The reason for their spark of interest is clear – this phenomenon is one of the few that affects EVERYONE in a fairly uniform way, and its effects are ALWAYS obvious. Once you begin to pay attention to how events in your life change during these phases, and give you opportunities (that sometimes you will or won't like) you will soon see how important it is to take note of them and to this period in time.
Keeping track of Mercury retrograde periods can allow you to increase your growth, productivity and avoid at least some of the frustration and miscommunication they can bring about. So let’s take a closer look at Mercury retrograde and what it means to you.
Does Mercury Really Move Backward?Mercury doesn’t actually move backward. If you do a bit of research on fantastic websites such as slooh.com or do some stargazing, you will see that Mercury appears to move backward, just as the ancient astrologers perceived thousands of years ago. After a small stint in time – in Mercury’s case, a three-and-a-half-week period – the planet will reverse itself and move “forward” again.
Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. Here's an example that may help you visualize what that means. If you were travelling on the highway in a car and another car passed you, you would be able to tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it leaves behind it a trail of dust. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a plane flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can and will affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.
Have you ever heard this saying: “As above, so too below.” In this case we mean there is a fractal relationship between the orbits in the heavens and human activity down here on Earth, similar to how the moon effects tidal patterns. This idea pervades all of astrology and is a very good concept to keep in mind.
Mercury RulesMercury rules all types of communication, including negotiating, listening, speaking, learning, reading, researching, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and the list goes on.
Included under this planet’s domain are all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping, and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled, delayed or spin out of control.
Why does this happen? When a planet retrogrades, astrologically it is in a resting or sleeping state. Therefore, while Mercury naps, the activities that it governs don’t have the benefit of a well-functioning, well oiled, wide-awake planet to supervise them. You can expect while this planet sleeps to get an onslaught of inconvenient happenings or heightened levels of frustration.
What You Should – and Should Not – Do During a Mercury Retrograde Phase
Don’t make any important big moves when Mercury is retrograde. Nothing will be settled successfully or end in a good way for the future during these periods anyway – you will find it nearly impossible to finish a plan of attack or complete a transaction successfully. During a retrograde period, it is hard to get decisions from others. Even if a decision is made, it will be subject to change, or subject to clauses either just after Mercury turns direct or much later.
Mercury retrograde is not the best time to do anything involving communications, such as launch a magazine, courses, publicity campaign, website, or an advertising campaign.
These phases are also considered poor or just not quite the right times to launch any new endeavors, even if they are not related to the communications industries.
Similarly, a retrograde period is not a good time to sign any contracts or even to shake hands on any new agreements. Do not close on a house during this time nor sign a lease. Any verbal agreements are considered the same as written ones so think carefully before setting either of these things into motion.
If you accept or start a new job, it won’t necessarily be the position you thought it was when you accepted it. If you are in management, you may very well have difficulty choosing the right person for the job, so, if you are able, hold off hiring anyone. If you buy a house during this time, problems could crop up later that were completely unanticipated.
Since Mercury rules the mail (of all types, both snail mail and emails), be extra careful when sending important documents. If you send faxes, emails be sure to call the people at the other end to let them know your documents are waiting for them. Otherwise, they may miss it or may never see it at all. If you work in an office and have to photocopy an important document, be sure to retrieve the original. Be equally careful about whom you send email to – you don’t want to send a private email to the wrong person or have a sensitive email forwarded to others. This is the time where mail accidents happen the most so be extra careful to take a pregnant pause and consider every document, message, email you send whether it's in your best interests to do so or that you are sending it to the correct person.
Your client may suddenly change direction on a project you have been working on and give you new instructions, which may require you to discard some of the work you did. Miscommunication is everywhere, so during these periods keep summarizing what you think the other person has just told you, record conversations so that mishaps with communication don't happen and you can re-listen to the conversation if needed. Safe guard yourself as much as possible from the words of others AND from you putting far to much emotion behind the words spoken to you (this is where the recordings help, as re-listening you may see a different picture than the one you were focusing on).
