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Navigating Mercury Retrograde in Virgo: Cultivating Balance and Self-Care

Holistic Health and Self-Care Tips

23 August – 15 September 2023

an x-ray of a hand making the okay sign

Here we are again, staring down another Mercury Retrograde.

The words ‘Mercury Retrograde’ strikes fear in the hearts of many. It is collectively known as the time when travel plans go awry, technology breaks down, exes float back into your life and communication lines get crossed. Often people just want to climb into bed with the covers over their heads until it is all over.

But, Mercury Retrograde is actually a really awesome time to reflect on what’s working in your life and what isn’t. In this hectic world we live in, consider the retrograde period as a chance to take a mini-retreat, slow down and tidy up those loose ends in your life that are just flapping about in the wind.

What is a retrograde anyway?

Every planet goes through retrograde periods. Essentially it is when the planet appears to be going backwards in the sky. It isn’t—this is just an optical illusion due to the position of the planet in relation to Earth, and how it is moving around the Sun. It’s a bit like being on a train with another train on the track next to you. As the train next to you picks up speed it can feel like your train is going backwards.

The optical illusion of the planet going backwards gives us an opportunity to have a think about what’s going on in our lives. A retrograde is a chance for us to rest, reflect, rethink, reevaluate, retreat, reset, renew … basically any word beginning with ‘re’.

About Mercury

Mercury rules how we think, learn and communicate. It oversees short distance travel (like day trips), our immediate environment (like our neighbourhood), siblings (or any kids you grew up with that feel like siblings) and formal education up until the end of high school. Mercury’s association with communication means it is also connected to technology.

Mercury is the ruler of Gemini, a sign which is known for its love of information, being social, constant movement and mental dexterity.

In Roman mythology Mercury was the God of Commerce, messages, travelers, boundaries, trickery and thieves. He had winged feet which helped him travel swiftly and carried a caduceus, which is a winged staff with two snakes. In Greek mythology Mercury was known as Hermes and it has also been associated with Loki in the Norse mythology.

The God Mercury was quite the trickster and it is this side of the planet that we see when it is in retrograde.

General things that might happen when Mercury is retrograde

Because Mercury rules communication, you can find that you experience misunderstandings and miscommunications. Check plans with people ahead of time and don't make assumptions (as the saying goes, 'when you assume you make an ass out of u and me').

Technology might go on the fritz (I have often had computer or phone issues coincide with a Mercury Retrograde, so make sure everything is backed up just in case) and if you have travel plans be aware that there may be delays—give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to be, have duplicates of your travel documents etc.

Patterns in your life can spring up again, giving you a chance to act differently or make a different choice.

It is often advised to not to sign contracts during a Mercury Retrograde, but the other party might not accept 'I cannot sign this until Mercury is direct' as a reason to delay things. If you must sign something, just make sure you triple-check everything so there are no surprises later. Also be aware that the agreement can change later on, which isn't necessarily a bad thing and can work out in your favour—Yoko Ono famously only signed contracts during Mercury Retrogrades so she could more easily renegotiate the terms later.

Really, your experience of Mercury retrograde depends on your own attitude. If you allow yourself some breathing space and compassion and are accepting that things can go a little awry you will have a much easier time than if you get super stressed out about every detail not going to plan. It's a lesson in surrendering and going with the flow.

The pre and post retrograde periods

The retrograde period is bookended by what is known as the pre-retrograde and post-retrograde shadow periods.

Pre-retrograde shadow: This is like when you are setting up for a party. You are getting things ready. You might start noticing some themes popping up—pay attention to these as they could very well be your particular focus/lesson during this retrograde period.

The retrograde: This is like the party itself when all the action happens (good, bad or otherwise). It begins when Mercury stations retrograde and ends when Mercury stations direct.

Post-retrograde shadow: This is like cleaning up after a party. The event is over, but there may be a few guests hanging around that you need to get rid of, or you may think you’ve cleaned everything up but then find an empty beer bottle hidden somewhere a few days later. Basically this is our chance to revisit the events of the retrograde and properly tidy up any loose ends.

Mercury Cazimi: About halfway through the retrograde period Mercury will be at the same degree as the Sun. This is known as Cazimi and represents the Sun burning off and cleansing Mercury (and by extension the issues we are working through). After this point in the cycle we can start to feel a bit clearer about things and feel like we can start to create some solutions or come to decisions.

