What is Mercury in Retrograde and How Does It Affect You?

by Julie on November 4, 2012

Mercury in retrograde gets blamed for all sorts of things, but is it really as bad as it has been made out to be?  What does it mean when the planet Mercury is in retrograde and how can you ride the wave instead of getting dumped out in the ocean with your head (and everything else) wet?

Mercury in retrograde refers to the appearance from here on Earth of the planet Mercury stopping its’ usual trajectory and going backwards.  This is referred to as “in retrograde.”  This occurrence happens 3-4 times a year and lasts 3 weeks.  Mercury is the planet that rules communication, electronics, mental processing, and transportation.  Therefore, we typically associate problems with these areas when Mercury is “going backwards.”

Communication may break down along with the electronics that we use to communicate.  You may experience problems with cell phones, computer equipment, websites, e-mails or voice mails gone missing or misunderstood.  It is not a good time to purchase expensive electronics items either unless you really want a multitude of challenges with the item.  This can be challenging if Mercury is in retrograde just prior to the holidays at the end of the year or a special birthday.

You may make more mistakes in your writing, math, etc. as mental processing becomes more difficult.  I don’t recommend signing any brand new contracts or announcing a brand new business project during this time unless you already know you will have to modify it at some point in the future.  Because if you don’t want to renegotiate or modify it, it’s best not to sign or announce it while Mercury is retrograde. This is a time that there may be information missing or communication is not clear.  Errors are more likely to be made during this time.

And of course transportation can be affected so this may be a time when your mode of transportation is more likely to break down or have problems.  Keep in mind that it affects everyone else too so others may be late to a meeting or event because their transportation failed.

The signs Gemini and Virgo (of which I am the latter) usually are more affected than other signs because Mercury is their ruling planet.  Some people begin experiencing the effects of Mercury in retrograde for weeks before and for weeks after as Mercury appears to be slowing down and begins to speed up after going “direct” at the end of the retrograde period.  This is when Mercury appears to stop its reverse motion and begin its forward motion again.  These times before and after stationing retrograde and stationing direct are known as the shadow times.

You have the option though to rise above the challenges of Mercury in retrograde and reframe the situation!   It is a good time to take those old ideas, those old dreams off the shelf and review and re-evaluate.  (Get the Re: connection? Re-trograde, review, re-evaluate, renew.) And really in a time that we are constantly on the go, this may just be the Universe’s way of saying slow down.  Take time to look at what is going on in your life, at your goals and dreams, and decide if you can breathe new life into them. Take time to just ~be~.  Because if you won’t do it willingly, Mercury in retrograde may just force you to.

Your personal relationship to Mercury in retrograde is really dependent on your astrological chart.  If you have a big project or plan that you are concerned might be impacted by Mercury in retrograde, I recommend having a chart done by a reputable astrologer.

How have you been impacted by Mercury in retrograde?  Do you have successes to share as well as challenges?



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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura February 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

starting last Wednesday, I am really overwhelmed. I am not sure if that is why ( Mercury retrograde) but makes sense to me. My grandson fell and broke his arm. He had to have surgery he is 18 months old and I have been taking care of him since he was three months old.
Someone hit my car. I lost my credit card. My son and I got into it and we rarely do. and so on today I woke up and told myself it is a new day, thank heavens and I am ready to re-store my energy!


Julie February 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Laura, some people do begin to feel what is known as the “shadow” effect of Mercury in Retrograde for several days before it actually begins. You may be feeling this one in advance. Almost everything you mentioned definitely has ties to the planet Mercury so you are already feeling the effects unfortunately. You may or may not feel the effects after it goes direct as well. Thank you so much for commenting and much love to you and your family.

Julie McAllister


nicole February 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

This might explain some of my husbands intense feelings. He’s a Gemini also. He’s been hit with one thing after another. He’s been feeling depressed, lost his job after that happened, truck broke down, and we had a huge fight Saturday night which very rarely happens. All he can say is he can’t explain it but it hit him suddenly.


Julie February 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

Oh yes, Gemini and Virgo are usually most affected Nicole. :( This particular Mercury in Retrograde may be particularly difficult for a lot of people unfortunately. ((HUGS)) for you and him.



sheila February 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

I had surgery done on 2/8, I am a Gemini. They found more endometriosis even though I had a full hysterectomy done 2 years ago. We thought this would heal my pain, but I feel we made it worse. I am now depressed and feeling overwhelmed at the whole situation. Hopefully I feel better mentally and physically when this goes away


sheila March 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

Just wanted to update my post. I have since been to a surgery post op appointment and the doctor said “NO” more endo. There was some miscommunication from his nurse. I am so happy.


Julie March 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm


That is FABULOUS news!! So very happy for you!!



Rosemary January 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm

I was forced to slow down because our vehicle got repo which I really don’t mind because I like staying still it’s my partner that like’s running around now we’re having to find job’s walking distance it’s funny! but amazing on those sunny beautiful! day’s walking to work is awesome!


Julie January 16, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Ooh, ouch, Mercury really did a number on you then Rosemary. But it sounds as if you have chosen to see the gift in it which is always the best perspective. :)


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