Mercury is the planet of the mind and deals primarily with communication, the thought process and decision making. It is tied to such things as writing, public speaking, teaching, short trips, transportation such as vehicles and all things related to interaction with others.
For all returns, a chart must be prepared for the exact day that the planet in question (Mercury in this case) returns to its original place by sign and degree that is was at the time of birth right to the minute. Some sites will do this calculation for you or you can buy programmes that do this work. The Mercury return usually follows closely to the solar return and occurs once a year.
The rising sign is very important and will help define how life unfolds over the year in Mercury related ways. If Mercury is conjunct an angle or several planets, it often suggests an eventful year. Quite often a surge of energy related primarily to Mercury is experienced on the day it returns to its natal position. We would have to check which house Mercury is found in and although it returns to its original position by sign and degree the timing will be different from our birth time so the ascendant and houses will be different from their position in the natal chart.
If, for example, the rising sign is Aries, this will be a year of personal activities that can be used to propel us forward in life. Aries always wants to push ahead and strive for personal growth. This could be the year for activities related to signing of agreements, buying an automobile, starting a book or releasing a book, beginning teaching or moving into a programme that will help you achieve what you are trying to accomplish.
If we have Cancer on the ascendant, this could be a year that agreements or disagreements occur within the family or within the home environment. This could be a year when nurturing a family member or in contrast a year when we are in need of nurturing. Sensitivity is an important factor at this time and often intuitive experiences are enhanced. Of course things run deeper at this time as emotions are a big part of the process. Don’t forget as with any chart all the defining characteristics have to be taken into consideration. A challenged ascendant or difficult Mercury would suggest a year of some difficulty and decision making may not be easy, but in many ways the mind can still figure out the best route to take.
The house and sign position of Mercury will define the area of life involved for the return year and will also define the energies associated with the sign. Don’t forget to also look at the ruling planet of the ascendant as it will give us further information. For example with Sagittarius on the ascendant, we will need to look at where Jupiter is in the return.
The placement by house of Mercury (Angular, Succedent, and Cadent) along with the general meaning behind what these placements suggest will also be important. Angular and Succedent as well as Cadent energies are all quite different from one another. If for example using only as a timing device, if Mercury occurs in a cadent house most of the energy will take place in the first 4 months of the year. If Succedent then most of the activity will take place in the middle of the year and if in Cadent things take hold in the last four months of the year.
Remember Mercury returns are highlighting Mercurial connections and will only last for one year. Also regardless of how challenging the chart appears, we can always find ways to work with the energy and learn from our experiences.