Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Mercury Retrograde at Birth


August 5, 2005


Hi Eric,


Here's a question that has been bugging me for a while. I am a Gemini Sun with Mercury retrograde. Typically, I know when Mercury is retrograde, as communication gets all boggled up. Is it the reverse for me since I'm already 'in reverse'? Also, does the fact that my Sun is in Gemini play any particular role in relation to this since it is ruled by Mercury? I remember reading this somewhere and wonder your thoughts. Thanks for any insight you can provide.




Petoskey, MI USA



Dear Angie,


Because you have Sun in Gemini, Mercury is definitely an important planet in your chart. It is what some call the 'ruling planet' of your Sun and its movements mark a big aspect of your identity. But I have a question for you, that's personal to your life. What happened, or what was happening with your family, when you were six years old? Here is why I ask. You were born six days before Mercury stationed direct. So that means that by what is called 'secondary progression', your sixth year of life was the year of the Mercury station. And the events of that year will give a big clue to the meaning and purpose of Mercury retrograde in your natal chart.


When a planet is retrograde in a natal chart, it is different than we experience that planet in real-time as a collective experience. Somewhere in the archives is a long response regarding natal retrograde planets, which I'll have a look out for and link to next week when I find it.


Remember: when it comes to natal interpretation, you need to go slowly, and work with a number of different theories, and test them carefully. You need to use your imagination; astrology is really a series of images that we experience and interpret. Retrograde planets in the natal chart are associated with references to the past -- or to internalizing the energy rather than expressing it freely; or both. I have noticed that they have three main associations.


1. A talent or skill we turned off or repressed so as not to threaten our primary caregivers. Often we are in some way more intelligent, aware or expressive than our parents or caregivers. Often, our these individuals lack the maturity to handle this, and kids, being highly sensitive (as a matter of survival) will respond and partially shut down or internalize their best qualities so that people don't freak out (in large or small ways).


2. Some kind of reference to a past life situation. Check the house and sign placement; check the houses that are associated with Gemini and Virgo. The retrograde planet can represent a past life skill, a debility, or a situation we need to work out in the current lifetime. It can represent a growth agenda. This theory is dependent on whether you accept the notion of reincarnation, and whether you think the natal chart has anything to say about it.


3. Something we do our own unique way that has little or nothing to do with the people around us. It is the way we march to the beat of our own drummer. This particular point can encompass both 1 and 2 above, but does not need to. The retrograde may just be a place we come from a distinct place inside.


I would create a bold theory here. Retrograde planets all function a little like Chiron. They have a kind of debility around which power and talent focus. They represent a place where we were hurt, held back, or challenged, and now must grow into our full strength. And they represent places in our chart of unusual individuality.


Now, I'm not suggesting that you can figure this all out in three minutes, but I do suggest that breaking out the old fashioned astrological analysis tools will get you a long way. The first one I thought of was looking up when Mercury stationed direct in your progressed chart.


In summary: describe the house and sign placement of Mercury. Describe the aspects Mercury makes. Say something about the houses where the cusps intersect Gemini and Virgo. As you do this, look for correspondences in your life on points 1, 2 and 3 above. Think of your parents and their personalities, and how they might have responded to your Mercury, were it direct and running at full broadcasting power.


Last, consider what you've learned from the fact that it's retrograde -- and what you've learned, in particular since the age of six.