Mercury’s Retrograde: Don’t Do Anything?

When I was a child in grade school, I remember playing that whispering game with friends and classmates, you know, where kids sit in a row and the first person whispers a message into the ear of the person sitting next to them, who then turns and whispers the same message into the person sitting next to them, and so on down the line until the message reaches the last person in the row who states the message out loud. And everyone laughs because the message got distorted multiple times as it passed from person to person and isn’t the same message at all! This scenario kind of reminds me of Mercury retrograde.

When a planet goes retrograde astronomically it is slowed in its orbit making it appear to be going backwards from our vantage point on Earth. A good illustration of this is when two cars are driving side by side down a highway at the same speed and then one car slows its pace and momentarily looks like it’s going backwards to those riding in the car who kept a steady speed.

All planets except the Sun and Moon go through retrograde periods. Some, like Mercury, retrograde multiple times a year. The phenomenon is not uncommon.

Mercury represents business owners and all things related to commerce, younger generations, writers and publishers, small pets and animals, among others. Mercury rules all forms of communication. You’re probably familiar with people worrying when Mercury retrogrades, concerned that all hell is going to break loose because no one will understand each other. What’s okay about that is that it’s never a bad idea to be cautious.

When a planet is retrograde astrologically its attention (its intelligence and energy) is focused inward and the inner qualities that the planet represents should be utilized.  Mercury’s inner qualities of intellect, reasoning and analysis, calculations and the ability to formulate ideas to express, even having a sense of humor—these are inward gifts of Mercury that gain strength during its retrogression. So when, for example, your flight gets delayed or canceled or your luggage is lost during Mercury retrograde, it’s likely happening because people are doing too much too fast, getting lost in the details or getting the details confused, and not coping well because the mind is on overload and the ability to joke and keep situations light is weakened.

Planets in retrogression are asking us to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. It’s time to slow down and pay attention to what’s going on around us and, more importantly, within us. How are we responding to the people and conditions in our lives? What is our direct impact and their consequences? What needs to be understood better? Expressed clearer?

Mercury retrograde asks us to stop and listen. Stop with the superficial chatting. Stop making so much noise. Give yourself a chance to listen deeply to what you, your Self, your Soul, and what your loved ones may need to say or hear. Is there someone you need to talk to? Think about what you need to say. Is there something going on in your life that you should take some time to consider? Come up with a plan to address it to move forward in a positive way. Do you have ideas swarming in your head for a new business or book to write? Gather them up and create your business plan or synopsis. Bring your inner thoughts into focus so when Mercury moves direct again (typically within three weeks), you’ll be prepared to mobilize as needed, ready to launch.

Another thing to remember about Mercury retrograde- it doesn’t affect everyone the same. How the retrogression impacts individuals depends on our birth charts. Which house is Mercury retrograding through in its current transit (what areas of life will potentially be involved)? Are there planets in the house Mercury is currently transiting through? Where is transiting Mercury in relation to their natal Moon? How is the person’s natal Mercury positioned? How does Mercury function through their personality naturally? Can they handle the hiccups of a retrograde Mercury with patience and grace or will they be explosive and anxious?

People who were born with Mercury retrograde often mention feeling comfortable during the Mercury retrograde transits, as if they are back in alignment with their inner self. I am among those and I’ve found that for me personally, the Mercury retrograde period is a great time to edit, write, create blog content, make changes to my websites, and relax more. The retrograde planet in the birth chart can also indicate a more introverted personality, one who is naturally drawn to and finds comfort in inquiry and quiet contemplation.

Please remember that if you do listen to the distorted message that has been passed from person to person, especially people without astrology education, Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but a time to reflect and rest, to slow your pace, and pay attention to what’s important. If you’re planning to create or start a brand-new venture, particularly one that requires signing a contract, wait until the planet goes direct to proceed (if you can). Its forward motion will support the momentum of your vision. Use the retrograde time to revisit plans or hobbies you’ve put aside and haven’t completed, double-check your opinions about events in your life, or to rework some writing or paperwork. Evaluate what areas of your life need adjusting. As I post this, it’s Spring in the US and Mercury goes retrograde May 10, 2022 and will be direct again June 3, 2022. Be the “gardener’ of your life- plant seeds, pull the weeds, and be ready to harvest at the right time.

Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at

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2 thoughts on “Mercury’s Retrograde: Don’t Do Anything?

  1. Great post Renate, like we discussed before, also have Mercury retrograde natally and find the retrogradation cycles not so easy. But I take the time to slow my Gemini moon and my 9th house Mercury and be more deliberate.

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