Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 17, 2013

Mercury Advisory—Keep your Eyes Open and your Mouth Shut!

©7-17-13 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

We’ve had quite a dialogue lately about Mercury retrograde. I’ve mentioned that each such period is different. It depends on what aspects Mercury makes, both as it slows down to turn retrograde and as it slows down turning direct again, because it’s at its most powerful during the stationary periods.  Those aspects can last 10 days or longer, whereas they might last only a few days when Mercury is direct and moving at its usual speed of about a degree a day.

Mercury’s current aspects are  an opposition to Pluto and a square to Uranus, completing a difficult cardinal t-square. In all, it’s in range from 7/14-7/31, though the retrograde ends on Friday, the 20th. (Slow moving Pluto is at 10 Capricorn and Uranus is at 13 Aries–neither one of them is going anywhere any time soon, so the T-square with Mercury is in effect from about 13-18 Cancer.)  Donna

What concerns me about this transit is not that Mercury is retrograde, but that it’s such a volatile combination. Unwise communications—things you cannot unsay—can cause an explosive confrontation with long-lasting fallout. Yes, maybe there are things going on that you need to speak out about, but you’d be wise to postpone the discussion until that t-square is over at the end of the month. A word to the wise!

One other caution–Uranus rules computers and other electronic devices. If this combination touches on technologically crucial areas of your chart–such as the 3rd or one of the career houses– it would be prudent to back up current work regularly until the end of the month. And, no, I surely wouldn’t buy a major electronic device during this time.

THE GOOD NEWS:  Mercury Pluto aspects are quite powerful in terms of being able to analyze situations and get to the heart of the problem. Mercury stationary aspecting Pluto could be extremely productive of insights into long-standing blockages–things we’ve been reluctant to face or have been in denial about.  It can also make words powerfully healing OR seriously destructive.

More Hysteria over Mercury Retrograde

Despite all that we’ve discussed here about the Mercury retrograde hysteria—and despite the fact that there were over 10,000 hits in a single day on articles about it here recently, it apparently hasn’t registered with some people.

I’ve had emails and comments recently about people attributing the current retrograde to volcanic eruptions in Mexico, a devastating plane crash in San Francisco, forest fires in Arizona that killed 19 firefighters, and a train wreck in Canada. About the plane crash, one reader sent me an email saying he’d never fly on Mercury retrograde again.

Do the math, people! Mercury is retrograde three to four times a year, for several weeks at a time. If it could really cause catastrophic events like that, there’d be a lot more of them—so many, they wouldn’t even make the news.

Worse than that, if Mercury retrograde really caused plane crashes and the word got around, the planes would all be empty during that time. Then, during the direct phase, everybody that wouldn’t travel while it was retrograde would try to book seats and  they’d all be full and there’d be a waiting list. To  recoup all the money the airlines lost during the retrograde, they’d have to double or triple the air fare. Ludicrous!! We’re just lucky the general public isn’t that wackadoo about Mercury retrograde.

So what do I think is the astrological trigger for this recent set of catastrophes?  As you may know, the Sun, Venus, and Mercury have all been forming cardinal t-squares to the explosive combination of Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn.

Update: 7/22/13.  Okay, Mercury has turned direct, but weird things are happening around the royal baby’s birth chart. Do you still want to attribute all the the bizzarre things that have been happening lately to Mercury retrograde alone?  See: Royal Baby Boy Born — Stelliums Rule!

Readers, has this t-square touched on your natal planets, and have you had a personal earthquake?  Tell us about it in the comment section beneath this article. 

Here are links to articles about Mercury-Uranus and Mercury-Pluto combinations:

Here are links to articles on Mercury retrograde:

Want more Skywriter articles? The INDEX OF SKYWRITER’S 418 POSTS by category is an excellent resource for students. Save it to your hard drive rather than print it, and then all the links are live.  Download it here:  1-Articles Index Skywriter 1-2013.


