Your Daily Horoscope, from Jonathan Cainer with Oscar Cainer
Your Daily Horoscope, from Jonathan Cainer with Oscar Cainer

oct-20-merc-retro

What is Mercury retrograde?

Everyone knows two things about astrology - the signs of the zodiac and the phrase 'Mercury retrograde'. Whether it's Katy Perry or LeAnn Rimes tweeting about it, astrologers know that three (or occasionally four) times a year, #mercuryretrograde will be trending hotter than a Kim Kardashian jewellery heist.

So what does it mean to have Mercury in retrograde? As we prepare for yet another few weeks of the winged messenger flying in reverse, I'll try to explain what principles this represents - and how it might manifest in our lives.

As the closest planet to the Sun in our solar system, Mercury has the fastest orbit. Its years are about 88 days long, and as such there are a few times when its path and that of our own planet cross over. So although Mercury's path through space always stays true, this change of perspective means we get the illusion of Mercury moving backwards across the sky.

For thousands of years humanity has read a deep significance into these periods. All the planets spend some time in retrograde, and we astrologers often think of this as their influence working a little in reverse, or at least manifesting in more internal, reflective ways.

It should NOT, however, be seen as a bad omen! Often, it's during this time that we finally identify the problems that have been holding us back, and that brings hope that we can fix important issues and move forward with positivity.

Mercury is the planet of communication, information, reasoning and curiosity. As well as this it represents bargaining and commerce, dexterity and skill, but it's also a bit of a mischief maker, known for trickery and high jinx, especially when it starts moving backwards across our skies. So while its links with the other planets in the sky usually bring a new level of clarity to a situation, whenever Mercury is in retrograde it's a good idea to check which end of the stick we're holding!

Given that Mercury retrograde is often accompanied with confusion, it's not surprising that it has got a bit of a PR issue. You will often hear of people complaining their messages get lost in the mail, their wi-fi fails or their computer crashes. All of these are very Mercury retrograde occurrences.

And while a funny story about a text message going AWOL will do the rounds, less will be discussed about how this period represents a time to reflect and reorganise our lives. And yet this arguably warrants more attention.

Sometimes Mercury retrograde makes deals more difficult to get over the line - but it's not really an impediment, more a call to think outside the box. It's the urge to check the details and make sure we've read the fine print.

And just as having the internet fail can lead us to reconnecting with a good book, we may find that having one avenue closed off leads us down exciting new pathways. However, we might be wise to wait a little before we act on any new initiatives - otherwise we may find we have to pause, retread our footsteps, and start over...

US Election

October's Mercury Retrograde begins October 14th and lasts for the entire lead up to the Presidential elections where sitting President Donald Trump faces off against Democrat challenger Joe Biden, until it turns direct again on November 3rd, the day of the election itself.

It doesn't exactly take an astrologer to predict that political campaigns will be full of half-truths and empty promises, but we can expect this one in particular to be full of claims of 'fake news' and mixed messages. It's hard to tell who this will benefit the most, but given President Trump is a Gemini, a sign ruled by Mercury, it isn't exactly an ideal time to be campaigning. Yet Mercury turning direct on election day could also be seen as a positive sign for the timing of when Trump's message hits home.

It could also bring renewed pressure to social media platforms and other means of mass communication and cause a major reexamination of their conduct and how much their algorithms and editorial decisions affect the debate.

Whatever the outcome on the day, however, I would expect the fallout to rumble on for several weeks after election day, as Mercury moves through its shadow and goes about correcting mistakes and clearing up confusion.

In that respect, I expect that we may see the longest period of post election wrangling since Mercury went retrograde the day after elections in 2000, and issues over the Florida recount eventually cost Al Gore his chance of moving into the White House.

How Mercury retrograde affects our lives

As it appears to hang motionless in the sky before its change of direction, Mercury's influence is at its zenith. It's during these few days that we'll want to be at our most careful - or find that confusion will quickly arise.

Each journey Mercury makes backwards across our skies only lasts around three weeks, so even if this period proves tricky to undergo, it doesn't last for long. Although just because it starts moving forward again, that doesn't mean we're quite done...

First Mercury must 'leave the shadow', which, luckily, isn't half as scary as it sounds. The shadow period is considered the part of the sky Mercury passed through during its reversal. Once it begins moving the 'right' way again, we may need to spend time fixing the mistakes we've discovered and applying the knowledge we've gained.