Dates for Mercury Retrograde in Virgo 2023

Pre-retrograde shadow starts: 4 August

Mercury Station Retrograde: 23 August

Mercury Station Direct: 15 September

Post-retrograde shadow ends: 30 September

Themes of Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

The signs of the zodiac build on one-another. We need the nurturing mode of Cancer so we can fully express ourselves in Leo, and we then need the earth of Virgo to help us sift through, organise and discern the best way to do things. For Virgo knows systems. As the sign that rules the digestion—that which sifts and sorts the nutrients in our body—Virgo sifts and sorts its way through life.

In Virgo we are concerned about our health, daily habits and how we are of service to others. It also rules pets. Virgo wants us to be the best we can be. It wants our body to be the healthiest it can be. It wants to make the best decisions that will help us be the most productive and useful. Virgo gets down to the nitty gritty detail and spots the flaws. It makes the improvements it needs to, then it analyses the system again for the next round of improvements.

1. Embracing Balance and Enhancing Vitality

Revise your diet and exercise routine and make improvements. Perhaps you need to swap out a day of cardio for yin yoga to bring in a bit of balance and help stretch out those muscles so that they can function better and improve your running.

2. Investigating and Resolving Lingering Health Concerns

Have you been ignoring that nagging pain or postponing a much-needed checkup? Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with your doctor and address any health issues.

3. The Interconnectedness of Physical, Spiritual, and Mental Health

Virgo, as an archetype of holistic health, reminds us of the interconnectedness of our physical, spiritual, and mental states. Use this period to seek balance in all areas of your life. Consider consulting a counsellor or psychologist to discuss any concerns weighing on your mind, or embrace the practice of meditation to cultivate inner peace and self-awareness.

4. Working Smarter, Not Harder

Mercury retrograde in Virgo serves as a gentle nudge to get organised in all areas of our lives. Establish or upgrade your systems for managing finances, work flows and meal preparation. This is your opportunity to work smarter, not harder.

5. Embracing Self-Care and Setting Boundaries

Think about the effort you put into helping others. Do you often say yes even when you don’t have the time or energy? This is a chance to honour your boundaries and practise saying no so you don’t burn out.

6. Overcoming the Shadow Side of Virgo

The shadow side of Virgo can be overly critical, over-analytical and anxious. Are you being too hard on yourself? Do you need to cultivate more self-love and compassion?

Your personal experience of Mercury retrograde in Virgo will depend on where Virgo is in your birth chart. The following outlines the areas of your life where you will be doing some extra reflecting. Book in for a personal chart reading to learn more.

Aries and Aries rising: This retrograde will be in your 6th house of health, habits and daily work.

Taurus and Taurus rising: This retrograde will be in your 5th house of pleasure, creativity and children.

Gemini and Gemini rising: This retrograde will be in your 4th house of home, family and foundations.

Cancer and Cancer rising: This retrograde will be in your 3rd house of communication, siblings and neighbourhood.

Leo and Leo rising: This retrograde will be in your 2nd house of money, personal resources and values.

Virgo and Virgo rising: This retrograde will be in your 1st house of self, identity and how you meet the world.

Libra and Libra rising: This retrograde will be in your 12th house of subconscious and spirituality.

Scorpio and Scorpio rising: This retrograde will be in your 11th house of community, organisations, groups and personal hopes and dreams.

Sagittarius and Sagittarius rising: This retrograde will be in your 10th house of career and social standing.

Capricorn and Capricorn rising: This retrograde will be in your 9th house of adventure, travel, education and belief systems.

Aquarius and Aquarius rising: This retrograde will be in your 8th house of shared resources, sex, intimacy and psychology.

Pisces and Pisces rising: This retrograde will be in your 7th house of relationships

Some things to ponder

Revisit the general themes of Mercury Retrograde in Virgo and journal about what this means for you. Are there any things that stand out to you that you need to focus on or complete?

Take a look at the house/area of life that Virgo rules in your birth chart (check out the list above). What area of your life will this retrograde affect and what does this mean for you? how do I feel about this part of my life or my situation right now?

Bonus: If you know a bit about your birth chart and have planets in Virgo, which ones are they and how will this add an extra dimension to your retrograde experience? (For example, if you have your Sun in Virgo you may be thinking more about your personal identity, if you have Mars in Virgo the way you take action might be up for reflection.) I can totally help you with this if you want to book in for a birth chart reading.

Using all of the above information reflect on what is your intention for this retrograde (reconciling a relationship, recreating balance in your health and habits, revising your finances).

Post-retrograde reflection:

Once Mercury has gone full steam ahead, look back on the previous weeks.

What happened? What did you learn? How do you feel about this part of your life or situation now?


Work with me

Book a Birth Chart reading to discover how the upcoming transits will play out for you personally.

The Complete Package uses a variety of tools including astrology, holistic counselling and EFT. Explore personal issues and concerns in a way that honours your unique way of thinking and being.



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