  1. 1st Mercury Retrograde, my husband was born with it, and as this was the early 50’s; he somehow ended up with the wron Mother for a day! It would have been much stranger if the mistake had not been discovered. He is very blonde. My late Mother-In-Law described baby 1 as looking like a monkey, covered with darl hair and olive complected. The hospital had only recently opened, ergo the mistake.

    As for outer transits, the Cardinal T well, Pluto especially, is opposing my 9 degree Cancer ascendant. And the whole mess will set off my massive tangle of Sun/Neptune; Mars/Chiron; Uranus/Jupiter eventually. Mostly I think I am feeling Neptune Square my Gemini moon. My Mom recently went into an Alzheimers Care facility.

    One last note, after a 26 year hiatus due to health matters, I recently started writing again. I do a native gardening blog for a local consumer site.
    Not Pulitzer Material, but interesting! Perhaps this is Saturn Return 2.

    Off to enjoy our Grand Trine of Promise (and perhaps great hype?)

    • Hi, Belle, good to hear from you, and good to know that you’re back to writing again. I guess it took the combo of Pluto, Uranus, and Mercury transiting to help you get back to it. Donna

  2. Well……………the 3rd printer arrived today………..
    My IMac crashed 4 or 5 hours before the May 24 lunar eclipse 4˚Gem /4˚ Sag……….Tr. Sun, Merc, Venus all in Gemini my 12th H. Jupiter in 22˚Gemini 1st H. Aware of the upcoming Merc retro, I bought a new Macbook Pro by June 3rd, Adobe software, ( to get the student discount I signed up for a course @ University, June 17 – 22, earlier than the planned course in Sept.) then called to download upgrades to the Canon Printer…………… Got scammed by IYogi* see note, ( was told that Canon didn’t make upgrades, so bought a HP by July 8th, still clear of the retro..) HUGE HP printer arrived on June 14 (Now the Merc retro pd.) TOTALLY NOT what I needed or wanted! After 2 weeks of arguing without giving ground I got them to agree to a refund but they wouldn ‘t send a prepaid label……….. In the meantime I called Canon on a different number, bought an MG 5420….on July 3rd. UPS took away the HP,
    Fed Ex delivered the Canon 1/2 hr later, I didn’t set it up until July 10th, realized it didn’t print on card stock………..( I make cards to sell, why I have the whole bloody set-up………….) Call Canon, order a different printer………they need no argument from me to return it, send me a shipping label.
    So it is mid-July……..I have been playing techy for almost 2 months, no RB hemisphere, painting drawing, producing new cards……….I am adept AT TECHNICAL STUFF, BUT……… is ONLY the means to an end not the end itself. Worst Merc. retro I can remember……
    * Iyogi = predatory tech company, posing as tech support for all the big companies…….& with the top google listing as “Canon Printer Support ” with their own number. Their speciality is getting permission to go into your computer under the guise of ‘helping”. ( I wonder who is buying that info and how much they are making off it.) They are oily snaky… conversation with the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. they use passive aggression, casting blame ( “YOu chose the printer!” ) They DID NOT OFFER ME A CHOICE! Canon is loosing business to them & having very confused customers,and would like to nail them! I DID get my refund ONLY because I persisted, did not back down, & let them know I was tracking them calling Canon, HP & Google & the BBB,………….It was cheaper for them to give it back to get rid of me. ( I have Scorpio Moon & Mars in Capricorn……………someone with mutable planets, wouldn’t have stood a chance! Please spread the word………..

    • What an ordeal, Pat! If it happened to me, I wouldn’t have any hair left–it would all be pulled out. Again, though, it’s not just Mercury Rx, it’s the combination of Mercury spending weeks in a Cardinal T-square with Uranus and Pluto. Donna

  3. Mercury Retrograde sounds pretty scary right now. From reading what you wrote, Donna, I get the feeling that I should not make any major or even any minor decisions until at least after July 31. Like, maybe it’s okay to look at some land for sale, but not make any important decisions until after July 31.

