to fixate on what everybody else is doing. Express your interest, make your intentions clear, especially that you’re not trying to interfere because you very much have enough on your own plate! Take this time to rest and observe yourself, preparing to use your strength and inner fire again when Mercury goes Direct.
Card 1: Focus/Advice: Knight of Cups reversed
It’s true that this Mercury Retrograde may be full of little emotional “button-pushing” situations that make you feel like you’ve lost your grip on what you’ve worked so hard to attain. When your thoughts stop swirling, instead feeling like a big dark cloud, trust that this is temporary! You are being presented with an opportunity to identify and overcome your personal triggers, so that in the future you are better at managing your raw emotions and quicker to laugh at yourself when you find yourself in deeper than you’d calculated. Your dream is not over! It’s only beginning, and this is the part of the process where you stand by and wait for the tank to fill — stay cool in the meantime. Have faith in yourself!
Card 2: Release: 8 of Wands reversed
Just because things have slowed down doesn’t mean they’re not happening — resist the urge to “stop” and close off, even more so to get defensive about the speed (or lack thereof) at which things seem to be moving. Most of nature’s incubation processes are invisible, taking place away from the light of day. That is what’s happening now — the weird-looking growth process, which when the time is right, bursts forth with such beauty that no-one can believe something so perfect could be possible! But it is, it will be, and your only task now is to persevere, to find your way of speaking this thing into reality, to keep at your practice knowing that when things start moving again it will strike like lightening — trust that you’ll know what to do in the excitement, and hold on for the ride!
Card 3: Increase: III – The Empress
Again, your focus this Mercury Retrograde must be to trust the incubation process. Your creative seed has been planted, and it is sprouting deep down in the warm, fertile Earth! This is a time to take care of YourSelf, so that you are well-rested and full of more creative energy when your little bud blooms and blossoms. The stars are aligned for you, you know what you want for all this, and that is all you need to think about now. Continue to nurture yourself and your vision, and enjoy the magical stillness that comes with listening to your body, your heart, and your soul when you make your life decisions — that is what you have set in motion, and you will soon gather to you the earthly rewards for your hard and very much blessed work.
Higher Self Cards: Dioptase | Heart Healing + Ace of Swords + II – The High Priestess
You’ve been working so hard at this, tending to it so meticulously, that thank goodness things have slowed down a bit or you might have had a heart attack! Your direction is protected, and new ideas continue to come to you, but now you have a clear idea for how to combine them all to fit with your overall Vision. Your intuition is correct where it comes to knowing that this is exactly the direction you should be taking: be still with this thought, and beam with the knowledge that this is the perfect moment between the past and the future: you are being provided an opportunity to stop, reflect on that, and feel the balance that flows through you knowing that you are bringing everything together. You have learned to see in the dark, and soon your accomplishments will be ready to shine in the light!
Crystal Reading Cards. Rachelle Charman. Sterling Ethos, 2016.
Revelations Tarot. Zach Wong. Llewellyn Publications, 2005.
Thoth Tarot Deck. Aleister Crowley. Illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. Stamford, CT: US Game Systems, Inc., 1983.