While Mercury is recovering ground, no matter how tired we may be of dealing with certain situations, it's important to stay focused. This phase is a chance to nip things in the bud so that they don't come back to cause problems later. And once Mercury leaves its shadow and starts to explore new territory, we'll find ourselves free to pursue fresh, interesting ideas.

By confronting nagging doubts and attending to our unfinished business, we can move ahead with a clearer mindset and a fresh perspective. With an improved skill set and a new rationale, we'll usually find that, even if we have to decipher a few mixed messages or investigate a series of perplexing clues, what we stand to gain from Mercury's reversal will prove itself invaluable in the months ahead. Used right, instead of having the internet breakdown, you can be the one who breaks the internet!

'Should I postpone my wedding so it's not during Mercury retrograde?

A lot of people ask me whether they should cancel or postpone an event when they realise it's going to take place under Mercury retrograde. Traditionally, it's not thought of as a good time to begin new endeavours. But that doesn't mean anyone needs to reschedule a wedding in case of some sort of dramatic intervention, like Dustin Hoffman eloping with the bride at the end of 'The Graduate'.

Nor should we worry that something that starts life under this influence is doomed to failure. After all, about one in five of us is born with Mercury retrograde in our charts and, though often those affected have a more quirky way of looking at life and display a unique way of thinking, their intelligence or communication abilities are in no way diminished.

Similarly, the partners in a relationship that began with Mercury moving backwards may find that, by regularly reviewing aspects of a partnership and mindfully keeping communication channels open, they are able to forge a bond that transcends many of the common difficulties that trouble other relationships. Likewise, a business deal or new project needn't send us backwards just because the stars are aligned in this way.

While Mercury is recovering ground, no matter how tired we may be of dealing with certain situations, it's important to stay focused. This phase is a chance to nip things in the bud so that they don't come back to cause problems later. And once Mercury leaves its shadow and starts to explore new territory, we'll find ourselves free to pursue fresh, interesting ideas.

As long as we're attuned to these influences and clear about the potential pitfalls, our heightened awareness can make even a tricky endeavour not just successful, but actually more robust.

Mercury Retro-Guide

Mercury Retrograde means different things to different people, at different times. What part of the sky it takes place in will make a big difference to which part of your life it affects, whether it be relationships of the heart, or prospects at work. Of course, its intersections with our birth chart provide the most detailed insights into how it will affect us personally. But as to the general rules of how it will affect each sign of the zodiac, I present the following guide.

Read the Mercury Retro-Guide for your sign

Aries   Taurus   Gemini   Cancer  
Leo      Virgo      Libra     Scorpio  

ARIES
There are times when you need to shoot from the hip. And there are times when you have to put the safety catch on and holster that pistol wit of yours. You may be a sharpshooter but that can cut both ways. And sometimes holding your tongue, rather than saying your piece, can be the least uncomfortable of options. Mercury retrograde asks you to look before you leap. It's not about pulling your punches, but making sure you're fighting the right battles, and adjusting your strategies to help guarantee the win. To that end, consider honing your skills now, or you'll risk testing them too soon. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


TAURUS
The stereotypical Taurean apology would be: "I'm sorry you haven't figured out I'm right yet". But this trope is unfair - yes, you often stick to your guns, but only because you care about doing the right thing and getting the best out of life. Actually, if you realise current methods aren't working, you'll often become just as passionate about another approach. Mercury retrograde isn't about certainty, however - it's a time for investigation, to question and be questioned, and being open to new possibilities. Even if your search for answers seems fruitless, stick at it. You'll find what you need to feel confident about a new plan. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


GEMINI
Politicians are criticised for U-turns. But should changing course constitute failure? Churchill once quipped 'When the facts change, I change my mind, what do you do?', so even celebrated leaders sometimes row back. But what about when you can't trust the facts? What happens when messengers get shot and sources become hazy amid fake news and red herrings? Sometimes we must look deeper for truth. Mercury is your sign's ruler. While retrograde, your instincts will sort the information flying from all corners - but your intellect must check, and check again. You know in your heart what's right. You just need to corroborate that story. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


