The Optical Illusion of Mercury Retrograde


Written by Lisa Stardust

March 5th brings the first retrograde of 2019. Mercury will start its backstroke on March 5th, taking us back to the story created February 19th when Mercury entered its post-retrograde shadow. We are now dealing with the fallout of events from February, stammering in confusion as we try to gain clarity over past situations. 

Mercury retrograde serves as a time to rethink, reassess, and reconsider events in our life. Often, we hear from ghosts of our past, communication falls apart, and we get a little more lazier in our daily activities. Contrary to urban cosmic legend, Mercury retrograde is not necessarily a bad transit. It’s a wonderful time to restart projects and reconnect with others. We are also given the chance to see situations and partnerships from a different perspective. The Earth is moving faster than Mercury, allowing us to see things with greater depth and understanding. We can heal and make amends with the past, thus, allowing us to move forward. 

What sets this current retrograde apart from the others, is that Mercury  will start its celestial backstroke at 29 degrees of Pisces. The 29th degree of any planet or sign is known as the anaretic degree. It is a sensitive and frustrating degree, due to its need for fast action, with extra careful thought. Basically, an anaretic degree is a planet that wants to move into the future at extreme speed. However, it has major setbacks due to its inability to make clear and concise decisions. The juxtaposition can cause annoyances and uncertainties to manifest within. Further, we will all experience a sense of urgency as well. The anaretic  degree will make us all think “it’s now or never,” forcing us to take immediate action. It’s important for us all to practice impulse control before we jump into circumstances or commit to relationships we know very little about. Most importantly, we all must learn to be open-minded and, not pass judgements, and to make well informed decisions. Rather than jumping into a new job, project, or partnership head first—it’s crucial we sleep on our choices before committing. 

The Sabian Symbol for this retrograde is a prism radiating beautiful light around the world. We are all experiencing new insights and ideas—birthing a light from within to shine on the beautiful Piscean sea. We all must honor the light (truth) within us, and let go of deceptions and lies we have told ourselves. We may begrudgingly not want to embrace change and let go. However, in this case, we are given the cosmic push to embrace our higher minded pursuits and inner wisdoms. We are peeling back the onion, exposing our truest selves. The prism may act as an optical illusion during Mercury Retrograde, forcing us all to see a distorted view of ourselves. Therefore, it’s important to keep centered and boundaries in place until March 28th, as others may try to project their insecurities on to us.

Throughout the next 23 days, Mercury will hit Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, and the Nodes of Destiny, creating an emotional roller coaster full of ups and downs, swirls, and turns. With our emotions heightened, we will all experience sea-sickness from the up and down clashes of the sea. March 14th will bring clarity to us all, when the Sun acts to right all the wrongs and misunderstandings caused by Mercury. 

During this retrograde, Jupiter will act to expand our insights, as well as anxieties of our circumstances. Think back to the events of February 22nd. We will be experiencing part two of this forceful celestial aspect on March 15th (during the retrograde) and part three April 12th. Jupiter is the planetary ruler of both Sagittarius and Pisces. Both signs will clash, as they try to express similar sentiments, due to the lack of understanding felt by fiery Sagittarius and watery Pisces. Sagittarius wants to yell, while Pisces wants to swim away and cry. Together, water puts out fire, making arguments and communication extra confusing. 

Mars, Saturn, and Pluto will act to anchor down our emotions, as they are all wandering around the cosmos in earth signs. They will be holding down the fort, as our emotions swim wild in the mystical Piscean seas. However, water and earth make mud. Therefore, it’s essential we rationalize and organize our thoughts throughout the retrograde, in order to make sense of our thoughts. The flip side, is that water and earth grow, which is why this retrograde is a magical time to rethink past visions and dreams. While we may not be able to manifest and conquer our desires, we can re-evaluate how to put them into motion and reality. The Nodes of Destiny will reveal clandestine activities and scandals—all of which were destined to come out in the open.  

Mercury stations direct on March 28th, while conjunct illusive Neptune, taking us back to February 19th (the day Mercury entered its pre-retrograde shadow) and March 24th. The third time Mercury and Neptune will aligns is April 2nd (while Mercury is in its post-retrograde shadow). Deceptions will be unasked, communication will be hazy, we will be uninspired to take action, and we may also feel paranoid. This is a call for us all to put on our life preservers and walk steadfast on our sea-legs. Instead of rethinking through situations, circumstances, and relationships—we must all access our intuition. Our third eye will protect us from despair, unsavory people and situations, while helping us create projects we enjoy. 


A great way to unwind during this retrograde, and to evoke cosmic protection is to take a meditative crystal bath, filled with amethyst (to help open our third eye chakra), blue agate to aid in clear communications, and fluorite for mental focus. Add a cup of Himalayan sea salt for protection to warm water, to evoke the sea. Put on soft music to unwind (as Pisces rules music). This will help us find our personal truth through the melodies and healing nature of the crystals, allowing us to elevate our body, mind, and spirit until the end of the retrograde. Add a slice of lemon to the bath, for spiritual clarity (if you’re feeling extra daring!). 

Most importantly, feel your feels. Allow yourself to cry, laugh, scream, and unwind. Don’t pass judgement on yourself—be gentle! Let your divine self shine!

*Mercury Retrograde begins March 5th and ends March 28th. The pre-retrograde shadow begun February 19th and the post-retrograde shadow  ends April 16th. Mercury will be traveling backwards from 29 degrees Pisces to 16 degrees Pisces.