Let’s get technical: Mercury retrograde in Virgo started on Friday August 4th when Mercury entered its first shadow period. And I can vouch for the fact that it’s already doing everything a Mercury retrograde is supposed to do: it’s making it more difficult to communicate. Check. It’s affecting mobility. Check. It’s affecting dexterity. Check. And the reason I know this is because my hand is swathed in bandages because I accidentally (of course) cut the end off my index finger – left hand thankfully.

When you think about it (and I have) that’s a very Mercury retrograde in Virgo event. Mercury rules the hands and fingers and Virgo is associated with health. It happened while I was engaged in another Mercury in Virgo type event – maintaining and trimming a lavender hedge was such a Virgo thing to be doing. The problem may have been Mars in Virgo was too close for comfort – being in a wide conjunction (6˚) from Mercury when the shears slipped. Astrology doesn’t get any more literal than that.

So, I’m typing this with my remaining fingers – and I suspect the symbolism of this will appear in the retrograde chart – and throughout the report. Take care of your hands for the next few weeks…

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo: The Basics

Mercury rules Virgo, so be prepared for things to stop working. Joking aside, Virgo is the sign most associated with work – and making things work – and Mercury rules Virgo, so Mercury retrograde in Virgo is a retrograde with the potential to make an impression. In my case it already has – and in more ways than one. One of the fundamental things about retrograde planets is that they make us revisit things that we thought had been ‘put to bed’. Situations you thought were finished have a habit of becoming unfinished.

With Mercury retrograde in Virgo, things that were at the back of your mind, suddenly appear at the front of your mind. For example, I’ve been working on a writing project and, to be honest, it wasn’t my most successful and I stopped working on it some time ago. I thought it was potentially recoverable, but I wasn’t making revisiting it a priority. Here we have an upcoming Mercury retrograde in Virgo and suddenly I’m revising it, rescheduling it and making it work. That’s just one example, but if something in your life is not working, making it work could move to the top of your ‘to do’ list right about now.

Sometimes Mercury retrograde in Virgo can affect your working life more directly. Only this morning, one of my husband’s colleagues ( a Sun Gemini) resigned from their organisation after working there a long time. She had become unhappy with her position and this retrograde provided her with the mental space to review her employment needs and consider her options. That’s not uncommon with Mercury retrograde – but should we act so precipitously when Mercury retrograde is rolling into town? That depends on what’s in the retrograde chart – as we shall see.

Traditional astrological wisdom would tell you to think things through and make your decision when Mercury turns direct, but maybe it’s also time to review that wisdom. I suspect most Mercury retrograde periods are periods of review. They are times when we need to step back, breathe and collect our thoughts together. Sometimes it does take an event to prompt that process. Sometimes the event is small (like a finger) sometimes it’s pretty major (like your job). It’s a process, all the same.

One thing seems clear: if you’re Mercury influenced (Gemini, Virgo) or have important planets in the sixth or third house – you’re probably feeling this Mercury retrograde more than usual. To work out how things may go, let’s take a look at the chart for Mercury retrograde in Virgo:

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo: The Chart

Mercury turns retrograde on August 23rd at Virgo 21˚ 51′ and it moves direct on September 15th at Virgo 08˚00′. The retrograde chart is here:

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo: August 23rd - September 15th 2023 1
chart from astro.com

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo: The Aspects

This is a Mercury Retrograde that’s well-connected to what’s happening in the rest of the chart – and that’s because of the aspect pattern involved – the envelope. It’s a combination of the ‘mystic rectangle’ plus some minor trines – and that makes a harmonious balanced chart rather more dynamic. Mercury conjuncts Mars (as I know to my cost) and enjoys a sextile aspect from the Moon. Mercury also trines Jupiter and Uranus in Taurus and makes an opposition to Neptune in Pisces. It also has a wider relationship to Pluto via the conjunction to Mars. There is a lot to unpick… and I’m going to begin with Mars.

