by Robert Wilkinson
Mercury retrograde has a reputation for being a time of misunderstandings, delays, and things getting jammed up. Over the years I've often been asked what can be done if Mercury is retrograde and there are actions that must be taken, meetings scheduled, projects that must be decided and implemented, and other important matters.
First, there are many things that move forward exactly as they should during Mercury retrograde periods. Though there may be delays and misunderstandings, there are ways to navigate these recurring periods and keep everything on track quite nicely. It doesn't have to be much of a problem if we position ourselves correctly given the shift in the pace and unfolding of events.
Also, please remember that the planets do not "cause" anything. Whether and how things happen or don't during a retrograde period has everything to do with us and others' actions and reactions to things, both past and present. The free will of human beings has far more power than a planetary retrograde! As I wrote in "A New Look at Mercury Retrograde," Chapter 1, "What Is Mercury Retrograde and Why Does It Seem to Cause So Many Hassles?"
Throughout the year, usually one or more planets are retrograde. Sometimes there are as many as four to six retrogrades occurring simultaneously... A planet, when retrograde, simply indicates a slowing of its orbital speed relative to the Sun from the perspective of the Earth. Some planets slow for a few weeks; some for a few months.... In our Solar system, the motion of the planets and the "lights" (the Sun and Moon) symbolize the ebb and flow of the universal life that we all live within.
This is why it is inappropriate to attribute a problem to a retrograde; though there may be some apparent correlation, a retrograde cannot "cause" anything. This may be the most commonly held misunderstanding about astrology and how it works. Any astrological configuration simply symbolizes a state of time within which life manifests. It is true that many things seem to happen because of an astrological association. However, the cause of all that happens (if and when there is a concrete cause at all) is a prior action, or inaction. All that is, all that occurs, is a part of a larger natural process of unfoldment. All our experiences give us opportunities to be led out of ignorance and fear of the unknown into a greater awareness of the interrelationships between all things.
Mercury retrograde represents a period where the timing and coordination of things, as well as our communication and understanding, take on a different pace and point of view. So these are times when we need to make sure we and others are clear about our mutual understanding of what is, and what has to be done before whatever else is done.
It may be that more research or rehearsing of scenarios needs to be done before making "final" decisions. These can be times to consider new approaches that could be taken regarding elements of something being discussed. It can also mean that some things have to be done first before other things can be done, since Mercury is how we coordinate within and between multiple activities.
Mercury RX will most impact Mercurial affairs, as well as those areas in our charts where we have our natal and progressed Mercury and any planets and houses under the influence of Gemini and Virgo. It is important to remember that areas ruled by other planets will proceed according to their planetary ruler, with Mercury RX a secondary influence.
It will probably affect Mercury-ruled professions more than occupations ruled by other planets. For example, I doubt a surgeon's skills, ruled by Mars, will be affected by Mercury retrograde! (At least we hope not!!)
However, it may be that if there are surgeries done during this time, extra attention should be taken to make everything is taken care of in an orderly fashion and no details overlooked. It may very well be that surgeries done during this time that correct problems from other times or other causes than the primary reason, or take care of business needed addressing before now, are favored.
I would think Mercury retrograde would be good for exploring multi-step processes from innovative angles, or from looking back on experiences that did and didn't work, to re-weave the fabric of activity. The trick is to adapt to a different pace of unfoldment, and not fall prey to believing that Mercury retrograde is "making bad things happen." Shift focus on how you think things should be, your sense of timing as well as how you react to the unexpected or unusual intrusions in action, thought, and feeling.
Expect returns, or build in future re-visiting of the goals and processes in your life. Many Mercury RX events have turned out to be great blessings in my life, and I've remembered, re-experienced, and gotten a new look at many things in my past, as well as reconnected with people I haven't been with in years. It can be a great time if we don't fall into funky head and heart spaces about the temporary changes.
So relax into the altered state, move with the changes, and get a different angle of seeing and interpreting the possibilities of this time. Take delays and misunderstandings in stride, and remember there are other planetary configurations going on that are just as important, if not more important, than Mercury retrograde.
More on Mercury retrograde and how to get the best from these periods at the link.
On the current Mercury retrograde in Virgo period, with links to part 1 and other Mercury retrograde articles: Mercury Retrograde in Virgo in August-September 2010, Pt. 2 - What It Means For Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces
(This article previous published in 2007)
© Copyright 2007, 2010 Robert Wilkinson