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Mercury Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde is a period of time when Mercury appears to be going backwards against the sky. We observe this about four times a year, as mercury races past the part of its orbit that is closer to the earth and begins to travel on to the further side of the sun, and from our perspective, during that time, moves in the opposite direction as the earth. By line of sight against the sky it seems to move forward, then backwards, then forward again as it returns to pass the earth.

There are actually 5 distinct periods that are related to the Mercury retrograde phenomena:

Mercury Retrograde path in the sky, copyright 2012 Roman Oleh Yaworsky

The Pre-Shadow Phase

This is the period of time when Mercury begins to slow down and passes over the same path in the sky where it will later stop and return to go backwards or retrograde. Although the Pre-Shadow is often ignored, it is very important, because much of the difficulty that is encountered later with the Mercury Retrograde period itself is set up in the Pre-Shadow.

Common ways that we may contribute to the Pre-Shadow is to ignore our inner voice, our intuition or the hints that the universe reveals to us. Often it is the details we ignore or the assumptions or judgments that we make that tend to set us up, especially when they are based o the untested beliefs of others or come as reactions from our negative experiences.

The Mercury Retrograde Station

The effect of the Pre-Shadow strengthens as Mercury slows down before it retrogrades. In the calendar, this is shown in violet. It then becomes stationary and seems to hang in the sky for a while. Often this coincides with a peaking in the Mercury retrograde phenomena, and is indicated in red.

The Mercury Retrograde Phase

After the Retrograde Station, Mercury appears to go backwards in the sky, Those experiences in life normally associated with Mercury, such as communication, short travel, learning, distribution of information, computers and computer programs, details and accuracy tend to become more challenging or reveal more errors.

As a rule of thumb, about a third of the people will feel a particular Mercury retrograde. It especially effects those involved more directly with communication, computers and education. Often the work load may increase, or the number of deadlines.

The best attitude during this time is to check and to check again, an not to make assumptions without testing. It is also wise to recheck what others do and to recheck schedules, understandings, commitments and appointments. Documents written at these times are at risk of errors of commission and omission. On the other hand, it is actually a good time to finish older, undone tasks, or for personal writing, contemplation and inner work.

The Mercury Direct Station

Mercury’s backward motion slows down until it appears to hang in the sky again, and this second station also tends to coincide with a peaking of the retrograde phenomena. This time is indicated in the calendar as a darker shade of brown, marking the end of the Mercury Retrograde Phase, and the beginning of the Post-Shadow.

If the first station was like the deadline, or the quiet before the storm or the receding of the water before the tsunami, the second station can be like the moment the debris field is about to be revealed. Errors made during the rush of Mercury Retrograde Proper may begin to come to light.

The Post-Shadow Phase

This is the period of time when Mercury begins to speed up and move forward, and in doing so it actually passes over the path in the sky in which it earlier went backwards.

During the Post-Shadow period, errors can show up that were a result of poor decisions, assumptions or lack of attention during the Pre-Shadow or Mercury Retrograde periods. The effect of the Post-Shadow is stronger for the first few days.

The Stance to Take During Mercury Retrograde

Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde reveals the errors that come about from ignorance, from not paying attention to the details and from false assumptions, wrong beliefs or understandings. For this reason, it is important to check and re-check the fine print before making important decisions, especially during this time. It is also important to check and re-check schedules for trips and appointments for last minute changes. Take the time to catch errors not only made by you, but also by others that may affect you.

As much as Mercury Retrograde may seem like a challenging time in some ways for some people, it is a potentially expansive time for finishing tasks that have been left undone, for reviews, self assessments and creative or intuitive writing. It is a time that supports new directions and explorations that break away from dry beliefs or stale understandings. Just don't ignore reality checking.

The Calendar for Mercury Retrograde

The three periods for Mercury Retrograde are shown in the calendar provided. In each period, the darker color represents more intense days when the retrograde effect is stronger. Note that because of time zones, the actual dates may vary by a day as indicated.

Go to the Mercury Retrograde Calendar for 2012Go to the 2017 Mercury Retrograde Calendar

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