Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 18, 2016

Mercury’s Long Stay in Virgo? Here’s what to Do.

©7-18-2016 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

            Something prompted me this morning to look for the next Mercury retrograde period, since I regularly plan much-needed projects to tackle during those intervals. I was surprised to discover that Mercury will be in Virgo this year for total of 42 days starting on July 30th. It goes retrograde on August 30th at 29° Virgo and turns direct at 15° Virgo on September 21st,  so it’s retrograde for 24 of the 42 days.

Would you think I was batty if I told you that that was the best news I’ve had all week? My regular readers know that I take the prevailing hysteria about Mercury Retrograde with a grain of salt—well, more like a whole shaker full of salt.  Too many people make these retrogrades sound like some terrifying boogie man, and I think they’re addicted to high drama.

Many  horror stories people tell about Mercury Rx meltdowns aren’t due to Mercury at all, but are:

  • exaggerated for the sake of drama
  • due to transits by Uranus, especially those stories involving computer, internet  or mobile device problems.
  • or due to Neptune transits that set off hazy thinking
  • or to already existing ADD-HD patterns

A Rational Approach to Mercury Retrograde

My approach is more sensible, I like to think. I make a point of using these intervals productively, while consciously avoiding the pitfalls.  I double check everything I do during that time, hold up on major outreach, don’t start major new projects, and back up my computer after every writing session.

Mercury retrograde is a good time for reviewing and planning. If we insist on going forward as fast as possible and never take time to look back, poor decisions and unwise strategies can become entrenched and contribute to bad outcomes. We can profit from these periodic stages of evaluating where we are and considering what the next steps need to be.

As a writer, I consider the regularly recurring retrogrades by Mercury excellent times to be consciously reviewing my work and refining it.   I cherish those intervals as opportunities to revise writing projects already in process.  The novel I’m working on now about a past life therapist has so many meandering stories and themes that even I get lost in trying to sort them out. I’m at the midpoint of the book, and it’s important that I get the first half of the book solid right now and to plan the structure for the second half, leading to a rewarding finale.

Why It’s Especially Helpful in Virgo

        The Virgophobes among us may be bewailing the fact that the whole retrograde period is in Virgo. I can hear them now:  “Whyyyyyyy does this have to be happening in Virgo?  My boss/spouse/mom/mother-in-law will be pick, pick, picking at me.  Criticizing, demanding details, fussing about punctuation and spelling, nagging, correcting every little thing I do. I swear she/he goes over everything with a stiletto pen.”

Now, now! Is it really that bad?  I would consider myself extremely lucky to have a Virgo secretary/editor/factotum if I could afford one.   They would banish my Archnemesis, The Forces of Chaos, and keep them ever at bay.  They would remind me of those tedious details and deadlines and prompt me when they need doing–even, best case scenario, take care of them for me….automatically.

Virgo’s good qualities are often ignored, but here’s a (fairly) detailed list. (Not every Virgo has all of them or puts them to good use.  It depends on other chart placements and aspects to Virgo planets.) Who among us couldn’t use some of them?    Down to earth, practical, sensible, helpful, organizes, tends to details, analyzes, good work ethic, many work skills,  wants to be useful, modest, good at fact checking, discerning, observant about human nature, puts others’ needs first, willing to help, steady, strives to do their best.  While Mercury is in this sign, use some of those qualities to make progress.

Mercury’s Stationary Periods—a Key to Mastering this Retrograde Period

            As you’ll learn from the articles linked below, the stationary periods when a planet turns retrograde or direct are key times when a project might stall for a week or longer—and the informed reader is wise not to spin their wheels when that happens but instead to turn to WHAT?

The stationary periods for this Mercury cycle are from August 19th to September 2nd as it turns retrograde at 29° Virgo and from September 19th to 24th as it turns direct at 15° Virgo. The 29th is a degree marking times of transition. If you’re new to this blog, you might find it informative to read the article about that degree and our amazing dialogue about that degree in the comment section of that article. (See the link in the list below.)

My interpretation of this stationary time at 29° Virgo is that those of us affected by it are likely to be on the threshold of some important transition in our work or personal life, but it’s not quite time to embark on it. First we need to clean up any chaos that’s accumulated and put it right so we don’t leave a mess behind. If you’ve been directly impacted by transits to your natal chart positions by Neptune in mid-Pisces and Saturn in mid-Sagittarius, then you’ve probably been struggling with chaos, disorder or confusion in those areas of life.

