What is Mercury Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde is a term that you have probably heard before but aren't sure exactly what it means. During periods of retrograde, a planet appears to move backwards from its normal trek around the sun. Those areas of life governed by the planet tend to suffer setbacks and breakdowns. There are many retrograde including Mars Retrograde, Venus Retrograde, Jupiter Retrograde, in fact all the planets turn retrograde at some point. However, Mercury Retrograde is arguably the one you hear about most often.
When Does Mercury Retrograde Occur
Mercury Retrograde occurs approximately three times a year and last about 3 weeks each time. The present Mercury Retrograde began at 10:02 AM PST on 10/4/14 and will end at 12:16 PM PST on 10/25/14.
What Occurs During Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury is believed to rule communication and travel and so during a Mercury-Retrograde it is common for breakdowns in communication and interruption of travel plans to occur. People become short-tempered, computers break down, get viruses, cars and other vehicles may breakdown, flat tires may occur, communication slows or grinds to a halt, etc.....
How Does Mercury Retrograde Affect the Individual?
Astrological Charts are like fingerprints, no two are alike because no two people are exactly alike and therefore Mercury Retrograde will effect everyone differently. To determine how Mercury Retrograde will affect you, you have to determine which house(s) Mercury will transit (or pass through) while it is in retrograde state.
Determining Retrograde Mercury's Position Relative to Your Birth Chart
Begin by ascertaining what sign Mercury occupies at the time of the retrograde. You can usually find this out simply by doing an internet search, but if you can't find out you can simply draw up a chart for the exact time of Mercury Retrograde for your location. For example, here is a chart of the skies over Oak Harbor, WA on 10/4/14 at 10:02 AM. As you can see from the chart below, Mercury was in the 2nd Degree of the Sign of Scorpio when Mercury went retrograde.
It really doesn't matter what city or state you use to determine Mercury's position because as long as you adjust your time according to the time zone of the particular place you will get the same result. For example here is a chart for Great Falls, South Carolina at 1:02 pm on October 4th 2014
Looking at this chart, we see that Mercury was also in the 2nd Degree of Scorpio during Mercury Retrograde. As you can see, no matter where you are in the world, Mercury will be in the same sign of the Zodiac for all persons. It is only the house positions that change.
Therefore to determine how Mercury Retrograde will affect the masses, we would analyze Mercury Retrograde in the Sign of Scorpio, which is said to govern over sex, and death. However, to determine how Mercury Retrograde will affect you we will look at what house governs Scorpio in your birth chart.
To do that you need to get your own birth chart drawn up. This can be done for free at Astrolabe. Simply enter your name and birth data and then print out your Natal, or birth, Chart. For this blog entry I will use the birth chart of Chris Evans, the actor known most recently for his role as Captain America.
As you can see, Chris has Scorpio as his ascendant and this marks his first house which rules one's identity, outer appearance and ego. Mercury Retrograde is transiting his 1st house of identity. This bodes a period in which he has the opportunity to improve the image he projects to others, reassess old patterns of thought and improve upon them.
Now remember, Mercury Retrograde does not mean that the planet stops but rather appears to move backwards so Mercury is still moving. At the time the retrograde started it was in the 18th degree of Scorpio, but on October 10th it moves into Libra which governs Chris' 12th house which rules one's subconscious. So around October 10th he will begin feeling this new influence. This will be a time of deep introspection and he will have a tendency to shy away from people in order to spend some time alone, relax, and recuperate. During this time he may be susceptible to falling back into old, unhealthy, habits and/or patterns of behavior.
Mercury will then turn direct again on 10/25/14 at 12:16 PM PST in the 16th degree of Libra. During this time intuition becomes more reliable and information flows freely from the subconscious mind to the conscious part of the mind which can result in the return of creativity in the realm of writing and speaking. The desire to be social and interact with people will be more accentuated.
Aspects: Relationships Between the Planets
The next step would be to analyze the aspects, or relationships, between Mercury Retrograde and the planets in your Birth Chart. This is determined by ascertaining the number of degrees between Mercury Retrograde and the planets in the birth chart. There are several different aspects each of which has their own meaning and this is a subject too complex to delve into during this brief article. The serious student will want to do more research and there is software and other programs that can determine the various aspects for you.
However, I will share the following example. Chris has Mercury in the 4th degree of Cancer in his birth chart and Mercury Retrograde occupies the 2nd degree of Scorpio when it turns Retrograde. This is a difference of 128 degrees. That would mean that Mercury Retrograde is trine Natal Mercury. A trine is an aspect in which two planets are 120 degrees apart or within 9 degrees either way of 120 degrees. It is one of the most favorable of aspects. Mercury Retrograde is trine Natal Mercury which would help lessen or even negate the negative affects of Mercury Retrograde.
Once you have all the information written down for Mercury Retrograde in your house and it's various aspects you will begin the process of astrological synthesis. This is the process of combining all the information that you have gathered into a logical and cohesive understanding.
General Advice for Surviving Mercury Retrograde
Generally speaking, during "Stationary Retrograde", the point at which Mercury turns retrograde, RESEARCH, THINK, EVALUATE...and when Mercury turns "Stationary Direct", the point at which Mercury goes direct again, DECIDE, RESOLVE, ACT.