( graphic borrowed from www.crystallinks.com.)

Mercury turns retrograde on March 2, 3:30 pm EST.

Because planets travel at different speeds, sometimes they appear to move backwards as we observe them from our vantage point on Earth. Astronomers call this “retrograde motion.” The principle is similar to the effect of passing a slower moving vehicle on the highway: as you pass it, it appears to be moving backward when actually you are moving forward. This phenomenon puzzled ancient astronomers, who called the planets “wanderers.” As the planets appear to slow before the retrograde turn, they appear to stop as they reach what is called a “stationary” point before turning around. This is similar in effect to what happens if a car turns around – it must slow down before making the turn, and while turning it remains at the same point for some time before traveling again.

While Mercury is in retrograde motion, it tends to operate on a more internalized level. This can sometimes cause problems in the outside world, but can be wonderful times for self-examination and discovery. Retrograde cycles have three phases: The stationary retrograde phase, where Mercury appears to slow down and stop before the reverse turn; the retrograde phase, where the reverse action continues, and the stationary direct phase where Mercury slows down once more before making it’s final turn.

We are currently in the stationary retrograde phase, and you may have already noticed some difficulties in communication which will become more pronounced as we approach the retrograde point on March 2 . Miscommunication is common, appointments are confused. I think you said one thing, it turns out you said another. Equipment malfunctions are common, particularly technological equipment which manage communication such as computers and telephones. Projects which we begin while Mercury is retrograde often don’t brings us the results we expected, and may require continuous readjustments before they can be completed. Mercury retrograde periods can be particularly difficult in the business world.

In our private worlds, however, Mercury retrograde periods can be a boon – they turn our attention inwards and create an environment where we can REflect on our goals and dreams. We may REvisit thoughts and ideas that we thought were left behind, and we may find ourselves REvising our world view. These periods are meant for turning inwards, looking within ourselves for answers.

As Mercury begins its retrograde turn it is making a square to Pluto, ruler of transformation, kicking up the intensity and opening up the possibility of arguments and exposing secrets (Pluto rules the underworld and dredges up anything that has been hidden). Pluto/Mercury periods are great for psychological endeavors for that reason, and Mercury retrograde will facilitate the process of revisiting the past to begin to heal the future.

Mercury will remain retrograde until March 25.

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