Readers, can you think of a Mercury retrograde project that would improve your work or personal life?  Or do you have an inspiring example of long-needed projects that worked out well under Mercury Rx? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Here are links to previous blog articles that spell out ways to use these periods productively and to avoid certain difficulties that come up.  




  1. Maybe it will slow down some of the rage that seems to be so hot right now. If people actually thought things through instead of emoting and/or reacting on impulse and shooting before thinking or spouting off their pie hole, perhaps some of the recent violence would not have happened.

    • so right, MELO. Good to hear from you. I think Uranus in Aries is related to a lot of the rage–such a volatile combination. Donna

      • One thing I have noticed is, that at least in the US, most of the shooters, be they trigger happy cops or crazed guys shooting at cops, are recent military combat vets. I’m thinking PTSD is partly to blame.
        And this ungodly heat wave ain’t helping anything.
        Another thing that was interesting to me is that you can almost drawn a straight line through the continent from Minneapolis to Baton Rouge. I wonder if that particular meridian is stressed right now,
        One thing I LOVE about getting older: all that undifferentiated rage seems to have just gone away. I’m just not a hot head anymore! And boy howdy with Moon conjunct Uranus hooked into my Mars and Pluto conjunct the Sun, you KNOW I’ve had some problems with rage, at least in the past!

      • I’m with you on the state of our nation, MELO. Another factor could be head injuries from combat conditions and explosions. I read an article (somewhere) that a very high number of homeless people are veterans and that a very high number of the total homeless have been affected by head injuries. Donna

    • I do not have solar fire but if you do and can track the path of the last eclipse and then consider aspects coming to that degree you might find some interesting patters. I is not just the US where these things are happening either. I dont have a way to track the eclipse path myself but When I had solar fire it was always an indicator.

      • I would bet there’s someone online who does track the eclipse path. There are people who travel to see the eclipses–not just astrology people.

  2. Interesting, thanks for the heads up! My ascendant at 28’58 Virgo is directly opposite my natal Chiron (28’58 Pisces). My Chiron return is not far off; I will be paying close attention to this Mercury retrograde period.

    • Do report back–that’s a big transit for you, and it’ll be interesting to hear how you perceive the process. Donna

    • Would love to hear as well. My asc is at 25° virgo. Chiron touched Desc briefly (ouch!) and is going back into 6th.
      At the end of August Venus will contact Mercury at 28° and soon after Jupiter. It should be interesting!

      This year with all the retrograde ‘action’?! Mercury included, looking in re assessing has been a major theme.

      I agree Dona that Mercury in Virgo will be extremely helpful especially considering the NN and Jupiter there. And it will pass through the degrees of last September and March eclipses. Major cleanup!
      Glad to see a new post and happy belated birthday!

  3. Donna The Mercury Rx is 24 days long, NOT 42, and it goes direct on September 22, 2016

    • Oops, what I was trying to say is that the total number of days Mercury was in Virgo was 42 days, including direct and retrograde. Donna

  4. Thank you so much!

    • I believe Donna said it would be in virgo for 42 days, retrograde for 42 days. 😉

      • I meant to say “not” retrograde. Boy, just thinking about retrograde brings on those energies LOL.

      • yes, i went back to check and i think donna has worded it the way she intended to…anyway, i got the message!

  5. Hi Donna,

    Thanks for your article.
    Seems like the sun will be at 29 virgo at the time mercury turns direct (conjunct NN)..
    Would that mean, extra ‘illumination’ on the topics mercury made a halt on? (I also remember 29 pisces was the degree of last year’s solar eclpise)

    To share my experiences of the retrogrades so far this year in the earth signs, I had a difficult but wonderfully cleansing time in january with capricorn, which falls in my second (by sun sign) and eighth (by rising sign) houses. I turned my house / belongings / possessions upside down, cleaned it all out, kept only what i need. It actually gave me a sense of self-worth, in relation to what I own and what represents me.
    With taurus in may, everyone seems to have had a blast. Not me.
    Fell in my 6th / 12th, opposite natal pluto, venus and mercury. Awful. Felt like my body (and my soul in it) were burning off / away / out.
    Wishing everyone a useful and cheerful virgo time in august / september!


