This image shows how planets, which never actual reverse their direction of travel, have periods in their orbit where from our view on Earth, they appear to be moving backwards. This is what we call retrograde motion.  

Mercury (Roman pantheon) has long been called the Messenger of the Gods. 

Hermes (Greek pantheon) is  emissary and messenger of the gods, intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. (Wikipedia)

Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, orbits the Sun in 88 days.  With the three retrograde periods per year, Mercury makes a little more than one full trip around the Sun in one earth year.  

Mercury rules perceptions, communication, and even electronic technology related to communication and the storage and relay of information and ideas.  Mercury represents the faculty in us which perceives and processes everything that comes to our attention externally and internally.  It is important to remember that our internal interpretations of experiences and events are processed through our own filters, and that our interpretations may not reflect actual, factual reality.

Mercury turns retrograde three times each year for approximately three weeks each time.  If we include the time before and after the actual retrograde movement, when Mercury seems to travel the path/degrees it will travel again during the retrograde and direct phases, we can add another four to five weeks of processing.  We can begin experiencing the retrograde process a couple of weeks before the actual retrograde motion begins, and often we are still processing the retrograde experience for at least a couple of weeks after Mercury resumes direct motion.  The level of processing and retrograde experience is particularly amplified when Mercury actually connects with a planet or significant point in our birth charts, or our progressed charts.  If you'd like to understand and work with Mercury more consciously during these periods, call Himat to discuss.  


During these periods, it is best to slow down and let your projects and your ideas gestate and percolate.  If you must push projects forward, or sign contracts, do your best to have them reviewed by others so that they are as clean and clear, as accurate and "safe" as they can be.  You may still find you have to go back later and make adjustments, but if you must proceed during the retrograde period, at least you will know you have done your best at the time. 

It is a good time to meditate and contemplate.  And as we are dealing with Mercury, it is a good time to consider whether there are any ideas, interpretations, concepts and beliefs that you have assumed to be true, but where things may actually be a bit different than the "certainties" you have taken for granted.  This will be especially relevant in the area of your birth chart where we find the current Mercury retrograde, and where your natal Mercury occurs in your birth chart.  

Mercury Retrograde

What is the energetic difference between planets in retrograde (apparent backward) motion and planets in normal, direct (forward) motion?  Each planet reflects a facet of the human psyche or human life.  When a planet's motion appears to pause (called a "station") and turn retrograde, that facet of life seems to slow down, as if turning inward or pulling back.  It usually feels difficult to move things forward in that area of life.  Often, things we try to force due to our frustration and impatience do not flow or turn out quite right.  Sometimes things forced have gone so poorly that they need to be revisited, revised or undone at some point after the planet's motion turns direct.  ​

A planet's retrograde period is usually a time when we cannot see all important facts of a related situation, and we are better off relaxing and letting things unfold slowly in their natural course.  It is important to cultivate patience and trust that all will unfold as it needs to, in the best timing and form for all involved, and that we will know better how to proceed when the planet's motion has turned direct and resumed its normal speed of movement.  

The best way to proceed during a planet's retrograde period is to:

  • ​allow that facet of ourselves and of our lives to slow down give ourselves time and space for internal processing around that area of our lives


  • allow a renewal and a deepening in that area


  • contemplate the current state of things in that area


  • consider changes we might like to make (but make no changes yet until Mercury resumes apparent direct motion)


  • ​be alert to things done in the past that rise to our attention, needing to be revisited in that area  


Retrograde Planets

Astrological Reference - Retrogrades

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