Mercury Retrograde: Switching Off

Mercury retrograde

A heads up that we are heading closer to the next Mercury Retrograde phase which takes place from January 14 to February 4, 2022.

This means that two of the inner planets, Mercury (communication) and Venus (love/money) will be on go slow. 

If you’re feeling stuck or plans are unravelling, the turning points come at the end of January and early February.

Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to take some of January off if you can. Or, at least spend some time resting and in retreat. Mercury always remains retrograde for three weeks at a time. Venus turns direct on January 29th. Mercury turns direct on February 4th.

Here are the Mercury Retrograde dates & data:

  • December 29: Mercury shadow period begins – Mercury at 24 Capricorn.
  • January 14(11:41 GMT): Mercury turns retrograde [10 Aquarius 20]
  • January 23: Sun conjunct Mercury retrograde – half-way point
  • January 26: Mercury re-enters Capricorn 
  • February 4(04:14 GMT): Mercury turns direct [24 Capricorn 23]
  • February 24: Mercury shadow period ends – Mercury at 10 Aquarius.

Mercury turns retrograde in Aquarius, one of the air signs. Mercury rules the mind & communication and in Aquarius this is a lively, intellectual combination. 

If you have planets or angles at 10 Aquarius, this is where you may experience a theme of reversal or rethinking or reviewing your plans.

When Mercury turns retrograde, this is a good time to get your head down, do research and take the pace slow. Things are not what they seem during Mercury retrograde & new information often comes to light once Mercury turns direct.

What this Mercury retrograde is good for is to remember the re-words: review, revise, reconsider, reflect, rework, rethink, reconnect. 

Here are some key ways of harnessing the Mercury Retrograde planetary energy:

  • take a step back & put the big decisions to one side
  • give yourself permission to change your mind
  • look at life from a fresh perspective – upside down, back-to-front; think outside of the box
  • indulge in a media detox – switch off, unplug, step away from the news, switch off social media
  • chase up old connections, reconnect with people from your past
  • double check everything & keep your options open
  • try again where you failed in the past; second chances come highly recommended
  • have plans B, C & D up your sleeve
  • be flexible, be adaptable, go with the flow & see where life leads you

Don’t forget that Mercury Retrograde can trip you up. It can be a time of communication chaos, when appliances go wonky, plans are delayed, it’s hard to get hold of the right people and travel is subject to change.

In the wise words of the writer, Anne Lamott: ‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including yourself.

Mercury re-enters earth sign Capricorn during its retrograde phase. Earth signs are linked to nature and the constancy of the seasons. Favour simple pleasures during this period and practise gratitude for the food you eat and the roof over your head.

Mercury’s turn to direct motion may bring more insight or information your way about where you’re heading and why. For now, indulge in some downtime if you can and enjoy allowing your mind to wander wherever it chooses.


People often ask me about the Mercury Shadow in astrology which falls either side of the three-week Mercury Retrograde phase. The shadow period is more controversial.

Some astrologers advise doing nothing new during the shadow period. I’m not a fan and it’s definitely not wise if you’re a procrastinator – you would be taking almost two months out every time, half the year in all. 

Yes, notice what happens during the shadow period but don’t put your life on hold.  

Basically, the shadow phase is when Mercury is moving through the retrograde degrees pre-cycle or repeating its journey through the retrograde degrees post-cycle – see dates above. 

I’ll let you ponder whether it’s significant for you. And, as always with astrology, it’s worth plotting what’s happening so you know how to maximise your efficiency, to be in flow.

Here’s a quick reminder of the areas of your life where Mercury turns retrograde. Read the star sign after yours to see what it will mean once Mercury retreats back into Capricorn i.e. Aquarius reads Aquarius first, then Pisces (hope that makes sense!)

  • Aquarius – personal goals/aims, identity, image & self-perception
  • Pisces – inner work, spiritual retreat, caring for self & others
  • Aries – friends, groups, politics, social causes
  • Taurus – career & vocation, status & reputation, future goals
  • Gemini – exploration, study, the bigger picture
  • Cancer – joint finances & shared resources, all things hidden & taboo
  • Leo – relationships, personal & professional, contracts
  • Virgo – work & routine, lifestyle & health, service to others 
  • Libra – children & creativity, love affairs & luck, fun & play
  • Scorpio – home & family, the past, your legacy, where you come from
  • Sagittarius – communication, siblings, neighbours, your community
  • Capricorn – money & assets, values & self-worth

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