By Jan Spiller


What is Mercury Retrograde?  Mercury Retrograde cycles occur approximately 3 times a year, with a 3-1/2 week duration each time. What is physically occurring is that Mercury is slowing down in its elliptical orbit around the Sun, and because the Earth continues to spin on its axis, to us it appears that Mercury is moving backward.

When this astronomical phenomena occurs, there are predictable, marked effects in our experience on Planet Earth.


How does Mercury Retrograde affect us?  In astrology, the planet Mercury rules the conscious, logical mind. When the planet Mercury ‘goes backward,’ our thinking can also start to ‘go backward’ and become muddled. We tend to be in a more reflective mode.

During the time of this phenomena, we all experience certain psychological effects in common: inattention, confusion, reversals of decision and then getting back on the “right track” again. We may experience unexpected, emotionally-charged miscommunications with others, and have to repeat actions more than once to get things right.

If you are unaware of the cycle this can be very frustrating. However, if you’re aware of what is going on in the atmosphere you can greet the inevitable glitches with a sense of humor.

Oftentimes, things you initiate under Mercury Retrograde have to be repeated. For instance, if you have your car repaired you may have to take it back a second time to get it done properly.

Because your thinking is not in its usual groove, creative ideas that occur to you under this cycle will often not seem viable when Mercury goes back into direct motion. It is best to wait until after this cycle is over to enter into agreements with others or to present new ideas.

Physical domains that are ruled by Mercury seem especially prone to going haywire at this time: computers, telephones, printers – all fields related to transportation or communication are particularly vulnerable to malfunctioning during Mercury retrograde cycles.

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What Should I Avoid When Mercury is retrograde?

DON’T: Sign contracts; begin something new; make firm decisions for your future based on what you see during the Mercury retrograde cycle; go to the dentist, doctor or car repair service (unless its unavoidable); take yourself or others too seriously; make new relationship decisions; try to force others into making decisions.

How Can I Best Use Mercury Retrograde?


DO take more quiet time for yourself. Slow down, accept that you probably feel a bit muddled, and take a break from outer accomplishment. This cycle offers the opportunity to know yourself more deeply.

It’s a great time to write in a journal, pray, meditate, and reflect. Discover your own inner world – what’s true for you and what you actually think.

When the cycle passes you will feel rested and ready for fresh activity – to move forward with projects out in the world. You will have gained a greater awareness of what’s really important to you – where YOU want to invest your creative life energy.

DO work on and bring to completion projects you have already begun – especially those that involve working on your own.

DO take time to listen to others, and repeat communication if you are in doubt about mutual mental rapport. Slow down your speech and deeply connect with others – speaking from your heart as well as your mind.

If you don’t feel the other person has understood what you said, gently ask them to repeat it – (“I’m not sure that I communicated clearly here… what did you hear me say?”).

DO check your calendar carefully to be sure you don’t miss an important appointment, and call others to confirm appointments they have with you. People can be a bit forgetful during this transit.

DO have a sense of humor. Everyone gets stressed out when Mercury is Retrograde. Toward the end of the cycle, folks don’t even go out much for dinner or social activities. They become so fearful of something going wrong or of being misunderstood, they just hole up in the safety of their homes.

Ridiculous glitches will happen – unbelievable miscommunication will occur. Because you have the inside scoop – knowing Mercury is Retrograde and these absurd things are occurring – you can have a sense of humor as you watch the effects of the cycle in action.