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Mercury Retrograde

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

What is Mercury Retrograde? Mercury Retrograde is a term that you have probably heard before but aren't sure exactly what it means. During periods of retrograde, a planet appears to move backwards from its normal trek around the sun. Those areas of life governed by the planet tend to suffer setbacks and breakdowns. There are many retrograde including Mars Retrograde, Venus Retrograde, Jupiter Retrograde, in fact all the planets turn retrograde at some point. However, Mercury Retrograde is arguably the one you hear about most often. Mercury Retrograde occurs approximately three times a year and last about 3 weeks each time. As of this writing, the last Mercury Retrograde occured at 10:02 AM PST on 10/4/14 and ended at 12:16 PM PST on 10/25/14. Mercury is believed to rule communication and travel and so during a Mercury-Retrograde it is common for breakdowns in communication and interruption of travel plans to occur. People become short-tempered, computers break down, get viruses, cars and other vehicles may breakdown, flat tires may occur, communication slows or grinds to a halt, etc..... How Does Mercury Retrograde Affect the Individual? Astrological Charts are like fingerprints, no two are alike because no two people are exactly alike and therefore Mercury Retrograde will effect everyone differently. To determine how Mercury Retrograde will affect you, you have to determine which house(s) Mercury will transit (or pass through) while it is in retrograde state. Determining Mercury's Position Relative to Your Birth Chart Begin by ascertaining what sign Mercury occupies at the time of the retrograde. You can usually find this out simply by doing an internet search, but if you can't find out you can simply draw up a chart for the exact time of Mercury Retrograde for your location.