Mercury retrograde periods are notorious for causing computers to crash, hours of work to be lost, photographs to disappear and for machines, appliances, and other electronic devices to show signs of wear, requiring urgent repair. Backup your computer in advance of any Mercury retrograde period. Weird things happen during these periods so safe guard yourself well before Mercury goes into a short hibernation.
Mercury also rules trade and commerce, so don’t buy or sell anything expensive during its retrograde phases. Often you will find that the item you want is out of stock. If you do buy something expensive, such as a car, computer, or jewelry, for example, you may well regret your purchase later. If you are buying or selling a house, expect problems, errors, delays, and setbacks to arise out of know where - learn to expect the unexpected and don't set yourself up for disappointment if your fantasy (of how things should play out or look) doesn't play out the way you had hoped. The only times you can buy something expensive during a retrograde period are if you are returning something you already bought.
Computers, high tech items, appliances, automobiles, and other machines and electronics are highly susceptible to Mercury in a retrograde period. Mercury rules moving parts, so that can be one reason. Yet, other things happen. You buy an air conditioner and 30 days later discover it has gone on sale for much less than what you paid. Or you by an expensive smartphone during a retrograde only to drop it (and crack its screen) or lose it soon afterward. It really does pay to wait to buy electronics and Christmas presents (since this retrograde starts December 19th).
If you are driving any significant distance during a period where Mercury is retrograde, bring extra maps (or make sure your GPS is up to date), make sure you have enough gas, a spare pumped up and in good condition spare tire, and verify that you have the correct address and clear driving instructions. If your car is making strange sounds, have it inspected before you leave; you don’t want a problem to emerge when you are on the road. If you are flying, check with your airline to make sure your flight is going to take off on time. Have your luggage well marked so that it won’t get lost or sent to the wrong airport, and bring your iPod, ipad, charger, magazines and a good book to the airport, as there could be lots of delays. On that note always carry an extra toothbrush and clean clothes in your personal luggage just encase your bags go in one direction and you are delayed somewhere else.
You can take a trip for pleasure during these periods. Actually, this could be a perfect time to go, for you get away from it all, and everyone back at the office will “feel” the retrograde – they will miss your quick problem-solving ability and advice while you are away!
Forgetfulness can be a problem during these phases. You are more likely to leave your airline ticket or passport on your desk rather than put it in your pocket; leave your cell phone, sunglasses, or purse in the back seat of a cab; or lock yourself out of your car or house. I always advise that you tape your business card on the back of your computer or smartphone case, and slip your card into your case holding your eyeglasses in case one of these treasures is lost.
Photocopy your passport and give your family members a copy, too. If you ever should lose your passport, you will have a copy to show the passport office, and it will make things much easier for you! Do that today, while you are thinking of it if you are off on vacation somewhere.
Romance tends to go haywire, too, during Mercury retrograde periods. Couples tend to create miscommunications that in turn can cause a domino effect of errors. Try not to jump to conclusions, and keep striving for clarity, soloutions and where possible stay out of your head (monkey mind can certainly do some overthinking and damage during these times, often it's a whole lot of wasted energy). Your special loved one or spouse could also have a sudden change of mind. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend says, “I want to break up,” he or she could say later, “No, let’s not! I didn’t really mean it!” That’s because people aren’t always thinking straight during these phases. Mercury retrograde is notorious for creating confusion.
Keep in mind that Mercury retrogrades in three different signs of the zodiac during the year. If it retrogrades in your sign, delays and frustrations will become even more pronounced than usual. In this case, try to be even more vigilant and double-check proposals, ideas, creative efforts, and other plans to root out flaws or incorrect assumptions. Always go the extra mile to find errors during a retrograde. These periods demand a slow, mindful and deliberate approach.
A Handy Truth About Mercury Retrograde: Things Are In Flux, But You Don’t Know They Are – Yet
When Mercury retrogrades, think of it as an instant signal that the wind is changing direction and that the world is your oyster of opportunity when it comes to personal growth. Something is in flux up on the road ahead, but the problem is, everything looks the same and unchanging. What makes these periods so difficult is that you cannot see yet that they are about to change, often radically. So rather than waste energy on the fear of the future focus on allowing yourself to lose the control and focus on the moment as the not knowing the future will certainly cause you more pain, frustration and confusion than needed.
