By Sylvia Flimm, Astrologer


Each year Mercury has three retrograde phases with the next two being:

  • 8th July 2019 until 2nd August 2019 (the effects may be felt from 20th June onwards until 15th August)
  • 1st November 2019 until 21st November (the effects may be felt from as early as 12th October until 8th December).

This article gives you some background and suggested ways to handle Mercury retrograde phases.

This phenomenon has become more well-known due to effects such as traffic jams, hold ups, communication errors, disk failures, data loss, agreements being changed or finding essential terms in contracts being overlooked.

Well-meaning people advise to approach Mercury retrograde with caution in order to avoid mishaps, delays and break downs. Fair enough – but are there ways we can use the knowledge to gain benefits as well? Does the retrograde affect everyone similarly?

Don’t go in to worry if you find your trip or event takes place during Mercury retrograde. It may not be the reason to cancel everything or to refrain from signing an agreement – nor do you have to stop driving or communicating.

There is more to the orbit and dynamic that Mercury produces and how it affects us on Earth as well as ways to navigate through it and make the most of this phase. It will occur, whether we want it or not, unless the Earth or Mercury change their orbits between now and July 8th, 2019 when Mercury stations and retrogrades next time which is highly unlikely! So, we may as well have a look at how we can make the most of it.

By reviewing the information in the link below and considering your own experience from some of the previous retrograde dates with historical evidence, recollections of situations, job logs or other documented events can assist you to understand your own relationship with our Trickster Archetype, Mercury. Mercury acts like a Trickster after all and dealing with a Joker requires us to engage in his energy somewhat using smarts and not taking ourselves and our plans too seriously. Maybe there is something to learn here about being flexible, quick and adaptable – surely nice life skills to have?


What are Mercury’s effects on us?

The principle is that the movement of the planets and their phases influence us energetically. For example, as most of us know the Moon controls the tides. Our bodies have large concentrations  of water  therefore we can often notice how some people are more moody or on edge during the full moon for example…maybe you have heard of hospital records and police reports from full moon nights whereby there are twice the number of reports and incidents than during a normal night. Wow! Often this has to do with mental health or emotional outbreak issues which can be brought to a head by responses to Full Moons. (Lunar influences are very descriptive about emotional dynamics and feelings. The word derives from lunaticus meaning “of the moon” or “moonstruck”. The term was once commonly used in law.

Similarly, this occurs with Mercury, however while the Moon rules emotions, Mercury rules our thinking and how we connect to others – traffic, technology, the mind and other forms of communication and linking parties such as agreements for example. Therefore, Mercury is a very interesting planet for anyone in the business of selling, travelling, negotiating, technology, marketing, logistics or transportation.

Mercury rules over all types of communication, whether it is writing, speaking, reading, social media interactions, communication technology, or any other method of transmitting information. It also governs commuting and driving, as well as moving parts such as those found in cars.

Mercury (like every other planet) has an orbit around the Sun however when viewed from the earth, it not nice and oval shaped, instead it is quite irregular and sometimes it moves very fast, at other times it moves very slow and sometimes the earth moves faster than Mercury! That is when it seems from here as if Mercury is going backwards as the Earth’s movement is literally overtaking Mercury for that time. This is what we call Mercury retrograde. Mercury does not actually move backwards as such. This is an important clue to how we deal with Mercury retrograde phases: stay very conscious that it is all depending on the context from where you are looking (Earth) and where you are in any situation.

This article provides more information and shows the dates to note on your calendar.

I’m sure we can all find some stunning correlations with an increased number of incidents, errors and delays during a Mercury retrograde period.

How will it affect me as an individual?

Not every Mercury retrograde phase is the same as it depends on the sign Mercury moves through which determines the types of errors and problems that occur. It also affects everyone differently depending on their birth chart and how the chart is impacted by Mercury but also by other planetary transits at the time. A Mercury retrograde phase has primarily mundane effects rather than transpersonal ones. This means if your chart is impacted by some major outer planet transits which indicate a major review and growth phase in your life, in comparison Mercury retrograde will probably seem like a silly joke for a couple of weeks.

