On building better coping skills: How Mercury Retrogrades are Helping us in 2021

On building better coping skills: How Mercury Retrogrades are Helping us in 2021

By Sasha Boyle

Popular culture has latched hold of Mercury and its “dreaded’ retrograde with an association to the technical snafus and the topsy turvy communication it brings. But is there a scientific reason for this? Does the small planet Mercury with a large core of iron act as a magnetic field trickster as it gets close to our Earth? Has this bad reputation evolved through confirmation bias or is Mercury retrograde just a misunderstood phenomena where the natural ebb and flow of yang principles are showing us the season to act and then a season to think? When to giddy up and go and when to slow your roll? Don’t miss the Merc retro horoscopes for every sign at the end of this article! 

Mercury retrogrades of 2021 are in Air Signs: 

January 30 to February 20 in Aquarius (fixed)

May 29 to June 22 in Gemini (mutable)

September 27 to October 18 in Libra (cardinal)


Oh Mercury, 
Will you meet me on a Wednesday, clad in mostly green?  We can talk about changeable ideas as quick as you please. You with your walking staff and a clever message from the gods.
Me, discovering the hidden knowledge in your yods.
I have so many questions, like why do you enable thieves? Is commerce under your rulership because opportunistic business is better taken light– without imbued emotion that is looking for a fight?
Inspiration by disassembling ideas then putting them back together is what you do.  So tell us what is your air of 2021 + 2022.


The planet MERCURY is forever on the move to score some knowledge and then express those ideas. As the fastest planet around, Mercury scoots over 2° a day to easily cover all of the zodiac in record speed, while typically stopping to retrace his steps 2 or 3 times a year as he stations retrograde.  The three retrogrades of 2021 will all occur in yang air signs: in fixed Aquarius, in mutable Gemini and in cardinal Libra.  For most of 2022 Mercury will use that same set list and retrograde in air as well, offering a revival of sorts.

Yang energetic qualities represent ‘activity’ and ‘the masculine’.  Elements of yang are air and fire, known in the divination of Tarot as wands and swords. And it is through the actual definition of divination ‘to be inspired by a god,’ that we see how air itself breathes life into our personal realm of mental activity, as well as perhaps breathe life into collective conflict and drama. 

Mercury retrogrades of 2021 are in AQUARIUS (January 30 to February 20), in GEMINI (May 29 to June 22) and in LIBRA (September 27 to October 18). Education, Social Justice, Travel and Communication will be on the list to not only make better bad choices around but to also slow down and think of new healthy coping strategies for massive change.

Mercury’s esoteric focus is not how his information lands but on the dissection of the data found in the barometric pressure of an idea.  If Venus enters your birth chart in a beneficial way, she can often be Mercury’s creative BFF and aid in the beautiful landing of communication and art. Maybe this is why craters and features on the planet Mercury are named after famous deceased musicians, artists and authors. A good natal Mercury/Venus combo is the dynamic duo of creativity. If you were born during a Mercury retrograde or are a creative type, your experience of Mercury retrograde likely does not cause you to add to the frustrated groan of the mass populous. Mercury retrograde is a different and rewarding experience for you– but the memes are still amusing. 

Looking at the symbol (the glyph) of Mercury, the crescent spirit acts as an antenna, and is in a receptive form that connects to the circle of soul to ground information through the cross of matter. Put another way, Mercury “articulates the primary creative energy and renders it intelligible,” as offered by Richard Tarness in the book Cosmos and Psyche. As we learn to take things apart by analysis and put them back together again like Mercury, perhaps we can rethink coping skills like dissociation, consuming in excess, or inappropriately venting to others, and replace them with meditation and solution-oriented coping skills.


January 30 to February 20, 2021 

Mercury Retrograde in AQUARIUS 


Mercury governs schooling and education and while in Aquarius, mercurial vibes manifest as progressive thoughts, preferring a non-traditional revolutionary variety. 2020 profoundly affected the institution of education from preschool to Universities and with the North NODE and South NODE in Gemini and Sagittarius since May 29, 2020, we may not see educational stability until they leave on December 23, 2021. There is so much room for improvement in the old systems of education, consider what of the current modified systems have been a blessing and should be carried forward into a new world.

The Air sign Aquarius deals with the realms of mental activity in intellect and thoughts, to be distributed equally for the health of all–despite the lack of interest in fitting into anything remotely pedestrian. 

It is through positive mental reflection, like in meditation, where Mercury in Aquarius can access hope and when hope is not available, Mercury in Aquarius offers faith. 

Saturn/Uranus square #1 Right at the end of Mercury’s first retrograde, Saturn will square Uranus on February 17, 2021. This is the first of three hard transits that will start off with a bang, likely in the form of big time protests.  We will be reminded of the drama baked into the structure and are called to embrace change to be free.

