What to Expect from the First Mercury Retrograde of 2021, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

How You’ll Most Feel This Mercury Retrograde, Based on Your Sign

If it feels like Mercury was just retrograde, you’re not wrong. From October 13 to November 3, 2020, the planet of communication, transportation, and technology moved backwards from Scorpio into Libra, setting off slowdowns and misunderstandings through one of the hairiest periods of the pandemic, election season, and Election Day itself.

Since then, the messenger planet has been moving forward through the signs, and since Friday, January 8, it has been in Aquarius. But no less than 10 days after the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, on Saturday, January 30, it’ll appear to move backward in the sky until Saturday, February 20.

Mercury will be retrograde three times in 2021, and its first is happening in eccentric, forward-thinking Aquarius. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the three-week event.

The Vibe of Mercury in Aquarius

As Mercury travels — forwards and, three to four times a year, backwards — through the signs, it colors our communication style and mental energy. In the fixed air sign Aquarius, which is the ruler of the eleventh house of networking, we’ll tend to have an easier time relating in group settings and connecting with just about anyone and everyone — generally in a platonic way. We might also be more comfortable striking out on our own and embracing independent-mindedness and unconvention as a rule, thanks to the influence of Aquarius’ ruling planet, game-changing, rebellious Uranus. The futuristic, progressive eleventh sign of the zodiac is also known for having an eye toward humanitarian goals, prioritizing “we” over “me,” and celebrating science and technology.

But while Aquarius might be an altruistic social air sign, it’s also a fixed sign, meaning it’s one of the most resolute/stubborn signs in the zodiac. Just like similarly hardheaded Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio, Aquarians can dig their heels in, especially when it comes to being a contrarian and a skeptic, quickly transforming friendly debate into a heated or awkward moment.

What It Will Mean When Mercury Is Retrograde in Aquarius

Mercury’s retrograde in this free-spirited, platonic relationship-oriented sign will urge us to revisit, revise, and review anything that falls under the Aquarian umbrella. That includes our collective efforts to work together for the greater good of society (oh, hi, Biden administration starting from scratch with the COVID vaccine roll-out and working to advance racial equity, among so many other similar pursuits); scientific and technological advancement; any ongoing issues with colleagues, friends, groups, and teams; and our ideals, long-term wishes.

Because Aquarius is all about maintaining a diverse, broad network of friends and adopting new technology, especially to bolster their social lives, they were pretty much made for this era of social distancing. But Mercury retrograde can’t help but do its glitchy thing, often messing with the very tech we’ve grown so reliant on and throwing a wrench in interpersonal communication. That said, when Zoom’s on the fritz or that text conversation goes south, this transit could be a test of just how committed — and creative — we are while keeping up with our circles.

Still, over the course of the three weeks, Mercury’s power might be compromised, but it still forms positive angles to various planets, offering opportunities for connection and progress. Mark the following on your calendar:

February 8: The sun pairs up with Mercury to boost our confidence and mental energy.

February 13: Mercury and the planet of love, Venus, get together to make it easier to say how you feel — just in time for V-Day.

February 14: On Valentine’s Day, lucky Jupiter and Mercury can bolster optimism and social energy.

How Long the Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius Will Last

Although Mercury isn’t officially retrograde until Saturday, January 30, its “retroshade,” or pre-shadow period, kicked off on Friday, January 15. And the post-shadow will go until Saturday, March 13. (FYI: The pre-shadow begins when Mercury, moving direct, hits the point at which it’ll be when its retrograde ends. And the post-shadow ends when Mercury, again moving direct, returns to the point at which it’ll be when its retrograde began. It’s basically like an astrological zig-zag.)

In other words, buckle in for a two-month ride in which you’ll do best to double-check technical details, strive for more patience and diplomacy if frustrations arise while you’re collaborating with others, and think of ways you can tie up loose ends and perfect team projects.

How You’ll Feel This Mercury Retrograde, Based on Your Sign

Although the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) are likely to feel this retrograde more than others, they’re far from the only ones who will notice its effects. Here’s what you can expect, based on your sign.

Pro-tip: While it pays to read your sun sign, you’ll want to read your rising sign/ascendant for the most accurate forecast. (There are a ton of free sites out there, like cafeastrology.com or astrology.com, where you can plug in your info, receive your birth chart, and learn your rising sign in seconds.)


The retrograde will hit your eleventh house of networking, so you’ll be especially focused on rethinking your approach and role within a team effort. You might also get your fair share of blasts from the past in the form of DMs from old colleagues and friends.


The retrograde falls in your tenth house of career, requiring that you go back to the drawing board to brush up your approach for hitting big-picture professional goals. You might sit down for an annual review with higher-ups.


With the retrograde falling in your ninth house of higher education and adventure, you could feel stirred to hone your skillset, seeking mentorship or guidance from a trusted expert you’ve relied on in the past.


The retrograde will influence your eighth house of emotional bonds, sexual intimacy, and joint resources, nudging you to rethink how you’ve been exerting your energy in all of these areas. It could be time to shift some assets around or speak up about wanting to deepen your connection or commitment to a partner.


This first retrograde of the year will fall in your seventh house of partnership, requiring you to take a magnifying glass to any issues that have been popping up when you’re connecting with your nearest and dearest (friends, lovers, loved ones, business partners) one-on-one.


This retrograde will be most felt in your sixth house of wellness and daily routine, which is the area of the astrological wheel that your sign rules, so you’re pretty much a pro at perfecting all of these self-care details on the regular. In fact, it’s almost like your hobby, so have no fear.


Mercury’s backward turn through Aquarius will affect your fifth house of romance and self-expression, which means you’re probably the most likely of all the signs to receive eyebrow-raising texts from exes. You might also find you most enjoy V-Day date or activity that involves a throwback activity.


You’ll be reassessing what brings you a sense of security and perhaps tending to old emotional wounds, as the retrograde will be in your fourth house of family life. You might strive to make amends with a loved one you had a falling out with or perfect a home project.


With the retrograde falling in your third house of communication, you might feel its signature tech glitches, travel headaches, and misunderstandings while attempting to check off all those daily to-dos. It could be a good op to practice mindfulness.


With the retrograde in your second house of income, you’ll want to be extra eagle-eyed with your cash flow, and you could do well to revisit a money-making project that got left on the backburner.


The retrograde falling in your sign might sound intimidating, but it actually opens the door for you to perfect your personal brand. You’ll be rethinking how you want to present yourself and your goals to the world.


You’re already fairly comfortable with the territory this retrograde is covering, as it’s the house your sign rules: the twelfth house of spirituality. You’ll be nudged to tune into your intuition and imagination even more than usual, rest and recharge, and prioritize your mental health.

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