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 as something to get dramatic and crazed over, I must say something about it with the intention of creating more understanding.

First, the basics: 

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." For some reason, it is like fingernails sliding down a chalkboard when I read or hear someone say, "Mercury is in retrograde." It simply is... retrograde. You wouldn't say, "Mercury is in moving backward." You would just say, "Mercury is moving backward." Thus, "Mercury is retrograde."

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?" 


The reason: the communication planet has stopped its normal forward flow. This 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 is an attempt to go 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 the apparent madness that seems to have taken everyone over during this phase? Follow these simple steps:

Relax, renew, rejuvenate, recycle, repair, reflect, reminisce, revise, recollect, rest, regenerate, replenish, refresh, restore, reorganize, research, reschedule, redo... see the pattern?

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 a nightmare, and you will not have given your body and soul exactly 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. Some people are born while Mercury is retrograde and this can be seen in your natal chart. I can look at yours to see if this was the case when you were born. If so, it can affect your thinking and communication style.

Mercury retrograde dates for 2018:

March 23 - April 15

July 26 - August 19

November 17 - December 6 

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