mercury Tuesday Toolbox

DIY Mercury Returns


Warning: This is a bit of a technical post…

My Mercury is having a birthday today.

Just like our birthday, or the day when our Sun returns to its natal position, is a recharging of our vital energies, when Mercury returns to its natal position, it’s a time when our mind- and how we use it to think, learn and communicate- is revitalized. New ideas are inspired, new ways of thinking, new channels of communication.

Just as we cast a chart for the Solar Return (see my post for more info and a “how to” guide), we can also do one for the “return” of other personal planets to their positions on the birth chart:

  • In the case of lunar returns, the Moon returns home 13 times a year and the “lunar” return gives you the emotional themes for the month
  • The Venus return will show the upcoming themes around Venus issues ie relationships, finance, partnership
  • The Mercury Return is concerned with all things Mercurial eg communication, thinking, learning, study, perceptions. It gives you an idea about where your thoughts, ideas and learning will be focused.
  • The Mars return (about every 2 years) is about Mars type of things- courage, independent action, where you may need to stand up for yourself and exert your will.
  • The Jupiter return (about every 12 years) is about growth, expansion and opportunities and where you may need to believe and have faith.
  • Saturn Return (about every 28 years) is about reality and life in all of it’s responsible glory.

The Mercury Return (MR) chart is a transit chart, like any other, and forecasts the Mercurial themes for the next 12 months. As such, we read it much like we’d read any other transit chart.

In this way, it isn’t a lot different to reading a Solar Return chart – the principles are the same…with the exception that Mercury is now the star of the show.

  • The return chart can be read in isolation, but really makes sense against the natal chart. As with all transits, they will only deliver to the potential of the birth chart – and this potential within the birth chart becomes really important if any Mercury aspects are replicated in the return chart eg Mercury and Mars are linked by sextile in my chart. If this is repeated in the return chart by any aspect those parts of life will be areas of focus
  • Return charts are similar to transit charts – they are temporary and will apply only for the period of the return. In Mercury’s case this is usually a year – unless your return occurs during the Mercury shadow period… in which case you will have three returns. Each return will last until the next.
  • The chart can be relocated ie cast at the place where you are at the time of that return rather than the birthplace. I tend not to do this, but many astrologers do – besides, I’m a boring sod and live in the city where I was born.

Last year…

Last year the sign of Cancer was on my MR Ascendant. The degree of the Ascendant brought matters of the heart and house firmly into all matters Mercury. Both were pretty much behind every thought and decision last year.

Mercury fell in the 9th house beside Neptune and the Pisces solar eclipse. Publishing and different locations were also themes – both of which have now come to pass.

This year’s Mercury Return…

What Sign is on the Ascendant?

Scorpio. This adds an intensity and focus to all things Mercurial. It makes it a great year to get to the bottom of things, to deal with detail, and to address thoughts and ideas that could be a tad darker in nature. I intend writing a cozy murder mystery later this year – I’m hoping this will be good for that!

What natal house is being brought to the Ascendant?

I’ve started working with whole signs very recently – particularly in my return charts. It’s something I’ve been reading up on and something Astrosparkles and I tossed around on our last lunch date.

Anyways, it’s making sense. For me, anyway. You feel free to do what you’d normally do.

Where was I? Yes, the 9th house is being brought to the ASC of the return chart. I have a busy publishing year ahead – and publishing is a 9th house activity.

The Ruler of the Ascendant?

Mars (traditionally), Pluto (modern)

It’s in the 6th house, conjunct Uranus and (a little wider) also the Moon.

Mars also opposes Jupiter and squares (again, wide-ish) the modern ruler of Scorpio – Pluto.

With a packed 6th house, routine will be important, as will be a just get on with it attitude. Jupiter will provide opportunities for expansion, and Pluto challenges –if met – will bring lasting change.

The House of Mercury in the Return Chart

The 5th house.

As I said, this is a busy creative year.

Aspects to Mercury in the Return Chart

Mercury is just a few degrees away from the Sun and Neptune conjunction.

Neptune adds inspiration and intuition, and reinforces the Neptunian nature of my natal 12th house Mercury.

Other stuff…

  • Speaking of which, the Moon needs to be looked at- this shows where the heart is in relation to Mercurial issues…it’s in the 6th.
  • Check out any planets at the degree of the nodes- this always indicates something quite karmic. Nothing there this year.
  • Lastly, take a look at any planets at critical degrees ie at 0 or 29. Again, nothing at these points this year.

Obviously, this is a quick look/ interpretation designed just to give you an idea of how a Mercury return can work. This is the way that I do it- although other astrologers may have different ideas…as always, the best method is the one that works for you.


How do you work out when your Mercury return is? Technically it’s the time that Mercury returns to the exact degree and minute of your birth. I use astro gold on my phone and on my mac (both paid apps but so worth it). The dynamic reports function of this will tell you the time of each aspect to your personal planets. I cast the chart from that.