Mercury retrograde conjunct Sun – A new Mercury cycle starts
Whenever Mercury retrograde makes a conjunction to the Sun, a new Mercury cycle begins. Just like the Moon has cycles, Mercury has cycles, too. Every year we have approximately 3 Mercury cycles.
A retrograde planet is conjunct the Sun is called an interior or inferior conjunction.
If inferior conjunctions act like New Moons and are time for new beginnings, superior conjunctions are like Full Moons and mark a culmination of whatever has been started at the time of the inferior conjunction.
A Mercury cycle usually lasts for 120-130 days and begins with the inferior conjunction with the Sun. This phase marks the ending of a planet’s previous cycle and the beginning of the next cycle.
When a planet is still retrograde and meets with the Sun (the Self) we become more aware of the energy of the planet and initiate a new cycle of growth.
Occurring in the middle of Mercury’s 3-weeks retrograde period, the inferior conjunction is similar to the New Moon and is a time to initiate projects and get organized.
The duration of the cycle (approx. 4 months) is ideal to kick-start and complete medium-term projects. You want to focus on projects related to the qualities of Mercury. Good examples are writing, teaching, structuring, organizing, traveling, commerce.
Mercury – the most familiar energy to the Self
Mercury, the Roman God of commerce and travel was the counterpart of the Greek God Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. In Astrology, Mercury rules not only travel, commerce and communication, but also the processes of the mind.
Mercury, or the quicksilver, rules the Mutable signs Gemini and Virgo. Astrologically, we know relatively little about Mercury. The close proximity between Mercury and the Sun makes it difficult to observe and interpret.
However, given the proximity to the Sun, Mercury is the most familiar energy to the Self.
The Mercury Cycle, just like all the planetary cycles, is part of a continuous spiral of growth. The retrograde phase marks the point when we shift from one state of “Mercury” to the next.
There are four Mercury “phases” in a Mercury cycle, determined by Mercury’s direction from the Sun (clockwise or counterclockwise) and whether its motion is direct or retrograde.
The four phases of a Mercury cycle
Phase I – Observe and Insight: The Phase I starts at Mercury’s inferior conjunction to the Sun and lasts until Mercury turns direct
In this phase, Mercury has a strong will and a clear sense of purpose, thanks to the encounter with the Sun. This young Mercury is unimpressed with traditions – it is only interested in manifesting the Insight from the Sun. Sudden clarity can come at this phase. You can find new ways of doing things or find new solutions to your problems.
And although this phase might not yet lead to clear answers, right now you are willing to take your time to observe what is going on around you and envision new ways of action.
Phase II – Prototype and Test From Mercury direct until Mercury’s superior conjunction to the Sun
This phase starts when Mercury is stationary turning direct and ends around 50 days later. A few days after Mercury turns direct, it reaches its furthest distance from the Sun, known as Mercury’s greatest western elongation. This phase intensifies our mental activity. We want to express our ideas, to share them with the world.
Mercury is at its highest speed now – that’s why our mind is most eager during this phase and is capable of intense learning. This is a good phase to start putting together a plan to fulfill the initiative started at the time of the inferior conjunction.
This is a good time to test different elements of your plan. Try to get feedback, see what works and what doesn’t.
Phase III – Build From Mercury’s superior conjunction until Mercury turns retrograde
Mercury’s superior conjunction with the Sun marks a phase of culmination. Take what you started in phase I and “prototyped” and “tested” in phase II. Your project can now finally take shape and materialize.
Mercury is getting now a “reality check” from the Sun, who acts like a “curator” and synthesizes the good bits and pieces that have been produced in the previous phases. The mind becomes now practical, analytical and objective.
Now is the time to “go live” with your project.
Phase IV – Analyze From Mercury retrograde station until Mercury’s inferior conjunction to the Sun
Mercury’s forth phase is contemplative and introspective. You now want to discover the reason, the meaning and the purpose behind everything. You are unlikely to be satisfied with easy, superficial answers at this part of the journey.
The last phase is great to “analyze” what you did in the first three phases and see how the outcome can lead to an even better outcome, to be initiated in the next cycle.
The Mercury cycle lasts for almost 4 months. It is well known that the ideal timeline for a project is from 3 to 4 months. This is enough time to delve into a topic, do your research, test and build, and then analyze your outputs.
Anything that goes beyond 4 months loses momentum or becomes the point.2 version of the previous project.
You always want to keep your projects within this timeframe.
The 3-step process to work with the Mercury cycle
Take your time to focus on a project you want to undertake. Follow these 3 steps to identify your project and plan it according to the Mercury cycle:
1) Consider your current priorities in selecting the project you want to start. What are those things you know you need to do but you have been procrastinating? These projects should not require a long time horizon. Getting a master’s degree, building a house, changing your outlook or relationships will take longer than 4 months so you don’t want to do anything like this.
Similarly, your Mercury project should require enough time so you don’t complete it in a few days only. No-go examples are writing an article, finishing a presentation or learning how to cook a new dish.
You want to identify a project you could complete in 3 to 4 months.
2) For more guidance look in your natal chart to see in which house the Mercury cycle starts – for example, if it starts in your 2nd house you want to start a project to generate a new source of income, if it falls in your 4th house you want to do home improvement, in your 6th house a diet and so on.
3) After you have identified your project – split it into 4 different phases according to the 4 phases of the Mercury cycle. Try to stick to the timeline. You want to spend 2 weeks for the 1st and 4th phase, and around 5 weeks for the 2nd and 3rd phases.