Transiting Mercury Retrograde & You

“The confusion in communications related to such things as speaking, business negotiations and travel typically associated with Mercury Retrograde is best viewed as an opportunity to “slow down” and revisit or to give more thought to an action you’re considering taking.”


Did you know that Mercury retrogrades several times a year?
So what does that mean for you? First, let’s clarify what “retrograde” really means. As we wrote in our post, Transiting Pluto Retrograde & You, in as near scientific terms as we can understand and conjure (so please speak up if we get it wrong!), when a planet is retrograde, it’s not actually going backwards as the term implies, but only seems as if it is to those of us who happen to be inhabiting the planets that are passing each other at certain times of their orbits. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and, thus, on the most inner lane of the orbital racetrack, so to speak, while Earth is on an outside lane of the track. As the faster planet’s (Mercury) pulls parallel to the slower planet (Earth), the planets appear stationary to each other for a “moment’, until Mercury passes Earth. It’s at this point, it appears that one or the other is going backward, depending on which planet you’re living on. “Appears” is the operative word here. Or, if you prefer more “Earth bound” analogies, consider when a fast car approaches a slower car…for a moment two cars seem simpatico, but not for long. As the fast car pulls ahead, the slow car appears to move backward or vice versa. That’s not really the case, as we know. Something called physics is happening!

Mercury takes about 88 Earth days to orbit the Sun. The animation shows Mercury revolving around the Sun approximately 4.14 times (yellow trail) compared to Earth's 365 days (blue trail). Original simulation by Todd K. Timberlake

Mercury takes about 88 Earth days to orbit the Sun. The animation shows Mercury revolving around the Sun approximately 4.14 times (yellow trail) compared to Earth’s 365 days (blue trail). Original simulation by Todd K. Timberlake

In the case of Mercury, its latest retrograde at the time of this writing began June 26, 2013, in Cancer and will continue through July 20.  Unless you were born with Mercury Retrograde, when the fastest orbiting planet in our solar system “goes retrograde,” confusion in communications related to such things as speaking, business negotiations and travel might occur for many. However, it’s actually an opportunity to “slow down” and revisit or to give more thought to an action you’re considering taking. For example, when it’s in Cancer, as it is now, generally speaking you might find yourself feeling more sentimental than usual about the past or your family and you have an nagging urge to express these sentiments. Or maybe you are considering a real estate transaction. Or signing a contract to have work done on your house. Depending on the House it’s transiting in your birth chart and if it’s forming an aspect to any of your CBs, the three or so weeks it’s retrograding might be best used to mull things over before taking any action. And if you can wait until it goes direct around July 20, all the better.  If Mercury is the Ruling Planet of your Sun, Moon or Ascendant Sign (Gemini or Virgo), read our blog, Gemini Sun Sign.

Interestingly, if your natal Mercury is retrograde at the time of your birth, these periods are can be productive for you and you’ll rarely experience its confusion (To learn more about the difference between natal planets and transiting planets, read Natal Planets vs. Transiting Planets). However, when in doubt, the best modes of action to take during any Transiting Mercury Retrograde period: slow down, take stock, reorganize, review, be patient.

Mercury Rx 2013
Feb. 23 – March 17
June 26 – July 20
October 21 –  Nov. 10

A Few Mercury Fast Facts

  • Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun in our Solar System
  • Its orbit around the sun is about 88 Earth Days
  • Named after the fleet footed messenger of the Roman Gods
  • Its atmosphere is nearly nil, so has widest temperature fluctuations of any other planet in our Solar System
  • Because of its speed and eccentric orbit it has been the least understood of the Solar System’s planets
  • NASA’s Messenger space probe launched in 2004 reached Mercury’s orbit in 2011, when it captured the first-ever complete picture of Mercury