(Period Aug. 27 through Sept. 20)

by Amanda Owen


We live in a fast-paced, on-the-move, get-ahead society. Appointments are made, contracts are written, schedules are tight. We live in a technological age with speed dial on our phones, cell phones in our cars, and computers in our homes. Email, instant messaging, and faxes move information quicker than ever.

Don't you sometimes feel like your mind is going to fritz out from all of the information speeding in all of the time?! You'd think that we would appreciate those three times a year when we can sit back and catch up and stop talking and thinking a mile a minute. You'd think we would just schedule right into our calendars and appointment books during Mercury retrograde periods: "slow mind down, gather information, put off making decisions."

Many people who know even a little bit about astrology have heard about Mercury retrograde periods. Even Regis Philbin on his TV show told his audience that his astrologer told him not to sign any contracts when Mercury is retrograde! What exactly is this phenomenon that is so famous for communications snafus and dire warnings about not signing contracts?

When a planet is retrograde, it has the appearance of moving backward in the sky. It is an astronomical illusion. Obviously the planets do not change their orbits and screech to a halt to go backward! But, because of the planets' relationship to the earth and the speed of their orbits, it looks like planets begin to move backward. A common analogy for this phenomenon is this: If you are traveling on a train, and another train going faster speeds along beside you, you will have that momentary feeling of moving backward. That is essentially what a retrograde illusion is.

Simply, when Mercury turns retrograde it is time to clear your mind. As we turn the mind inward we can become open to new ways of thinking and new ways of perceiving. In the natural order of life, a thought or an idea precedes the manifestation of that thought or idea. When we try to manifest something such as an agreement or contract that has not been fully thought out yet, we are acting prematurely. People commonly feel anxious during a Mercury retrograde period. The feeling exists because we are skipping the thinking part and going straight for the manifestation. This time period is well known for people making mistakes.

Knowing in advance when Mercury is going to be retrograde gives you an advantage in all of your planning. Obviously, you want everybody's mind in clear working order with all the necessary facts at hand when you are planning an event or something that is important to you. For example, you don't want the company who is printing the invitations for your daughter's wedding to make a mistake about the date of the wedding!
Snafus, mistakes, and breakdowns of communications equipment are among the things that tend to occur during all Mercury retrograde periods. The sign that Mercury occupies as it is retrograding colors the events. If you know your birth chart you will want to notice which house Mercury is traveling through as it retrogrades as well as the planets that it aspects or contacts. This will give you additional information about what needs a second look, what needs to be reviewed, and what additional information you need before you can move forward with your planning.

First, let's look at the many events that can occur during any Mercury retrograde period. Then we will look at the specifics of the current retrograde.
With any Mercury retrograde period it is time to re-think, re-learn, rediscover, review. In fact, put a "re" in front of words and you will be on the right track! The important point to remember is that you do not have enough information to make a decision. Conclusions are premature. Any decision making that can be put off until Mercury turns direct will benefit you down the road. You will find that if you try to make a decision during this period that you will feel anxious and you will keep changing your mind. If circumstances are such that it is unavoidable to put off decision making, then keep in mind that new information will come in. You may want to build in more flexibility, for example, into a contract that must be signed. You will certainly want to keep an open mind to allow for changes that will manifest along the way.

Use this time to do what Mercury retrograde periods encourage: research, gathering information, taking another look at your schedules, routines, and plans. Meditate or put yourself into a receiving mode so that you can clear your mind and discover new ways to perceive. Work on your communication skills by paying more attention to listening than to talking. Work on becoming more flexible in your thinking.
If you focus on keeping your expectations in line with the purpose of this retrograde period then you will not go crazy like everyone else when typical retrograde events occur.

Mercury rules all forms of communication. Any object that transmits information is vulnerable to glitches or breakdowns.  This includes telephones, faxes, copy machines, and computers. Make sure you back up all of your work.

Speaking of communication, your own mind will tend to not interpret information correctly. Misunderstandings are rampant during this time. To avoid miscommunications, take the time to repeat what others are saying to make sure you are getting the right message. Don't assume! For example, if you are meeting someone for dinner, make absolutely sure that you are thinking of the same restaurant, on the same day and the same time!

If you are traveling during this period, double check all flight times and reservations. Because changes in schedules are common now, if you are traveling for business you will want to allow extra time. For vacation traveling, I always advise clients to be flexible. The vacation may not go exactly as planned - but that may not be a bad thing! Some years ago, a client and her husband booked on to an autumn cruise off the East Coast during a Mercury retrograde period. As they headed south, warnings about a hurricane coming up the coast were sounded. The ship had already been out on the ocean for three days. Apparently, whether or not this hurricane would effect the cruise was up in the air. Because of that, the ship turned around and went back to port. Everybody was put up in lovely bed and breakfast inns for the next couple of days with no charge and the entire amount of the cruise was refunded. My client and her husband had a wonderful free vacation!
Speaking of travel, this is a time when cars commonly end up in the shop for repairs.

Mercury's retrograde in Virgo signals a review period concerning work, health and organizational issues. Virgo is an earth sign and is therefore about tangible achievement.  Chances are you could use the time to more fully formulate your ideas, thoughts and opinions about these areas of your life. The Mercury retrograde period provides you with the opportunity to loop back and give you that time to review.  If you know your chart, look to see what house Mercury is traveling through to examine your material goals in that life area.  It is time to clear your mind so that you can be receptive to new ways of thinking and perceiving some of your life goals. When Mercury turns direct on September 20th, you will be ready to begin a new phase.
Don't become impatient and move quickly during this time.  Your communication in this area requires careful, well-thought-out ideas. There may be some profound disagreements. There may be delays.  Don't sweat it - it's just part of the cycle.  Don't allow careful thinking to slip over that line into pessimism or negative thinking.
Mercury retrograde periods can provide the opportunity for gaining insight and illumination. See if you can schedule in some quiet time during this retrograde period. Write in your appointment book or calendar: "slow mind down, gather information, put off making decisions."
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by Amanda Owen - All Rights Reserved