It’s that time of year again. I feel as though I’m just getting over the last one when here comes another Mercury Retrograde! This one begins on the most auspicious of dates – Halloween – but is it going to be a horror story? In this blog post I’m going to look at the October 31st Mercury Retrograde in detail – phase by phase – and guess what? As I write we’re already in ‘pre-shadow’, so this is where I’m going to start.

Mercury Retrograde Shadow Phase: October 11th – October 31st (Scorpio 11˚ 35″)

Mercury entered the shadow phase at Scorpio 11˚ 35″ at 22:58 UTC. Think of it as the phase of ‘Re’. Rethink, reschedule, revisit – during this period a lot of things in your life will come up for re-examination and you will feel as though you’re going over old ground without making any progress at all. Don’t worry – the scene is being set for the for the act to come. Sometimes, we have to retrace our steps and return to our old haunts to rediscover our path in life. Mercury Retrograde provides that opportunity.

The chart for this moment gives us a flavour of what we can expect between now and the period of retrograde motion. The two aspects Mercury makes that influence this period (up to October 31st) are a trine to Neptune and a sextile to Saturn – so I’ll look at each of these in turn.

Mercury Trine Neptune

This seems a gentle aspect – but don’t be misled. Often the general message of Mercury/Neptune aspects is one of mental confusion – and with a trine aspect there’s often little we can do to challenge that state. The fog seems to descend quickly and easily and it could be easy to be blissfully unaware of issues that need to be dealt with – or simply ignore them and hope they’ll go away.

If you have important planets or angles on or in close orb to Mercury’s degree here – be aware that things may not be as they seem. You could, of course, feel a moment of inspiration – try and be aware of where the inspiration is coming from as you could be led down the wrong path.

Mercury Sextile Saturn

However, with Mercury in sextile aspect to Saturn, the opportunity is there for you to cut through the fog. If you see that door open for you then push it and walk through as nothing could be more helpful right now than to see a way forward. With the sextile aspect unfortunately there is no compulsion – you may be presented with the facts and you will need to make a decision – potentially an important one.

With Neptune in the mix you may feel uncertain whether you’re making the right choice. Look out for decisions to be made concerning contracts, business dealings, property and real estate, investments and things that are important in your life – and remember – honesty is the best policy both to others and yourself.

Mercury Retrograde Phase: October 31st – November 20th (Scorpio 27˚ 38″)

Mercury turns retrograde on Halloween at 15:41 UTC. And this is where the fun begins as this retrograde does not, at first glance, seem to be the horror we would expect on Halloween! This retrograde planet has only one close aspect – a tight conjunction to Venus – and Venus is one of the good guys right? Perhaps. And this is a Retrograde Mercury we’re talking about here – and it’s in Scorpio – so let’s unpick this is a little more detail. The chart is courtesy of

Astrological Chart for Mercury Retrograde October 31st 2019

Mercury Conjunct Venus

Mercury/Venus conjunctions are usually associated with contacts, contracts and communications about love or money. Or both. However, with Mercury being retrograde, you can – as ever – expect some communications breakdowns and misunderstandings – and in Scorpio, there is always the potential for such matters to be extreme or deeply wounding – a horror story indeed.

However, the close presence of Venus softens the situation and gives us the opportunity to take a deep breath and pour some oil on troubled waters. If you were disappointed by events during the last Mercury Retrograde, maybe now you can revisit matters. Scorpio Venus is amenable to compromise – particularly over the matters she is concerned with. Love, Social events, partnerships, financial matters, the arts, investments, equality and justice fall under Venus’s spell.

So, during the retrograde period, those of you most closely affected by this Mercury Retrograde will find now is the time to thrash out the detail before taking action when Mercury turns direct. Getting to the heart of matters is important – the more attention you pay to detail, the better this retrograde period will work out for you as mistakes could be costly.

Mercury Direct Phase: November 20th – December 7th (Scorpio 11˚ 35″)

When Mercury turns direct again, there is the potential for things to get emotional – but there is also the potential for the healing theme to continue as Mercury again makes one close aspect – a sextile to the Moon – and a wider trine to Neptune. The influences are co-operative, communicative and emotionally open – yet are those of you affected most closely by this transit (with major planets or points on this degree or in close aspect/orb) losing sight of the big picture? Let’s take a look.

Mercury Sextile Moon

The sextile of Mercury to the Moon indicated that some of you may find this an emotional time – and you could be aware that this is connected to communications about your home and family. It may – for some of you – feel like a return to normal after a difficult period where you have had to endure not really knowing where you stand on a number of issues. As a result you could feel more relaxed and sociable – and you will have the opportunity to make your feelings known. Take it – there is no time like the present to express how you really feel – but without alienating others in the process.

Mercury Trine Neptune

And the big picture? Follow your intuition on that one. Hopefully you’ve already dealt with the details and now you’ll be in a position to stand back and admire the view. Hopefully many of you will be in a position to relax – and if stress has been a problem this aspect could benefit you enormously as it’s as chilled as you can get. At a more practical level, if you need to negotiate your way around any problems or negotiate a contract you could now benefit as powers of persuasion could improve. A word of warning – it could also be easy to be swayed by arguments that are not as sound as they could be. Use your judgement well – the big picture looks good.

© Sara Shipman 2019

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