What is the meaning of Mercury Retrograde?

If you follow any astrology pages online, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘Mercury Retrograde’. But what is it? And what does it mean?

‘Mercury Retrograde’ describes days when the planet Mercury appears to be going backwards through the zodiac. It’s a visual trick – none of the planets actually go backwards – but it looks like they do when viewed from earth. This video does a fantastic job of illustrating it.

Scientists note the illusion, but aren’t keen on assigning it any meaning the way astrologers do. Astrologers definitely pay attention to it and attribute certain qualities. Mercury Retrograde is known to be an irritating time of mix-ups, miscommunications, delayed plans, glitching electronics and general pain-in-the-arsed-ness as things don’t go smoothly.

More fundamentalist-style astrologers will tell you to avoid travel, not to sign documents, don’t launch new projects, buy houses, cars or computers. Triple check plans, don’t get married and steer clear of passport applications…

But Mercury Retrograde isn’t a short or uncommon event. It happens for around three weeks, three times each year. With ‘stationary days’ (at the start and end when Mercury appears to hold steady in the sky) and shadow periods (let’s save that for another day), a large percentage of time ends up tainted with these Mercury Retrograde vibes.

So what to do? Here’s my view…. 

When Mercury is Retrograde, LIVE YOUR LIFE. But be aware that Mercury is Retrograde and make allowances for it. DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING during these time periods. Never assume someone has understood you, or that the plane tickets are for the day you intended. Double check details, send that clarification text, hand deliver important documents, make sure there’s petrol in your car and that you’ve got a bit of wiggle room in your travel plans. You WILL get to your destination, it may just take a bit of extra time, and cause you a bit of annoyance along the way. Personally, I do avoid buying tech during these times (I’ve learnt the hard way).

Mercury Retrograde periods ARE good for some things. They are good for all the ‘re’ words. Re-do. Re-consider. Re-vise. Re-visit. Dig through your existing plans and give them a bit of extra thought. You may see things from a whole new perspective. Make the most of this time to nitpick and sure things up, so that you’re ready to charge off through life again once this period is over.

Retrograde phases are coloured by whatever zodiac sign Mercury is travelling through. This one is through Gemini, a sign ruled by Mercury. So be prepared for a bit more of the classic retrograde trouble than usual.

Finally, if you have Mercury retrograde in your natal chart, you might find that these periods are actually great – you’re a bit more in tune with the energy than usual. I’ve noticed this myself and usually find that I feel like I’ve stepped onto life’s travellator for a few weeks as events speed by.

So heads up, good luck and may your luggage arrive in the same city as you.

May 29 – June 22 (Gemini)
September 27 – October 23 (Libra)

Want to know about your personal Mercury placement? Get in touch and we can do a reading.

More retrograde reading: Mercury Retrograde laughs at political elections.

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