How to survive (and thrive) during Mercury Retrograde…


I had a bit of a technology week last week. I smashed the front screen on my iPhone a few weeks ago- it slipped off the chair I’d rested it on when we stopped off in Cooma for a cuppa on the way to Eucumbene. Ok, in full disclosure, the chair was one of those ones you get at football fields that had a sloping seat. Yeah, I know- who would have thought the phone would slip off? Anyways, I got the phone fixed last week.

Then there’s the modem at home. A new one arrived in the mail from Telstra with instructions to change over. As with most things Telstra, the package arrived a full week before the explanatory email telling me they were sending a package. Apparently they’re upgrading the lines and if I didn’t install the new modem, I’d experience interruptions. They’re also changing email services and have sent me a complicated mail advising how and why and when, but not really saying much else. Judging by the quality of the communication, I don’t hold a lot of confidence that this will go seamlessly. Yes, it’s scheduled while Mercury is retrograde. In any case, I installed the new modem and it’s already proving to be dodgier than the old one. Whatevs.

This is all, of course, a lead in to Mercury turning retrograde in a few days.

When planets turn retrograde, whatever energy that planet represents is turned inward- it’s why it’s such a good time for reflecting, reviewing and planning. Mercury represents communication and information- and the methods by which we communicate and pass information…and that includes contracts and travel plans.

What am I using this Mercury Rx period for? I’m planning my next novel. Yep, I used the p (planning) word. I don’t normally write to an outline- I prefer to let things unfold, but it seems right to plan this one- well, as far as I’m capable of planning anything, I guess. My editor has Wish You Were Here for copy edit, and I should also get that back while the reviewing energy of this Rx is with us.

Ok…to the survival guide…

How to survive and thrive during Mercury retrograde…

I have this theory the fall out from Mercury retrogrades hits us because we need to slow down. Computer breakdowns, delays, mixed messages- they stop us in our tracks.

By making us vulnerable, by instigating meltdowns (of any description) we have no choice but to take a good long hard look at the way we live our life. Instead, we build protective walls around ourselves as we madly back up computers, triple check travel plans and appointments. We spend hours doing stuff that is, when you think about it, really just basic common sense.

We should be testing changes, we should be confirming appointments, we should be carrying a spare pair of knickers in our carry-on. We shouldn’t need a Mercury retrograde period to force ourselves into being just a tad vulnerable. Meltdowns can be messy, but also therapeutic.

So, that’s my theory, now for the practicalities.

Firstly, the basics regarding a Mercury retrograde period:

  • The planet isn’t really going backwards, it just appears that way from where we stand here on Earth
  • During any retrograde cycle of any planet we bring our attentions within. The energy of the planet is intensified, and that energy is brought within. In that case of Mercury that means how we think, how we transmit messages and how messages are communicated and understood around us
  • this is your signal to slow down, go within, review, revise, rewind. We review and revise in our head the nature of the area of life this retrograde is happening in for us. With our brains occupied in a different way we lose focus on what is happening around us- and that is when things, generally shitty things, happen.

We know all about the re words:

  • Take the time to recharge your batteries
  • Revise your goals
  • Review your bright ideas
  • Regain your faith in the future
  • Recommit to habits, goals, the things you need to recommit to
  • Reconnect with colleagues & friends you haven’t seen or spoken to for some time
  • Renew and refresh whatever is jaded and old
  • Revisit places, books, movies that mean something to you
  • Rest and relax
  • We know the type of things Mercury retrogrades can impact:
  • Appointment times
  • Travel times & arrangements
  • Computers, phones & other electronic devices
  • Getting to & from places
  • Contracts and other documents
  • And we know how to mitigate the possible damage:
  • Re-confirm appointments
  • Check & re-check your travel arrangements
  • Insure your luggage and tickets and make sure you have copies of all travel documents- preferably not in your bag
  • If travelling carry a spare toothbrush and change of clothes as carry on- just in case
  • Avoid mechanical problems, by making sure your car services are up to date
  • Back up computers
  • Avoid purchasing any major technology over this period
  • Avoid signing contracts, but if you have to, make sure you have read & re-read all the fine print
  • If you must commence a new project, do the scoping work carefully- and seriously people, we should be doing this anyway!
  • If you have any changes going “live” or being implemented, test, re-test, regression test, test the back out, test the install & test again. Test.

Who is most affected by Mercury Retrograde?

  • People with strong Mercury charts eg people with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Mercury in Mercury ruled signs ie Gemini or Virgo.
  • People with these planets in the 3rd house
  • People who have the Sun, Moon, Mercury or Ascendant in the sign which is receiving the retrograde
  • People who have planets or chart points at the position where Mercury stations- either to go retrograde or direct.

What about the shadow?

Lots of astrologers will talk about the “shadow” period of any retrograde phase. Some will go as far as saying the rules above apply through the shadow period. I’m not convinced- but don’t take my word for it…you might be one of those that is sensitised to all things Mercury.

What I have found is that whilst things tend to have the potential to go more haywire during the actual retrograde period, things that stall early in the shadow period tend not to be resolved or green lighted until the end of the shadow…if that makes sense.

The shadow period lasts from when Mercury first passes the point at which it will later turn direct and lasts until it passes for the second time the point at which it turned retrograde.

For example,

Mercury turns retrograde at 29 Virgo 4’ on 30/8* and turns direct at 14 Virgo 57’ on 22/9*. However, the so-called shadow period will last from August 10 (when Mercury reaches 14 Virgo 57’) until October 7 (when Mercury reaches 29 Virgo 4’ for the second time).

Although the period when Mercury is retrograde will be from 30/8/16- 22/9/16, the period in which it will be in shadow is from 10/8/16- 7/10/16. That’s almost 2 whole months…and therein lies my problem with the shadow theory. With 3 Mercury retrogrades per year, if we also pulled up stumps during the shadow we’d be looking at nearly 6 months each year when we can’t be as productive as we’d normally like to be. I don’t know about you, but I can’t be faffed with that.

But, as I said, that’s just me.

30/8/16 (or thereabouts) Mercury stations retrograde 29 Virgo 4’

22/9/16 (or thereabouts) Mercury stations direct 14 Virgo 57’

* Given that dates and most other things are taken literally during Virgo, the dates I’ve given in here are “thereabouts”- and could be a day different depending on where in the world you are.