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Forensic Mercury: Retrograde in Scorpio

October 1 – November 27, 2013

The final Mercury retrograde cycle of 2013 covers the zone from 2°-19° Scorpio, entering on October 1st, 2013 and leaving on November 27, 2013. Here are the dates for the full arc of the cycle, from the day on which Mercury passes the degree where it will later turn direct, through until the next Superior (or Exterior) conjunction.

1) October 1 – Mercury at 2°29′ Scorpio, the degree of later SD (November 10)

2) October 21 – Mercury turns retrograde at 18°24′ Scorpio

3) November 1 – Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 9°34′ Scorpio

4) November 10 – Mercury turns direct at 2°29′ Scorpio

5) November 20 – Mercury passes the degree of recent conjunction (November 1)

6) November 27 – Mercury passes the degree of the recent SRx, October 21

7) December 29 – Mercury direct conjunct the Sun at 7°41′ Capricorn

It might surprise you to see the extended period of time mentioned above, as usually we only pay attention when Mercury is actually retrograde, and only for about 21 days, covering about 16°-18° of the zodiac. However, being aware of the whole arc of Mercury’s movement gives us some very useful information, hints on “pacing,” a good basis for decision-making, an opportunity to review things, plus a way of understanding and wisely managing the ebb and flow of situations in our lives.

This particular arc of Mercury is a very interesting one, as it takes in the conjunction of Saturn and the North Node. Indeed, over a few days around the beginning of November, there is a multiple conjunction in the sign of Scorpio, with Sun, Moon, Node, Saturn, and Mercury! This period also sees a solar eclipse (November 3) and the fourth exact square (seven total) of Uranus and Pluto, this one being important because it’s the middle of the sequence.

So the overall Mercury cycle has a tone of heightened intensity. During these times of culmination, escalation, intensification, exaggeration, and proliferation, it is to the “inner planets” that we can perhaps most usefully turn. Astronomically, there are only TWO “proper” inner planets — Mercury and Venus — and, as such, they partake of a profound symbolism, offering us “ways in” to our own inner world when all around seems to be buffeting us about. Paying wise attention to our thoughts (Mercury) can go a long way to offsetting some of the pressures of the collective process.

Here is a short list of all the main conjunctions that occur during this time. (All times are in GMT.)

Below are graphics of this period: one section for each month, October to December. Mercury is the purple line — see it weaving through the other lines (Node, Saturn, Sun, and the Moon sweeping diagonally through) and notice how bunched up they are.

Scorpio, ruled by Mars and Pluto, is a sign with uncompromising dedication to truth, especially as regards what has been previously hidden from sight. The underside is revealed — of ourselves, others, and situations — and we are given the courage to encompass the “dark view.” This leads to a release of bound energy (Scorpio is a fixed sign), and transformation can occur. We may see “through the glass darkly” at this time, and it is important to recognise, Scorpio style, that this is not the whole of reality. The eagle is often associated with Scorpio, and is also the bird of Zeus/Jupiter, ruler of the next sign, Sagittarius. The eagle represents the precise, penetrating, and “forensic” view of the Scorpion, as fresh intuition arises refreshed from seeing and feeling the “dark truth” that enables us to move on.

Mercury’s conjunction with Saturn and the North Node suggests “messages” about our destiny and the capacity to see through the collective delusions that assail us, especially from the media. We focus, forensic style, on the details of what we need to deal withand eliminate the rest, Scorpio style. We are executive rather than speculative, sober rather than over-excited, spare with words rather than talkative, disciplined rather than self-indulgent, narrow rather than broad in our focus. We recognise the power of our choices, not only about external situations, but, crucially, about how we approach our own experience. We get a sense of how it is to be profoundly engaged while remaining detached, feeling deeply without drowning.

Let’s “take it from the top” and explore the seven stages of Mercury’s Rx cycle

1. October 1, 2013 – Mercury at 2°29′ Scorpio, the degree where it will later SD, on November 10.

We enter the “field” of Mercury’s retrograde cycle.


If you work regularly with these cycles, you will be able to feel when Mercury enters the “sensitive zone” of the zodiac where its forthcoming retrogradation will occur. Indeed, it makes sense to prepare for this journey.

Hermes, the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Mercury after whom the planet is named, was the only one of the Olympian gods who had free right of passage through all realms — from the depths of the Underworld, domain of Pluto/Hades, right up to the snowy heights of Mount Olympus, presided over by Zeus.

The picture below shows a mix of light and dark, the hallmark of Mercury’s nature.

By noticing the zodiac sign of Mercury, and any aspects it makes to transiting planets, plus locating its trajectory in our own natal charts, we can get some idea of what kind of territory Mercury will be asking us to travel, and prepare accordingly. For he is the “Guide of Souls,” and if we follow his prompts, we can be sure of an “interesting journey” that may result in profound insights, new connections, quirky, annoying, or amusing events and surprises, welcome or unwelcome, or indeed both!