Mercury Retrograde Conjunct Mars

There is always an urgency with Mars – and I suspect the proximity of the two planets accounts for the early manifestation of this retrograde – Mars is a trigger planet, and the grand trine involving Mars, Uranus and Pluto is significant indeed. It’s a turning point moment, it’s sudden and there’s no going back. This is a Mercury retrograde that’s in tune with the momentum that the grand trine often shows in a predictive chart: Mercury retrograde conjunct Mars brings things to your attention quickly.

It also means you’re going to act on your thoughts and new information more rapidly than usual. However – and breaking with astrological wisdom here – I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing on this occasion. Mars impels us to take action and the presence of Mars and Uranus in this configuration shows that this Mercury retrograde is designed to move things on – whether it’s your job, a project, an attitude, a situation – whatever it is, the stalemate must be broken. ‘Same as’ is not an appropriate move. Thinking through an issue and making a quick decision could be the right response.

Retrograde Mercury Trine Jupiter and Uranus

This is technically two aspects, not one, as Jupiter and Uranus – though close – are arguably out of orb. However, Uranus breaks the rules – and so will I on this occasion. Sometimes, astrological interpretation is more qualitative than quantitative – in short – you get a ‘feel’ for it. This pair of closely aligned trines underscores the point I made a moment ago; speed, suddenness, surprises, u-turns, moving things forward – Jupiter and Uranus often produce flashes of brilliant insight and the confidence to run with them.

This may be what you are having to deal with during this Mercury retrograde. Sometimes a shock is what you need to focus the mind and – don’t forget this – Mercury retrograde often works to focus the mind – particularly if your mind has been in a rut. This Mercury retrograde in Virgo is about working to dig yourself out of that hole, and develop new plans from a fresh perspective. That’ s especially so if you’ve been busy – but getting nowhere. These two planets always have an eye on the future – and that is where your focus may need to be.

Moon Sextile Mercury Retrograde

There’s an emotional side to this Mercury retrograde too. Sextiles are like open doors and the door in question seems to be inviting you to enter into a space where you will feel more comfortable and at home. You don’t have to accept the invitation – but you would be crazy not to think about it. The Moon is in Scorpio – and it’s in opposition to both Jupiter and Uranus – so here we have a repetition of that Jupiter – Uranus – Pluto theme. Letting go of a mundane situation, moving on, cutting your losses, embrace the excitement of something new. Something new that will result in things being more harmonious or balanced than before.

It takes a certain amount of bravery (Mars) or foolhardiness (Jupiter and Uranus) to take that leap into the unknown of a new situation. There may be a financial cost (Jupiter is squared by Venus retrograde) and your head and your heart are unlikely to be in the same place. (Note: the Moon is square the Sun and the Sun is opposed by a retrograde Saturn)There are a lot of unknowns ahead – but isn’t that always so? Sometimes we need to take a leap into the unknown. We can only be certain of what we are leaving behind.

Mercury Retrograde Opposite Neptune

The final aspect that I’m looking at is one that emphasises that last point. Neptune is retrograde in Pisces (and we know how that’s been working out) and it’s opposed by the Mercury retrograde – Mars conjunction in Virgo.Neptune obscures and Neptune inspires; unfortunately you never quite know which Neptune you’re dealing with. In opposition, your imagination is likely to run riot. That may sound as if you will be having some wholly impractical ideas about certain situations, projects – or about how to make something work.I cannot deny it – that’s a risk. You have to work out whether it’s a risk worth taking. Sometimes the risk of not doing something is worse.

However, his aspect between Mercury retrograde and Neptune offers something much more constructive if you’re able to get the balance right. Often, our progress is impeded because we’re unable to come up with a creative solution to something we perceive as a problem. Mercury retrograde opposite Neptune offers the possibility of a creative solution. Whatever the situation that Mercury retrograde in Virgo is asking you to address, there is the hope that – this time – you’ll get it right. Sometimes, when you’re trying your best to to work things out, hope is all you have – and all you need.

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© Sara Shipman 2023

Picture credit: Image by Stefano Ferrario from Pixabay

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