Uranus semisquare Neptune  Creative tension will be available to birth a project as Uranus semisquars Neptune on February 6 – March 26, 2021.  Normally not a good time to be entering major business deals or making life-changing decisions, this restful space is made for Earth’s future Art Masters of the New Renaissance. Equally important is the opportunity to elevate one’s own vibration through creative acts.



May 29 to June 22, 2021

Mercury Retrograde in GEMINI 


Mercury in home-sign Gemini inspires us to enjoy meeting new people and chatting about. Traditionally, Gemini rules the 3rd House, a space occupied by all of our short trips and errands. As summer 2021 approaches, and Jupiter enters domicile in Pisces, the morale of the world will improve and love of short trips will expand. The need for travel and the act of being involved in groups of varying interests will drive the masses. 

Meanwhile, Mercury’s medical association with the nervous system, the brain, the respiratory system and lungs, the thyroid and the sense organs will be in the spotlight. Consuming in excess may need to be monitored and as Saturn enters retrograde, Mercury squares Neptune twice, then Saturn squares Uranus for the second time. Putting some effort into planning some better emotion or solution-oriented coping skills may come in handy.

Jupiter enters Pisces May 13 – July 28, 2021 (going ℞ June 20 – October 18) 

Saturn ℞ in Aquarius May 23 – October 10, 2021

Mercury squares Neptune May 22 + June 5, 2021  –  Tiffany writes in the 2021 Wise Skies Digital Calendar “Be aware of confusion, delusion, lies, overdoses, improper medications, freak accidents, and toxins. If it sounds scary, it can be. This is a time when checking out could cost someone their mental health. Things are not as they seem. Wait for some time to pass before assessing the situation or making firm decisions. More will be revealed. Four passes to stay on your A-game: May 22, June 5, July 6, and December 7. “ *mic drop.

Saturn/Uranus Square #2; June 14, 2021 The dramatic upheaval continues but Saturn is now retrograde which mutes his effect a bit. Uranus, however, is in good form and requires us to do it better, all of it.


September 27 to October 18, 2021

Mercury Retrograde in LIBRA 


Mercury in Libra likes exquisite perfection and loves to analyze, measure, and dissect everything. Precise thinking, craftsmanship, and mastery of technical skills are the tools in the toolbox. Relationships and justice are very important while Mercury is in Libra and as Mercury stations to go retrograde, the planet joins four other planets in that very state: Pluto, Neptune, Saturn and Jupiter.  Things are heavy and moving slow but by the time Mercury stations direct, only one remains. 

Saturn, returning to good form, learns of what went on all summer in his absence and has a new and busy docket of karma to distribute. Communication will be a focus as personally and collectively establishing boundaries and seeking help from a friend or simply walking away is preferable to inappropriately venting to others.

Saturn/Uranus Square comes close again Oct 1-12 and the last one finalizes December 24, 2021 Adding to the ethereal density, this near-hit, close but no cigar “non-aspect” of October 1-12 is definitely worth mentioning. The timeframe given encompasses when the two planets come very close together ‘in orb’, but there is actually no exact aspect hit. Leaving us with a slightly milder and somewhat haunting feeling that Saturn’s shoe is about to drop (or explode), the last square will actually happen in late December. 

Saturn ℞ in Aquarius May 23 – October 10 When Saturn goes retrograde, we can expect the spotlight of instant karma to shift from shining the bat signal into the night sky to turning that light on ourselves. A great time to consider the structures you have made in your world to support your life’s work. But. Also present is a collective feeling that the teacher has called out sick and the substitute teacher that just entered, all smiley, is grossly underprepared to deal with the mischief that is about to go down. 

It’s worth noting, as we look up to the stars for guidance and comfort, that it is not through easy transits that we grow strong.  Mercury rules Wednesdays, and the first 3 Wednesdays of 2021, January 6, 13 and 20, have so far brought the fine folk of the USA an opportunity to practice how to take things apart by analysis and put them back together again.  

How have we been consuming information and processing data? 

The year-long urge to metaphorically (and perhaps literally!) keep too much focus on the air until we fly away has begun. Like a cell phone always invisibly reaching out for information, we start exploring like the Mercury glyph itself. Probing out at the top with the antennas in the ethers ever thirsty for data, then bringing that info into your souls life cycle with the ultimate duty to ground it to earth through the cross of matter.  Here are some ideas for you to embody some Mercury in your 2021.



The following horoscope is for your rising sign otherwise known as your ascendant (Asc).What is your SMR? (Sun, Moon + Rising) If you are unsure, go to http://www.astro.com/, click Free Horoscopes, Natal Drawing Ascendant, follow the prompts to create a free profile, or click the link to find your chart as a guest-remember and save it for future astrofun.


Aries Asc/Rising: The three Mercury retrograde cycles activate your 11, 3, and 7 houses. Party planning in the areas of short distance travel + communication, your relationships, and your friend groups are on the guest list. Get clear on your support team and group them together like a seating arrangement at a wedding: your dive-deep heart-to-heart friends, the professionals that take your insurance and your favorite tricksters that make you laugh. Commit to yourself to reachout to them when needed.


