It seems that even for those who do not commune deeply with the language of astrology, Mercury retrograde cycles make a distinctive impression. During chaotic, confusing, disorganized and turbulent times, when there is no logical reason for the unexpected occurrences of one mishap after another, “Mercury’s retrograde!” is often the exasperated phrase upon the lips of those trying to make sense of it all. Mercury the Trickster is indeed recognized as the culprit.
Mercury turns retrograde on August 30, 2016 at 29 degrees Virgo. Mercury turns direct on September 22, 2016 at 14 degrees Virgo. The houses which embody these degrees in your natal chart will be significantly affected. The manifestation of Mercury’s influence is can be potentially challenging and enlightening.
Let us consider the definition of retrograde motion; retrograde is a “planetary condition characterized by an apparent backward motion through the sky.” This perceived backward movement is a result of Mercury slowing down in its elliptical orbit around the Sun. The Earth continues spinning on its axis, thus moving ahead of the slowed planet. Against the backdrop of other celestial bodies, a slowed planet appears to be moving in the opposite direction.
All of the planets have retrograde cycles throughout various times of the year. As each planet represents different realms of human consciousness and activity, these retrograde cycles will offer each it’s own unique instruction.
Either a planet is direct or retrograde. Particular points in time and space before the planet resumes either condition is referred to as stationary. Thus, when the planet stations, either before turning retrograde or turning direct, it offers an even more potently challenging effect upon us. For this reason, the allowance of several days before and after a Mercury retrograde cycle before refraining from or proceeding with matters at hand is advised.
The Mercury retrograde cycle occurs approximately 3 times per year, lasting 3-1/2 weeks in duration. There is no escaping Mercury’s unruly influence. However, embracing and understanding this challenging cycle rather than resisting and avoiding it, will facilitate a more benevolent experience, one which may even produce benefits.
Upon our awareness of accurate time frames for this cyclical event, we are given the proverbial heads up in anticipation of it’s arrival, thus allowing for the necessary emotional, mental and psychic preparation for our intended navigation. A Mercury retrograde cycle will proceed more smoothly if we abide by the essential Do’s and Don’ts that this challenging period of time demands. Via the astrologer, we have the distinct advantage to observe and outline the planetary cycles and their potential influence upon humankind.
There is ample information regarding the specific time lines of Mercury retrograde cycles. Take note of these and write them into your personal calendar. As you plan ahead throughout the year, pay specific attention to these intervals of time. Strive to work around them. Consider the necessary aspects of your life which may need particular attention. Strategic planning can greatly inhibit the encounter of obstacles upon the arrival of a retrograde cycle.
Mercury represents the distinctive way in which we think, learn and communicate. Also included within Mercury’s domain are written communication, language, study, appliances, travel, siblings, the immediate environment in which we live, contracts and agreements. These areas are more vulnerable to mishap and misunderstanding when Mercury is retrograde.
Our immediate impression and understanding of each encounter and experience resonates with Mercury’s particular activity. The way in which we assimilate these experiences will depend upon the nature and condition of Mercury’s influence. While planetary cycles will always affect us collectively, the direct experience of such a cycle will pertain to us individually as well. This of course depends upon which area of the natal chart it traverses.
As Mercury rules thought, the retrograde cycle creates an inverted intellectual function. While creative and abstract thought may flourish at this time, our capacity to reason regarding the more tangible and practical matters in life seems to elude us. We become clouded with confusion and frustration. As a result of this, misunderstandings, mistakes and misjudgments are more likely to occur.
Becoming knowledgeable of Mercury’s specific cycles and it’s areas of influence within your own nativity, offers more detailed assistance in planning ahead, setting the stage for the avoidance of such turmoil. There are distinct activities and engagements which must be avoided when possible. As we never have complete control over our lives, there are going to be times when one must forge ahead no matter what. After all, the world does go on during Mercury retrograde cycles. Knowledge of this time will at the very least, help us to become more mindful and attentive of our goings about. Keeping that in mind, let us see what we can avoid when possible, making the most of educated foresight.
