Mercury is associated with
communication, information, the way we interact with others and our
surroundings and neighborhood. This includes local travel, schedules and
our relationship with our siblings. When Mercury is retrograde, there is
a greater tendency for issues to develop in these areas collectively and
personally in our lives. Only about 25% to 30% of people are directly
affected during a Mercury Retrograde Cycle.
Pre-Shadow phase intensified
Mercury Retrograde Station
Mercury Retrograde Phase intensified
Mercury Retrograde Phase
Mercury Direct Station
Post-Shadow phase intensified
Mercury Retrograde and the Sun Signs
Each sun sign has its own unique contribution and interaction with the Mercury Retrograde Cycle. That contribution is found at the bottom of the Sun Signs
The Mercury Retrograde Cycle
Mercury Retrograde is that period of time in which the Planet Mercury
appears to be going backwards against the stars in the sky. This usually
occurs 3 or sometimes even 4 times in a year.
Why does Mercury appear to go backwards?
Mercury's orbit is closest to the sun, so it completes its orbit in
about 88 days, compared to the earth's of about 365 days. As a result,
from our perspective we first experience mercury moving forwards as it
passes by the earth on our side of the sun, and then it seems to slow
down and begin to move backwards as it races along on the farther side
of the sun from our perspective.
Using the 2013 Mercury
The calendar shows the
main stages of Mercury Retrograde by using a selection of colors: Pink, for the
time when Mercury is retrograde, blue for the Pre-Shadow, and brown when
it is in the Post-Shadow phase.
As Mercury is slowing
down and is close to changing direction, there tends to be a stronger
effect, and this is shown by a darker color.
The Mercury Retrograde Pre-Shadow
As Mercury proceeds in its forward motion in the sky, it enters the region against the stars where it will later retrograde or appear to go backwards. This
period of time is referred to as the Mercury Pre-Shadow, and is shown in the
calendar with a blue color.
Often it is during the
Mercury Retrograde Pre-Shadow that incorrect assumptions, unfortunate
short-cuts or lack of attention to details occur that are later revealed
as Mercury goes retrograde.
As Mercury appears to
slow down in its motion, before it appears to go backwards in the sky,
the effect of the Mercury Retrograde Pre-Shadow is intensified. This is
indicated in the calendar with violet color.
Mercury Retrograde Station
There is a moment in time, when mercury by our line of sight has slowed
down from moving forward and is about to appear to move backwards. That
moment is referred to as the Mercury Retrograde Station, and often
somewhat incorrectly as "Mercury Retrograde". This tends to be
the most intense part of the Cycle, and is show in Red on the Calendar.
Mercury Retrograde, Proper
Then for about
3 and a half weeks or so, it appears to be going backwards in the sky -
when Mercury is retrograde. Often mistakes, false assumptions and
unfortunate 'short-cuts' are revealed at this time, and it is an
especially important time to do due diligence and to check and recheck
the details of important matters. For some people at this time,
transportation and communication issues may develop.
At the beginning and end
of this phase, Mercury appears to be moving relatively slowly, and is a
more intense part of the retrograde phase. This is indicated on the
calendar by a reddish brown color.
Towards the end of the retrograde period,
Mercury has reached a place in its orbit where it begins to move in the
same direction as the earth around the sun. The moment Mercury appears
to stop moving backwards and is about to move forewords is called the
Mercury Direct Station. This is indicated in the Calendar with
dark brown. As much as the Mercury Retrograde Station, discussed
earlier, tended to be a focus of errors, false assumptions, lack of
clarity and proper execution, the Mercury Direct Station tends to be a
focus for revealing the consequences.
As Mercury appears to
move forward again, it passes through the part of the sky where it had
previously gone backwards. This phase is referred to as the Post-Shadow,
and is indicated by brown on the calendar. During the early part of this
phase, Mercury is still moving slowly, and thus the effects are more
intense. People often experience this phase of the cycle as a time when
the consequences for not paying attention to details or asking the right
questions become apparent.
Examples of the Mercury Retrograde
A classic example of the
cycle occurred in the final grinding of the Hubble telescope mirror.
During the Pre-Shadow, the assumption had been made that the deformation
of the mirror due to the earth's gravity had been compensated for, prior
to grinding. The Mercury Retrograde Proper would have been the grinding
of the mirror with incorrect calculations. The Post- Shadow would have
revealed that when it was in orbit, the surface geometry was now flawed,
and a later shuttle mission had to be created to fix it by adding more
My personal experience,
that indicated the importance of the post-shadow occurred many years ago
when I purchased a computer system. Of course, I avoided the Pre-Shadow
and the Retrograde. However, when I purchased the system during the
Post-Shadow, it bought it a day after the price had gone up. During the
Pre-Shadow and Retrograde proper, while I had been waiting and delaying
the purchase, I had not bothered to ask the store whether the price
would stay the same, if it would go up, etc.
Mercury Retrograde Can be a Blessing
cycle tends to reveal what is not working properly, and although it can
contribute to delays and frustrations, it can also reveal issues that
are important to resolve, fix or address.
It is actually a very
good time to deal with what has been put on the back burner, or to
finish what had already been started much earlier.
It is a good time for
reflective and creative writing, inner work, journaling, spiritual work
and completing long overdue tasks.