Remember: Mercury prefers questions to answers, so ask yourself the important questions at this time. And get a sense of what is being asked of you.

Mercury is the weaver between the opposites, like the snakes that wind around the healing staff or caduceus.

His job is to assist travellers on the path of awareness, and to keep the energy moving so that situations develop to fruition, ideas are generated, and important communications are facilitated, both inwardly and outwardly. Also, we may be tripped up with glitches — computers crash, we lose our cell phone or it’s stolen, emails don’t arrive, we are clumsy verbally and cause offence, we jump to wrong conclusions and have to back down and admit we were wrong, we miss meetings, plans go awry, travel arrangements scramble.

You will find plenty of “warnings” about this kind of thing, leading to the Mercury Rx cycle generally getting “bad press”!

However, let’s take a different view here …

Each Mercury Rx cycle is a unique opportunity to shift level, to undergo an inner journey that will enrich our understanding, to free up energy and create momentum in our lives in the particular area of our own horoscope where it is active. So it will focus on and “implant” a set of qualities, as described by the sign(s) of the zodiac in which it’s located.

Rule of thumb …

If you are experiencing a Mercury Rx cycle through a flurry of glitches and things misfiring in general, just STOP your momentum, as in the phrase “Don’t just do something, sit there”! Very often, these Mercurial “signals” are prompts to slow down (as Mercury does when turning), change gear, turn around (as he does) and be reflective rather than active for a while.

The “Re”- words…

Many words that have the prefix “re” describe the processes of Mercury’s Rx cycle, and also give us clues as to how we can best engage with these energies. Here is a list of such words and perhaps you can have some (Mercurial!) fun finding more. Do post them in the comments below!!

Re-flect — Re-examine — Re-view — Re-consider — Re-turn — Re-cognize — Re-do — Re-think — Re-spect — Re-value — Re-vamp — Re-capitulate — Re-model — Re-start — Re-finish — Re-cycle — Re-member — Re-jig — Re-fashion — Re-imagine — Re-cover — Re-habilitate — Re-join — Re-ignite — Re-kindle — Re-form — Re-quire — Re-make — Re-flect — Re-examine — Re-view — Re-make —Re-consider — Re-turn — Re-cognize — Re-do — Re-think — Re-spect — Re-value — Re-vamp — Re-capitulate — Re-model — Re-start — Re-finish — Re-cycle — Re-member — Re-jig — Re-fashion — Re-furbish — Re-cover — Re-join — Re-ignite — Re-kindle — Re-form — Re-quire —Re-veal — Re-solve — Re-design — Re-act — Re-collect — Re-gurgitate — Re-boot — Re-search — Re-move — Re-locate — Re-establish — Re-negotiate — Re-lease — Re-connaissance — Regard — Re-capitalize — Re-wire — Re-birth — Re-set — Re-enter — Re-present — Re-post — Re-cap — Re-enforce — Re-evaluate — Re-build — Re-apply — Re-store — Re-read — Re-generate — Re-new — Re-open — Re-define — Re-align ———  etc!


With thanks to the many people who sent in words when this article was first posted on my website! Here are lots more of those “Re” words with the countries they arrived from.

  Re-solve, Re-design
  Re-act — Re-collect — Re-gurgitate  — Re-boot — Re-search
  Re-move — Re-locate — Re-establish — Re-negotiate — Re-lease —?Re-connaissance — Re-gard — Re-capitalize —
  Re-wire — Re-birth —
  Re-set —
  Re-enter — Re-present — Re-post — Re-cap — Re-enforce — Re-open — Re-evaluate — Re-build — Re-apply — Re-store — Re-read — Re-new — Re-generate — Re-define — Re-align
  Re-transmit — Re-connect — Re-ask — Re-hear — Re-play — Re-studyRe-explain — Re-explore — Re-bound — Re-concile — Re-ceive —Re-understand — Re-discern — Re-analyze — Re-observe —Re-stimulate —


(If you think of more “Re” words do post them in the comments below, and let us know which country you’re writing from so yours can be added.)



As Mercury is the “traveller between the worlds” and can move everywhere “sans frontiers,” getting a sense of where he is going in terms of your own chart is useful. Look up the house where Scorpio is located. For example, if Mercury is crossing your Midheaven, you may be re-thinking various things about your professional life. Decisions mature, opportunities arise, situations clarify, you bring nagging concerns fully into view and deal with them. Things may turn “upside-down.” If Mercury is crossing your IC, you might action a long-standing wish to re-decorate your home, or to put some energy into family relationships you’ve neglected.

Watery Underworld — The Door  Photo: M. Reinhart, 2012

Wherever Mercury travels, be aware that depths may open up. Prepare yourself and your life so that you can benefit from and bring healing to yourself and others through this knowledge.