Let’s say you take a new position while Mercury is retrograde. After you start, the company starts extreme cost-cutting procedures, and you suddenly discover you will lose some of the people who report to you. On top of that, your title changes – not in a way you like. In this typical example, you had no idea these procedures were being planned, and had you known, you would have never taken the job. Things like this happen all the time when Mercury is out of phase. Do not take a job when Mercury is retrograde, and don’t start one during a retrograde, either. Use this time as a time of rest just as Mercury is doing, a lull before Christmas and a time of growth before ideas come thick and fast for your future.
What If You Can’t Put Off a Decision Until a Later Date?
What if you can’t wait a few weeks and really is just three? In that case, you may have to proceed anyway. Do so knowing that the conditions around the situation will probably change, so plan to be flexible and not be broken hearted if it goes sideways. For example, if you are looking at a great apartment, you may have to sign the lease or risk losing it. However, before you do, ask lots of questions and if needed put a trial period or clause in that gives you an out if needed.
If you are buying a house, hire a top engineer to check it out, or get two engineers’ opinions. Be ready for something to come up. Do all you can to extend the process: Say your lawyer is out of town or in court. Say you will be in Hawaii during that time!
Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule:“Don’t Plan Big Actions During a Retrograde”? Yes!
Indeed, despite what I have just said, there are situations where you can move forward, slowly and with caution, during Mercury retrograde. The main time you can is if you are going back to the past, either to correct something or do more with a person you know and admire rather than going haywire this could be an opportunity for you to dig deep within yourself and do some healing which would be beneficial and would not be effected by this retrograde.
If your boss, partner gives you an assignment that was put on the back burner a year ago, and it has jumped to life again, proceed!
Here is another example: Let’s say you are out of work and looking for a new job. Your old boss (whom you loved working with on a previous job) invites you to join the business she is at now, as a member of the team. In this case, you will be going back to a former professional relationship that you actually started a long time ago, and this is simply adding to rather than starting a new relationship with this boss. In this case, you CAN and if conditions are right for you take the job. It's all about history with Mercury Retrograde, if you've got history then it's fine, if it's brand spanking new...steer clear.
What if you gave a bid on a house you loved and wanted but that was rejected. Can you go back and put in a new bid on that same house during the retrograde, even months later (assuming the house is not yet sold)? Yes. In this case, you have a history with the house, the people who live there, and your broker. This would actually be a good time to “redo” your bid and send it in again. When it comes to exceptions, if you have a history with the person or situation, you can proceed carefully during the Mercury retrograde period.
Mercury’s Impending Shadow Period
As Mercury approaches its “switch point” (the day it actually turns retrograde), it will progress along a path that it will later retrace in the sky over the next few weeks. The two- or three-week period prior to Mercury retrograde is called the “impending shadow period.” If you initiate anything important during that shadow period – that is, in the time before Mercury begins to retrograde – you still may encounter problems.
If you have a choice whether to sign papers or initiate an action prior to Mercury retrograde or just after it is finished retrograding, there is no question that I suggest you wait and act afterward. Try to secure a little breathing space (a few days or even better, two weeks) from the date Mercury goes direct, for safety. It doesn’t pay to rush to do things before Mercury retrogrades. Waiting is always the wiser option.
Here is another vital point to keep in mind: Mercury is more powerful on the onset and finish dates of its retrograde so the dust certainly won't have settled, it's often more turbulent and in your face than any other time.
The Electoral college voting date of 2016 is on a day when Mercury is not direct but begins slowing down. This is a good example of the problems that can occur just as the planet is beginning it's hibernation. In this case I would say there will be more than a few delays, mishaps or huge movements in how this 2016 Election will play out and I can bet you anything it's not what you're possibly expecting.
