What I have to say about Mercury Retrograde!
My clients often ask me about retrograde periods, and it's no wonder as this mischievous time is definitely known for bringing mishaps into our lives. All the planets with the exception of the Sun and Moon go through regular retrograde periods. Fortunately, it is not all bad news, and there are actually some ways that you can use these times to your advantage. As Mercury’s retrograde periods are the most frequent, let's start with it.
Mercury Retrograde Periods in 2013
February 23, 2013 - March 17, 2013
June 26, 2013 - July 20, 2013
October 21, 2013 - November 10, 2013
What is Mercury Retrograde?
Do you ever have one of those days when you are plagued by maddening hold ups or annoyances? For example, your emails go astray, the person you need is "away from his or her desk" and your dinner date gets cancelled at the last minute. Or perhaps a regular journey is delayed and any alternative that you try is even worse. Granted, it may be a simple case of bad timing, but if it seems to be going on for a few days or even weeks, you are probably experiencing the astrological phenomenon called "Mercury Retrograde."
Mercury is the planet nearest to the Sun and it traditionally has rulership over Gemini and Virgo. Mercury takes its name from the Roman "Messenger of the Gods" who ferried messages between them. However, he was not averse to playing a few tricks of his own and while he was declared the patron of merchants, his cunning and artfulness also made him the patron of thieves!
Astrologically, Mercury represents communications of all kinds so it is linked to speaking and writing, email and internet, phones, the media, traffic and transport and anywhere that business is carried out. Short, routine journeys come under Mercury's domain as opposed to that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the other side of the world.
But Mercury has a very strange way of moving through the Zodiac. Three times a year it appears to stand still and then starts to move backwards, or "retrograde." This movement last for approximately three weeks and then it starts moving forwards or "direct," until the next retrograde period a few months down the road. Of course it doesn't really move backwards but that is how it appears from our earthly perspective. In fact all of the planets, except the Sun and the Moon have periods of retrograde motion but Mercury is retrograde around 20% of the time.
Mercury Retrograde Mischief
If you think about how the planet Mercury affects us, it touches almost every aspect of how we live now. We are dependent on our cars or public transport as we work further from where we live than in the past. Communications is a major sector of business and vast numbers of people are employed in call centers or customer services. Freedom and ease of movement means that we are often living far away from our loved ones and so depend heavily on email, telephones and regular mail to keep in touch.
The impact of Mercury Retrograde periods on our lives can potentially create sheer havoc. The usual Astrological advice is that you check and re-check arrangements and that you allow plenty of extra time for your journeys. Avoid signing contracts and don't purchase a car or communications equipment like phones or computers during the three week retrograde period. I would go further and advise you to avoid purchasing anything apart from obvious necessities and as I have nearly always found that I had to return goods for one reason or another. And it is best not to change utility providers or telecommunications companies during such time. However, you can carry out all the research you need and be ready to make the changes after Mercury goes direct.
When it comes to personal relationships Mercury Retrograde can really make for some major misunderstandings. If you have something you want to say that could be sensitive, I would bite your tongue until Mercury has turned direct otherwise you could just make matters worse as you may not get your point across sensitively. By the same logic, take what others say to you with a large pinch of salt as it could all be reversed in a couple of weeks.
Making the Most of this Retrograde Time
So is there anything positive about Mercury Retrograde? Yes, there is! The three week retrograde period is a great time to review ideas or plans before you put them into action. You are much more likely to notice any snags you may have overlooked and the retrograde period gives you the opportunity to revise and refine your options. If you are considering signing a contract or agreement, take this time to go through the small print in microscopic detail. It is also quite common to find lost items and hear from people you thought that you had completely lost touch with. Study and research are good pastimes at this time and it is easy to touch base with your intuition or "Inner Guide."
I have noticed that the Mercury is at its most mischievous at the start and end of the retrograde period. So if you can't avoid or delay anything for the entire three weeks do try and do so on the day before and after it changes direction at either end of the period.
Really the very best advice I can give for these trying times is to be as flexible as you can and think round corners - just like Mercury!