Astrological Mercury gets blamed for just about all snafus when he is retrograde. Remember that Mercury in the sky doesn't "cause" anything but simply informs us what kind of time it is. Accordingly, there may be some things you DON'T want to do and others that you WANT to do when he is moving backwards (retrograde). See below how to use your time wisely. Mercury backs up each year three (or four) times for several weeks.
During 2017 Mercury will be retrograde (other years are listed below):
- Dec 19, 2016 - Jan 8, 2017
- April 9 – May 3
- August 12 – September 5
- December 3 – December 22
AVOID signing contracts
This is perhaps the most important suggestion. Mercury "rules" all contracts, agreements and things signed. Mercury is also the trickster among the planets. When he is moving backwards (retrograde) he is even trickier and perhaps more slippery than ever. If at all possible, it is certainly advisable to hold off on signing on the dotted line and endorsing any ideas that were conceived during trickster times, i.e. while Mercury was retrograde. If the idea was conceived before and the signature just signifies the final execution of a an idea that was conceived under different skies, that would be a different situation.
Here Is What You WANT To Do
During Mercury retrograde times we are given an opportunity to have a respite from our hectic lives. It is the perfect opportunity to do anything that begins with a "re-". So now is the time to:
All these things and anything else you can think of that begins with "re" will give you a sense of pleasure now, a sense of having picked the right timing.
Walk a different path
If you do something the same way every day, for example, if you walk the same route with your dog or with a friend, change the route when Mercury is retrograde. You will be amazed at how different the world looks from a different viewpoint. Similarly, during Mercury retrograde, talk to someone from a different background than you have ever met, someone from a completely unfamiliar race, religion, or ethnicity. Find out what it is like to walk in their shoes.
Most of all, during Mercury retrograde, slow down, reflect and rest. We need times like these and get them far too seldom. The Trickster is giving us these on a regular basis and if we do not take advantage of them, he may just mess our lives up enough to make us pay attention!
An excellent book on Mercury retrograde is by Pythia Peay and is called Mercury Retrograde.
Do planets really move backwards?
No. If you were a giant and straddling a planet, it would not suddenly stop, reverse, and then go forward again. However, from our perspective on earth, it appears that planets move backwards. Using Mars as an example (all planets go retrograde at times, not just Mercury), I have made this animation to show you how this can occur.
The yellow dot is the Sun. The blue dot represents the Earth. The red dot represents Mars.
From the Earth, which moves around the Sun faster than Mars, we are looking at Mars in this animation. The straight white line is the sight-line from the Earth looking at Mars against the background of the fixed stars of the Zodiac. The Zodiac is a belt of fixed stars through which all the planets travel as seen from the earth. It is divided into twelve equal parts, the Signs of the Zodiac. As we move past Mars, it appears for a while that Mars (against the backdrop of the Zodiac) is actually going backwards. This is known as retrograde motion.
If, at the moment of your birth, Mars (for instance) was moving retrograde your chart will have an "R" behind the notation of Mars. Sometimes this is a stylized "R".
Mercury Retrograde from 2018-2024
During 2018 Mercury will be retrograde:
- March 22 – April 15
- July 26 – August 18
- November 16 – December 6
During 2019 Mercury will be retrograde:
- March 5 – March 28
- July 7 – July 31
- October 31 – November 20
During 2020 Mercury will be retrograde:
- February 18 – March 9
- June 17 – July 12
- October 13 – November 3
During 2021 Mercury will be retrograde:
- January 30 – February 20
- May 29 – June 22
- September 27 – October 18
During 2022 Mercury will be retrograde:
- January 14 – February 3
- May 10 – June 2
- September 9 – October 2
- December 29 – January 18, 2023
During 2023 Mercury will be retrograde:
- Dec 29, 2022 – Jan 18
- April 21 – May 14
- August 23 – September 15
- December 13, 2023 – January 1, 2024
During 2024 Mercury will be retrograde:
- December 13, 2023 – January 1, 2024
- April 1 – April 25
- August 4 – August 28
- November 25 – December 15