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Mercury Retrograde Periods
Dec 26, '09–Jan 15       Capricorn
Apr 18-May 11       Taurus
Aug 20–Sep 12       Virgo
Dec 10–Dec 30       Cap–Sag
Apr 2–Apr 23       Aries
Aug 3–Aug 26       Virgo–Leo
Nov 24–Dec 14       Sagittarius

Adapted from an article by Nicoli Ann Bailey in
The Higher Source, October 1997.

Do you ever feel that the winged messenger is confused and may have delivered your letter or email to someone else? Do you ever wonder why the person you are trying to reach does not have their phone machine or voice mail working when you really need to leave a message? Do you ever contemplate why it is that this morning of all mornings traffic is backed up for miles, rendering it impossible for you to make it to work on time?

Chances are that Mercury is retrograde when situations such as these all happen within weeks of one another. The planet Mercury goes retrograde three times a year for about three weeks. This means that the planet, from our position on earth, appears to be moving backwards in the sky. Mercury rules, among other things, the arenas of communication, transportation, and planning.

As a worst-case example, Mercury was stationing, soon to resume its direct orbit after a three-week retrograde phase on November 7, 2000. The resulting presidential post-election period was unparalleled in US history. Other astrological factors were operating—you can bet your dimpled chads on that—and most Mercury retrograde periods are milder. Still, that election had to be the quintessence of everything that can and does go wrong during a Mercury retrograde period!

Typical Mercury Retrograde Snafus

Let me give you a few more typical examples. While Mercury was retrograde a couple of summers back, I had several work related activities get completely fouled up due to mis-communication. I sat in a traffic jam for close to one hour. A neighbor left me a phone message asking me to feed his cat, but I was also going out of town and was unable to reach him with the news that I could not oblige.

In that same period, after an invitation was returned from the post office, a friend volunteered to hand-deliver it for me and I discovered it was still sitting on her kitchen table one week later. Finally, as I sat down to write this article, construction equipment created havoc outside my office and during the final edit stage, there was a freak power outage which resulted in the loss of the recent revision.

Dos and Don’ts for Mercury Retrograde Cycles

Now, it’s not all as bad as it sounds. Really. I have discovered over the years that Mercury retrograde periods can be wonderful times to complete unfinished and often long neglected projects. Filing, updating finances or taxes, reorganizing closets, drawers or shelves or tending that weed bed that has been forgotten are all excellent Mercury retrograde projects. I have also found that old friends or associates often turn up unexpectedly during these times.

By the same token, if you have been thinking about starting a new health regime, or going back to a discarded health routine, Mercury retrograde is a good time to begin a yoga class or take those dietary herbs and flower essences you have been intending to incorporate into your daily routine. As long as you start a project that you have been considering for some time when Mercury is retrograde, chances are it will be successful.

Things to avoid when Mercury is retrograde include undertaking entirely new endeavors, signing new contracts or buying electronic equipment such as computers. Suppose you are planning a holiday that happens to fall during one of these periods. As long as most of the logistics have been taken care of before the planet goes retrograde, the journey will most likely be fairly smooth.

Mythological Perspectives on Mercury

I always find it helpful to recall myths about the deity a particular planet is named for in order to get a better feeling for the fellow we are dealing with. Mercury, as you may remember, is the Roman name for the Greek God Hermes. He is the son of Zeus and Maia (daughter of Atlas) and is the herald and messenger of the Gods.

He is usually pictured as a youth, beardless, slender, with a caduceus or messenger’s wand in his hand, a traveler’s hat, and almost always with wings on his sandals. Although he is most noted for his messenger role, he is also the god of lucky finds, the patron of eloquence, and the god of thieves, flocks and shepherds.

In addition, Mercury is the guide of travelers, especially those on their way to the underworld. I like to think of him as a fellow that is just as comfortable journeying in the upper realms of consciousness as he is in the more shadowy unconscious region. My favorite image of Mercury in retrograde motion is as he is described above with one important exception: his wings are backwards. As you might imagine, this can create quite a few delivery problems for our winged messenger.

© 2001 by Nicoli Ann Bailey. All rights Reserved.

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