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Mercury Retrograde

What’s it all about?

Table of Mercury Retrograde Periods

I have had requests from several of you wanting to know about Mercury retrograde periods by transit.  Every three months, for a period of about three weeks, Mercury goes through one of its infamous retrograde periods.  But, what does that mean?  What sort of effects does it have?


First of all, while retrograde literally means backward, none of the planets ever really throw their engines in reverse and accelerate backward.  It just appears that all of them (with exception of the two lights, the Sun and Moon) appear to do so on occasion, when viewed from the perspective of the earth.  What’s really happening is that the earth is moving faster that the planet, hence giving the appearance, when viewed from the earth, that it is moving backward.


Whether or not we have retrograde planets in our natal charts, all of us can experience the influence of a planetary retrograde, especially if the planet that is retrograde is making key contacts in out natal and progressed charts or if it is “captured” in its retrograde status in a progressed or return chart.  When a planet is captured in its retrograde status in a chart, the affairs ruled by that planet are slowed down and the individual is more introspective concerning them.  There is a great potential to be “tuned-in” to all the fine details related to that planet.


Mercury is the fastest moving planet, with the exception of the Moon (which really isn’t a planet but for the sake of convenience, is often referred to as one.)  Mercury orbits the Sun in about eighty-eight days, but because of its retrograde motion it takes about a year to traverse the entire zodiac.  Mercury normally takes less than three weeks to move through a sign when its motion is direct.  It will take eight to ten weeks in a sign when it is retrograde.


Mercury rules the mind, mental processes and all forms of communication including travel, speaking, and writing.  This means that messages, letters, books, magazines, contracts, and the signing of documents, neighbors and the immediate neighboring environment, commuter-type travel, and the transportation facilities all fall under Mercury’s rulership.


When Mercury turns retrograde by transit then, think in terms of the possibility for communication breakdown.  Think for it as the Director of the Communication Department is “out to lunch” for about three weeks.  The details normally handled by Director Mercury aren’t being tended to as carefully as they are when this planet is direct.  All types of communication have the potential for becoming confused, delayed, or misunderstood.  There can by confusion, changing of plans, indecisiveness, mail-slowdowns, lost letters, transportation problems, electronic equipment breakdowns, and failures in negotiations.  For these reasons, it is felt that the Mercury retrograde period is not a good time for signing contracts, scheduling negotiations, or launching new projects.


So, you may be thinking, what are these Mercury retrograde periods good for?  They are a fine time to draw on knowledge and guidance from deeper levels of consciousness.  The three weeks that Mercury is retrograde presents us with an opportunity for carefully considering all the possible ramifications of pending actions and decisions.  We are encouraged to take care of unfinished business put into motion during the months following Mercury’s last retrograde period and preceding the current retrograde period.


I remember reading somewhere once that the Mercury retrograde periods are a good time to confine activities to those that have “re” at the beginning of the word.  I think that is good advise.  Therefore, rehash, review, rejuvenate, refine, reflect, repair, recheck, reschedule, realign, rewrite, reformulate!!  Take inventory of what has occurred over the previous three months and reconsider and reexamine your experiences.  That is good use of Mercury retrograde energy.  When Mercury is directed in motion again, proceed with confidence in planning and acting on your new activities and endeavors.