Three times a year or so, just about every magickally inclined or psychically aware person tends to get a little on edge. Whether you actually know anything about what is going on in the skies, you know something is going on in your day to day work both in the mundane and spiritual sense and so we instantly tend to say “Ah, Mercury must be retrograde!” But what is really going on when Mercury makes this transition and how can we work to get some positive things out of this inevitable occurrence.
First, what is Mercury retrograde exactly? Three or four times each year the planet Mercury goes through this period of being retrograde which is to say that it appears to be moving backwards. This is an optical illusion and the planet is in fact moving forward; a really great example of explaining this sort of optical illusion can be found here. The illusion comes from the fact that Earth, which is also orbiting around the Sun, is just moving at a different speed, so from our point of view Mercury appears to be going the other way. All planets go retrograde at some point (only the Moon and Sun are exempt from this transition), but it seems that the change in Mercury is the one that we notice the most when it happens.
Mercury is the planet of communication; it rules thoughts and technology and our connections with one another. Some of the common issues we tend to face during Mercury retrograde include computer problems of all sorts from lost files to all out system crashes. We find that our overall communication with people becomes difficult and we’re more likely to find our thoughts and words aren’t coming out correctly or just aren’t being understood. Appointments are forgotten or missed, phone calls never made or numbers misdialed. It’s also common to have face to face communication breakdown with people that normally you get on with just fine. So we tend to find that this is the best time to hold off on things that involve negotiating or planning with others. It’s also a good time to hold off on starting new projects that require signing contracts because there can be a good chance of misreading or misunderstanding things nevermind negotiating the terms.
The other thing to keep in mind is that each Mercury retrograde is a little different because depending on what sign it is happening in it will have a little bit of a different flavor. The essence of Mercury retrograde remains but the energies carried by sign where it happens will have an effect on it as well. When we see Mercury go retrograde in Libra we might find that personal relationships are especially vulnerable while if Mercury goes retrograde in Virgo we might find that work relationships or work projects are more likely to have problems. So whatever sign you find the occurrence happening in you can be sure that this is the area where your challenges will be during this time. Right now the Mercury retrograde we’re experiencing is happening in Taurus. Taurus rules over matters of finance and security but it’s also a sign known for stubborn behavior. With the natural tendency for us to become more introspective during a retrograde period it’s possible that we’ll be finding that not only are we more focused on reevaluating our financial security but also being a little stubborn about making changes…and finding that those changes aren’t so easy to make right now. There are a lot of great thoughts out there online about this current Mercury retrograde given that we had one in Taurus last year as well that was a little rough for a lot of people.
The problem with all Mercury retrograde is that many people come to a point of fearing them. This phase is a natural phase and a necessary one. It’s a time that we can reevaluate things going on around us, a time to focus on inner work like meditation and finding clarity in our spiritual path. It’s certainly not a good time to make big changes, change paths or start new spiritual projects (the last thing you want to do it get so enthused that you try and start a coven during Mercury retrograde), but it is a good time to evaluate things and start making plans for the future in a brainstorming sort of way. This is an especially good time to sit back, make a cup of tea, and start catching up on your reading. You might also find that this is a great time to do research on things for the future. Taking the time to focus on the inner landscape rather than on your outer landscape is ideal during Mercury retrograde and you can often find the energy generated during this time and help fuel that sort of work.
There is absolutely so reason to be afraid of Mercury retrograde and there’s no reason to feel that you have to hide from the world, but being prepared for it by knowing a bit about the sign it’s happening in and then adjusting your plans and activities for that time, you’ll find that things move a bit smoother than it has in the past. Also remember, if you approach things from a place of fear and worry, that’s exactly the kind of energy you’re going to create and draw to yourself; come to it open-minded and without any expectations for the time it’s happening, letting yourself be open to the experiences it will bring, and you’ll be just fine.