What is the meaning of Mercury Retrograde?

In General:
Mercury is “The messenger of the gods” and is largely about communications and information exchange as it rules the mind, which can include written letters and documents, to technology like emails, social networking, cell phones, computers, data exchanges, etc. Mercury Retrograde indicates the potential for disruptions and a change in the patterns of events regarding all things of communication.

Time is also an important mental construct associated with Mercury, so scheduling and appointments during this period could become issues. Mercury is also associated with the exchange of money, merchandise and the stock market, so wonky issues in all these areas can be expected during Mercury Retrograde.

Hearsay and gossip are likely to be misinterpreted. Not only are words often misinterpreted, but looks and body language could also be perceived incorrectly.

But Mercury Retrograde is also considered to be a time when we have another look at things that need to be addressed, perhaps things that we’ve put off for a while that demand our attention or else we’ll have to face the consequences. It can be especially useful to reassess how things have been going in your life so you can rethink your strategies.

It’s especially wise to pay attention to repeating patterns that come up during a Mercury Retrograde period. Do you keep hearing the same kind of message, or see the same repeating numbers? Pay attention and figure out what they mean and how the repeating message may apply to your life.


Here are a few General Mercury Retrograde keywords to think about: rethink, rewrite, reread, reorganize, review, reroute, reestablish, retrace, refurnish, reignite, rehearse, rekindle, recapture, reframe, redecorate, reaffirm, revamp, reevaluate, replenish, restock, rekindle, recapture, rejuvenate, repair, recover, refresh, refine, renegotiate, repay, reunite, redefine, revisit, reappoint… Can you think of anything else to redo over the next few weeks?

When Mercury is Retrograde he is considered The Trickster. Untrue information, lies, deceit and manipulation of people’s minds with gossip, marketing and propaganda in the news are highly likely during a Mercury Retrograde Cycle. Your mind may play tricks on you and misinterpretations can create real issues.

Three’s Company is a vintage show that strongly relies on misinformation and misinterpretation to create mishaps for the characters. Watch an episode or two and you will see just how this show clearly demonstrates the type of instances “Mercury Retrograde” symbolizes.

Mercury Retrograde is a time where you are likely to make mistakes but also to become more aware of your past mistakes. Think, “How can I change this? How would this work better if I did it this way?”

It’s also a time to ask yourself a lot of questions like, “Is this really what I want? Do I understand this? Is there any point to this? How can I think differently? Am I right or wrong about this?”

Depression and self doubts are common during Mercury Retrograde, and difficulty thinking clearly and objectively is likely.

If you are an unfocused person and let things slide, this period can be a kick in the pants, reminding you how important it is to get yourself on track or else reap the natural karma of becoming overburdened by a lack of momentum and the passing of time.

If you feel like you don’t know enough of what you need to know, this is the time to work on helping yourself to gain clarity by writing things down as a preemptive step to help you stay organized and on top of things. Forgetfulness is likely, so try to create a few key organizing points to gather important information to return to later. Repetition helps remind you of what to prioritize.

Try not to sign any important documents or make long term commitments during Mercury Retrograde, of course. This is especially important in business and long distance trade matters. More research is recommended before making any important decisions, and it’s considered best to wait until after the full 9 week Retrograde cycle before you go ahead and finalize deals.

The Mercury retrograde cycle guarantees a change in perspective.

We can also expect more secrets to be revealed in our personal relationships as well as through the media, and backtracking on what was said during the shadow phases of Mercury Retrograde cycle usually occurs during the Retrograde phase. Information and secrets accidentally revealed could be shocking, rock foundations or change the collective ideology. Trust issues are likely, and questions become more encompassing. Hearsay and gossip are not admissible as evidence, and rumors will be met with skepticism but the naive and unsuspecting could be easily duped during this period.

It’s a good time to reconsider what you think and believe to be true. Do your beliefs hold much weight or are your explanations flimsy and hollow when you’re asked about them? Can your ideas be backed up with logic, concrete information, proof or specifics?


What are the Shadow Phases of Mercury Retrograde?

Most people are aware of Mercury Retrograde that lasts for about 2.5 to 3 weeks.

But the entire Mercury Retrograde Cycle actually has 3 Phases which occur over a 8 or 9 week period.

As with all things in astrology, the calculations and reasoning is actually very simple and logical. It’s all math based on where the planet is transiting in the 360 degree astrology chart.

When Mercury stations (when it stands still to change direction and go retrograde, or to go direct again after it is finished the Retrograde phase) it is a power moment of change. When Mercury stations it indicates a change in the pattern of events.


A Retrograde Cycle always has 3 Phases:

Let’s look at how it all works with an example of Mercury stationing Retrograde in Gemini on May 29, 2021:

We know where the Retrograde cycle happens in the astrology chart because each sign spans 30 degrees. Since we know the degree of where Mercury stations Retrograde in the zodiac and we also know the degree where Mercury stations Direct again (once the Retrograde phase ends) we therefore know when the shadow phases occur before and after Mercury goes Retrograde as Mercury approaches those degrees in the chart giving us the full 8 week period of the Mercury Retrograde Cycle.

The Full cycle of this Mercury Shadow, Retrograde and Shadow is from May 14 to July 7, 2021.

  • Phase 1 – Shadow Direct – Pre-Retrograde phase – This is when issues will start to come up but we don’t easily recognize the mistakes that are happening…
    Example: May 14, 2021 8:30 pm ET to May 29, 2021 at 6:35 pm ET.
    (16 degrees 8 minutes of Gemini Direct to 24 degrees 43 minutes of Gemini)
  • Phase 2 – Retrograde Phase – This is when we recognize the issues, complications, errors and mistakes that need to be addressed because they become so obvious…
    Example: May 29, 2021 at 6:35 pm ET to June 22, 2021 at 6:01pm ET.
    (24 degrees 43 minutes of Gemini Retrograde back to 16 degrees 8 minutes of Gemini)
  • Phase 3 – Shadow Direct – Post-Retrograde phase – When we finally deal with the issues, make corrections and find resolution and clarity so we can move on and fix the issues.
    Example: June 22, 2021 at 6:01 pm ET to July 7, 2021 at 1:47 pm ET.
    (16 degrees 8 minutes of Gemini Direct to 24 degrees 43 minutes of Gemini)

Phase 2 is what most people are aware of – when Mercury is Retrograde and appears to be going backwards in the sky for 3 weeks.

The Shadow Phases (when Mercury is going Direct before and after Mercury is Retrograde) gives us the whole 3 phases of the Mercury Retrograde Cycle and lasts about 8 weeks in total.


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