    • Interesting with the Sun at 29 Virgo–and it looks like Venus is at 29 Virgo a day or so before. too. Quite a theme. Donna

  6. Reblogged this on Jude's Threshold and commented:
    Mercurial insights from expert astrologer Donna Cunningham!

  7. […] Donna Cunningham’s Mercury Retrograde post on Sky Writer […]

  8. Thank you so much for this post, Donna. I turn 65 Aug 31, have given notice to leave Fargo apt. Sept. 30 – came up here again 3 years ago from AZ-Mexico border (16 years there) to help daughter with grand kids (oldest now 6 is ASD, youngest turning 4 Wed.) – This has been one of the very hardest times of my adult life and I’ve lived thru a lot (as we all have!). Climate, city, apt. here = NOT good for me!

    I know so little about astrology, but pay attention best I can to what you say! Have 12th house Virgo: Merc @ 06, Sun @ 07, Venus @12 – with Saturn 01 Libra. I really do not know HOW I am going to travel out of here or exactly WHERE I am going, very few material resources, truly scary time, on full PTSD/anxiety disability – been feeling like I am in a kind of ‘dying’ stage – hoping for healing and strength returning thru processes you describe here. Need a ‘new life’ – asap! Having to pare away most of what I own – and seems also going thru process of paring away most of who I have known myself to be so far in this lifetime. All feels tough – and foreign (which I think is the hardest part for me). Anyway, will walk carefully thru what’s coming up! Thanks again!!!!

    • It sounds very difficult, and I wish for you that good living situations unfold and quickly. Use your natal Virgo planets and this transit to get on solid ground. Donna

      • Thank you! Linda

      • Hi Donna – With Mercury being ‘the final depositor’ in my chart, I think someone told me once – and given that both my Virgo natal Mercury and Venus were retrograde – 🙂 I have begun to wonder, is there anything especially relevant I could be looking for in the grand swing of things coming up? And, yes – the getting myself to solid ground is also in full swing! peace, thanks, Linda

      • Now at least have a clear direction for my move!! That is HUGE progress! Now to get there leaving around 9/30 – smiles, Linda

  9. Wow- I hadn’t noticed where this retrograde landed until your post. I have Virgo 9 deg as my ascendant and Sun at 25 Sag in the fourth house. We just bid on a house in town and are starting to clean,, repair and pack to move back after 19 years in the mountains! I will need every single day of this time working really hard to get this done! I will need all my Virgo skills to clean, sort, discard stuff, paint and schedule all the meetings and appointments necessary. I also noted that their will be a full moon eclipse on my ascendant on Sept.1 !!!!! Yes, this will be an important transition in my life.
    I am also supposed to be going to NY city with some female friends Sept. 12 through the 17th. I am confused at the moment and trying to decide whether to follow through on those plans. YIKES! I am feeling very conflicted but happy that we found a house we both (hubby and me) love and our offer was accepted. My Virgo ascendant wants to get this move done correctly but my Sag. sun wants to go on a trip of course.!!

    • One thing I was going to say when I was writing the post was that it didn’t look like a good time to go on vacation, as you’d be likely to be called back home due to work needed. A better time would be a bit later when it goes into Libra, a better sign for social plans. Donna

      • I guess that is what has been bugging my brain. The sun won’t enter Libra until September 23 and Mercury won’t be in Libra until October 8. It is looking like my travel plans need to be delayed. Darn- I always wanted to go to NY city!. I hope SW Airlines will let me use my prepaid ticket for some other trip! I think my friends will understand but I will be out some money for sure! I am trying to be philosophical about this but I am not succeeding! argh

  10. This will affect my solar return in general with mercury, Jupiter, and the moon snug in the first for the year. And natal mercury @ 20 degrees virgo, at the head of a lengthy dispositor chain. It should be a busy year. I anticipate continued work on already begun concerns – that is what mercury is for me.
    Mercury retros became much easier for me to manage when it went retrograde by secondary progression. For me it is a turning inward to cultivate mindfulness in action and word, to become more reflective in my affairs.
    Generally in the the past mercury retro periods have always been times to pause and reflect – count the ducklings before crossing the road – review ongoing situations – self-audits etc. It has not been a good time to start new projects but to review and hone and refine existing ones.
    I find I tend to hurry to start a handful of things before the retro period goes into effect so I have the project already started and so in the ongoing folder already. This one in particular is like that Is I am slammin’ busy.
    It is not a good time for me to sign legal agreements though, even for things ongoing.

    • An interesting point, Uhane. Yes, I agree that if Mercury is retrograde in your solar return, it would describe conditions you’d meet for the whole year.

