What the Hell Is Mercury Retrograde?

Mar 23rd, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

Striking fear in the hearts of many, Mercury Retrograde heralds a time of email glitches, power outages, miscommunication, lost paperwork, snags with fine print and so on.

The term “retrograde” means “backwards”. Obviously, no planet actually goes backwards. However, from our perspective here on Earth, all of the planetary bodies (except for the Sun and Moon) appear to move backwards. Imagine that you’re driving down the road parallel to a set of railroad tracks. A train is speeding along to your left, and you pass the train. It appears to be going backwards, but what is really happening is that you are going faster.

Mercury is a mental planet and governs all forms of communication, including writing and speaking, as well as methods of communication such as computers, phones, faxes, and the mail system. Yes, it’s true that messages often get lost during this time and misinterpretation abounds. In fact, it’s a good idea to check all the fine print in legal documents during this time, as well as back up computer files.

Mercury is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Hermes. Both were considered trickster gods, so couple this mischievous nature with messages and communication and you can guess what may happen! Some examples would be leaving a message on an answering machine, only to have the recipient’s child accidentally erase it. Or, addressing a letter to your beloved aunt who lives on the other side of the country…but accidentally writing your own zip code instead of hers!

For those of you who like to talk behind people’s backs, a Mercury Retrograde period may find you accidentally emailing the person you’re dishing on rather than your best friend who was the intended recipient. Ouch.

Despite the fear that often surrounds Mercury Retrograde periods, it’s possible for us to work with the energy by taking the time to tie up loose ends. Consider Merc Retro as an opportunity for course correction—or for “do overs” for rectifying mistakes, sloppiness, mediocrity, offenses or poor decisions from earlier in the year.

To get the most out of Mercury retrogrades, concentrate on activities beginning with the prefix “re-“. Here are some examples:


If you focus on these types of tasks, slow down, take extra care and release your expectations of perfection or things going “right”, I think you’ll find that you’ll not only survive Mercury Retrograde periods, but also complete or achieve more than you could imagine.

Mercury goes Retrograde March 22nd through April 15th in 2018 in fiery Aries.When Mercury goes Retrograde in Aries, we often see impulsiveness, harshness and aggression. Sometimes, this is played out on a global scale in the form of uprisings or war. On a personal level, we can become easily provoked–and accidents or injuries are more likely than usual.

This is largely because on April 14th, Mercury Squares Mars in Capricorn. The next day, the 15th, Mercury Squares Saturn in Capricorn. (The ruling planet of Capricorn is Saturn–and he’s known as the Restrictor and Taskmaster…so frustration abounds).

But on April 1st, Mercury is Conjunct The Sun–a favorable placement that is auspicious for starting new things.

On my new Naked Tarot Podcast, I’ve posted a short overview of how to not only survive Mercury Retrograde, but also thrive–using the symbols found on Tarot cards.

Listen in on Podbean at this link.




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