Mercury Retrograde. How It Works & Dates
First of all, while retrograde literally means backward, as I discussed in the April issue of my newsletter, none of the planets ever really throw their engines in reverse and accelerate backward. It just appears that all of them (with the 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 than 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 period, especially if the planet that is retrograde is making key contacts in our natal or 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 the 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 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 transportation facilities all fall under Mercury’s ruler ship.
When Mercury turns retrograde by transit then, think in terms of the possibility for communication breakdown. Think of 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 be 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, especially business put into motion during the months following Mercury’s last retrograde period and preceding the current retrograde period. If you have your birth chart handy, following this discussion is a table of Mercury retrograde periods for the coming year. Look at which house(s) in your natal chart Mercury will be traversing when it retrogrades. It is the areas of life represented by that house that are most likely to be affected. (See chart below for the areas of life represented by each of the houses.)
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 advice. 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 direct in motion again, proceed with confidence in planning and acting on your new activities and endeavors.
January 5 – 8 – Retrograde in Aquarius
January 9 – 25 – Goes Direct in Capricorn
April 28 – 03 – Retrograde in Taurus
May 1 – 21- Goes Direct in Taurus
August 30 – 31 – Retrograde in Virgo
September 1-22 – Goes Direct Virgo
December 19 – January 4- Retrograde in Capricorn
January 5-7 Sagittarius 2017 Goes Direct in Sagaittarius
|Your physical body, personality, how others see you, how you present yourself to others.|
|Finances, possessions, personal resources, savings, spending habits, personal values|
|Communication with the environment, routine interactions, information processing, intellectual endeavors, teaching, writing, messages, correspondence, short journeys and commuting, relatives, neighbors, siblings|
|Your home, parents, family, roots, emotional security, private self, real estate|
|Creative self expression, gambling and risk taking, children, recreation, sports, games, arts, dance, theater, entertainment, investments, romance and love affairs|
|Health, work environment, readjustments, nutrition, employees, service, domestic pets|
|One-to-one close relationships with others, marriage and business partners, legal contracts, litigation, open enemies|
|Sexual activities, death and rebirth, joint resources, investments held with others, peak experiences, psychology, subconscious, legacies, wills and inheritance, life insurance|
|Religion, clergymen, ceremonies, belief system, ethics and morals, travel to distant lands, foreign countries and people, higher education, teachers, gurus, publishing, law|
|Your public life and standing in the community, vocation, profession, career, reputation, business, achievements, parents, people with power & authority|
|Groups you’re involved with, clubs and organizations to which you belong, social causes, ideals, hopes, dreams, friends|
|Unconscious, retreats from the world, solitude and seclusion, secret affairs, institutions, introspection and self-examination, self-undoing, your shadow self, sleep patterns, hospitals, prisons or any place of confinement|