    Well, lately, I’ve been fairly conservative and it seems like you are saying we should stay kind of quiet, conservative and frugal with Mercury Retrograde in a T square with volatile Uranus and Pluto. Since I am a very Uranium Cancer experiencing this Grand Water Trine now, I guess I just need to lay low and keep myself out of trouble and busy….. cleaning house, my inner spiritual house and my outer physical house.

    Do you agree with this, Donna?

    Thanks, Elisabeth Barry

    • I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to counteract the Mercury Retrograde hysteria, and it seems like none of it is sinking in. Minor decisions like where to go for lunch or whether to get your hair cut–shouldn’t be a problem…unless you antagonize the hair stylist with some injudicious remark.

      Otherwise, stick with common sense Mercury Rx rules—like not signing a contract or buying a car or computer until it’s over, and back up crucial information on your computer. Donna

      • Hi Again, Donna,
        I wasn’t completely honest with what was really bugging me. I think that I was picking up the painful feelings of someone I know who has a grand cross in their chart…his Moon @ 10 degrees of Capricorn opposing his Uranus Rx@ 13-14 degrees of Cancer…..Mercury Rx is now on his Uranus…(my Sun is at 16 degrees of Cancer)….Pluto has been sitting on his Moon all year! The other part of his Grand Cross is Jupiter Rx@ 5 degrees of Aires opposing his Saturn @ 9 degrees of Libra.

        I am thinking that because transiting Uranus just went Rx yesterday, he is struggling with his feelings and his thoughts and I am feeling his anguish! He was born on 11-3-51 and has tried to commit suicide several times in his life. He and I have not been communicating. I don’t feel right in contacting him but I hope that he is okay. Do you think that the planetary pressures are simply more than he can bear? I know that he has Guardian Angels watching over him!

        Very Worried Person, Elisabeth Barry

      • Sorry I went off a bit, Elizabeth, it’s just so frustrating to hear people attributing such catastrophes to Mercury retrograde.

        Yes, your friend’s transits are very tough ones, and given his history, you are right to be concerned. Astrology is NOT good at predicting suicide (thankfully!) NCGR’s research committee did a bona fide, well-designed research study many years ago, and found that astrologers could not predict which one of a pair of people (one a real suicide and one a random chart) actually did commit suicide.

        But, that’s as it should be–how People, Souls, respond to intense pressure is not fixed in stone. Something like a loving and supportive message from you could sustain him through a bad time. And if you didn’t get in touch and he did commit suicide, it would haunt you for the rest of your life. Just be really, really careful during this t-square and let prayer and a loving heart without an agenda or a judgement guide what you write or say. Donna

  4. Hi there! It’s been really busy for me. Literally not feeling like talking too much. The little extra time I have, I’ve been pulling beautiful (and very old) watercolors and family pictures. Framing them and choosing ‘their rightful’ place at home. It’s widely squaring my libra moon.

    I usually do fine when mercury is retrograde, but I have noticed, when I move into a new place under that influence, we move out sooner that expected. nothing bad, it just happens to be necessary in each circumstance. And, just a typical merc Rx in cancer story: just few days ago, a couple I know (both with planets in cancer) just bought their first home. They signed, and then had to wait for the key because the seller did not get some important paperwork done…Don’t know if they got it yet! Hope you are well and had a good birthday 🙂

    Um…sorry. I overused the word *just* and maybe I misused the * too. That’s probably why I don’t feel too communicative! To avoid misunderstandings, misuses, etc…Yup, you said it. Eyes open and mouth shut.

  5. Not in range of the planets in the T-square. Slow moving Pluto is at 10 Capricorn at Uranus is at 13 Aries–neither one of them is going anywhere any time soon, so the T-square with Mercury is in effect from about 13-18 Cancer. Donna

  6. It’s been a rough few days with Mercury Rx, Pluto and Uranus doing battle. I am taking tomorrow off from work and trying to keep my big mouth shut so I don’t get into trouble. I just had a Mars return and fell like telling it like it is, but I realize this is NOT the time to do it. Going to retreat and behave myself until it all blows over. It’s nice to know astrology!

