People are more familiar now with astrological terms because of the increasing popularity of astrology and its integration with our daily lives. Even people with only a superficial understanding of astrology know a few things about solar and lunar eclipses and the retrograde motion of the planets. The Mercury retrograde is a very popular event.

Now is the time for Mercury retrograde (Between 12th March and 4th April 2012)! Don’t panic! This does not mean that everything will stop or things will get worse. Mercury turns retrograde at least three and sometimes four times a year and life goes on as normal. Don’t be afraid of the Mercury retrograde! You can even benefit from these periods if you are conscious enough.

Let’s start by looking at the Mercury retrograde in terms of astronomy.

Stationary and Retrograde movements in Astronomy

The planets actually never move backwards in their orbits. While we observe the movements of the planets from the Earth, their apparent motion seems to be retrograding. When we observe the sky at night, we see how the planets move forward in their orbits within the Zodiac. The planets move from west to east in the Zodiac. This is what we call “direct” movement, which is counter clockwise. Sometimes a planet slows down as we observe it from the Earth, and it looks as if it has stopped. When a planet does this, we call it “stationary.” The planet then seems to move clockwise, which we call “retrograde.”

The planet retrogrades for a period before it again slows down, comes to a stationary position and again moves forward. We observe it as a continuous movement. As mentioned before, this is merely what we see when observing from the Earth—the planets do not actually move backwards in the sky.

The Sun and Moon, which we call the luminaries in astrology, always move direct and never retrograde. Other planets travel from east to west for only short periods and before turning direct, they retrograde. Therefore, there are two types of movement. One is the basic movement from east to west, which is called “daily movement.” The other is the movement from west to east, which is called “secondary movement.”

What does a Retrograde Planet Mean According to Astrology?

In ancient astrology, the Mercury retrograde symbolizes debility. This is an indication of unluckiness, damage, disagreement, contradiction, and inconsistency.

When the planets are moving forward, the events are also on track. However, when the planets retrograde, these events are interrupted and delays are experienced. Here are some points made by famous astrologers from the medieval ages.

According to Abraham Ibni Azra, a retrograde planet indicates hostility and damage. A retrograde planet can be represented by a rebellious man.

According to Guido Bonatti, retrograde movement is one of the four positions that debilitate a planet. It represents unaccomplished work.

Today, we interpret these retrograde periods as trends that help us to turn inwards and get the benefit of our inner knowledge and creativity. Of course, we face some troubles in worldly matters, and to solve all these problems, we need to look for the energy and guidance within us.

What Does a Stationary Planet Mean According to Astrology

A stationary planet is as stranded as a retrograde planet—it is a sort of debility or illness for the planet. However, if a planet is stationary before turning direct then difficulties and barriers begin to disappear. This looks like a convalescence after an illness.

Abraham Ibni Azra compares a stationary planet to a man who does not know what to do. If the indicator planet in a question is stationary and about to retrograde, then the answer is negative. This planet looks like a person who is afraid of the coming problems. If the planet is stationary before going direct, it is like a person who has not yet lost his hope.

When planets are in direct motion, they can reveal their full nature and the events flow without interruption. During retrograde periods, the planets cannot fulfill their promises and some troubles are experienced. During stationary periods, things go slow, but they prove to be stable, permanent, and strong. We need to pay attention to stationary planets. It is important whether a planet is stationary before or after the retrograde, and it should be interpreted accordingly. I personally use the stationary periods to focus on important matters, such as exchanging ideas and making important speeches.

The planets, which do not include the Sun and Moon, first stand stationary then turn retrograde. However, a Mercury, Venus, and Mars retrograde represents more significance for our daily lives and individual ventures. There is no doubt that the Mercury retrograde is the most important one, because it is repeated three or four times a year.

The Mercury Retrograde

Mercury is the planet of mind and logic and relates to the exchange of ideas. Mercury’s house and the sign in our natal charts show how we approach events mentally and where we focus our minds in general. Mercury also rules daily routines and communications. It makes us speak certain words and think. It is also relates to gathering news and information, as well as learning.

In astrology, Mercury is the planet of communication; contracts, agreements, and promises (both written and verbal); exchanges; negotiations; and education. Some astrologers use the name “Cosmic Juggler” for the Mercury retrograde because it indicates communication problems and chaos due to misunderstandings, distractions, and forgetfulness. Mercury is also associated with calculations, so during its retrograde periods, we face delays and problems with payments and calculation errors.

We should avoid starting new ventures, but we can repeat ones from the past. Activities such as starting a new business or new relationship, signing a new agreement, or buying a new car should be avoided, because we may see delays and drawbacks. Before we start something that we do not want to repeat, we should check if Mercury will turn retrograde or not.

A Mercury retrograde indicates events will unfold unpredictably and deadlines will not be met. If we are about to sign an agreement, the conditions may change in an unexpected manner. Some necessary documents and information may be missing, so it is not advised to take important steps during Mercury retrograde periods. If you do need to take an important step, you should take every precaution against possible problems. Read the small print of the agreement carefully, check if there is something wrong with your purchase, and be careful in any financial transactions. As Mercury rules information, documents, and communications, we should backup the files in our computers to protect against data loss.

Another important theme with the Mercury retrograde is how we may face things from our past. These may involve unfulfilled work or relationships. On the other hand, we may face some problems due to losing documents or simply because of distractions. Therefore, we need to examine all of our projects and identify any missing elements. According to the astrologer Barbara Watters, the ideas that occur during Mercury retrograde periods are very bright ones, and when Mercury turns direct, these ideas come to the surface more fluently. The astrologers advise focusing on creative ideas when Mercury is retrograde, but before realizing these, we should wait for Mercury to turn direct.

How can we benefit from Mercury retrograde periods?

Firstly, I believe this phenomenon is represented very negatively. A Mercury retrograde does not mean we should just wait before taking any steps, because we can use even these periods to our advantage.

When Mercury is retrograde, we can revise our existing projects and make corrections if needed. We can also collect additional information about our business, so we can prepare in a better way.

It is also a good time to exchange ideas, brainstorm, and discuss new projects. However, before implementing these ideas, it is wiser to wait for Mercury to turn direct.

When Mercury is retrograde, we meet with situations and people from the past. We may find items that we lost before. We may reorganize our documents and closets, both at work and at home.

Mercury retrograde periods are good times to turn inwards, to use our own inner knowledge and creative powers, to revise and to organize worldly matters, to define if they suit the needs of our souls, to think, to design, and to plan. After thinking and planning what to do, we wait for the direct movement of Mercury before applying these plans.

We have the opportunity to conduct detailed research and think deeply about developing our projects. We can revise and reimplement our old projects. We can reevaluate, repair, reorganize, and rediscover new ways to implement these projects. We need to be flexible and consider all the dimensions of the matter.

The Mercury retrograde also carries the energy for reconnecting. During these periods, old projects may again enter into our agendas, or we may meet former friends or clients. We may have a look at our telephone book and get in touch with old friends. We may reevaluate any past misunderstandings and find a common understanding to these problems. We may realize our faults and take the opportunity to repair them. We may start attending our former groups again. For example, we might renew our membership to a former club or resubscribe to a magazine we used to read.

I hope you benefit from the Mercury retrograde period.