astrological signs

Here’s how Mercury Retrograde could affect you

Here’s how Mercury Retrograde could affect you
An astrologer breaks down how you can DIY your forecast using your birth chart

Not all Mercury retrogrades are created equal. The planet of communication has become social media’s favorite scapegoat for tech hiccups and travel mishaps. But while there can be a general sense of chaos and confusion during this three-week period, Mercury retrograde won’t affect everyone the same way.

For some people, Mercury Retrograde could stir troubles that are relatively mundane; for others, it could unearth deeper issues. The area of your life that Mercury could play havoc in, will depend on which house Mercury is activating in your birth chart.

‘As above, so below’

Acclaimed astrologer Howard Sasportas wrote that houses “bring the [birth] chart down to earth.” The houses help us understand how astrological events can become personal. Each of the 12 houses governs certain aspects of a person’s life. When Mercury retrogrades through a particular house, it brings the themes of that house into focus, calling out to what needs rethinking, reevaluating and reconsidering.

Your chart is the key

Armed with your exact date, time and place of birth, you can proceed with your astrological investigation:

1. Find out the sign Mercury is retrograding in. Every Mercury retrograde cycle happens in a different sign (or signs) of the zodiac. In 2020, the remaining two cycles are:

June 17 – July 12 in Cancer
October 13 – November 3, 2020 in Scorpio, ending in Libra

2. Generate your birth chart. There’s a lot of free birth chart generators online, but the best is on Go to Extended Chart Selection, then plug in your birth details in the data entry page. It should give you a circular chart divided into 12 segments, which are the houses.

3. Locate the sign of Mercury retrograde transit on your chart. Along the edge of the circular chart, you’ll see the glyphs, or astrological symbols, of the zodiac signs. Find the glyph of the zodiac sign of Mercury retrograde in your chart, and see what house starts in it.

For instance, the June-July 2020 retrograde will happen in the sign of Cancer. In Obama’s birth chart, Cancer marks the start of his 6th house.

Once you have the house number, you can find out what themes Mercury retrograde will call attention to.

1st House: Appearances and self-expression

You might feel a little more self-conscious about how you come across to people at this time. Getting tongue-tied or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time could also happen, since Mercury rules communication. If you have a presentation at work or school, give yourself extra time to rehearse it. You may find it more difficult to express yourself properly; alternatively, you might find yourself expressing things in ways you never have before.

2nd House: Money, possessions, and personal value

Financial hiccups may occur during Mercury retrograde in this house. That includes your income – maybe the pay check doesn’t land in account on time, or earnings from a freelance gig are delayed. You might consider asking for a raise at work, or think about adding a new income stream. It’s not the best time to kick off a new money-making venture; rather Mercury retrograde asks you to reevaluate what you have, as well as your wants and needs, so you can plan your next financial steps.

3rd House: Communication and short distance travel

The planet of communication retrograding in the house of communication means it’s extra important to watch your words! Misunderstandings might crop up in texts and written communication like e-mails. This house rules your daily commute, so that may suffer some form of disruption, whether it’s car trouble, road construction diverting your usual route, or the bus being extra late.

4th House: Home and family

Mercury retrograde in this house is like having Marie Kondo in your actual home. Use this energy to declutter, move some furniture around, and pick up household items and ask if they spark joy. It’s a good time to finish any home repairs or DIY decorating projects you’ve been putting off. Miscommunication among family members could arise, or old family issues could rear their ugly head.

5th House: Creative endeavours and romance

You might reminisce about past flings, hookups and Tinder matches, wondering “What if?” — but wait till Mercury retrograde ends before you text or DM them. Old flames could spark up again, but it doesn’t always mean happily ever after; sometimes Mercury retrograde gives do-overs so you can get proper closure. If you’re dating someone new, it’s not a great time to rush into a commitment. Creative energy might take a back seat for now; rethink your creative processes, or how you cultivate inspiration.

6th House: Health, daily routines and the workplace

Did everyone on the team get the text about the meeting? Mercury retrograde reminds you to double-check if you and your coworkers are all on the same page. Reorganize your workspace and calendar; what adjustments in your daily routine are needed to maximise your productivity? And that dentist appointment or medical check-up you’ve been putting off? This is a good time to get it done.

7th House: Marriage and one-on-one relationships

If happily partnered, there’s no cause to panic about Mercury retrograde’s influence, but you might have to make adjustments in your relationship, or talk about recurring issues to try and resolve them. If single, it could be a time to revamp your Tinder or Bumble profile. You may look back at past relationships and have an epiphany about them. Use the energy to think about what your wants, needs, strengths and weaknesses are in a relationship.

8th House: Shared resources and intimacy

Shared resources covers anything from debts and loans, to taxes and insurance, and even inheritances; any of these might be up for review for you during Mercury retrograde. Do you need to update an insurance policy, pay off a mortgage, or make adjustments to your tax filings? On the other hand, this house also rules intimacy, or how you share yourself with another person. Sexual issues may arise; are you and your partner both giving equally?

9th House: Higher education, beliefs and long distance travel

Mercury retrograde may manifest in your school life, if you happen to be a professor or a college student. Use the energy to review for a major exam, go over and rewrite your thesis, or retake a class you need for credit. A belief may be challenged or questioned at this time. What are your personal truths, and do they line up with your values? More importantly, are you putting your money where your mouth is? This is the house that governs religion, so you might express your faith in way you never have before, or rethink what you’ve been taught about it. It’s common to have crises of faith during this time, but that doesn’t always lead to an overhaul of your spiritual beliefs; sometimes they’re only tested and strengthened.

10th House: Career and public image

Re-strategizing your social media presence could be on the agenda. Are you putting yourself out there and getting your message across in the way that you want? You might think about paring back your tweets, Facebook, or Instagram posts during this period. It’s not a favorable time for a career or job change; instead, network and do more research about the field or company you’ve been eyeing. Miscommunication with bosses or higher-ups may also occur.

11th House: Friendships, groups and organizations

Reconnecting with old friends is a classic way Mercury retrograde manifests in this house. It’s a good time to reach out to someone you’ve fallen out of touch with, or to plan reunions with college block mates over Zoom. You might find yourself thinking about your barkada dynamics: do you feel included and supported by your squad? If you’re part of an organization, you may also feel called upon to review how you’re contributing to the cause.

12th House: The subconscious, dreams, and spirituality

Mercury retrograde’s influence in this house may be more subtle. You might find yourself needing to take a break from the world, and getting more rest. Dreams could be prominent or memorable at this time, and your intuition may feel heightened. Have you been neglecting your spiritual side? It’s a good time to practice yoga, meditation, or other practices that tap into your spirituality.

One thing to note though, is that any astrological event doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Other factors that could change the flavour of a Mercury retrograde experience, both for collective humanity and individuals.

Astrologers also look at whether Mercury is in conversation with other transiting planets, such as Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, while its doing its backspin.

But no matter which house you feel Mercury retrograde in, the general wisdom still applies: avoid signing contracts or legal documents, if you can; back up your hard drive; triple-check your work; and just be flexible with your plans. –

Gigi practices a blend of traditional and modern Western astrology, and has been reading charts since 2014. Having first learned through self-study, she is now formally studying the ancient language of Hellenistic astrology under a course by renowned astrologer Chris Brennan. She does personal birth chart readings over Zoom and Skype. You can reach her at

Got a question for the stars? E-mail your question, and include your exact date, time and place of birth, to []. It’s helpful to provide some context to your query, and I can only read your chart if your birth information is accurate and complete. 

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