It really doesn't matter what city or state you use to determine Mercury's position because as long as you adjust your time according to the time zone of the particular place you will get the same result. ​However, to determine how Mercury Retrograde will affect you we will look at what house governs in your birth chart. To do that you need to get your own birth chart drawn up. This can be done for free at Simply enter your name and birth data and then print out your Natal, or birth, Chart. Now remember, Mercury Retrograde does not mean that the planet stops but rather appears to move backwards so Mercury is still moving. Mercury Retrograde Through the Houses Generally speaking, during "Stationary Retrograde", the point at which Mercury turns retrograde, RESEARCH, THINK, EVALUATE...and when Mercury turns "Stationary Direct", the point at which Mercury goes direct again, DECIDE, RESOLVE, ACT. ​First House - The first house rules the self and the image your project on the world. With mercury retrograde transiting the first house, this is a good time to review how you present yourself to the outside world. You may consider changing your appearance in some way now, but shouldn’t do anything too extreme as you might come to regret your choice. Since the first house also rules your body, you may experience episodes of awkwardness or clumsiness and suffer minor injuries. Second House- The second house is the house of money and personal values. With mercury retrograde in the second house you re-evaluate your core values and what you hold dear. If you are due any monies during this time, it will likely be delayed; on the flip side sometimes you receive unexpected money when mercury is retrograde in in the second house. Now is a good time to reconsider what you really value in life and determine if it’s all worth it. Third House - This house is associated with communication, siblings and short journeys. This transit can bring about a busy mind preoccupied with many, often contradictory thoughts. Increased worry and a nervous condition may result. You spend a lot of time working through your thoughts and may not have all the information needed to resolve any issues related to the mind. Since this house rules over travel, you may experience setbacks with regards to your mode of travel. Now is a good time to check your car battery, get your oil changed, or schedule a tune up. Communications also suffer so many sure your computer is backed up and your antivirus software is up to date. With interpersonal communications make sure you slow down and listen more than you talk and make sure you fully understand other people before assuming anything that is not said outright. Fourth House- This house rules your home, neighborhood, community, and family. Your home should be your sanctuary and it should make you feel safe and secure when you are there. With mercury retrograde in your fourth house, your home may feel stifling. You may feel the urge to remodel your home, rearrange your furniture, or refresh the paint. At any rate, this is a good time to remove clutter for the free flow of energy through your home and gain a new perspective on how you feel about your environment. Since this house also rules your early childhood, this could also be a time when old childhood issues resurface that will have to resolved. Fifth House - This house rules, love, romance, children, creativity, and hobbies. With mercury retrograde in the fifth house your creativity may be blocked and your hobbies may fail to bring you the satisfaction that they once did. This is a great time to review your creative process, which may have become stale an unfulfilling, reconnect with your inner child and re-discover yourself as creative being. A old boy/girlfriend may try to re-enter your life at this time. Now is now a good time to start a new relationship but rather review past mistakes so that you can make better decisions about the people that you allow into your heart and into you life. Don’t make any final decisions regarding love and romance until mercury stations direct again. Sixth House - This house rules health, work, pets, and daily routines. With mercury retrograde in the sixth house, you may experience the need to be more flexible with your daily routines. Misunderstanding or infighting among co-workers is common. Deadlines are not met due to miscommunications and in extreme cases you may quit your job or be terminated. Either way, this is a good time to return to a previous job or employer. Old health issues may arise and need to be addressed. If you recently started a new health or diet regime you may fall back into old unhealthy habits not conducive to good health. Seventh House- This house rules marriage, agreements, and partnerships of all kinds. Conflicts and misunderstandings often result when mercury retrograde is in the seventh house. Old relationship issues may resurface again at this time forcing a renegotiation of the terms of the relationship that may have gone unsaid for too long. This transit is good for reconnecting with your partner but not for finding or developing a new relationship. This house also rules open enemies and they can be troublesome during this placement. You may feel the urge for more balance in your life but may not be able to find it, albeit easily. Eighth House- This house rules sex, death, shared resources and other people’s money. With this placement you may feel an intense desire for greater intimacy with others but actually experience feelings of emotional and physical distance from them. Emotionally you may be prone to irrational outbursts and present a serious demeanor taking everything personally. This may result in a depressing pessimistic attitude. This is a good time to review past sexual relationships so that you can understand your needs better and examine if you are getting what you need out of present relationships. Secrets pertaining to sex or money may come to light at this time. Ninth House- This house rules spiritual growth, dreams, long journeys, higher learning and foreigners. With mercury retrograde in the ninth house you may experience an attitude that is either overly optimistic or pessimistic. You may even feel the need to re-visit a certain place but travel plans will be delayed or interrupted. Before you can see where you are going, you may need to re-asse where you are. If you are taking any classes or trying to learn a new language, concept, or other subject your studies may suffer. Since this house also rules spirituality you may have experiences which cause you to question your faith or to re-examine why you believe what you believe. Tenth House- The Tenth house is associated with your career, ambition, profession, and authority figures such as parents or your boss. With mercury retrograde in the tenth house problems arise with your career, often in the form of conflicts with your boss, mentor, or supervisor. You may exhibit irresponsible or undisciplined behavior and thinking unable to set clear, achievable goals. A change in your social status may result in your social status due to the promotion of someone else or the loss of your own job. You could be demoted or have responsibility taken away from you. This is a good time to re-enter a previous career or to give another try to a previously abandoned career goal. Eleventh House- This is the house that rules friends, associations and groups of individuals as well as your hopes, dreams, and the future. Mercury retrograde transiting your eleventh house can result in arguments with your friends. In fact you may chose to end a friendship at this time, however, it may only turn out to be temporary setback that you begin to heal once mercury stations direct again. You may find that you don’t really fit into any groups that you belong to and will re-evaluate whether you wish to continue associating with the group. Alternatively you may even experience being forced out of your group. Since this transit also governs your hopes and dreams, you may question your future and / or experience delays, or blocks in achieving your goals. Twelfth House- This house rules endings, things hidden, places of confinement, and your past. When mercury retrograde is transiting the twelfth house things you previously thought were over and done with may re-enter your life forcing you to deal with these past issues all over again. You become more aware of subconscious issues and may suffer from insomnia or nightmares. Since this house also rules hidden enemies, you may be in danger of them working against your better interest. This is vulnerable time for you and your intuition may be “off” so you question your own feelings and instincts. This is a good time for retreat and withdrawal i favor of prayer and meditation in order to reconnect with your own spirit. Aspects: Relationships Between the Signs The next step would be to analyze the aspects, or relationships, between Mercury Retrograde and the planets in your Birth Chart. This is determined by ascertaining the number of degrees between Mercury Retrograde and the planets in the birth chart. There are several different aspects each of which has their own meaning and this is a subject too complex to delve into during this brief article. The serious student will want to do more research and there is software and other programs that can determine the various aspects for you. However, I will share the following example. Chris has Mercury in the 4th degree of Cancer in his birth chart and Mercury Retrograde occupies the 2nd degree of Scorpio when it turns Retrograde. This is a difference of 128 degrees. That would mean that Mercury Retrograde is trine Natal Mercury. A trine is an aspect in which two planets are 120 degrees apart or within 9 degrees either way of 120 degrees. It is one of the most favorable of aspects. Mercury Retrograde is trine Natal Mercury which would help lessen or even negate the negative affects of Mercury Retrograde. Once you have all the information written down for Mercury Retrograde in your house and it's various aspects you will begin the process of astrological synthesis. This is the process of combining all the information that you have gathered into a logical and cohesive understanding.

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