By Nikki Harper
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
Three or four times each year, Mercury turns retrograde – and some blame this astrological phenomenon for everything from lost phones and arguments with loved ones to political meltdowns and transportation disasters. But what actually is Mercury retrograde, and does it really have such a far reaching effect on our lives?
We’re used to watching the Sun, the Moon and, when we can catch a glimpse of them, the other celestial bodies moving across our skies. But sometimes, as seen from earth, a planet appears to move backwards. This is what is called retrograde motion. It’s an illusion – no planet ever actually moves backwards.
If you pass a slow moving train on a faster moving one, the slower one will appear to move backwards, and that’s what we perceive during a retrograde period. In fact, what is happening is that the earth, which orbits the Sun more slowly that Mercury, is catching up with Mercury during the slowest part of Mercury’s orbit. All of the other planets have retrograde periods too, but it’s Mercury’s which we find the most fascinating.
What’s the Astrological Significance of Mercury Retrograde?
Astrologically, Mercury rules our thinking, our intellect and our communication. It also has astrological connections to journeys and travel. It is believed therefore, that when Mercury is retrograde, travel, communication and other essential areas of life are disrupted.
Traditionally, you’ll hear people warning you not to make plans during a Mercury retrograde period, or to avoid making decisions, or to avoid travel…..great, except that the retrograde period typically lasts around 3 weeks, so this isn’t entirely practical!
In truth, not every Mercury retrograde will affect you; you probably won’t even notice most of them. It’s only when the retrograde hits sensitive points in your own natal chart that you’ll really feel the effect. If the retrograde occurs in your own sign, or your opposite sign, or your ascendant sign, you may well experience both its blessings and its irritations. Depending on your current situation, you may also notice Mercury retrograde more if it takes place in your career zone, for example, or your health zone if you’re struggling with illness.
Mercury retrograde is important in geo-political astrology, in terms of how it and other factors reflect what may be happening on the world stage. But in your personal life, you’re just as likely to experience the benefits as the trials – if indeed you experience anything at all.
Overlooked Benefits of Mercury Retrograde
Although there is some evidence to suggest that we do loose things more often during Mercury retrograde periods, and that sometimes communications can be interrupted by internet glitches and so forth, most astrologers believe that Mercury retrograde periods bring some important and often overlooked benefits.
For a start, the slowing down of Mercury in the sky correlates to a slowing down of our thinking. In today’s fast paced world, this is no bad thing. During the retrograde period, ideas can be properly and fully developed, instead of superficially considered and then rejected out of hand. Mercury’s slow down also encourages us to think before we speak, which tends to lead to greater harmony in interpersonal relationships.
Mercury retrograde also brings us a period of rest and reflection. It’s a wonderful time for reliving old memories, or for getting back in touch with long-lost friends. It’s a second chance, if you like, to see what we may have missed before.
Mercury Retrograde in June 2020
Mercury turned retrograde in Cancer on June 17th; it will turn direct once more on July 12th but its shadow period does not end until July 26th, when Mercury passes the point at which it originally turned retrograde.
Astrologically, Cancer is associated with the home, family, emotional security, and the past. If Mercury retrograde in Cancer affects a significant point in your natal chart, you’ll find it beneficial to take some time out to re-consider your attitude towards these things. Look inwards, and discern how you truly feel about your domestic situation, or your family history. This Mercury retrograde period could highlight family relationships which need healing, or links to your past which unnerve or unsettle you – but recognizing this clears the path for you to address it, and to deal with any lingering resentment or trauma.
Mercury is typically comfortable when transiting Cancer, so the traditional communication disruptions will not be as significant during this retrograde period. People typically think of Cancer as a soft and gentle sign, but it’s a cardinal sign – it creates change. So Mercury retrograde in Cancer also creates change, internal, inward change within us, particularly with regard to how we think on certain issues. As a cardinal water sign, Cancer leads and creates change via emotions, compassion and and understanding of what has come before. If this Mercury retrograde period resonates with your natal chart, therefore, you may find yourself particularly emotionally affected by some of the social issues we’re seeing raised at this time. You may change your perspective, or your opinion – and that’s a good thing. Congratulations on being strong enough to admit that you may have been wrong in the past – not everyone can do that.
Creatively, this Mercury retrograde period, like all of them, does bring us some advantages. With its links, through Cancer, to the past, this is the perfect time to pick up again on an old creative project you have abandoned. Re-think it, re-consider it, re-welcome it into your life. If you tried to write a novel but gave up on it, get it back out and have another go. If you tried a new creative hobby but didn’t get very far, see what it can offer you now.
You can also benefit creatively from Mercury retrograde by taking time to meditate, visualize or daydream – imagination is strong at this point, and insights which come to you during this period may be surprisingly useful.
If you’re stuck with a project, of lost for ideas, focus on what is working right now, rather than what is not. Mercury retrograde can sometimes throw problems onto centre stage, but we don’t have to look where we’re told to look. By focusing instead on something which is going well – your job, or your relationship, or your fitness regime – you free up your subconscious mind to work on creative blocks or issues elsewhere in your life. Remember, this is cardinal water energy, turned inward. Create change by allowing your emotions space. Making a conscious choice to move away from the angst or anxiety you may feel over a problem will fix your attention on more positive things, making it easier for the cosmos to help resolve the issue in the background.
There is no reason to fear periods of Mercury retrograde – instead, embrace them as the second chances they are, or use them as creative stepping stones. It is said that Yoko Ono deliberately chose to sign contracts, travel and create during Mercury retrograde periods because of the creative advantages this would give her and John Lennon. Why not experiment for yourself and ignore the doom and gloom predictions these periods of time often bring?
Recommended articles by Nikki Harper:
- Harnessing the Power of Synchronicity
- Beyond 11:11 – The Significance of Repeating Number Patterns
- A Time to be Born and a Time to Die: Can Astrology Predict Death?
- Premature and Caesarean Birth: An Astrological Misinheritance?
- The Benefits of a Daily Divination Practice – and How to Start One
- 7 Ways to Find Awe in Your Everyday Life
- Need Answers? Looking for Insight? 7 Ways Astrology Can Help
- Alone But Not Lonely: 6 Amazing Benefits of Solitude
- Dancing in the Rain: 6 Reasons We Should All Be Pluviophiles
- Finding Time for a Daily Spiritual Practice – How and Why to Devote Your Time
- 7 Simple Steps to Start Communicating With Nature
- Getting Started with Remote Viewing: Step by Step to Strengthen Your Psi Abilities
About the author:
Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.