CANCER
What is truth? I believe there are two kinds: emotional and factual. Factual truths can be proven - if you think your partner is having an affair, and it turns out they're not, you might feel relieved, but that doesn't mean you haven't experienced mental anguish along the way. Emotional truth cannot be so easily denied. With Mercury retrograde, we can get confused about what we should be feeling. That doesn't negate what we are feeling, but we must take time to try and to align these twin experiences. With a thorough investigation, you may just find the more you understand, the better you feel. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


LEO
Regardless of local health directives, we all wear masks. None of us is quite what we seem, all the time. But despite knowing this, when the Leo mask slips, it's somehow more shocking. Perhaps it's because your glow is so golden? How can the world bask in it if you turn down the light? What a burden to carry! You shouldn't feel the need to be infallible. We all fall down sometimes - it's how we get back up that counts. Mercury retrograde isn't here to trip you up. It's an opportunity to showcase how correcting mistakes can be classy so you can come roaring back. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


VIRGO
Do people still remember the millennium bug? These days a more organic bug occupies our minds, but back in 1999 people were worried aeroplanes would drop from the sky and economies would crumble because legacy computers couldn't handle the date rolling over. Your ruler Mercury is retrograde. That means looking for the gremlins that have hampered your progress. Yet this isn't a crash - merely a software upgrade. It needn't be perfect - your emotional IT system will still function if something slips through the net. But you're programming in something better and more efficient. Once launched, you'll feel ready to operate in an exciting new era. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


LIBRA
Librans are sometimes chastised for an inability to make decisions. It's a bit of an unfair label to live with. You're not indecisive, it's just that your keen mind sees alternatives more clearly. With Mercury retrograde it's important to listen to your doubts - and to give them a voice. They're not trying to undermine you and you're not being argumentative by sharing them. They're simply a part of your psyche trying to alert you to something others may have missed. Now is the time to investigate, clarify and correct the course of action you're undertaking. By assimilating what you discover, your life can begin to feel charmed. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


SCORPIO
I'm fascinated by the techniques comedians employ. Like genres of music, styles of comedy are as different as jazz and heavy metal. One particular method is 'saying the unsayable' and revelling in the comedic shock value it creates. But even skilled comics sometimes get the balance wrong. Yet what appears blunt or cutting is rarely born of malice. It's simply an unfiltered acknowledgement that reveals the heart of a subject. The way Scorpios communicate sometimes walks a similar high wire. You'll have no problem adapting to Mercury retrograde's inclination to research. But if you want appreciation of these revelations, try to sugar the pill! Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


SAGITTARIUS
Hope is a wonderful thing. It's taken our species from a small valley in Africa to expand across the planet and even into space. But hope alone isn't enough. We can't fill up a rocket with fuel at one end, shove in astronauts at the other, and simply keep our fingers crossed during the countdown to blast off. Sometimes there's no substitute to doing your homework. Mercury retrograde re-examines a part of your life where things haven't turned out quite as you were expecting. But this doesn't mean you've been unlucky. By identifying key changes, you're actually readying for a more successful launch. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


CAPRICORN
Is admitting a mistake a failure? In some cases it's seen to be, but only by the perpetually short-sighted. A far more serious error is to identify where things have gone awry and let pride or fear stop us from making amends. As Mercury turns retrograde, don't think of issues you might uncover as marks against your character. They're not an indictment, but an opportunity to show just how decisive you can be when it comes to fixing the problems that have held things back. Focus on what you're building, and you'll soon be grateful for the pieces of what you must take apart. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


AQUARIUS
Rare are "Eureka!" moments that cause us to leap out the bath and run triumphantly down the street. Even Archimedes, the originator of the phrase, wasn't usually sopping wet and in the buff when presenting his findings. Most revelations arrive slowly and more subtly. Your ability to view things differently to others, and find the key where others only see locked doors, is special. Mercury retrograde doesn't diminish that skill, but changes how to use it by shining the brilliant spotlight of your insight into the mirror. But it will not be blinding. With patience, it'll illuminate just what you've been looking for. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.


PISCES
When life goes wrong, it's very tempting to let things go. None of us can change the past and it does no one any good to carry around resentment. But does that mean we should forget what's happened and carry on as if nothing is different? There's a difference between going with the flow and being swept away by the tide. Mercury retrograde asks you to reinvestigate those waters and dive a little deeper. It may take some effort, and require some uncomfortable questions, but the answers you find can be the difference as to whether your future endeavours sink, or go forward swimmingly. Download your 2021 Guide To The Future and get more amazing predictions about your year ahead.



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