Your Monthly Horoscope Contents Subscribe

Low tide reveals what has been hidden

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces
(Tossed by Winter's Storms)
Mar 8-May 3, 2018

Mercury's journey in this retrograde period will be entirely in Pisces, after it enters that sign on March 2. This retrograde will be like a long, perilous sea journey. Will we reach a safe harbor? What does retrograde mean?

The Three Phases of the Mercury Retrograde

Mar 8
Mar 22
April 16

A perilous voyage

The Power of the Ocean

Pisces has no weapons, no fury, no hate with which to smote their enemies. They are helpless victims until they realize their strength, persistence. Like the water they astrologically represent, they will lap away at the most formidable structure until they erode away its foundations. How many mighty empires, haughty kings have been turned to dust under the relentless power of the ocean?

Pisces power rests in the ocean, a vast confluence of a million-billion bits and parts, at once chaotic and also connected by its currents and depth. Pisces wins in the end because it is endless. As water is weak in its nature, it is relentless in its combined strength.

The key to the movement and power of the ocean is the tides. The Moon's cycles are manifested by the surge of high tide, and the retreat of low tide. A rising tide throws up the flotsam and jetsam of a turgid ocean, while the low tide reveals what has been hidden beneath the water, safe only for the moment. Any creature of the sea that does not withdraw into deeper waters with the receding water is stranded on the dry sands, and dies.

With Pisces, the tides represent the waxing and waning emotions that she feels; the comfort and protection of her fulsome feelings, and the loneliness and vulnerability of her isolation when the waters desert her. Mercury in Pisces is influenced by emotions in our thinking and transactions with others. It's hard to separate emotions from ideas and opinions, and we can frequently allow passion and idealism to overrule logic and reality. Our mental orientation can be unstable, unrealistic, and overly spiritual in the cushion of confidence. Dreams can crowd out what is actually occurring in our lives, and disguise the dangers. Yet, it's almost worth it; we may possess uncanny instincts and remarkable sensitivity to beauty and design, which helps exult us in music and art. If supported by other strengths, we have an acute memory, mathematical abilities, and our instincts are working at a fever pitch. In our cups, when it comes to business and relationship transactions, we may be very susceptible to delusion, surrender and sacrifice, yearning for the feelings of togetherness and mutual joy. When the peak of our optimism has passed, and we are left with the inalterable facts, it a test of our overall emotional strength or weakness that will determine whether we can withstand the emotional cross currents that leave us exposed to the elements.

Mercury retrograde is that test.

In its retrograde motion, Mercury's imaginary dance in space will effect our self-confidence and make us too dependent on others--especially those who would take advantage of us, and any mistakes will be compounded by our lack of practical perspective and could sink us into malaise and despair if we are not aware of the forces that are working on our subconscious. What gave us a feeling of security will be inexorably taken away, like a receding dreamscape that we thought was real, and Mercury retrograde, like the tides, will leave us high and dry, like morsels for the predators that are keening overhead, waiting to feed off the unlucky and unwary.

However, what really makes the difference is the power of the cycle itself, which can in so many subtle ways, influence the outcome. What has been given, can be taken away, and then, refreshed, like a new beginning. When Mercury is in retreat, to attack is futile. But the tides are time-sensitive. Life itself is timeless. When Mercury returns to its course, it becomes as powerful as the oceans, which over eons, can destroy any of man's puny edifices. In the meantime, Pisces can only offer up its sacrifice, and wait until the tables are turned, once more charged with the energy and ineffable power of her greatest gift, love.

What Mercury Retrograde looks like, including its shadows.
Image Credit

Mar 8-Mar 22

What can go wrong, will.

The Pre-Shadow can catch us unawares. Many astrologers see it as the most dangerous phase. We may feel like we haven't a care in the world, and suddenly, BAM! we are knocked to the ground. It's as if some essential plug has been pulled on our expectations, and our lives are under pressures we didn't expect to have to face. The dropoff can be severe, sudden and shocking. Many people will have to face the end of illusion, however painful it may be. The surprise is the most dangerous characteristic of the pre-shadow.

Pisces and related signs will have to absorb the pain and suffering that surround them. Pisces eats other people's toxins willingly, as an act of loyalty, at least to the dream. But Pisces is always moving; like the tides, at first there is retreat, then return. The pre-shadow is the surprise attack, the low tide; the backstabbing, the betrayal of love and all the goodness that it announces. It won't be until the tide rises again, when Mercury starts to move direct, Pisces can overcome obstacles and wash away the pain to renew herself.

In short:

* Watch your back. Are you vulnerable to attack, or some kind of emotional shock? Try to look behind you to see if you have let things build up.