      Interesting about the progressions, too. I don’t follow my progressions much, but I do take note when my progressed Mercury changes signs, as it marks a clear change in my writing. Donna

  11. Here’s one for synchronicity: I’m writing a new cabaret piece about an aging lesbian proctologist, who due to the sensitivity of her male clientele is always dressed as a man in the clinic and a gay male karmic regression astrologer, Madame Lilith, specialised in opening the hearts of females in hard masculine professions. He, of course, is always dressed as a woman in his clinic. Both despise their ridiculous clients and as they become each other’s patient/client, they fall helplessly in love with their doctor/therapist who is doing her/his best to totally undermine them. I just found an option to go on a writing retreat in an Italian convent during that Mercury retrograde period, during which Mercury of course will station direct on my 12th house Pluto/Uranus.

    • Oh, Mads, it sounds like so much fun! What a great plot! Donna

    • wow!! 😀

  12. I have a twelfth house Virgo with Jupiter there. This would be a great time for introspection. It also will tie in well with my Saturn return. A great time for wrapping up the old cycle and preparing to begin a new one. Mercury will also trine my Venus in Taurus. I’m looking forward to it!

  13. Hello Mrs. Cunningham! I love your work. I was wondering, my birthday is on Sept 7, making my Sun at a minute under the 15 degrees of virgo that Mercury goes direct on, though 2 weeks later. What does having a RX Mercury in a Solar Return, and what does the stationing direct on my natal Sun’s degree mean? Thank you in advance! P.S. I’m a Gemini ASc, so Mercury is my ruling planet. (Natal Mercury is 11 Virgo, ASC is Gemini 19), and Mercury is in my 4th house.

    • Hi, Jenniannie. My interpretation would be that the kinds of transitions and wrapping loose ends up in order to start on a new phase that I described on the article might well be true of the year that starts on your bierthday. Donna

  14. i have been avoiding having a good look at this for several weeks…i am not sure why. (i have a powerful stellium in that sector and its tricky to read one’s self – i am going with *that* reason) i think today i will have to start gazing at charts and pondering. thank you for this post.
    (and Hekate, where are you? 🙂 )

    • To help in reading that important part of your chart, look at the articles on stelliums on this blog. Donna\

  15. So looking forward to having Mercury jumping back and forth on my Virgo sun and stellium, which includes the legendary Pluto-Uranus conjunction. Two years ago I gave my unfaithful husband the boot and have been gradually decluttering my home; however, there’s one room I continue to baulk at, and that’s the study, where he’d tuck himself away to look at hard-core porn. (Could that have been Pluto approaching my IC?)
    I’ve purged or sent on almost all his stuff, bought new equipment and should now be able to use that room as my home office and start expanding my work commitments. But it’s still a terrible mess and I dread going in there. I hope Merc Rx will help me bring it to Virgoly order and make it my own. My daughter is sick of having to clear my laptop etc off the dining room table so that she can eat, poor kid.

  16. I have a packed 2nd house with my sun at 29′ Virgo. My Mars is 28′ virgo. This means, retrograde Mercury will conjunct both my sun and mars. I nervous

    • PLEASE read more of the articles about Mercury retrograde on Skywriter. It is not the end of the world!! There are some very constructive uses of Mercury retrograde. Donna

  17. I can only imagine what this period will bring. I have a 7 planet stellium in Virgo so Mercury will be conjunct the lump. That’s a lot of mercurial energy for a good long while. The potential seems kind of exciting to me!

  18. Hi Donna,
    like your blog very much.
    How astounding; my natal Saturn is at 14.28degr. Virgo (2nd house) and my Mars is at 29.34degr. Virgo (3rd house) – guess Mercury is going to connect these two somehow – am very curious what will happen !
    Natal Mercury is at 7.35degr. conjunct my Sun at 7.15degr. in Aries in 9th house.


  19. Hi Donna,

    Just discovered this wonderful site of yours. Have only been practicing astrology about ten years (though studying long before), so am still a novice, and while I read a lot, am particular about my instructors 😉

    Perfect timing, my MH is at 29 Virgo (Pl and Ur conjunct in Virgo/9th), and yes, am chomping at the bit (that’s Sag Rising/Moon speak), somewhat in the dark, but know that, with Saturn just crossed over the asc, old projects must now be wrapped up, to clear space for who knows what.

    Maybe this retrograde will provide a hint. Seems every time I turn around, lately, someone is stationing exactly on one of my natal planets/points. Very odd.

