Mercury Retrograde 411
When it comes to the planets, Mercury, and it's retrograde phases, definitely tends to create the biggest buzz – stirring up many questions, and the most "brace yourself", anxiety-inducing responses from us humans. Generally misunderstood, Mercury is actually a very powerful teacher, and offers us tremendous opportunities for growth and healing, and the completion of anything that's been put on the "back burner" for far too long. It slows things down, in a way, which can so often turn out to be a great blessing.
Sometimes we rush, right? Ok, a lot of times we rush! We're often in such a hurry to reach our desires, that we end up jumping the gun to grab onto something quick, when there is possibly something much better on the way we just needed to be a little more patient for.
Mercury retrograde offers us the pause we need, the space to allow what will serve us greater to show up. It sort of forces patience upon us, and simultaneously asks us to look at the past, at our darkness even – so yeah, it's going to trigger people. However, if approached with conscious awareness, we can choose to work with Mercury to harness this unique opportunity for expansion, and welcome much healing and gratitude into our lives along with it.
Mercury or "Budh" or "Budha" (not to be confused with Gautama Buddha) is one of the Navagraha, the nine planets in Hindu astrology. He is the great messenger of the Gods, and according to Hindu mythology, He is considered to be the son of Moon.
As per astronomy, Mercury/Budh is the closest planet of all to the Sun, therefore naturally the hottest one. He is also the fastest moving planet, which is indicative of His role as a messenger.
As messenger, Mercury represents communication, speech, intelligence, logical mind, intellect, education, language, analysis, discrimination, science, understanding, writing, as well as research, mathematics, and commerce on all levels.¹ Also included under this planet’s domain are all types of code, including computer codes, in addition to transportation, shipping, and travel. When Mercury retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control. When any planet retrogrades, astrologically it is in a resting or sleeping state. Therefore, while Mercury naps, the activities that it governs don’t have the benefit of a well-functioning, wide-awake planet to supervise them.²
is mercury really moving backwards?
In short, no. Here is a beautiful description written by Master Astrologer, Susan Miller, of what is actually happening scientifically during Mercury Retrograde:
If you do a bit of stargazing, you will see that Mercury appears to move backward, just as the ancient astrologers perceived thousands of years ago. After a while – in Mercury’s case, a three-and-a-half-week period – the planet will reverse itself and move “forward” again. However, Mercury doesn’t actually move backward.
Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period.
If you were in a car and another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.
This phenomenon is one of the few that affects everyone in a fairly uniform way, and its effects are always obvious. Once you begin to pay attention to how events in your life change during these phases, you will soon see how important it is to take note of them. Keeping track of Mercury retrograde periods can allow you to increase your productivity and avoid at least some of the frustration they can bring about.² (See 2018 dates below.)
Rather than getting stuck in frustration, or looking at Mercury Retrograde as a time of anxiety, we can consciously and actively choose to work with this Mantra instead. Repetition of the Budhaya Mantra serves as a way to harness Mercury's potent energy as a support, and allows you to connect with His guidance. What a beautiful opportunity! This Sanskrit Mantra translates as:
OM AND SALUTATIONS TO BUDHA, PRESIDING SPIRIT OF THE PLANET MERCURY
Here is a general breakdown of this Mantra:
Om: The Divine Word and primordial origin of Sound
Shree: Salutations (Great/Lord/Divine)
Budhaya: Auspicious Guru/Teacher (Mercury or "Budh", as Planetary Deity)
Namaha: I bow to You
This Mantra vibrates with the energetic frequency of Mercury. It supports us in building strong relationships, and increases clarity in our communications and business skills. Mercury rules anything that begins with “re”: redo, reassess, repair, repeat, redesign, or revisit, and thus in retrograde offers us opportunities to find closure and completion.
mercury retrograde dates for 2018
March 22 – April 15 (in fire-sign Aries)
July 26 – August 18 (in fire-sign Leo, ends water-sign Scorpio)
November 16 – December 6 (in fire sign Sagittarius, ends water sign Scorpio)