Three to four times a year, every year, the planet Mercury goes into retrograde. In 2015, there are three occurrences of Mercury in retrograde, and all of them occur during air signs. The first retrograde is from January 21st through February 11th during Aquarius, the second May 19th through June 11th during Gemini, and the third September 17th through October 9th during Libra.
You may have heard your astrology-keen friend mention the phrase before, but do you know what the definition of Mercury going into retrograde actually is? We’ve got a primer set up for you with tips on how to survive the times below.
Mercury’s path around the sun is more elliptical than any of the other planets in our solar system. Since its distance from the sun is not consistent, neither is the speed in which it travels. When Mercury is nearest to the sun, its orbit speeds up, and when it’s at its furthest distance, it slows down.
Now, here on Earth, we travel around the sun at a relatively consistent speed. So when Mercury slows down, we catch up and ultimately pass the planet’s orbit. This makes it appear as though the planet stalls, stops, then starts to move backwards. Of course, this is just an optical illusion and Mercury doesn’t really reverse its course.
Think about driving next to train tracks. You move along at 50 or 60 mph, but when the train, which is traveling faster, nears you, it makes it look as though everything else is slowing down. When the train passes, it can even appear as though you’re moving backwards. Mercury in retrograde has the same effect and creates a similar optical illusion.
The planet Mercury rules intelligence, the mind and memory, honesty, and all communication. It’s also responsible self-expression, travel, and commerce. In lore, Mercury (called Hermes by the Greeks) is the messenger for the gods. He is elusive and often described as a trickster.
Many people think Mercury in retrograde is bad luck, but it’s more that things are moving against their natural way (much like being in retrograde). It’s a time when plans tend to fall through, and many say that their mental faculties “go on vacation.” Communication tends to go haywire, both with misunderstandings and system failures.
Yet, when Mercury is in retrograde, it’s not all bad. It’s a time for introspection, and often people are able to see patterns in their past they were unable to recognize beforehand.
When Mercury is in retrograde, it’s important to know how it impacts you and those around you. Here are a few tips and pointers to help you get through the retrograde:
Once the planet’s retrograde period is over and Mercury again goes direct, things tend to fall back into place. Your mind clears, your plans work out, and suddenly you and your partner can communicate again. A week or two after the retrograde has ceased, you’ll find yourself looking back and wondering if it had been a full moon.