[Mercury retrograde's web of influence, its major aspects.]
Why doesn't everyone experience Mercury retrograde the same way?
Not everyone is equally influenced by Mercury retrograde. Because they are ruled by the planet, Gemini and Virgo can be sensitive to its changes generally. Those who are not directly aspected will see the themes around them but not experience them personally.
How will I experience it?
Determining if you will be influenced by a retrograde planet requires some star math, a basic understanding of your chart and transits, or the assistance of an astrologer.
When a planet turns retrograde, it slows to a stop, appears to move backwards, and then slows to a stop again, to correct its direction. These two motionless points are called stations and define the area of its influence. For EST, Mercury stations retrograde at 12' 32” Leo on July 14th, 2012 and stations direct at 1' 23” Leo on August 8th, 2012.
A transit is when the current location of a planet interacts with an element of your natal chart. Those with planets or points from 1º – 12º degrees Leo, or the zodiac signs connected to it by major aspects, will personally experience this Mercury retrograde.
What are some points to consider?
A: What house/houses is Mercury transiting in your natal chart? This Mercury transit will include its themes.
B: What house does your natal Mercury fall in? All Mercury transits include these themes for you.
C: What aspects is Mercury making to your natal planets? Those that are strongly placed or aspected tend to do better under a challenging aspect with Mercury, those that are poorly placed or aspected tend to do worse.
There is debate on the correct orb for transits, 3 degrees or less is common. Therefore planets just outside the borders of this retrograde zone may also be influenced. Not all degrees are equal, the station locations (12 and 1 degrees Leo) are the most potent, since the planet slows to a stop on them. Also the tighter the orb, the stronger the experience.
What are the potential aspects for this Mercury?
Each celestial event casts a greater geometric web of influence, touching specific signs differently. This is an extremely general guide, each experience of Mercury retrograde is very personal, depending on the person's natal chart.
~1º – 12º Leo: Conjunction (Yellow)
A conjunction is incredibly strong, blending the energy of the two planets together. Whether this is challenging or not, depends on the two planets involved: Mercury + natal plant. Those with planets or points in early to mid Leo are likely to feel Mercury retrograde strongly.
~1º – 12º Taurus, ~1º – 12º Scorpio: Square (Dark Red).
~1º – 12º Aquarius: Opposition (Light Red)
Historically the square and the opposition are the malefic (“harmful”) or hard aspects. They are disharmonious, producing tension, conflict, or challenges. However, the friction they produce can be harnessed to make adjustments to your life, so they are seen less harshly in contemporary astrology. The opposition can be more easily balanced then the square. Those with planets or points in the early to mid signs of Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius are likely to feel Mercury harshly but with the potential for greater change.
~1º – 12º Aries, ~1º – 12º Sagittarius: Trine (Dark Green)
~1º – 12º Gemini, ~1º – 12º Libra: Sextile (Light Green)
Historically the trine and the sextile are the benefic (“helping”) or soft aspects. They are harmonious, producing ease, flow, and opportunity. Because they feel so good, their potential is often wasted, we don't do the work to capitalize on them. The sextile is less prominent than the trine. Those with planets or points in the early to mid signs of Aries, Sagittarius, Gemini, and Libra are likely to feel Mercury more gently but unintentionally waste its blessing.
For more information about this Mercury retrograde, see:
For traditional and modern planetary gemstones used to harmonize its influence, see:
For an introduction to retrograde motion, see: