Mercury Retrograde: When Is It and What Does It Mean?

After observing and experiencing Mercury retrograde with awareness for the past 30 years, and now seeing how it has caught on in the mainstream, I’m noticing some unwarranted drama and inaccuracies around what it means.

As a quick background: Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system and the planet closest to the sun. It's been considered the "messenger" planet for thousands of years. Its domain is the mind, communication, thought, perception, logic, and exploration, which includes modes of transportation.

About 3-4 times every year for around 21 days, Mercury appears to slow down its orbit in our sky, stop entirely, and begin to go backward. This reversal doesn't actually occur, but from our vantage point, the planet has turned itself around and goes retrograde, which literally means "moving backward."

When I first began to work more deeply with astrology, I had a wonderful mentor who in a very calm, wise way, said this about Mercury retrograde: during these three weeks be more mindful, watch your words, try to avoid any commitments or contractual decisions, be generous with forgiveness for misunderstandings, and relax. Take it easy. Clean out a closet. Stop trying so hard. Take a nap. Allow yourself to flow with the cycle the way nature intended. You will only have trouble with it if you don't allow it to guide you into a restful, reflective period.

Along I went, noting the retrograde periods, observing what happened during them, and occasionally poo-pooing the entire notion. I mean after all, a wee planet placing so much force on my life that my car breaks down? That an entire article I wrote and edited simply disappeared? That when I said, "See you at 2:00 you heard 3:00?" 


When the communication planet has stopped its normal forward flow it makes an impact on all of our communications, including technology. For me, the most noticeable days of change are right before it begins its retrograde motion, when the planet is seemingly at a standstill. I know from experience that anything I try to make happen, anything I try to force into place, simply is going to resist me. It tries to stop me from going against the flow of the natural order.

Have you ever been in the ocean and tried to swim to shore when the tide is heading back out? It's nearly impossible. You have to wait until the waves come in again, and you flow with them to get to shore. It's the same with Mercury retrograde. 

So how do you flow with it, allow it to help you in your life, and not get caught up in its challenges? Follow these simple steps:

Relax, renew, rejuvenate, recycle, repair, reflect, reminisce, revise, recollect, rest, regenerate, replenish, refresh, restore, reorganize, research, reschedule, redo... there is a pattern here.

Meditate. Go with the flow. If dates have to be arranged, contracts have to be signed, or a major purchase must be made during those three weeks, know that a glitch is likely to occur. Try to go against the tide and you'll exhaust and frustrate yourself. You'll often find things need to be done over, people misunderstand, paperwork becomes frustrating, and you will not have given your body and soul what it needed: renewal.

When I look at your birth chart, I can see what sign Mercury is in when you were born, and what area of your life it wants to express itself. This explains your style of expression, learning, communication, and thinking. I also look at where Mercury is going to be retrograde in your chart. This reveals what area of your life is under review during the retrograde phase. This knowledge further helps you use the energy wisely. 

Mercury retrograde dates for 2019:

March 5 - March 28

July 7 - July 31

October 31 - November 20 

To learn more about your own personal Mercury and more, contact me for a phone session.