This point deserves reiteration: Always allow two days, minimum, after Mercury moves ahead to normal direct speed before you start initiating projects or making big purchases. The more time you can allow after this planet goes direct, the better. If you can wait two weeks, all the better.
Is Mercury Retrograde All Bad? Not at All!
Although these Mercury retrograde periods can be frustrating, they are often useful too, for they allow us to reassess, revisit, readdress, redo, and redesign our plans. Sometimes we rush along in life without fully considering our basic assumptions or actions. Mercury retrograde allows us to stop, look, listen, learn and redirect our energies more productively. Mercury also helps us find closure to certain situations of the past.
Reconnecting with old pals and relatives is very common during retrograde periods, and that can be one of the most positive and fun sides of this planet’s retrograde orbit. If you hear from an old friend or colleague during Mercury retrograde, I feel there is a potent reason for it. It seems to me that there is something that the two of you are meant to do or plan together. Whether it's a positive connection or a negative both parties will be given the opportunity to grow from it, release all that holds us back from the situation like anger, bitterness etc or simply use this time as a positive influence in your life through support and love.
We can all benefit from taking a closer look at situations with greater depth, which happens when Mercury retrogrades. Mercury retrograde periods are like walking through deep sand, so they do tend to make us slow down, which most of the time can be a blessing.
Here are some examples of ways Mercury retrograde can help you:
- Perhaps you have been working on a project that seems to have gone down the wrong path. When Mercury retrogrades, it could become evident that the project needs to be altered slightly or redirected. Even if you did not get your way originally, if you argue your case persuasively, things might go your way now.
- You stall on accepting a job offer, and lo and behold, a better one comes your way in the meantime.
- You refrain from buying a certain big-ticket item, and within a few weeks, the coveted item goes on sale and you will be glad you waited.
- If a meeting is postponed or cancelled, you have more time to gather additional information that probably will come in quite handy.
- If you are in sales, go back to old customers and clients. You may do better by asking for more business from people who have always trusted you than by trying to extend your reach into new sales territory. Former customers like being contacted, and under Mercury retrograde, you will have the time to do so.
- Missing objects are likely to be found. That beautiful bracelet wasn’t lost after all – it was on your bookshelf, behind your favorite book!
What Else Should You Do During Mercury Retrograde Periods?
It would be a great time to reorganize your files or closets. Pack up clothes you haven’t worn in a while and give them to charity. Polish your shoes and decide which ones need repair, and while you are at it, decide which appliances need to be taken in for repair as well. Oddly, as busy as we are, during these phases we always seem to find more time to get things done. When you clean your closets, you will find treasures you thought you lost or had completely forgotten about, always a bonus of going through things you have not seen in a while. So for those of you heading into summer...great time for that long overdue spring clean. For those of you heading into winter...what a great time to clear out your summer things and make way for a chance to de-clutter and renew the energy in your home before spending a lot of time between four walls over the colder months.
Mercury rules anything that begins with “re”: redo, reassess, repair, repeat, redesign, or revisit. It’s always human nature to want to hear that new opportunities are coming our way, but we really do need to focus on the quality of our work and improve it to the best it can be. Often this is a better use of our time than continually chasing the newest idea. Mercury retrograde allows you to be thorough and to perfect your performance.
Don’t assume everything goes wrong during Mercury retrograde – sometimes things work in your favor. If you are self-employed and turned down an assignment because the price the client was willing to pay was too low, this same client may come back after the retrograde (after he sees many others turning down his offer) – and you get the project after all, at the right price. People reconsider their stance when Mercury is retrograde, and in some cases, conditions turn out to be more favorable to you than they might have been before.
As you can see, Mercury going into Retrograde isn't all bad! Use your time wisely and taking this knowledge on board that you have read today will help you become well equipped to deal with anything thrown at you with grace, ease and the comfort of knowing the reason behind it. Remember what you think about you bring about so whatever is thrown your way this retrograde season, remind yourself it's not just you going through it and you have the means to move your way through it without getting caught up in the drama, negativity or backwards motion of communications.
With love this Mercury Retrograde