The following is an inventory of what to avoid and where to proceed with caution while Mercury is Retrograde:
Signing of contracts
This includes areas of employment, business, mortgaging and real estate closings.
Elective surgery, diagnostic testing and dental work
If your condition is not critical, choose a time when Mercury is direct for optimal treatment and healing. Keep in mind that accidents and health crises can arise at any time. It is important to remain positive. Do not fear or neglect any necessary treatment. Consider the appearance of your condition as a gift, for sometimes during these cycles, hidden conditions come to light offering opportunity for bodily repair, healing and restoration.
Traveling one way or another is necessary to daily life. It is the planning of an extended trip during these cycles which can lead to errors resulting in frustration and inconvenience later while travelling. Confirm and reconfirm travel reservations. Take note that there are more car accidents, airplane crashes, traffic jams, delays and inconveniences when traveling during retro cycles as well as in the day to day commute. Extra caution is warranted.
Beginning a new endeavor or venture
This includes jobs, relationships, projects, classes, diets and exercise plans etc. All matters in which the desired outcome is lasting would be best initiated during Mercury Direct.
The purchase of new or used vehicles, appliances and computers
The Lemon Law was invented for times like these; but who needs the hassle?
Back up your files and tend to other customary maintenance prior to the retro cycle. Avoidance of making any changes to the computer is also recommended; even if it is something that is quite basic.
Making and finalizing important decisions
Thorough consideration of such decisions during this time is beneficial. This is an opportune to in which to process. However, final decisions regarding important life matters are bound to backfire on you.
Conversations and confrontations
If something is on your mind regarding a loved one or co-worker, let it wait if at all possible. Take this time to process your thoughts and feelings, so that when the time is right you can proceed with clarity and sensitivity. When Mercury is direct, there are fewer occurrences of misunderstandings.
Do not install new electrical or plumbing systems, hire contractors, or initiate major home improvement projects. Make sure the stove is off, the iron is unplugged, the candle is out.
Mercury also rules small animals. Postpone spaying and neutering or other procedures that can afford waiting. Take extra care to make certain that your beloved pet is safe; gates fastened, leash secured, doors closed etc.
The following is an inventory of opportunities and positive engagement while Mercury is Retrograde:
Self-reflection, introspection and attunement
As the retro cycle lends itself to introversion, allowing greater access to the inner self, one has opportunity for sorting out matters and issues which may be difficult to sort out and balance under ordinary circumstances.
Journaling thoughts, feelings and plans
This is an excellent time in which to process your desires, intentions and plans, as more insight is afforded. When Mercury goes direct you can put those plans into action with greater awareness of details and thorough direction.
Slowing down and getting grounded
As everyone is struggling with disarray regarding one matter or another, we are highly susceptible to distraction which leads to accidents, mistakes and lost items. Take your time.
Attention to details
Check, double-check and triple-check as the necessary matters of everyday life are easily overlooked. Examples include blowing out the candle, locking the door, setting the alarm clock and turning off the stove. Overlooking small matters often has consequences.
Mercury retrograde cycles are stressful. A sitting practice will facilitate relaxation and mindfulness.
Incomplete tasks can include just about anything: cleaning out drawers, finishing a painting, editing an essay, revisiting a musical composition, reorganizing your address book.
Keep track of appointments
This is a time in which forgetfulness can take hold. Do not rely upon your memory for your daily schedule, particularly if you have a profession which keeps appointments. Remind clients of their scheduled times. Don’t take it personally if someone misses your lunch date!
Manage Banking Activity
Checks often bounce, deposits are not made etc. Make sure your financial records are accurate and in good order.
As Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, these signs, particularly Gemini, are greatly affected by the retrograde cycle displaying heightened sensitivity and disorganization.
Those who are born with Mercury retrograde, often function at optimal levels during this time.
The gift of astrology is awareness. While we do not want to hide beneath the bed covers during the more turbulent planetary cycles, we can cooperate more consciously with them. When we befriend a challenge we grow and expand. Our lives flow more smoothly. We find that each challenge is an opportunity.