Mercury Retrograde in Earth Signs - 2016 Dates

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Mercury's retrogrades in 2016 are all in earth signs (Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo).  It's a time of retreat to solid ground, even if that means taking two steps back.    

Here are the dates:    

  • January 5 - January 25, 2016  First in air Aquarius, then in earth sign Capricorn
  • April 28 - May 22, 2016 in earth sign Taurus
  • August 30 - September 22, 2016 in earth sign Virgo
  • December 19 2016 - January 8, 2017 in earth Capricorn, back into fire sign Sagittarius

    The earth element is a stabilizing one, that can root us in a rhythm of purpose.  What makes sense? Mercury symbolizes how we make sense of reality -- it's the way we shape perception, and visualize the steps to making things happen.  

    These days reality itself can seem fluid, and an earthy Mercury retro series inspires a more practical mindset.  It's a year to bring an idea -- or dream -- into form, or find new ways to use your natural gifts.  

    With Natural Law in Mind

    Mercury retrogrades in earth signs show us where we're somehow divorced from physical reality, or where we skipped foundational steps.  All three earth signs hone our instincts for living in sync with the laws of nature.    

    Is there a nagging sense of the need to come back to basics?  To pick up something that's been lost, like taking time for pleasure, relaxation and developing your craft?  

    Another example of this that comes to mind is doing work that puts a relentless strain on the body-mind-spirit.

     At some point, there's a price to pay for ignoring the body, like with a major illness that forces an end to it.  So health and the daily grind are up for review.

    Another example is denying natural instincts, like the biological urge to have children, in favor of external goals.  Or repressing the organic instincts of femininity or masculinity, and imposing some trendy notion of what that's supposed to be (or not be).


    In a chaotic time, this is Mercury's gift to us in earth signs.  Touch, taste, smell, etc. are heightened, and the body's messages come through loud and clear.  

    Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn (Cardinal Earth)

    This is when the voice of authority is up for review big time.  Who are the experts and commentators you follow?  This retro cycle could scramble that a bit, making it hard to know who to trust.  You might reconsider those you thought spoke with an air of wisdom.  A possible gift is finding that inner voice of authority to guide you.

    Completion is a big word in Capricorn's vocabulary.  And this retro time gets you thinking about how to achieve your loftiest aspirations.  You might recommit to a goal, and possibly retraining or recertification.  If there's a secret dream of mastery in your mind and heart, it resurfaces now.  You can break down the steps to achieving, and be slow to act, but realistic.  

    Capricorn also has a lost gift in being the holder of timeless tradition, one that reaches back to the ancients.  That makes it a great time to research ancestral lineages, and muse on inherited genetic memory.   

    What can go askew?  This is likely not the best time to lay the cornerstone for a new building.

     Or to lay any kind of ground work, as if we follow Mercury retro lore, it could have to be redone.  The same holds true for dental work, or setting of bones (associated with Capricorn).  Going with what was said about experts and the body, it's a critical time to get a second or third opinion!  Blind trust in authority could bring you misfortune.  

    Mercury Retrograde in Taurus (Fixed Earth) - April 28th to May 22nd

    The sensual, full-bodied voice of Taurus reminds us of what we've been missing -- earthly delights!  Some Mercury retro cycles are like a vacation, and this one brings you to creature comforts.  This is a slow Mercury, but one that savors the sensations along the way.  

    Taurus takes its sweet time, so be prepared to stop and smell the gardenias (my favorite)!  Since Mercury travels with the Sun, this retro happens in Spring, when all of nature is in its fragrant bloom.

     Memories can be evoked now, through the senses, in a way that takes you right there, like you're re-living a moment.  

    Venus rules Taurus, so old lovers could reappear.  You also remember what you love to do, what makes life worth living.  

    Taurus has its mind on security, so this heightens the need to stabilize finances, a living situation or work.  Something could come up to show where you've got to put substance to your vision.  You might realize you've got to hone your craft, gain new skills or brush up on old ones.  

    What's best to avoid?  It's wise to hold back from new ventures, especially if you sense you're possibly winging it, or may be skipping steps to save time.  Hold off on that artistic come-back, or debut, until after the retro is over.  Be patient with others, as speech can be laborious under Taurus.

    Mercury Retrograde in Virgo (Mutable Earth)  - August 30 to Sept 22nd

    It's been a VERY retro Summer, with motivating planets Saturn and Mars just now gaining some traction here in late Summer.  You can see this as time to deeply reflect on what's most important.  

    It's one of those times when the planning stage could seem endless.  And also confusing, with so many distractions and voices inside your head.  This is a good time for gleaning, and being discriminating with your focus, as a way to walk your true path, one with integrity.

    The diligence of Virgo kicks into hyper-drive during the retro cycle.  It's a great time for research, and that's something Virgo excels at anyway.

     And it's one for rewriting that story or reinvigorating a project that fell by the wayside.  

    Here, the physicality of Virgo brings the body-mind connection home, and becomes clear even for those that have been living in their heads too much.  It's wise to look at your day, and if it's balanced and gives you time to unwind.  The best ideas will come when you're cleansed of the chatter of the day.  This is a super time to purge and purify your whole self -- the key word is restoration.  

    What to watch out for?  Be wary of snap decisions that may backfire.  You might have a grasp of the details, but be missing crucial overarching realities.  An example is creating a product, but later realizing there's no market for it.  Don't fall prey to negative loops of self-criticism.  You might though, be able to see these patterns of self-sabotage, and dismantle them in a retro cycle.       

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    Hall, Molly. "Mercury Retrograde in Earth Signs - 2016 Dates." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2016, Hall, Molly. (2016, August 29). Mercury Retrograde in Earth Signs - 2016 Dates. Retrieved from Hall, Molly. "Mercury Retrograde in Earth Signs - 2016 Dates." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 24, 2017).