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Below this explanation you will find a list of Mercury Retrograde periods for the current year, and for other planets' retrograde cycles.
The word retrograde applies, in astrology, to the apparent backward motion thru the zodiac of a planet. An old encyclopedia of astrology describes this retrograde motion as "the effect of a slow-moving train as viewed from another train traveling parallel to it but at a more rapid rate, wherein the slower train appears to be moving backwards. However, in the case of the celestial bodies it is not a matter of their actual speed of travel, but of the rate at which they change their angular relationship."*
All the planets, except Sun and Moon, have these retrograde periods, but Mercury is most famous for them, probably because Mercury represents our very essential communication abilities.
While people speak of Mercury Retrograde periods that screw up computers and television sets, today's astrologers believe the mishaps happen in more personal realms (Uranus is the planet that rules television and computers). Mercury rules communication, but more informal communications, like writing, speaking, short shopping sprees and other erranding endeavors. So, while Mercury is Retrograde, don't give that party, be extra aware of what you say and what you interpret when chatting with or writing to friends, cut back on errands, expect that the check will be in the mail longer than usual. Since the car is usually used for shopping and errands, don't be surprised if the battery wire loosens or the fan belt snaps just when you have rush out for that one ingredient you forgot to buy.
The good things to do when Mercury is Retrograde: meditate, contemplate, edit the book/poem/song/essay you've been writing, clean house, talk to your pet, listen to music, paint, catch up on sleep!
* Encyclopedia of Astrology, Nicholas deVore, Philosophical Library, 1947
This is an important period, and we should be aware of the effects associated with this astrological influence. Since it is so often, we must learn what it means and how to take advantage of it.
There is no real backwards movement of Mercury; it's just that we see it this way from Earth, because of the combined movement of the Earth and Mercury around the Sun. However, astrologically this is very relevant.
Mercury rules over the mind's processes, studying, communication, businesses, travels and the like. When Mercury reverses its direction, all these areas are affected as well.
The mind turns naturally inwards and people tend to analyze more the own thoughts and follow the common thinking patterns, rather then be curious and eager of new intellectual experiences or challenges. This helps the meditation or the thorough lonely long-term study of a specific matter, but it affects the study of new subjects, the communication with the others, the attention oriented outwards.
Businesses, travels and communications tend to experience delays and different problems. Computers and other processes that work with information may experience crashes, unexpected failures.
Don't enroll to courses, don't buy expensive Mercurian items (books, cars, mobile phones etc.), don't sign important contracts and do not marry.
It is definitely a very good period for some actions. No time is completely bad for anything, there is a reason in everything happens.
The key is the reversed direction of movement: take any known Mercurian action, reverse its flow, consider the keywords "re-doing something", "double-checking", "finish the old projects" and there you are, you've found the good side of Mercury retrograde.
For instance, you may want to read again a book you particularly liked, a subject you studied before, meet and discuss with old friends you haven't met for a long time, travel to places you've already been to before.
This is an excellent time to work on old projects that never got to be finished. So, think about the things you started and never finalized.
Next, you might wish to prevent any bad things to happen to you: so double-check your agenda, call your business partners to confirm that everything goes as planned, have everything ready before the deadline and leave some extra time for unexpected events. Make copies of your important files and documents, save your work more often.
The other solution is to go on vacation or at least slow down the pace of your projects. You will find that going slowly during the Mercury retrograde period will spare you many efforts of redoing the same action that wasn't performed right the first time.
Above all, be generous and compassionate: you are already aware about the influence of this period, but the others aren't aware of it or there may be uncontrollable events. That's why you should have more diligence with the others and give them some more time. It'll be your mental health that you'll be sparing actually.
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