* Don't spend money. Try to conserve your funds--you may need them later in the retrograde. Right now, every manner of huckster and sales pitch is waiting to ensnare you. Don't go for it.

* Take care of your own business. Try to simplify things and stick to what you need. For the next two months, you'll be dealing with drained resources and general wear and tear. Watch your health and build up your immune system.

Mar 22-April 16

Ride out the storm

Retrograde Mercury is where angels fear to tread. Anything you do is subject to review. You're probably not thinking this thing through! Even though there may not be any evidence of disaster the most reasonable thing to do is stop and think twice about doing something you haven't planned all the way through.

By the time Mercury actually goes retrograde, it may be already too late to avoid blunders. The pressure from previous crises in our personal lives and relationships, anxiety about outside events, financial shocks and cutbacks, will tend to tempt us into a form of lethargic optimism, and we'll be hoping that things will go back to "normal".

By this stage people are desperate for a quick fix, a miracle, or willing to throw good money after bad.

* Don't enter into any new contracts, engagements, or binding situation. Don't sign anything. Don't start a new job (unless it's temporary) Everything can wait until May 5.

* There's no way to move forward. You'll have to go back and build yourself up again. All the signs, but especially Pisces can really use a "hidey-hole" or shrine that can give them peace and solitude.

* Repair personal relations. Square things with family and friends. Keep the channels of communication open. We all need each other, so reach out to others.

* Forgive yourself. This is low tide, you're just exposed, but the tide well turn. Don't isolate yourself.

* Help and share. Embrace those in worse shape than you.

In the larger social realm, a lot of people will be stretched to the breaking point, tensions will be high and this retrograde will be littered with victims, which is the great downfall of Pisces. The dying system around us is crumbling to dust, too ossified and corrupt to last much longer. As the receding waters expose the underlying wreckage of our lives and communities, the beginnings of a new consciousness will emerge. Their will be protests as people try to use peaceful means to change the conditions under which they live. Desperation breeds crime, and we can expect that the ubiquitous shootings will continue as more people simply snap. Young and old, for the middle and poor, the stress of the failed financial policies will be compounded by a feeding frenzy by the billionaires.

Our banks, corporations and governments are so corrupted that this has filtered down like toxins into the water table, to corrupt us as individuals as well as a society. When you're surrounded by corruption, to resist or confront it is almost tantamount to setting yourself up for destruction. It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and feel isolated and alienated. Morality and compassion are no longer virtues; they are outdated, quaint notions that seem faint protection from the cannibalistic consumerism that's sucking the life out of us.

April 16-May 3

Dangerous progress

The time it takes Mercury to get back to speed and back at its original starting position is called the Post-Shadow, and this period can be as shaky as the retrograde period itself. Even worse if we've let our guard down. In this phase of retrograde, rather than plunge ahead, see if you can stall an important decision. Spend the Post Shadow period looking into the details, considering what you have done, and take smaller steps forward. Keep your eyes and ears open; things can knock you out just as you are crossing the finish line. It's a good time to study your failures and learn from your enemies. Look for what can still break down; it could still happen now. Don’t go looking for the grand slam or a big breakthrough, be satisfied with fixing what has been broken or spoiled; be humble. Nothing is perfect, but improvements are possible.

* Don't subject yourself to tyranny. A lot of people will have to make hard choices, and for short term survival, may fall into the hands of tyrants and abusers. Pisces is famous for this. If it looks too good to be true, it is. Don't jump out of the pan into the fire. Accept the lesser evils, at least in the short run, but do not get trapped by evil. Hold on to your basic principles but do not act on them until you are in a stronger position.

* Don't forget the forest for the trees. Don't loose sight of the bigger picture, even though you'll be centered on your own emotional struggle. No one is an island, and stay focused on events which though out of your control, directly effect you.

The Post Shadow warns us to stay cautious, don't take the bait even though it seems like you MUST make a decision. Rushing into things now would be like the Zen parable of the fox jumping over the stream--he gets his tail wet and is humiliated. The rules of the Shadow are: if you aren't all in, or are not willing and able to confront whatever problems you encounter down the line--then don't sign up to something you might regret later. It's always more complicated than you imagine during the Shadow. You're not home free--yet.

Although things will gradually improve during this period, it's still not 100%. This is a time for reflection, regeneration and regrouping. Your ego may have already taken a beating, let it heal and don't lead with your chin again for a while! Learn from previous broken dreams and schemes. Mercury is going direct, but hasn't yet reached where it was before it began, 5 degrees Sagittarius, which will occur Jan 9.

It's Over!
May 4

Safe harbor

Why worry about Mercury Retrograde?

