Many folks who know nothing else about astrology other than their Sun signs are aware of Mercury retrograde. It has become a bit of a superstition and people tend to blame all kinds of unrelated troubles on this planetary period, which occurs at least three times each year.
Mercury retrograde is a normal happening and it is nothing to fear. When you understand what it really is and know the best practices for what to avoid and what to do during this time, you will not only survive Mercury retrograde intact but also come out ahead.
What is Mercury retrograde, really?
The term retrograde refers to the period in a planet’s orbit when it appears to be moving backward. No planet actually moves backward, of course. But when it gets to the point in its orbit where it moves between the Earth and the Sun, it appears from our perspective to be moving backward.
In the case of Mercury, which moves swiftly around the Sun, this period lasts only three and a half weeks, and it occurs three or four times each year. There will be four retrograde periods for Mercury in 2017, and then we will have only three Mercury retrograde periods each year until 2023, when we’ll have four.
Mercury is a tiny planet, but it has an extremely dense iron core. When it moves between us and the Sun, it affects Earth and Earthlings in various magnetic, electric, and energetic ways. The many possible effects of this energy disturbance on Earth have given Mercury Retrograde a bad reputation.
What are the effects of Mercury retrograde?
Mercury in astrology rules the mind, the intellect, memory, communications, technology, travel, transportation, and commerce. It governs learning, speaking, listening, reading, writing, negotiating, buying, selling, coding, documents, contracts, and agreements. Mercury is known as the trickster and his tricks are in full force during these times of the year.
When this dense ball of iron whizzes past Earth during its retrograde it is notorious for producing all kinds of trouble here. Mercury retrograde is blamed for breaks and breakdowns in computers, phones, automobiles, plans, and more. Miscommunications and misunderstandings are common.
If your flight was cancelled or delayed, if your message was undelivered, if you hit “reply all” when you meant to reply to the sender only, if your computer crashed when you were working on an important project, or if you suffered some other technological glitch, chances are that this happened during Mercury retrograde.
The Hindenburg exploded and the Titanic sank when Mercury was retrograde.
Interestingly, J.P. Morgan was scheduled to be on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, but he backed out and did not sail after being advised against it by Evangeline Adams, an astrologer. Astrological guidance surely saved him from a nightmare and probably saved his life.
How can you avoid disaster during Mercury retrograde?
Most negative effects of Mercury retrograde can be circumvented when you know what to avoid or what to look out for and prepare for during these times.
To prepare for upcoming Mercury retrogrades, back up your computer and other data. If you have any software or other installations you need to do, complete these prior to the retrograde period. If your car, computer, or any other equipment needs repair, handle it in advance of the retrograde.
Remember that the retrograde will only last about three weeks. You should expect to encounter delays, and you should also endeavor to delay. While all decisions cannot be put off for three weeks, whenever you can, avoid:
- making major decisions
- purchasing electronics, equipment, appliances, phones, autos, or a home
- signing contracts or legal documents
- starting new relationships
- launching new projects
- starting new businesses
- scheduling meetings for decision making
- listing a house for sale
- moving to a new home or town
- getting married
Doing these kinds of things invites the big problems that give Mercury retrograde such a bad reputation.
When it is impossible to delay something until the retrograde period is past, you need to prepare for possible difficulties. For example, if you absolutely must sign a contract, you should read every line with more care than you might normally give. Then read it again. And expect possible snafus. These contracts may wind up needing revision or complete rewriting.
When traveling, allow extra time for delays and disruptions. If you can, avoid traveling to new places during the retrograde and choose destinations you have previously visited instead.
The same goes for moving: moving to a new home or town is never advisable during a retrograde. But moving back to a previous hometown is well starred at this time.
So what is Mercury retrograde good for and how can you use it to thrive?
Mercury retrograde is not all bad. In fact, it doesn’t have to be bad at all. Mercury is also known as the messenger of the gods and its retrograde is helpful when we utilize this time wisely. The apparent backward motion is the clue to what we should do. These times are best used for slowing down and backtracking. Things to do to take advantage of Mercury retrograde and use this time well are (in alphabetical order):
- · Reconciling
- · Reconnecting
- · Reconfirming
- · Recycling
- · Recreating
- · Redoing
- · Reevaluating
- · Reflecting
- · Refreshing
- · Rejuvenating
- · Relaxing
- · Renewing
- · Renovating
- · Reorganizing
- · Researching
- · Resting
- · Rethinking
- · Retracing
- · Retreating
- · Returning
- · Retrying
- · Reuniting
- · Reviewing
- · Revising
- · Revisiting
*Please note that repair is not on this list. Repairs made during Mercury retrograde are likely to be faulty or have to be fixed further at a later date. It is much better to handle repairs before the retrograde. If you didn’t handle this in time and therefore suffered a breakage, put the repair off until after the retrograde if at all possible.
All of the above will be productive and profitable activities at this time. Look back at the time since the last retrograde and tie up loose ends and complete unfinished projects. Reflect on what you have learned and accomplished. Take time to reconsider decisions you may have made quickly or without sufficient thought.
Helpful tools for Mercury retrograde
A journal will serve you well during Mercury retrograde. Use it for your reflecting, revising, rethinking, and reevaluating. Ask yourself questions and you will be able to write answers that you may not have come up with by just thinking alone. If you get stuck, try moving the pen to your non-dominant hand.
Use your journal for planning out actions to take after the retrograde period ends. While it is not a good idea to begin a new venture or business during this time, it is advisable to carefully plan these things now. Reflect on what you want to accomplish. Performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on your big plans may prevent any problems from arising when you do move forward with them.
More visually oriented folks may find a sketchbook is a better help for this kind of work. Allow yourself to sketch and draw and you may find the exact idea or inspiration you have been missing. Even if you are not normally inclined to sketch, you might find deeper insights revealed from the depths of yourself. Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time to get a clear view of lessons you are revisiting now.
For the more action oriented among you, take this time to throw out what no longer serves you. Clear your clutter, your closets, your files. Reorganize your desk or your systems. These types of action will benefit you both now and in the long term. Finish old business rather than rushing ahead with new things.
Remember that retrogrades are necessary and natural happenings in the cosmos and our lives.
Astrology is helpful for learning right timing and acting in season. Mercury retrograde is the perfect time to practice this. Keep these things in mind and you will not only be able to survive Mercury retrograde with no ill effects, you will know how to use these recurrent periods to thrive.