Mercury Retrograde and How It Affects You

by Celina Simmons

If you came across some difficulties in regards to communication or failures with technology in the last month or so, there is a reason behind it all. It’s known as a Mercury retrograde.

Three or four times a year when Mercury passes Earth in its orbit, it goes into retrograde. When this happens, the planet slows down, creating the illusion of it moving backwards. After about three and a half weeks of this, the planet will proceed to its orbit and “reverse” forward again.

Susan Miller’s post,

Mercury Raising Column 1

Illustration by Alex Downing

on her website “Astrology Zone,” uses an analogy of two cars passing each other to better explain this. She describes how if you were in one car and another speeds past, you can see it is moving faster than you. But if it slows down and you pass it, the illusion occurs that the other car is moving backwards. That is similar to how Mercury passes Earth in orbit, causing the retrograde. But then, the car picks up speed and passes again, kicking up dirt right at your car. That disruption from Mercury creates affects that we feel on Earth in our day-to-day lives.

Mercury retrogrades have what is called a “shadow effect,” which allows the effects of the retrograde to be felt before and after the period. We can refer back to the car analogy. The shadow effect is the turbulence kicked back at us when Mercury speeds pass Earth the first and second time.

The Mercury retrograde is one of the few phenomena of its kind to have obvious effects on everyone in a similar way. Astrologically, the planet rules over areas such as technology, travel, communication, and formal agreements. During the retrograde, Mercury is in a “sleeping state” in which it’s slowed down, thus resulting in the above activities being scrambled without a viable planet to supervise.

Keeping track of when these retrogrades take place can help to avoid frustration and better plan communications or agreements to help you increase productivity. During the retrograde, it may be best to stay away from making any important moves or signing any contracts because most likely, nothing will be settled successfully.

It is important to remember that the environment around a retrograde is very changeable. Stay clear of launching any new endeavors or anything involving communication.

This may seem very chaotic, but according to “Forever Conscious,” a spiritual blog, it may not be a bad thing after all: “Whenever Messenger Mercury goes retrograde, he travels into the underworld, into the depths of our psyche, in order to gather old secrets, clues, and information that we need to go back and look through one more time.” During the retrograde, this unclarity actually allows us time to reflect on past mistakes and how we can benefit and learn from them.

The most recent retrograde occurred July 26 to August 18, and the next is dated November 16 through December 6. Now that you know when and what to steer clear of, I wish you all a smooth retrograde.

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