Taurus Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 10, 2, and 6 houses. Have you ever made a vision board? Of course you have! But this year, consider upgrading your abundance magic from 2d to 3d and make  a comfort treasure box. A tactile, sensory object trove that will be at arms lengths to comfort you in the areas of your career/reputation, your stuff and your health+furry friends. Ideas to start your scavenger hunt: supper special human treats (and cat/dog treats if you have pets), lemongrass or lavender essence oil, and 3 small images of your favorite artwork.


Gemini glyphGemini Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 9, 1, and 5 houses. Map out extra time to focus on safe forms of travel, your physical body, and your creative joy as you’re planning the year ahead. Your Merc Retro secret weapon is keeping a journal and reinventing how to self-identify your triggers. 


Cancer glyphCancer Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 8,12, and 4 houses offering you a ride down memory lane and giving you the urge for sentimental scrapbooking. These cycles offer insight in the areas of other people’s money, your subconscious, and homelife. Your Merc Retro gift will be given to you through the eyes of a child, either in dream time or in a waking/walking conscious state. Stay open to receive.


leo glyphLeo Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 7, 11, and 3 houses. 2021 is all about your areas of chosen relationships, friend groups, and people in your neighborhood (including siblings). Your Merc Retro duty is to transmit respect to all living and nonliving things. Like an Aikido master, with genuine feeling, respect and humility, mentally bow to your space, to nature, and to all of your relations, one at a time.


virgo glyphVirgo Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 6, 10, and 2 houses. Give yourself extra time to process and plot in the areas of your health + j.o.b., your career, and income + savings in 2021. Your Merc Retro companion is an emotional support animal, the live and furry or the digital pet kind. 


Libra glyphLibra Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 5, 9, and 1 houses. The areas of creative self-expression, forgein people and places, and your identity may require extra space and time to unpack lessons. Your Merc Retro secret weapon is to find a way to limit sensory stimuli during moments of stress–close your eyes for a bit, listen to white noise or take a spontaneous yoga class. 


scorpio glyphScorpio Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 4, 8, and 12 houses. Your Merc Retro mission, should you choose to accept it, is to puzzle out which skill to access for issues with your homelife, inheritance/taxes, and your creative space. A solution-oriented coping skill can be to talk with a skilled professional (family counselor, tax attorney or creativity coach) where an emotion-based coping skill may be to take a fabulous bath. 


sagittarius glyphSagittarius Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 3, 7, and 11 houses. Play with extra time in the areas of communication, enemies, partners, and luck as you’re scheming your year ahead. Your Merc Retro assignment is to make an exercise passport. Collect as many “stamps” of unique ways to move your body as you can in 2021 from belly dancing to quickfire workouts.


capricorn glyphCapricorn Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 2, 6, and 10 houses. You’re no stranger to success, so consider allowing yourself to feel the feathers in your cap from work you’ve completed using your talent, in your job, and at the various career zones of your life. Your Merc Retro medicine can be achieved through falling to your knees with the gift of laughter. Consider reading a new and amusing book, or watching comedies. 


aquarius glyphAquarius Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 1, 5, and 9 houses. Vibe out extra time in the areas of your identity/personality, business innovation, and higher education. Your Merc Retro revolution-from-within starts with simple, daily walks in nature to reduce feelings of alienation or perhaps to summon your galactic overlords. [that was aquarius rising humor].


pisces glyphPisces Asc/Rising: The three Merc retro cycles activate your 12, 4, and 8 houses. Brainstorm ways you can feel less like a nearly empty tube of toothpaste and more like the regenerative breath of a didgeridoo player in areas where you have felt confined, your home life, and the death + endings area of your life. Your Merc Retro reboot is to learn to breathe like a military sniper with the box breathing technique: inhale four seconds>retain breath for four seconds>exhale or four seconds>retain breath for four seconds.


Sasha Boyle is an astrologer and author based in Pennsylvania. Dedicated to helping you know yourself and love your Earth mission, Sasha offers Natal Astrology Readings, Virtual Creative Focusing Retreats and a daily Astrology Subscription at sashaboyle.com. She is a Level One Wise Skies Intuitive with a Taurus-Sun, Pisces-Moon and Aquarius-Rising.

She currently offers two readings through Wise Skies:

2021 Tarot Wheel [recording from Sasha] 30 minutes @ $45.00
New Year: New World. This spread is a peek into your energy in the year to come, month by month. A great opportunity to get a personalized reading of the most important months of the year ahead. This limited-time Tarot reading provides an overview of your personal tarot almanac for 2021.

Love Struck / Broken Heart [recording from Sasha]  15 minutes @ $25.00
Do you desire a relationship check-in? This is a give-it-to-me-straight question-and-answer spread on the path you are walking with your sweetie recorded by Sasha and emailed to you as an Mp3.

And you can add on your 2021 Personal Astrology Transits to get a PDF list of the significant transits and a brief interpretation of each (ranges from 3-5 pages) +15 minutes @ $35.00