Since Astrology is based on the Solar System (from the geocentrical point of view), sometimes it may seem to us that a planet is moving backwards along the Zodiac. Imagine that you are sitting in a train which is overtaking a slower one. It may look like the slower train is going backwards, but we know that's not true. In Astrology such a phenomenon is called retrogradation.
19% of movement of Mercury is retrograde. This means that the fictional regression of Mercury occurs three times a year for three weeks. These data suggest that about 1/5 of people have retrograde Mercury in their radix.
Mercury Retrograde in 2013:
|February 23, 2013||-||March 17, 2013||(in Cazimi March 4, 2013)|
|June 26, 2013||-||July 20, 2013||(in Cazimi July 9, 2013)|
|October 21, 2013||-||November 10, 2013||(in Cazimi November 1, 2013)|
The behaviour of a retrograde planet can be compared to the behaviour of a person who is walking with a crowd and they suddenly remember they have forgotten something important at home, and immediately decide to go fetch it. They turn around and try walking the other direction thus causing chaos. Their absent-mindedness attracts attention of their surroundings. Of course, if one goes against the tide, there is always risk of conflicts and misunderstandings. Since in this article we are discussing Mercury in particular, in our case, the chaos will influence mainly the mental functions, ways of communication and thinking.
Retrograde Mercury affects the individual and transpersonal levels. During this period, people tend to be more introverted than usually, they contemplate about themselves and become interested with their own mental development. They tend to neglect their surroundings. The second option is that people gain the ability to get closer to information sources which helps them to find out what's causing their problems. They think and communicate in a different way than usually, which may frustrate them or even cause them to be afraid of communication in general. Then, people search for atypical methods of communication and often temporarily prefer written expression from speaking. It's easier for them to connect to the transpersonal (spiritual) level or to the unconscious powers, which is why many of them suddenly become able to express themselves in an original and unconventional way. A number of major writers and composers had or still have retrograde Mercury in their horoscope.
We often read about retrograde Mercury causing absent-mindedness and forgetfulness. It's because such a person finds it hard to harmonize their mind with the current reality. They tend to live an inner life or to focus their mind on the past or on the source. There is also a significant difference between what one thinks and what they actually say. It's hard for them to synchronize their mind and their speech and to make them work as one. People tend to choose alternative forms of communication, which provide them with plenty of time to reflect and to process the information in their brains. The shift between what one thinks and what one says may be the reason why the others don't understand.
In Karmic Astrology, retrograde Mercury represents karmic problems in relationships. This isn't just about the lack of mutual understanding. Problems could also be caused by the the way an individual perceives the universe as a whole. They can get lost in complicated thoughts. They see things differently and their opinion on what is important differs from the opinion of their surroundings. This constellation often causes the reality to twist. One cannot grasp the basic relationship between the cause and the effect. They get lost in the simplest contexts. They pay their attention to things invisible to the eye and detached from the human understanding. Our task is to learn how to orientate in the trivial matters and to focus on the present, here and now. It's also important to become confident about one's original ideas and observations and to express them.
There is also a difference between Mercury Epimetheus (rises and sets after the Sun) – analogous to the sign of Virgo, and Mercury Prometheus (rises and sets before the Sun) – analogous to the sign of Gemini. In the first case, Mercury may behave like an antipole to Virgo and the 6th House – it resembles Pisces and the 12th House. The focus is on recapitulation and evaluation of the past experience. Thinking bears introspective and introverted features, it's focused on one's inner mental life which becomes rich in ideas. There is a strong connection to the collective unconsciousness. In the second case, Mercury may act as an antipole of Gemini and the 3rd House, the influence of Sagittarius and the 9th House is visible. The introverted nature of one's perception begins to recede and they are beginning to be able to see the world clearly again. The mind is no longer tied to the past, it may concentrate on abstract things like ideas or human understanding. Thinking is focused on solving of the problems, but the actual reality may remain misunderstood. One often suffers because of their inability to express their original or elusive ideas and knowledge. Of course, the position of retrograde Mercury in a House, a sign or an aspect affects the way it will influence us.
It's important to notice the secondary directions and direct Mercury. If there is retrograde Mercury in your birth horoscope, the year in which it becomes direct again is very important for you. You'll probably experience a great change in your way of thinking and communication. You should be careful during the period in which retrograde Mercury changes from Epimetheus to Prometheus (and vice versa) with respect to the direct Sun. The way of thinking may switch the other way around. And beware!!! Almost everyone experiences the impact of retrograde Mercury during their lifetime. Even if you don't have it right in your radix, there are directions which may turn Mercury retrograde for you too. You can be sure, you'll notice some kind of re-orientation of your mental functions when this happens.
In the electional Astrology, retrograde Mercury is associated with slowing down, lying, absent-mindedness, distractibility and instability in the areas ruled by this planet. People are introverted and focus either on the past or on the transcendental. This influence may cause problems in transport, information exchange (postal services, e-mail), agreements, decisions, marketing, processing and saving data.
Note: Here is the list of dates and the zodiacal degrees for retrograde Mercury in the upcoming years. The first figure represents the start of retrogradation (Mercury as Epimetheus). The second figure represents it's exact conjunction with the Sun, this phenomenon is traditionally called "In Cazimi" – in the heart of the Sun. In that case, the influence of Mercury is extraordinarily powerful. This is also the border between Prometheus and Epimetheus (for retrograde Mercury). The third figure tells us about the end of retrogradation. Mercury stops moving for several hours on the day it changes it's direction back to direct. It's effects become extremely strong.
Mercury Retrograde in 2013 - 2016:
The beginning of in Cazimi and the end of the retrogradation in the GMT Time Zone:
|The Beginning||In Cazimi||The End|
|23.2.2013 (19°52' Pisces)||4.3. (14°06' Pisces)||17.3.2013 (5°38' Pisces)|
|26.6.2013 (23°07' Cancer)||9.7. (17°42' Cancer)||20.7.2013 (13°22' Cancer)|
|21.10.2013 (18°24' Scorpio)||1.11. (9°34' Scorpio)||10.11.2013 (2°29' Scorpio)|
|6.2.2014 (3°20' Pisces)||15.2. (27°04' Aquarius)||28.2.2014 (18°10' Aquarius)|
|7.6.2014 (3°10' Cancer)||19.6. (28°34' Gemini)||1.7.2014 (24°23'Gemini)|
|4.10.2014 (2°19' Scorpio)||16.10. (23°24' Libra)||25.10.2014 (16°46' Libra)|
|21.1.2015 (17°05' Aquarius)||30.1. (10°20' Aquarius)||11.2.2015 (1°18' Aquarius)|
|19.5.2015 (13°09' Gemini)||30.5. (8°58' Gemini)||11.6.2015 (4°34' Gemini)|
|5.1.2016 (1°03' Aquarius)||14.1. (23°50' Capricorn)||25.1. 2016 (14°55' Capricorn)|