Mercury Retrograde Prescription by A.M. Penn

Hello 22 Teachings community! Just a quick blog to help us better understand a Western astrological interpretation surrounding the first Mercury Retrograde (Rx) transit of 2020.


As magical practitioners, it is often our goal to consciously chose our preferred ways of working with a transit’s unique energy, and I hope this information will help us all in our work.

About Retrograde Motion:
A planet’s apparent retrograde motion is an optical illusion that happens when it is closest to the Earth.

The best way I’ve found of explaining the illusion is to imagine that you’re in a parked car, and you look over at another parked car, and when it starts to roll forward, you actually feel like you’re rolling backwards. This is very similar to what is happening with apparent retrograde motion. None of the cars (or planets) are actually moving backward but one car (or planet) is going faster than the other, so it gives the illusion that one is going in reverse.

Please do not fear retrogrades. More often than not, there is at least one of the modern planets in apparent retrograde motion, we just hear about Mercury most frequently because it retrogrades three to four times a year, as opposed to just once or twice annually.

From our perspective on Earth, the Sun and the Moon will never retrograde – but the other planets (or wanderers) will, turning up the volume on the planetary energy and all that the planet governs on Earth.

About This Mercury Retrograde:

Key Dates:

2/16/20: Mercury stations retrograde at approx. 12° Pisces
3/4/20: Mercury (Rx) ingress into Aquarius
3/9/20: Mercury stations direct at approx. 28° Aquarius
3/16/20: Mercury ingress into Pisces
3/29/20: Mercury exits its shadow period

Mercury, the “messenger planet,” governs the mind, communication, technology, thought processes, research, decisiveness, medicine, travel, and commerce. From 2/16 to 3/29 these areas of life may be impacted, as we experience a stronger and louder dose of Mercury’s energy due to its closer-than-usual proximity to Earth.

Another way to think about retrograding planets is to think of the energy as being directed inward, so when we internalize our mental process, rather than project it outward, it can manifest as very loud thoughts and inner-communications.

The lower manifestations of this can include anxiety, self-critical perfectionism, or delusion, while the higher manifestations may include divine downloads, “ah-ha” moments, new insights, and limitless creativity.

It is also important to take into consideration the energy of the sign(s) that the planet is moving through during the transit. Each planet has zodiac signs where it functions optimally (exalted), and where it functions at its worst (fall).

As the planet of details, Mercury is in its fall position in Pisces, the sign of expansive big-picture boundarilessness. Mercury prefers clear cut delineations and proven facts, but Pisces offers a confusing, shape-shifting, hard-to-categorize dream-state that is a real bummer to the practical planet of research and discernment.

Mercury wants to focus on detailed realities, but in Pisces there are only blurry abstractions. Confusion (meaning “with fusion”) creates a lack of separations, making unity and unconditional love possible – a Pisces specialties. Pisces is the sign of the heart, and the planet of the mind is at its most impaired here.

From 2/16 to 3/4 while Mercury is in retrograde in Pisces, this will be the most confusing part of the transit, a good time to “go with the flow,” try not to make any permanent decisions, and don’t expect to have much mental clarity. But do use this time for creative concepting, dreaming up the future, and allowing your mind to be receptive and expansive through meditation, fantasy, and sleep.

From 2/16 to 3/9 focus on the wisdom of the prefix of retrograde “re” meaning to go back. Retrogrades are great times to re-visit anything that has been started but not finished, such as re-connecting with goals, re-acquainting with friends, re-searching new endeavors, etc.

From 3/4 to 3/16 when Mercury is in Aquarius it is a good time to focus on the greater good and allow your mind to be hopeful but logical. We can also think of the Rx symbol used for the retrograde as a prescription – an added dose of planetary energy helping us to revisit situations that have already taken place to gain added understanding.

In Aquarius, this may bring revolutionary new insights of your place as an individual within the collective of society. During this time, we may come to peace with our uniqueness, quirks, and anything that others don’t understand. Embrace your authentic truth, and allow others to do the same.

Astrologically, during a retrograde transit, a planet goes over the same spot of the zodiac three different times – direct, retrograde, then direct again – so this planet is thought to be revisiting a part of the zodiac that holds a lesson or something that requires a re-do. Take special note of what comes up for you.

Some recommendations for those looking to work with planetary or zodiacal energy at this time:

  • To bring more creative love to the transit, work with Venus (The Empress or Netzach) to help support Mercury on its travels, as Venus is exalted in Pisces.
  • To bring more clarity to the transit, work with Virgo (The Hermit) to help support Mercury’s ability to organize and decipher the confusion of Pisces.
  • To add more structure to the transit, add a dose of Saturn (The World or Binah), classical ruler of Aquarius.
  • To bring more motivation and direction to the transit work with Cancer energy (The Chariot).

For anyone interested in learning more about Western Astrology through the lens of the Western Mystery Tradition I’d encourage you to join me for Level 1 of Astrology School. The 8-week course “Understanding Astrological Energy” takes us on deep-dives of the planets, houses, and signs of the zodiac.

The cost of the course is a $320 for 8 weeks and all materials, and takes place Saturdays 2-4pm.  (a distance learning option is now also available). Past Astrology School students (ONLY) are also welcome to take individual classes that they would like to revisit for $35 per class.

Level 1 is taught twice a year and is a pre-requisite for the Level 2 Chart Reading course which is taught approximately once a year.

The next semester of Level 1 will begin in alignment with the Spring Equinox on March 21 and end on May 9, in concert with the week of the School’s first anniversary. It is a special time in the magical lineage of the 22 Teachings community and Los Angeles. Deep gratitude to all who help “make the magic happen” and are invested in their studies, which is also an investment in the improvement of the world.

Additionally, I will be sharing an astrological insight in the A.M. Lodge on Saturday 2/22/2020, I hope you will join us. Blessings for a fruitful Mercury Retrograde transit and auspicious year ahead.

A.M. Penn

If you are interested in booking a Natal Chart reading, Tarot reading, or Reiki session with A.M. Penn, you welcome to do so by calling the school at (323)362-2615. Appointments may also be made in person.