What is Mercury Retrograde’s meaning in astrology? The traditional advice with Mercury retrograde is “Don’t travel, Don’t sign contracts. Don’t marry. Don’t touch electrics!” However, the whole Mercury retrograde cycle actually lasts eight weeks and happens three times, sometimes even four times in a year! That’s a long time to hide under the duvet and a real waste of a truly magical time.
Mercury generally zips between two worlds, or rather, the two hemispheres of our brain. During the Mercury retrograde period, it feels like Mercury has gone down into the underworld. In this realm, closer to spirit, we become more right-brain orientated. It is dark, so other senses are heightened.
We will feel extra sensitive here, psychic even. Everything will seem hyper-real… you will notice things you had overlooked before. This will prompt you to re-evaluate, renovate, re-form, and re-invent. It’s true you might have to redo things because Mercury will hit the same degree three times, but this transit won’t let you go into autopilot. There are danger spots though.
When Mercury retrograde is stationing (Changing directions) we are at a wobbly stage where we are likely to slip-up, make mistakes, and misread another’s communications.
When is Mercury Retrograde in 2021?
January 30 to February 20 ~ from 26º Aquarius to 11º Aquarius
May 29 to June 22 ~ from 24º Gemini to 16º Gemini
September 27 to October 18 ~ from 25º Libra to 10º Libra
Once we are over the threshold and into the Underworld, we can safely go about our business, knowing that we are in another realm. The same goes for when Mercury is stationing direct, just make sure you give your brain a few days to adjust back to solar thinking.
The house in your natal chart that the Mercury retrograde falls in will be your Underworld zone. There you will question everything. It will make you jittery about signing contracts because you will be constantly thinking, “Is this what I really want?”.
Before the retrograde is a good time to finish off those Solar left-brain projects and gather information to bring down with you into your retrograde cave. Then you can slow things down, let yourself be taken into other dimensions, try on different filters, experiment, shine a light on your demons, then recharge and reboot.
The Meaning of Retrograde Planets
Retrograde planets are a popular topic in astrology and there is some controversy about the general meaning. For example, Vedic astrologers see retrograde motion as a beneficial influence, while Western astrologers focus on the negatives, such as lost baggage or missing mail when Mercury is retrograde. ‘Retrograde’ literally means opposite or reverse, so a planet in retrograde motion appears to be moving in reverse.
Planets do not, of course, move backward, and the apparent reverse motion is due to the elliptical orbits of the earth and planets. Regardless of the astronomy, the main point is that from where we stand, planets DO appear to move backward from time to time so we should expect this to have some astrological effect on our lives.
Generally, we feel the energy of retrograde planets in a more introspective or reserved manner than usual, and there may be a karmic theme or feeling of deja vu depending on the nature of the planet.
The feeling of deja vu may also be because the retrograde planet will go over a certain degree three times over. People who experience this feeling strongest will be those who have a key planet or angle at this spot. For example; Ones IC is hit three times and you are looking to move home.
Hit 1 you may see the house you want to buy.
Hit 2 (Retrograde) you have to go through surveys and making sure everything is fine to buy it, this will mean re-evaluating finances, whatever you have to do you are always double checking.
Hit 3 you finally get the go-ahead to move and the issue is resolved. Retrogrades give us the chance to really get our teeth onto a matter because we are forced to go over old ground again and again. This may get frustrating and tedious, but ultimately it is very useful, for tackling something karmic we may have been avoiding and that we have to address once and for all.
Susan Miller has a list of all the Mercury Retrogrades up until 2024