2. October 21 – Mercury turns Retrograde at 18°24′ Scorpio 

Turning within, towards the darkness …

During the period where Mercury is actually Rx, we can experiment with keeping 80% or more of our attention focused inwardly, on our own field of experience. We may discover, to our surprise, that most of what we do in our lives can be achieved by engaging the remaining 20%. Habitually, we live with those percentages reversed, with 80% or more of our attention going ‘out’, so we become seduced, lost, stretched out, exhausted, embroiled in the outer world. Especially during the ‘interesting times’ we are living through, the media exerts a direct and compelling influence over our state of mind, if we allow it to.

Switch it off …

Get curious — have a “technology fast.” Just switch it off. Experiment with silent days, computer-free days, iPhone free days, put your email account on auto-reply. Go further if you feel like a (Scorpio!) challenge … don’t speak, read, or write for an hour, a day, a week. Whatever makes sense for your lifestyle.

Even if you live a really busy life, fully engaged with family, friends, and work, with a little forward planning and ingenuity you will find small “windows,” places and times, to “switch off the world” and commune with your soul.

Even better … practice doing this in the midst of “it all.”

Be “online” inwardly and notice how your world and your life seem from this “Underworld” perspective.

Listen, and Hear …

Hermetic Silence – Bocchuis 1574

Try being “in the world but not of it” rather than being “of the world, but not in it”!

Befriending …

Look for the dark, stuck places in the soul and hang out there. Get a sense of the qualities, somatic location, tone, and frequency of these hidden areas. There’s no need to “do anything,” just acknowledge your own perceptions and reactions. These “tucked away corners” will just love to be receiving your kindly attention and may yield unexpected blessings and surprises, basking in some warmth after being shut away in the icy wastelands of “frozen Scorpio.”

Here, the purpose is not about “getting rid of” anything, although this may be our habitual attitude when sensing these dark and unfamiliar places. We approach these parts of the soul as we would a frightened kitten — quietly, soothingly, with open and friendly intent, and perhaps a saucer of milk. We listen for the silent language of this “unknown other” and make ourselves available in good heart.

3. November 1 – Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 9°34′ Scorpio 


The conjunction with Mercury and the Sun is a precious time of “seeding.” Notice with precision and care what “crosses your path” around this date. Who comes into your life like the “Messenger” of Mercury, who is, after all, the “Messenger of the Gods”? What situations present? Most importantly, pay attention to dreams, reveries, and intuitions. And journal this bit, as it might bring fleeting impressions that are difficult to “catch by the tail.” However, you’ll delight in seeing how the ingredients of this time are reflected at the forthcoming Superior Conjunction on December 29, 2013.

For example, someone struggling with the application forms for a course around the Inferior Conjunction was notified that her application had been successful at around the Superior Conjunction. Or, at the Inferior Conjunction we give up on something that clearly isn’t working, and something else, new and unconsidered, presents itself at the Superior Conjunction. You get the picture!

4. November 10 – Mercury turns direct at 2°29′ Scorpio 


What gift will we take with us from the previous 21 days of Mercury being retrograde? The Universe is always ready to bestow its gifts, only asking that we are willing to receive them. With Mercury in Scorpio, the image of “buried treasure” comes to mind. The “treasure” may have been located at the Inferior Conjunction (November 1) and we’ve been carrying it up from the Underworld since then.

5. November 20 – Mercury passes the Inferior Conjunction degree (Nov 1) 


We see the direction of things, accept the Guidance, start planning, get curious about the outcomes. We are still “in the journey.” Reflect on the notion, found in many mystical traditions, that “the Traveller, the Road, and the Destination” are One. What does this mean to you? And where, actually, are we going, really, truly? If anywhere?

6. November 27 – Mercury passes the degree of recent SRx (Oct. 21)


We marvel at the interior “seeding” that has taken place, and the magical process of how life events and experiences are unfolding. What or who is it that makes all this occur?

7. December 29 – Mercury direct conjunct the Sun at 7°41′ Capricorn. 


We notice fruition and gives thanks for what “works” in our lives, as well as accepting “what doesn’t work”! This conjunction is in Saturn’s sign, and near to transiting Pluto, so take care not to distort your view of things to include only the “half empty glass”! And understand that it’s largely a matter of our definition anyway … we can always train ourselves to re-focus the lens, without lapsing into denial of the “other.”


Bio:  Melanie Reinhart has been a professional astrologer since 1975, and is a prize-winning Diploma-holder of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, of whom she is also a patron. She received the Charles Harvey award in 2004, for “exceptional service to astrology,” and has taught for leading astrology schools in the UK and abroad. She runs a thriving practice offering individual readings to an international clientele. Books include: Chiron and the Healing JourneyChiron, Saturn and the CentaursIncarnation, and a contribution to the anthology The Mars Quartet. Visit her website for articles, useful resources, and a calendar of her workshops and lectures.