The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Astrology Highlight: Mercury Retrograde and the Full Harvest Moon

3 min read
photo of moon

The full harvest moon will appear on Friday, Sept. 9.


Staff Writer

Full Moon in Pisces

On Friday, Sept. 9, the full moon, known as the harvest moon, will rise into the sign of Pisces. Simultaneously, the planet Mercury turns retrograde, where it will remain until Oct. 2. 

This lunar cycle’s full moon being in Pisces puts it in opposition to the position of the sun, which is currently in Virgo. Virgo and Pisces are signs in opposition to each other, representing the two most sensitive aspects of the zodiac. Virgo represents the embodiment of order and Pisces represents the dreamy infinite possibility. With our sun in Virgo and our moon in Pisces, we are encouraged to honor the balance between our emotional needs and the need for day-to-day order in our lives. 

Balance is a keyword for this full moon. If we neglect our emotional and spiritual selves in favor of excessive order or to get lost in our emotions and forget our responsibilities, we could quickly feel out of control and off-balance. 

However, not all opposition should be read as negative. Instead, Virgo and Pisces can work together to bring about the best of both their domains. As astrologer Maria Sofia Marmanides writes, “Virgo invites analysis and a preoccupation with the mind. And while there is a time and place for that energy, this Pisces full moon instead invites softer reflection, creative visualization and mindful meditation.” The key to balance during this period will be in determining and honoring our spiritual needs while finding ways to keep our minds and lives organized in the everyday. 

The moon in Pisces supports creative and imaginative activities, the pursuit of the spiritual, self-reflection and self-development. This will be a good time to pursue artistic and spiritual ideas, with creative energy boosted by Pisces and the drive and organization to complete such endeavors supported by our Virgo sun’s focusing energy. 

Mercury Retrograde

This month, on Sept. 9, Mercury will turn retrograde in the sign of Libra. This period of retrograde will last until Oct. 2 and will be in the sign of Libra until Sept. 23 when it then returns to Virgo. 

Mercury Retrograde, an important term in astrology, refers to a period where the planet Mercury appears to be moving backward across the sky. Mercury’s retrograde movement occurs three or four times a year, in about three-week intervals. The astrologer Annie Heese, who runs the astrology resource website Café Astrology, emphasizes that retrograde cycles for any planet are optical illusions from our perspective on Earth, since no planet truly can orbit backwards around the sun. Mercury is in retrograde more frequently than any other planets. However, as Heese described, “[Mercury] can never be more than 28 degrees from the sun, and whenever it reaches its furthest distance from the sun, it changes direction.” 

Mercury retrogrades are so impactful because Mercury rules over our sense of understanding information, our communication and our decision-making. During retrograde periods, making big decisions can become difficult, unclear or delayed, and communication with others may suffer from similar issues. It is a time to be careful when dealing with big decisions, large purchases or commitments and contracts, especially with retrograde being in Libra. Libra, the sign notorious for its indecisiveness, may cause us to reexamine all our decisions and analyze our opinions and close partnerships closely to make sure they are the right options. 

This is not to suggest that Mercury Retrograde is all negative, however. Breakdowns in conventional communication and delays in our endeavors can be the encouragement needed to focus on our internal selves and slow down. Mercury Retrograde is a good time to practice self-reflection, looking back over past events and emotions to gain clarity for the future. Once the retrograde enters Virgo on Sept. 23, the self-reflection and inner development of the first stage can lead to new perspectives and methods for work and our routines, as well as increased productivity. 

The Pisces full moon and the Mercury Retrograde emphasize the need for balance, self-reflection and mindfulness during this month. Thinking carefully through every decision, paying attention to close relationships and the way in which we communicate with each other and trying to establish balance in the work life and the emotional life will be very important in the following weeks. Pay attention to your internal compass—if you are patient with yourself and those around you, everything will work out.