Planets don’t really move backward, but astrology observes the movement of the planets from our perspective on earth so we sometimes see their apparent motion reversing. We call this “retrograde,” and every planet in the astrological pantheon will reverse its direction now and then. When a planet is retrograde, its influence can become stronger and more pronounced as it retraces its steps over our psyche to better make its point known.
Mercury is the ruler of communication and the mind, and its realm also include communication technology as well as short distance travel. When Mercury is retrograde all of these things become more difficult and don’t always work the way we would like them to. There is a greater tendency to experience communication snafus, equipment breakdowns, travel problems. These periods are typically not ideal for beginning something new because our attention is turned away and we may not be as attentive to details as some ventures require.
Mercury retrogrades on the 29th degree of its own sign of Virgo, just before the Virgo New Moon on September 1st (Eastern time zone). This is a triple whammy of Mercury/Virgo focus on the details of life, which makes it critical right now to be as attentive as possible. Slow down the speed of your life, use your powers of observation to be sure all ducks are lined up precisely in a row before taking action.
Mercury is retrograde for three weeks four times every year and we can’t put our lives on hold while we wait for Mercury to reverse its course and head direct again. Signing contracts, accepting new jobs, scheduling surgeries – these things must often happen during Mercury retrograde periods. If you must begin or plan something new, and it can’t wait, take some extra time to gather your thoughts and be as certain as possible that everything has been considered and factored into your plan.
Mercury retrograde periods – especially in Virgo! – are perfect for clearing out the debris of the past, for renovation, remodeling, repairs. They are wonderful times for retreat and renourishment of the body, mind and psyche.
I like to think of retrograde periods as being the ebb cycle of an ocean wave. Everything in life ebbs and flows, and that is the natural rhythm of existence.