    • I’m really glad I wrote that and really glad that you have the insight and self-discipline to heed it. Good work, Jack! Donna

      • Thanks, Donna. Since I’m a Taurus with a Leo Moon, it’s tough to be quiet, LOL!

  7. Ms. Cunningham: I appreciate your work having been familiar with you as an astrologer for years. My comments are of a board and general nature at this point, having to do perhaps more with how astrology is viewed in our modern society and how it might be better utilized…however I’m not sure… At any rate lets see where this might go.

    Mercury retrograde hysteria! Yes well much of what might be called that comes apparently and most obviously from people who have not studied astrology and I have to say this here since comments like a person will “never fly during a Mercury retrograde period again” clear indicate they don’t have any real respect for the art/science.

    I have been studying astrology for over 45 years and have observed enough telephone, computer, car (battery, alternator, solenoid-switch) malfunctions to be able to rank Mercury retrograde occurrences along with tidal changes associated with the Moon as one of the most obvious physical evidences of the efficacy of astrology.

    However, I do appreciate somewhat this “popularization” is one of the aspects of astrology which keeps it “alive” within in the collective social milieu. (Yes I use terms like that because among other reasons I don’t believe it helpful to treat such a serious subject as astrology like it is on a par with the current, trending reality T.V. show.

    More specifically regarding the Mercury retrograde especially this one I am interested in how you delineate it (and its participation in the T-square with Pluto and Uranus) and its occurrence in conjunction with the grand-trine(s) which are also happening this month?

    What I find a lot of the time is many of us who are practitioners tend to delineate astrology as one might dissect say a salad. There are the several ingredients which make up the salad and we take each ingredient, separate it from the rest of the salad and speak about it as if it was not part of the this particular salad. And while I think there is some definite merit to doing delineation this way, after all the general public cannot be expected to follow commentary which might be overly technical.

    At the same time it seems to me the effects of the T-square(s) which are forming and separating this month cannot fully be delineated in a general sense unless taken into consideration with the grand-trine(s) which are also forming especially since these are forming through the transits in Cancer of the : Sun, Mercury (retrograde) Jupiter (especially Jupiter) and Mars. Much of the T-Square stress is mollified by the trines, the trines on the other hand get and added boost so those affected will actually get up and “do something” about their dreams instead of just sitting there having contracted the disease of tomorrow…relaxing. ( I think I’ll write that book…oh wait until tomorrow! )

    Another thing about Mercury in retrograde which I just recently noticed about my own unintended neglect was I am so identified with Mercury having to do with communication and education I have completely ignored it’s relationship to commerce (and through these finance and business). So are there any patterns which can be discerned regarding behaviors which can be attributed to Mercury retrograde in commercial endeavors besides the usual try not to sign any business contracts during this period?

    Lastly and I saw a posting right before I began to write this comment which apparently deals with those things for which Mercury retrograde is most helpful with, like being able to: write that book with out the distractions of T.V. or telephone, excellent time for research and study, in particular self-study and the development and exercise of patience and the intellect.

    Anyway these are some of my thoughts on the subject, Mercury retrograde hysteria. Thank You for your commitment to the Artful/Science we both know and love. Your humble servant, James Page

    • James, I so appreciate all your observations and comments. You really should have a blog of your own if you don’t already–a voice of sanity.

      I can’t take time, alas, to do the kind of analysis of the total transiting picture you suggest, because I’m working really hard (like up at 4:00 AM kind of hard) on my own Mercury retrograde project, which is to revise the first 8 chapters of a book I’m writing on stelliums. When Mercury turns direct again, I then need to move forward with and finish it completely by the fall. I just check in with my blog from time to time…mostly when I just can’t resist it any longer. Best regards, Donna

      • Yes , Ms. Cunningham I should have realized. I am extremely busy myself and I am not a well-known astrologer and author so I can only imagine how you are able to manage your time, though at this point in my life I am making the “last dance” effort to actualize my potential as indicated in the natal chart. I can’t reply in the way I would like at this moment because I have to keep an eye on the clock to stay on a schedule I have set for myself, however again I do so appreciate you and your contribution to our Artful Scientific, Art. James P.

