Merc takes up apparent retrograde motion just before 5 AM UT on the 18th (the 17th, here across the pond, at 9:59 PM PDT), at 14 Cancer 45. First major aspect it makes heading retro (other than contact by the Moon) is a trine to Ceres in Pisces. The entire retro cycle occurs in the Cardinal Water sign of Cancer, and between this and that first contact, suggests to me that the period will involve re-thinking what we care about (especially those things or individuals it falls upon us to tend to or nurture), our emotional and spiritual health, the ways in which we employ the creative energies to express ourselves, and our emotional relationship to Nature Herself. We may look for ways to gain emotional satisfaction from the creative act (and remember, creative energy is actually behind every act, no matter the intent); we may also assess how well spiritual practice and belief specific to our role in the Cosmos (Pisces) serve both the essence of who we are and our happiness in daily life–that is, we may ask ourselves, ‘Is spirit truly an active part of my life, and if so, when am I most aware of it, when do I feel it, and in what way does it move and motivate me?’.
Because the modality is an active one, one that requires a ‘doing’ kind of response, we will be spurred to do something about the things we perceive–but because this is Mercury that we’re talking about, we need to remember that the mind during the retro is quite naturally missing perceptions or information that might otherwise, in direct-thinking times, bring us to a different conclusion. Add to this that the retro occurs in a Water sign ruled by the Moon, and we have a perfect storm generating the kind of events where we may feel and act well before we are able to process what we’ve perceived. You can see the obvious potentials for danger there, so proceed through this retro with real caution, though I have to note it may also be one of the most effective times we’ve seen of late allowing us full emotional range and offering the ability to make post-retro plans to do something about what we feel. Just remember that there’s a Solar eclipse coming on the 20th, which may prompt starts that, in at least some cases involving Merc-feeling information, may be premature. The eclipse may instead ‘clean sweep’ the emotional landscape in the related areas in the natal chart (House where it occurs, and involving any bodies or points contacted and possibly what they rule, contact by aspect, or where they are posited), making new terrain for our emotional exploration–again with the understanding that the mind won’t quite be able to adequately process what’s happening at the time–so be prepared for lots of feeling over the coming weeks, with understanding as to what it means and what we should do arriving significantly later.