The planet Mercury, named for the wing-footed Roman god of "communications, commerce, and everyday routines," seldom gets much attention in astrology. Mercury's dominion is vast. The planetary muse rules a lot: communication, travel, contracts, technology, appointments and the written word. But when the planet goes retrograde things go a little wonky for us mortals. For the "uninitiated," a retrograde planet is a planet that (when viewed from the perspective of the earth) appears to have stopped and then temporarily reverses its regular movement through the sky. The planet then goes "retrograde" (backwards). During Mercury Retrograde, don't be surprised if you encounter misunderstandings, confusion, frustrations, crazy drivers, angry people, computer glitches, and more delays. When Mercury turns "retrograde," the archetypal planet of communications, Mercury suddenly gets blamed for just about anything (and everything) that does or might go "wrong."
It would seem that during the past few decades, the term "Mercury Retro" has been slowly seeping into popular consciousness. Incidentally, Mercury Retrograde happens about three times a year for approximately three weeks at a time. There are some guidelines we can follow to prevent mayhem. One of the cardinal rules to remember during Mercury Retrograde is to not start anything new because chances are it will have to be redone or revised. For instance, if you undergo a surgery in July, you'll likely have to repeat the procedure. No fun. Also, until Mercury goes direct, it's best if you don't make decisions that permanently lock you into future commitments. It is also wise to not make important decisions like "should I break up with my boyfriend" since it is very likely that misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking will come into play. There is usually a “wind up” period two weeks before Mercury goes retrograde. This is a time to finalize and finish things. When the retrograde day arrives, you should have all of your important projects put to bed.
During Mercury Retrograde, it may feel as though you can't find the path of least resistance...in thoughts, movement, expression or travel. You endure dicey conversations or get stuck in unexpected traffic jams. After an hour of trying to explain what you mean to your spouse, you give up frustrated. Don't be surprised if you often feel tangled, trapped, thwarted or confused during this period. As the word "retrograde" alludes to "re-do" or "re-think," the theme of retrofitting or redoing can also come up for you. In that sense, you may find a need to reinforce your life with more intentionality -- strengthen relationships, repeat instructions and rebuild foundations. Sometimes, however, the only thing that can be changed or have power over an unresolved issue is to change the way to deal with it: acceptance, tolerance, avoidance, or forgiveness are the only constructive outlets. Everyone will experience Mercury Retrograde somewhat differently. If you are exceptionally balanced and organized, you may barely notice Mercury Retrograde's influence. However, if you slacked off on car repairs or forgot to pay your phone bill on time ... you might find that life gets a little crazier and more frustrating than usual. Your experience also depends on how well you accept the bumps along the road -- if you pull your hair out and fume when you miss your train connection or lose your cell phone signal ... it's going to be a long 22 days!
Some "don'ts" to get you through this period: don't start any new task or project (jobs began under a Mercury retro period, even during a shadow period before or after, have always ended either being renegotiated usually not to our benefit or dropped altogether), don't plan any extended air flights or other lengthy trips, don't start any new medical procedures; if the appointment is for diagnostics or researching, by all means run with it and prefer to wait until after the retro period to make major decisions. However, since Mercury Retrograde generally occurs 3 to 4 times a year, one cannot rationally put everything "on hold" every time Mercury goes "retro." There are things we simply can't avoid or put off. Instead, one should prepare for - and gird themselves for - unexpected delays, frustrations, and surprises. Simply make sure you double check things and plan ahead. Re-read contracts, mail packages early, carry on your luggage if possible. Be extra careful and you will save yourself a lot of grief.
Mercury retrograde periods are the revealing of things hidden [past crimes are revealed or criminals located who were hiding during these times, clues are found or researched that had been previously overlooked in the past]. But alternatively, investigations can be horribly botched during those times too. There is an ancient Roman saying: “Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.” Called or not called, the god will be there. Since the god Mercury or Hermes (the Greek equivalent) in retrograde is inevitably going to come a calling, regardless of our best-laid plans, we might as well look further into how to make better use of his regular visits. We can benefit from this time by making allowances for a symbolic "sleep cycle." These periods give us a chance to take a breath and review familiar territory. It's often when we're too rigid and too stuck in our ways that Mercury (Hermes) springs out from behind a bush and reveals himself to us in the guise of a malicious bogey-man.
“ Without Hermes, there are no transitions, only endless repetitions, a psychopathology without a God.” In Midlife: A Jungian Perspective, Murray Stein
So... believe it or not, Mercury in retrograde - by virtue of getting us "unstuck" - can be a deep healer of souls...this is a good time to reflect on second thoughts and miscommunications. This is one of the best times of the year to re-do things. You get a second chance to make things right, restart a project or complete something, you’ve been working on for a while. Think of any word that has an “re” in front of it. That’s what Mercury Retrograde is good for....re-doing just about anything.
Most of us can’t take three weeks off or stop or even postpone commit-ments and projects. So here’s a list of some things you can do if you absolutely cannot work around the Mercury Retrograde.
Check your travel plans several times and bring a book to read at the airport
Mail packages and letters early. Check the zip codes
Double check everything twice for mistakes
Don’t check luggage when you’re flying. Carry on everything if you can
If you are making big purchases, keep your sales receipt and know the store’s return policy
Keep your cell phone battery charged
And most importantly, let everyone know that there is a Mercury retrograde so if anything goes wrong, you’re not to blame...its that darn planet Mercury!
When Mercury is in retrograde the rule of thumb is that whatever you do in the area of everyday routines in commerce, commuting back and forth to work, and in one's communications - it's not typically going to go as smoothly as you thought it would. Remain flexible. If necessary, be prepared to "punt the ball." Have a backup plan. In fact, have two backup plans! Breath deeply. This, too, will pass... And if things do get screwy, the best thing to do is roll with the punches.
You can find more Mercury retro information and dates of future occurrences (and when it will be OVER) here
Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.