An explanation on how the zodiac signs and their elements effect a Mercury retrograde period.
Mercury goes into retrograde motion about three times per year, with it more often than not residing in the signs of a common element. For example, during 2020 Mercury has been retrograding in the signs of Pisces and Cancer, and in October will transit through Scorpio, which are all the water signs of the Zodiac. Next year, in 2021, it’s retrograde motion will be settled in the air signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
Some years there is a slight variation on Mercury’s transit through the signs and it doesn’t retrograde each year in a sequence through the elements. Sometimes there are two years where it will retrograde in the same element and some years it will skip one of the four elements or backtrack on some. Mercury retrogrades in a certain element can give us an idea of what the year ahead will be governed by.
When Mercury goes into retrograde motion its energy effectively stops. Mercury is the sign of communication, travel and communication technologies which is why we experience difficulties in these areas while it is in retrograde motion. Each zodiac sign in which it retrogrades in brings a certain quality to its retrograde energy and the element of these signs plays quite a big role in this energy exchange. Here is a breakdown of the sign elements and their effect on a Mercury retrograde period.
The Element of Fire
Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
The element of fire is quick-moving, explosive, passionate, energetic and unpredictable. When Mercury retrogrades in one the fire signs its energy literally makes us fired up, but with nowhere to place that energy. This can lead to fiery debates and arguments with others as we misconstrue what they’re saying. When Mercury retrogrades in one of the fire signs it disrupts travel in every sense and causes burn out and breakages in devices and technology. The strengths that Mercury retrograde exhibits in a fire sign are the ability to relax and take a break. Motivation becomes less determined as the retrograde period progresses.
The Element of Earth
Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
The element of earth is grounded, stable, slow, practical and materialistic. When Mercury goes into retrograde motion in one of the earth signs, particularly Virgo (who it governs alongside Gemini), travel becomes a big issue as earth’s tendency to stay grounded overrides any travel. Airlines can face issues with overbooking flights, plans and itineraries can be muddled up and cars, planes and boats all face problems such as breakdowns. Communication with other people can seem rigid and boring. The strengths that Mercury retrograde exhibits in an earth sign include the ability to get back to basics and carry out practical tasks a lot easier such as spring cleaning around the home or gardening.
The Element of Air
Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
The element of air is changeable, thoughtful, intellectual, free-moving and unusual. When Mercury retrogrades in one of the air signs, particularly Gemini (one of its sign governances), we tend to have problems relating to the internet and other technology. The air Mercury retrogrades see the most disruption when it comes to websites not loading, devices not working properly and emails getting lost. Conversations with others can be strange and uncomfortable and our mind will tend to wander off during these conversations. The strengths that Mercury retrograde exhibits in an air sign are the ability to think clearly without our thoughts being influenced or clouded by the ideas of others.
The Element of Water
Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
The element of water is emotional, intuitive, fluid and sensitive. When Mercury retrogrades in one of the water signs the energy that plays-out tends to make our emotions run wild. It’s also a confusing time and conversations between people as well as all communication can become very skewed and hard to understand by the average person. We tend to become a bit more introverted during a watery Mercury retrograde. The strengths that Mercury retrograde exhibits in a water sign all relate to introverted tasks such as meditation, reflection and daydreaming.