    Have shared your site on my FB page (Roxanna’s AstroTarology) and look forward to reading more !

    Best, Roxanna

    • Glad you’re enjoying it, Roxanna. Under the “free” tab on the front page, you can download an index of about 600 articles, with working links that take you to articles you’re interested in. Donna

  20. p.s., Just reading your 29th degree piece and the comments…for research purposes, I do have a stellium, Mars in Aries/4th and p/f, Mercury, Jupiter, Sun Taurus/5th, trine the PL/Ur in 9th. Have bloomed and fizzled a few times, but maybe the best is still yet to come.

  21. Great, Donna, will do. Thanks.

  22. “If you’ve been directly impacted by transits to your natal chart positions by Neptune in mid-Pisces and Saturn in mid-Sagittarius, then you’ve probably been struggling with chaos, disorder or confusion in those areas of life.”
    Well, add to this, Pluto Cap. in the 1st (26ºSagt) conj. Moon 14º like… FOREVER!! And trine MC 14º and Sun in 16ºVirgo , after long time opposite Mars 11°Libra, Square Mercury 13º Libra (still there) Ouch!!
    Searching for Pluto insights on this caos I found this article of yours, Donna which I want to thank you a lot for!
    I’m a bit scared about what to expect (?) or do about this whole mess, adding Mercury Rx ingredient.
    Did anyone noticed that on 21/22 when Mercury goes right at Virgo 14º, Pluto Rx will be also at Cap 14º, and goes straight again at the 27, at this very same degree?
    And by the way I’m also one of the Uranus/Pluto born in Virgo.
    I’m reading all your articles, comments, great, great material you have here!
    Your article about “pluto-in-capricorn-and-pernicious-perfectionism-vs-positive-perfectionism” hit the very true point, I’ve seen and been feeling this out there a lot!
    Following you and loving it!

    • Beth, do read the series of articles on Mercury Retrograde on this blog. Most of the horror stories people attribute the Mercury Rx are really due to outer planet transits like Neptune, Saturn, or Uranus. And an aspect between 14 Virgo and 14 Capricorn is a trine, and a really good one at that for organizing things and tying up loose ends, given that both are earth signs. I’m glad you found Skywriter. There’s a downloadable index of the 600 plus articles on Skywriter under the free tab on the front page. Donna

  23. Sorry, a correction: My Mars is in Cancer, ops…

  24. Thank you very much Donna! I’m a great fan of yours for decades now, since I first met you at your conference at São Paulo, I think in the 90’s beginning, not sure about the date now.

    • Ohhh, Sao Paulo!!! I absolutely loved Brasil and my trips there a long time ago and the warm. delightful audiences…and the real Brasilian food. With the Olympics going on there, I’ve been so nostalgic and wished I was still young enough to travel there. Donna

      • I was thinking about asking you if enjoyed your trips here, and then your delightful comment come my way! Ohhh, I’m very grateful for all of this, Donna, back then and now reconnecting! Very glad to know that it brings you good memories, for me too, and well, we’re all young at that time 😉 It would be a great pleasure to meet you here again 😀
        Sending you much love. Beth

      • Obligato, Beth! One sweet memory I have is that when a group of students from Brasil came to the US for a big international conference, they brought me a box of a soap they knew I loved. It was by Phebo and was odor de rosas. To this day, I keep one of the bars, unwrapped, as a souvenir.

        PS. I made either three or four trips to Brasil, and it turns out that my Venus-Uranus-Saturn conjunction in Gemini is on the relocated Midheaven in Rio, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Brazilia. (On my Astro*Carto*Graphy map.)

      • You are very welcome Donna! How sweet! Phebo Rosas is still the nº1 of the brand that has been modernized but didn’t lost it’s original roots, my mother used it a lot, and then me too, it has the scent of my childhood! Do come visit us here again Donna, just to relax, enjoy and pamper your Gemini planets 😉
        Many and many thanks Donna, this talk and so cherished flashback is giving much softness and healing to my plutonian/neptunian soul. 🙂
        Feeling happy that you have so many precious memories from my country:D The 90’s were very good times for astrology here.
        I have 2 of your books, Portuguese version, autographed by you back then (do envy me folks! lol): “Healing Pluto Problems” and “Astrology and Vibrational Healing” which I recommend and can say it’s a must reading! I also have most of your books, will find the one’s missing asap!
        What an amazing thing the internet 😀

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