    • Reading what you said about pop astrology’s take on Mercury Retrograde being like the reality tv shows, I couldn’t agree with you more–it’s a LOT like trash TV!

      People love the drama of a horrific Mercury Retrograde story and the goose bumps that come from anticipating how awful an upcoming retrograde period might be.

      Insight into how they may contribute to the difficulty isn’t welcomed, because insight tends to quash the rush that drama provides them. So naturally, they don’t really want to hear about the helpful ways to use this period and sensible precautions to take to avoid the difficulties.

      (I hope you don’t mind, but I took that part of your comment and pasted it into the recent article about readers’ insights into Mercury Retrograde. It’s a shame more people don’t read the articles that digest readers’ comments, because Skywriter’s readers are so bright and insightful. Donna)

      • Donna, if I may call you that, of course I don’t mind. I have been studying astrology now since I was 12 years old and I am now 61. One of my teachers the late Deloris O’Bryan taught us as astrologers we should help each other and do all we might to contribute to a more comprehensive appreciation of astrology especially by the lay-person. Here is a more astrological introduction to me: I was born – 12/11/1951, 1:15 pm Sun – Sagittarius, Moon – Gemini, ASC – Aries, M.C. Capricorn, Stellium (Mars, Saturn and Neptune) in Libra, Splash Tempramental pattern, Grand-Cross (asymmetrical) in Cardinal Signs. So when ever I comment you may feel quite free to use it however you see fit. James P.

  8. Thanks so much, Donna. I will Pray.

  9. Dear Donna, This is a comment about what you said regarding personal earthquakes at this time. At this very moment I am in a relationship crisis after a 28-year-marriage!! This crisis is being reinforced by the fact that I met a man whom I find irresistible! I think I am undergoing what psychologists call a turning point in my life which probably is not unlikely for somebody who has Uranus in the MC and Scorpio in the ascendant!!

    • Ah, Patricia, a crisis of huge proportions. As you note, it stems from big transits from transiting Uranus (and, consequently transiting Pluto, since they’re in a tight square to one another) to your Midheaven plus Saturn on your Ascendant (and consequently, opposite your Descendant). For those of you not familiar with the four chart angles, the Midheaven and IC are exactly opposite one another, and the Ascendant and Descendent are directly opposite one another.

      You’re not, thankfully, attributing this crisis to Mercury retrograde. Nonetheless, I’d caution you against TALKING about the relationship dilemma to the wrong person or making an impulsive decision in the interval that the cardinal T-square between Pluto, Uranus, and Mercury is in effect (now to the end of the month). That could blow the whole thing sky high! Donna

      • Thanks a lot! Definitely I will be cautious and intuitively I feel I will need to hande things with extreme care!! Thanks again

  10. I like the comparison (by James Page, see comment above) of Mercury’s movement/influence with the ebb & flow effect of the Moon’s phases – yes, of course! The mental cycles and the emotional tides… (this is a real Mercury in Cancer insight to me).

    Uranian/Plutonian influence produces earthquakes… yes. Because these planets inhabit my first house, I am used to it!
    But with the influence of the gorgeous Grand Water Trine now) I experience mild seaquakes only 😉

    For example, as the current Mercury/Pluto opposition touches my 5th/11th house axis (with Jupiter and Mars) with Uranus squaring in my 9th, two days ago I suddenly got a break-free desire (Uranus) for the sunny island in Southern Europe (9th house) I often was on summer vacation as a child (5th house). Fortunately (Jupiter) I found (action/search: Mars) some websites (Mercury) and studied the deep transformation (Pluto) of that area. And this in turn had a deep effect on me.

    • Thanks for sharing, Ama. Isn’t amazing how the web (Uranus and Mercury) can take us almost anywhere on the globe and make it totally real to us. I have been loving Bing lately for its stunning images and especially the panoramic views of faraway places I’ll never get to go. Like the stunning historic architecture of places like Florence, Venice, and Barcelona. Donna

      • It is truly a gift and it definitely enhanced the retrograde (Mercury,Uranus,Pluto) research.

