What is Mercury retrograde?
Every planet in our solar system has both a forward or “direct” motion and a backward or “retrograde” motion. When a planet is retrograde, it appears to be going backward in relationship to the earth. The closer a planet is to the sun, the more rapid its rate of motion. Since Mercury is the closest of all planets, its rate of motion is the fastest, hence its moniker as the fleet-footed one, also known as the winged messenger.
Approximately every four months, Mercury moves retrograde, traveling backward for a period of about 21 days. The path of its backward travel is called the shadow. So, as Mercury is moving forward prior to its retrograde motion, it is considered to be in its shadow when it enters the portion of the zodiac that will be retraced. Similarly, once Mercury moves forward again, it is considered to be in its shadow until it leaves the path that it has just retraced.
Mercury’s job is that of transporting anything from ideas to things, so it therefore rules or influences anyone or anything involved in this process. A list of what Mercury rules is provided below. During the retrograde phase, the process of transporting becomes hampered, so one can expect logistical glitches, delays, errors, and miscommunication. It is therefore imperative that, when involving yourself with the processes assigned to Mercury, you be extra vigilant and anticipate problems.
What is a productive use of Mercury Retrograde?
This is a great time to go back and re-do, rearrange, reorganize, take a refresher course, edit, and fine tune. Often people find themselves cleaning out drawers, filing cabinets, closets and the like – stumbling upon things from the past they had forgotten about but may find useful in the days to come. People from the past tend to reappear and things lost while Mercury was direct are likely to pop back up again. If that little voice in the back of your mind brings up a name from your past, take it as a signal and reconnect with them.
Be proactive. Confirm details associated with appointments, such as time and specific location. (Saying “We’ll meet at the local Waffle House” won’t do – confirm which Waffle House.) Be sure to bring with you everything you will need for your outing. Don’t leave something behind, such as your cell phone, important notes or receipts. When leaving a message with someone, have them repeat the details back to you. Never make assumptions that details are correct during a Mercury retrograde. You may have to backtrack and reschedule plans, so be flexible.
What are things to be look out for during Mercury retrograde?
This is the proverbial Murphy’s Law cycle: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Expect computer glitches, mechanical problems, delayed or erroneous information, problems with pipes, tubes, wires – essentially anything whose job it is to transport objects from one place to another. This is not a time to start anything new or sign contracts, nor is it a time to undergo elective surgery, with the possible exception of repairing a problem caused by a previous surgery. Labor strikes are not unusual during the cycle. Sometimes they are settled right before Mercury goes direct. If not, they probably won’t reach a settlement until Mercury has gone forward again. Tests performed during this time may have to be redone, either because the results were inconclusive, the tests were lost, or were somehow damaged. Mail and package deliveries can experience problems and delays; parts ordered may arrive late or the wrong part may have been sent.
Be explicit when conducting any sort of business where a potential glitch is possible. If you are shipping something out during Mercury retrograde, purchase insurance and have it tracked. Save all receipts associated with purchases, and preferably make no major purchases, especially if buying something associated with Mercury, such as a computer, a car, an appliance – anything with a pipe, tube, wire, or computer chip.
Accidents are also more common, especially affecting anything dual in the body, such as eyes, arms, fingers, hands, toes, lungs. If Mercury is retrograde in your sun sign or the signs preceding or following your sun sign, pay extra close attention, because you are more likely to feel the effects of that particular cycle.
The Shadow knows!
During the shadow period leading up to Mercury retrograde it is not unusual to feel the impending effects of the retrograde. Depending on where Mercury is in your chart, you may experience more problems during the shadow period than the actual retrograde itself. If you were born with Mercury retrograde, you may find this an exceptionally constructive time, as if you’re back in your element. The important thing is to start anticipating the effects of Mercury once the shadow has begun. Once Mercury has gone direct but is still in its shadow, expect fallout – returned mail, the package you were waiting for finally arrives, the test results you were awaiting finally come back with clear result.
Organization of Professional Astrologers