The Mercury Conundrum
The Backstory

The idea that a Mercurial illusion can drop the bomb on our day-to-day activities is controversial. It's always hard to assign a cause to our troubles, and this seems like a longshot. However, something as old, revered and feared is still part of our human consciousness and can't be ignored.

Of course, Mercury doesn't really move backward; it just appears that way from Earth. This occurs two or three times a year, according to the differences in the orbital speed of the planets. This optical trick fooled our ancestors for eons, until the first astrologers, who would become our astronomers, figured out that our own eyes could lie to us! The meaning of this anomaly has been debated for thousands of years of astrological lore and human observation.

Mercury Retrograde isn't really a thing. Nothing is really happening in the real world, the planets go about their business as usual. This is strictly an earth-bound mind-fuck. The Mercury Retrograde problem is literally only going on in our own heads.

Then why is such a non-event so difficult to get through? Only us humans are accountable to these mental hiccups, it seems. The retrograde dance of Mercury is a trick where the eye deceives the brain. Mercury is advancing normally, systematically, but what we view in the sky is Mercury slowing to a crawl, stopping, moving backward, and stopping again to restart a forward motion. Ancient humans were by turns terrified and confused by this, and passed the feelings down through the generations.

The sense of confusion seems to still exist in spite of the fact we know that it's because Earth's orbit is moving us faster than Mercury, at least for a few weeks, 3 or 4 times a year. It's as simple as the famous example of two trains side by side going at different speeds, causing the slower one to appear to move backwards.

The apparent motion of Mercury disoriented our ancestors. We still retain that sting of vulnerability. The visceral reaction to Mercury retrograde carries over to modern generations the same way any long-held belief does, as a collectively held suspicion, some might say superstition, around unexplained phenomena.

The Mercury Retrograde experience teaches us caution and fear of the unknown. When we have blind faith in success, the less prepared we are for any delays or other obstacles which could prevent it.

The long-held notion that Mercury is already the ruler of tricks and quick transactions makes its retrograde a time when we would notice our weaknesses to overconfidence the most. Such as when we try something that we haven't fully vetted, trust in someone we don't really know, or fall for a slick sales pitch or Ponzi scheme. Mercury retrograde isn't as much about Mercury as it is about us and out assumptions. The skies are merely a backdrop for all the drama we cause for ourselves on our Earthy stage.

Music by Ophiuchus

The Works of Zearle (Double Ophiuchus)




Comparison of the Zodiac systems





Aries Mar 21 - April 20 April 15 - May 15 April 19 - May 13
Taurus April 21 - May 20 May 16 - June 15 May 14 - June 19
Gemini May 21 - June 20 June 16 - July 15 June 20 - July 20
Cancer June 21 - July 21 July 16 - Aug 15 July 21 - Aug 9
Leo July 22 Aug 22 Aug 16 - Sep 15 Aug 10 – Sep 15
Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22 Sep 16 - Oct 15 Sept 16 – Oct 30
Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22 Oct 16 - Nov 15 Oct 31– Nov 22
Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21 Nov 16 - Dec 15 Nov 23 – Nov 29
Ophiuchus NA NA Nov 30 – Dec 17
Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21 Dec 16 - Jan 14 Dec 18– Jan 18
Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 20 Jan 15 - Feb 14 Jan 19 – Feb 15
Aquarius Jan 21 - Feb 19 Feb 15 - Mar 14 Feb 16– Mar 11
Pisces Feb 20 - Mar 20 Mar 15 - April 14 Mar 12 – April 18


Get a Mug, etc.

Always get the latest 13 sign news!

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter

[previous campaigns]


These books are for 12-sign astrology; However, aspect and transiting angles are the same in all systems.

Go to our Ophiuchus Rising page for the meanings of the angles, planets and asteroids in Ophiuchus

Key Words for Astrology -- Paperback
by Hajo Banzhaf, Anna Haebler
BUY ON Amazon

Aspects in Astrology: A Guide to Understanding Planetary Relationships in the Horoscope -- Paperback
by Sue Tompkins
BUY ON Amazon

Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes -- Paperback By Stella Starsky, Quinn Cox
BUY ON Amazon

Transits Simplified -- Paperback
by Sakoian & Acker
BUY ON Amazon

Astrology of Human Relationships -- Paperback
by Frances Sakoian
BUY ON Amazon



13 sign astrology app for $13/month


13 Sign charts and real time transits

MacHighway - Web Hosting for Mac Users, by Mac Users, Since 1997

Our host service: $5/month


don't forget the girls

Don't forget the girls

Back to contents

CONTACT 13 sign Astrology

Copyright © 2017 all rights are inherent