by Robert Wilkinson
This article is a brief sketch of several possible ways Mercury retrograde in the different houses of the birthchart could manifest. Obviously there are thousands of ways this influence could manifest based on what houses Mercury rules in the birth chart, what sign(s) and decans it retrogrades through and what aspects it makes, all of which make a huge difference in what manifests and why. Though all of these are important factors, a primary way we can know what's up and how to deal with it is through knowing the house it falls in. By knowing the house(s) affected, we can know the arenas of life we can expect to see “go retrograde,” or the sector of our outer world of affairs on which we will get a new point of view.
If you know where the coming Mercury retrograde falls in your birth chart, then read the appropriate house position. If it falls on a cusp (indicating the interface, or edge between two areas of life), then read both houses, as you will see both sectors affected in some way. If you do not know your rising sign (ascendant), then read where it falls in your Solar sectors, given in Part 2 of the article “Mercury Retrograde Astrology.” These Solar sectors also affect each of us, regardless of where it actually falls in our birth chart.
A much more comprehensive look at many other possible Mercury retrograde manifestations can be found in Chapter 5 in my book, "A New Look At Mercury Retrograde.” Though it's out of print, there are still a few copies floating around, and as I've said before, I will be offering it as an ebook for sale on this site in the near future. The important thing here is to remember than since astrology is a symbolic language, consider this an opportunity for your imagination to cut loose a little, getting a sense of the images and meanings behind what you’re reading. You may get some interesting insights on your own! No matter what you're about to read, remember that during a Mercury retrograde period, no matter how things may seem, by the time it’s all said and done there will be many twists and turns, and probably won't wind up the way it looked to begin with!
Mercury retrograde in the First house: You’ll take a new look at your self-image, and recent information about yourself, or who you think you are may need to be reconsidered. Old character traits and ideas may resurface in new forms. Re-think a new beginning you may have been offered recently, and/or finish up some old business so you can get on with a new way of perceiving, coordinating, or expressing something. You may find you know something about yourself that you want to communicate, but not know how. You can get flashes of insight into your subconsciousness. Great time for reworking your self-expression and the personality you are expressing.
Mercury retrograde in the Second house: You’ll take a new look at your values, what you have, or how you are using it. You may get an insight into your subconsciousness as to why you want what you want, why you hold on to things that you do, or why your self-image is supported by something. Money or goods thought lost may return, or your money supply may slow down because of peculiar circumstances. Great time for finding new and innovating ideas about how to make money or hold on to it. Also a great time to capture things in roundabout or indirect ways, and get insights into your partner's desires or ways they relate to joint resources.
Mercury retrograde in the Third house: You will think many thoughts, over and over, trying to figure out how to put them all together. Try to see how they are all connected. You may know what you want to say, but not how to say it. You can notice things in your environment you never saw before, or meet someone in a roundabout way that is like a brother or sister to you. You can get insights into thoughts you’ve had before, but in new applications or unusual ways to use them. Great time for learning non-verbal or indirect means of communicating, or renewing an old knowledge into a new skill or application. Great for seeing subconscious factors driving your partner's truth, philosophy, or morality.
Mercury retrograde in the Fourth house: There will be returns from your past, or you could get new information or a new perspective or way of viewing your home, family affairs, or an important impression from the past. You may get a new insight into some old need or something from your childhood that altered your perception. A parent could communicate in an unusual way, or someone could remind you of one of your parents. An old family issue could surface anew. Something you’ve been putting off around the house may become important during Mercury retrograde in this house. Great time for rearranging furniture, reconnecting with family, and doing research into your genealogy.
Mercury retrograde in the Fifth house: This can give insights into children, your creative expression, or a look back on some way that used to connect you to life's joy, and was an expression of your enthusiasm and playfulness. You may see a different way to express something, be your natural self, or play. Find indirect ways to express your creative self, and value unique insights into your many forms of self-expression. Great time for exploring the youthful, natural, spontaneous parts of yourself. You may understand why a child is having trouble expressing themself, or coordinating their affairs. Non-verbal communications will work better than instruction. New insights into your partner's friends, goals, or ambitions.
Mercury retrograde in the Sixth house: This could bring a new insight into an old health concern, or bring confused or muddled information about a health complaint that isn’t really what it’s supposed to be. This is the time to do research into health matters, or return to an old understanding, or give an old way of working a new look so that other practical facets can be shown. Find a new approach to all health matters, work matters, or ways of relating to plants and animals. Great time for finding a new way to do a job, getting information about alternative health options, or finding new information important to your health not understood before. Insights into partner's motives, sorrow, and subconsciousness.
Mercury retrograde in the Seventh house: This is the time to explore new ways of communicating things to others without attachment to exact forms of what is being said. Great for getting new insights into old opportunities and finding new interpretations. Find a way to communicate insights you have about yourself within your relationships, without making too much or too little of those in your past. You may get interesting insights into what makes a present or past partner tick, or see a different facet to your partner, thus creating a new understanding. Great time for revealing deep parts of yourself or your partnering dynamic to others. Could also bring up old issues in new forms.
Mercury retrograde in the Eighth house: You need to review a past loss or death and take a different perspective on your experience of what was taken from you. Reclaim an old power in a new form, or reclaim some idea, feeling, or thing of value you once surrendered to someone in a defeat. Find a new way to see what you desire, or experiment with new approaches to getting it. You can get a flash on something of social value and a way to draw some opportunity to yourself. Great time for dropping something long overdue and shaking off the Soul sludge that is hindering you from flowering in some public way. Great time for new insights into your partner's money issues, or why they value what they do subconsciously.
Mercury retrograde in the Ninth house: You will take a new look at your future, path of Truth, life journey, or your quest. An old Truth may return in a new form, or you'll get a different take on some moral or ethical dilemma. You may see how another Truth or philosophy is related to your own, or get a new interpretation of the meaning of a higher truth. It's a time to notice the little things that will affect your future to come, and experiment with different applications of your Truths in a wide variety of situations. A great time to review something you learned in the past, or for going back to school. If you and your partner are having trouble communicating, look at possibilities without having to be too specific.
Mercury retrograde in the Tenth house: This can bring reversals in public position, or long overdue acknowledgment or recognition. You may need to do some things neglected up to now before you can move forward. This position may indicate miscommunications in the professional sector, or delays and misunderstandings in the workplace. Take extra care about any important decisions to be made, as they will probably be subject to change, and try to sign no important contracts during this period. A great time to take care of old business or use temporary experimental approaches to be finally evaluated later. Also a great time to see how your parents affected your self-image and what type of public standing you project.
Mercury retrograde in the Eleventh house: A time to get new insights into your friends, goals, and ambitions. You may reconnect with an old friend, or get a new insights into why you once wanted something and how this is related to some subconscious assumption. A good time for getting insights into why you have joined the groups you have been involved in, and what they taught you about your larger vision of world service. It’s a great time for forming some interesting public relationships, and harvesting something from the past in a new form. Find ways to recombine several old ambitions in a new package. New insights into why your partner plays the way they do, or if creative, you'll see their subconsciousness.
Mercury retrograde in the Twelfth house: This is a period for you to achieve closure on whatever ghosts and sorrows are still bugging you. Review and change your thinking, perception, affirmations, interpretations, meditations, or prayers to come to a more compassionate view of what is leaving and why things have happened the way they did. Unclear speech or recollection could cause trouble in unsuspected ways, so best to say little and forgive much. Get a new insight into an old sorrow or self-undoing behavior. A great time for taking one last look back before closing a chapter of the life that is already over. You'll get glimpses of the "movie of your life," and may need to re-edit your view of what happened and why.