• Kathleen Phalen

Four Reasons You Have Mercury Retrograde All Wrong


It has become very popular to lament about Mercury in Retrograde, and I hear all kinds of people blaming or avoiding responsibility. It seems everywhere I go Mercury Retrograde is blamed for all kinds of unrelated events.

Mercury influences so much of how we think, communicate, commerce, transport, and travel. He also is the ruler of gadgets...as in your laptop or cell phone. He has been called the trickster god, so it’s not surprising so many have been fooled into fearing his retrograde motion.



Sure, there are communication breakdowns, arguments, gadgets going haywire, but the worst of Mercury’s antics don’t even play out during his official retrograde status. It’s when Mercury stationing that is the most potent and when he is in his shadow period, a little-known fact...that things can really go wrong, and misunderstandings and arguments go wrong. More on that later.

If it weren’t for those 3-4 weeks, three times a year, what else could force us to slow our roll and to retreat, reflect, revise, re-edit, review, reignite, reevaluate, reconcile, reconstruct, reorganize, recap, relax, or rejoice?

This is the true spirit and true heart of Mercury Retrograde. It’s a time to slow down and really deepen our consciousness. The word retrograde literally means going backward. Is that such a horrible thing? Something to be feared or dreaded? I think not. In our fast-paced world of instant communication and instant gratification, we need a reminder to slow down, but this regular cycle of the Cosmos could instead be seen as a thrice-yearly self-care retreat. 

Think about the alternative; constant forward-motion and full speed ahead with no breaks and no respite. This wouldn’t be good for our emotional health or our mental outlook. Here are 4 things I can almost guarantee you have completely wrong about Mercury Retrograde.



  1. Roughly 20% of the population are impervious to Mercury Retrograde. These souls are extremely witty, creative, and are outside of the box thinkers. Their thinking is not rational or linear which is the opposite of how Mercury expresses himself in our thinking.  Mercury is the epitome of rational and linear. These 20% were born when Mercury was in retrograde, so they feel normal about three times a year for 3-4 weeks. The rest of the time they feel how you feel during a retrograde; which means it is their time to go forward while the remaining 80% is going backward. My family consists of 2/3 Mercury Retrograde babies and they are 2 of the most creative, outside of the box thinkers I know. Jeff Green the founder of Evolutionary Astrology has said Mercury Retrograde babies need their own school where everything is taught to them through music. When I mentioned this to my daughter she wanted to be enrolled in that school. Perhaps a Mercury retrograde baby will read this and start one. The takeaway from this is not everyone is affected in the same way. Perhaps you were born with Mercury in Retrograde but you don’t even know it?

  2. As I stated above, this isn’t a time to fear. You can even sign contracts and make big purchases during a Mercury Retrograde, but don’t do it impulsively; instead, do it consciously and move slowly, sifting through all of the details.  Use your awareness to ponder any big or small-ticket items. Shop around for the best deal with a warranty if you are buying a major appliance like a car. Weigh your options and investigate what it is you are signing if it relates to contracts. Most of all remain conscious of your spending and purchasing habits. The single most important thing to plan is rest, relaxation, retreat and repose. Meditate more and for longer periods, do arts and crafts, take more naps, plan a major detox from technology with the whole family, go on a retreat, go to a spa, do some sessions in an infrared sauna, do yoga, go on a juice fast and detox other areas in your life that need it.  You will be better off because of it. Just think, you can do all of these self-care activities 3 times a year without feeling guilty or indulgent about it.

  3. If Venus in retrograde is the time to expect former lovers to come back into your life, a Mercury Retrograde sends old friends back into your life.  So, don’t be surprised if you run into your childhood friend, college roommate, or even a friend you had a falling out with months prior.  Remain conscious of this phenomenon and be ready to make amends to anybody who you fell out of favor with if Mercury is bringing them back into your life. The takeaway from this is being willing, be open, look for the ways Mercury is enriching your life and not making it more difficult.

  4. The time that can be most difficult is during Mercury’s shadow period which happens right before and right after the actual retrograde. Mercury shadow begins BEFORE Mercury retrograde starts. Mercury first comes to the position at which he will end his retrograde motion. Mercury shadow ends AFTER Mercury retrograde ends when Mercury returns to the position at which he started going retrograde. What this means is we are under the influence of Mercury, either in shadow phase or actual retrograde for roughly 2 months. The takeaway is that you can rely on the cycles of the cosmos and you can set your calendar to it, your self-care calendar that is.


For this upcoming Mercury episode which will be in the sign of Scorpio, Mercury will start his retrograde at 27 degrees of Scorpio and ends at 11 degrees of Scorpio. Mercury first arrives at 11 degrees of Scorpio October 11, 2019 and comes to 27 degrees of Scorpio after the retrograde on December 7, 2019. 


Fear not my friends, not everyone feels Mercury shadow. This is essentially when the retrograde is first casting its rays, but this isn’t on everyone. There are a few instances where you’ll be impacted by Mercury shadow and only if any of the following are true for you:


  • Your rising sign, sun sign or first house is ruled by the sign that Mercury is retrograding in, is quite probable you feel it.  Other examples are…

  • If you are Mercurial and if Mercury is prominent in your birth chart. Some examples are Sun conjunct Mercury, or Mercury conjunct your 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th house.

  • If you have strong Virgo or Gemini energy in your chart. As in sun, moon or ascendant in either Virgo or Gemini or a stellium of planets in either sign.


The point that was meant to stand out is the importance of rest and all of the other “re” words listed like:  retreat, reflect, revise, re-edit, review, reignite, reevaluate, reconcile, reconstruct, reorganize, recap, relax, or rejoice. Take time to go over things you may have missed the first time around, stay open to synchronicity a la Mercury, slow down and deepen your consciousness.


Consider writing these periods of respite on your calendar and take a mini-retreat at home, detox from technology, catch up on your sleep and don’t feel guilty about one iota. After all, you can always blame it on Mercury Retrograde.

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