  11. This may be a bit off topic, but I have spent this Mercury retrograde period researching the birth data in my husband’s family tree. I have enough basic birth data to go five generations back, and I am astounded by the number of Mercury/Uranus aspects in the mix! Virtually all of the males have either Mercury/Uranus in conjunction or in a very tight square. Several of the women have this aspect too…It could be even more of a pattern, as I don’t have birth times for the older generations, and so can’t account for any strong angular placements of one or the other planets. And these generations were all farmers, not an occupation usually associated with Mercury/Uranus…although, the first couple of generations I looked at were homesteaders, and my husband recalls that his paternal grandfather was the ultimate DIY personality, growing or crafting just about anything he used.
    My husband has a tight sextile between Mercury and Uranus, my son has them in opposition, and my daughter has them in square.
    I guess i felt compelled to share this because this Mercury retrograde has given me so much astrological food for thought!

    • Oh, yeah, astrological aspects and patterns do run in families. I even believe that many families have a “ruling planet,” that is, one planet that seems the most dominant in the charts of many of the family members. (My family’s is Uranus, and they are incredibly “five-ish” in that the number 5 has a huge place in the names and birthdates of all 5 of us. Donna Cunningham

      • I think that in my family, we are all very Uranian, Neptunian, and Plutonic! I see all three influences strongly. My dad, especially, was very Uranian, Neptunian and Plutonic! He is still influencing everyone in my family big time! I am even feeling my dad’s dad influence….my grandfather was born in Nov. 1869, (Scorpio), died in Jan. of 1947. My dad was born in 1898 and died in Neptune March, 1975. My dad was extremely Neptunian, fish, earth sprites, and all. I was raised on a Fish Hatchery and my FIVE half-siblings were all adopted by my dad. We all had a very Uranian mom, born 1-22-1908. My dad was Scorpio Rising with his Sun in the Uranian 11th house. I see a whole lot of evidence of Uranus, Neptune and Powerful PLUTO all though out my highly evolved and spiritually advanced family!

        I love astrology!

  12. This whole week, I’ve had to take my own advice. (Funny how often that happens!) I’ve definitely had to keep my eyes open and my mouth shut around a neighbor/friend. While wonderful in some respects and we’ve shared many good times and lots of laughs, she’s also incredibly aggravating at times. This week is one of those times.

    I’ve learned the hard way in the past that she has little insight into her own behavior and yet is so fragile that at the first hint of any disagreement she goes into a terrible emotional meltdown and decides to end the relationship.

    Given that she’s currently a complete pain in the tuckus, I’ve bitten my tongue practically every day. It’s either that or lose a friend, and when the friend is also a next-door-neighbor, it can get pretty uncomfortable.

    I once wrote an article about her here:

    Addicted to Anguish–a Sketch of one Neptunian Type:

    And no, she won’t ever read this comment or the article, because 1) she’s barely computer literate and proud of it, 2) she thinks astrology is a load of crap, and 3) she hasn’t the slightest interest in my blog. Eyes open and mouth shut, fellow sufferers! Donna

  13. In my husband’s chart the T square touched the natal 2th -8th axis. The personal earthquake has been the unexpected long lasting delay in the salary, which caused domestic troubles.
    In my chart this t-square has been touching my Asc- Desc axis, with Uranus in the 10th house. It has been , and still is , a very “unpleasant’ period for me personally. I have undergone serious transformations for 2 years so far. The search for new insights and new sphere to be useful have brought me lots of ups and downs. However, as a whole I am alive, learning new things about life and people, searching widely for my new place in life. Astrology course and this blog are of great help for a person who is good at words.

  14. First of all I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if
    you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts
    out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any ideas or tips? Thank you!

    • Hello. That 10-15 minutes is NOT wasted at all, because figuring out how to begin is part of the process of writing, and a valuable part for sure. How I usually begin writing is to read over what I have written so far, editing it as I go along. That helps me gather my thoughts as to what should come next. Hope that helps! Donna Cunningham

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