For example, the retrograde phase in July will fall into the time of an important solar and lunar eclipse which will also affect our charts individually. If Mercury is a major ruling planet in your birth chart and is coinciding with a series of expansive transits at the time, then it may provide just the trigger you need to decide on the crazy adventure you always wanted to undertake or provide impetus for the communication of an unusual idea. And it may be a very supportive energy to do just that!

It is also important to take into consideration the phase of Mercury, i.e. whether it has already turned retrograde or is just slowing down to turn direct again as it will provide valuable clues about what comes to light and how we need to address it. When we look at the phase of the retrograde itself, we are much more able to identify and can respond to:

1) which weeks / days are the breakdowns likely to be worse / – useful for planning, scheduling staff or our own time and loosen up appointments with tight timelines

2) which sign will Mercury retrograde occur in (it is a different sign each time during each of the 3 times retrograde periods each year).

For example, Mercury in Taurus indicates a lot more delays than in Aries which may indicate more premature timing.


A few key points

* Mercury’s motion is erratic, and this affects technology, Mercury changing speed of movement will mean it behaves randomly. For example, you may experience more technological errors that seem hard to explain logically such as websites malfunctioning, log in failures, transactions not executing properly

* Some devices will be more susceptible to viruses, disturbances and slow or interrupted communication, this could be phones, data connections, emails, and any other way they communicate; it may even be that people do not get back to you or you do not get their messages, or the message is garbled …you get the idea!

* Traffic problems are also more likely during Mercury retrograde, traffic jams, accidents and hold ups, car trouble, public transport delays. Amazing correlations can be drawn when looking at airway traffic, cancelled planes, missed planes or incomplete trips

* Back-ups may fail or do not work as usual (another good aspect to keep in mind – when you are aware of the upcoming phases, an IT business could for example make extra sure data has been properly backed up and they can roster extra resources to be within reach and deal with the anticipated problems).

* Even if not in the IT business – scheduling and planning to get less done and account for the change in productivity may enable you to experience errors without the stress of falling behind.

* Allow for ways to take a breather – mirroring to nature of Mercury as it slows down.


What approach will help us to navigate this phase?

Firstly, in any situation or project, by knowing about it you can make Mercury retrograde your friend

These are some things you may want to consider in order to sail smoothly during a retrograde phase (without considering the individual influences from the birth chart):

  • Patience, being helpful and ready to deal with what comes your way
  • Allow for more jobs and higher workload due to backlogs and build ups from delays
  • Expect to get less done in more time
  • Increased understanding when clients or colleagues do not communicate well, ask for clarification
  • Changes of mind are common which leads to cancellations, rescheduling and job date or conditions change
  • Curiosity about what may occur – have a laugh about it as it can feel like candid camera at times!
  • Decision-making and signing contracts can still be fine IF you are very confident about the agreement and thorough research has been done. If you experience doubts, hold off and wait to see what comes to light.
  • If negotiations and offers have been on the table since the direct phase (a least 4-5 weeks as a rule of thumb), it is more likely that you may still go ahead (once you have read the terms and conditions thoroughly). The key is to listen to your inner voice and check for those unexplained doubts, even more during Mercury retrograde. Other transits and effects to do with your individual natal chart will also come into play!
  • If there is a solid history with any decision or relationship that started well before this phase, Mercury retrograde alone will not cause a direction change, it has more domestic, mundane effects than this!
  • New insights and information will come to light which can be an important factor for your forward direction
  • Make time to contemplate and reflect, write things down – important insights can be gained by going within at this time
  • Pay extra attention to detail
  • If you receive a medical diagnosis, you may need a second opinion, (if you need surgery, there can still be suitable dates to pick after consideration of other planetary influences)
  • If you are inclined to purchase a technological or transport item, it may not last long or malfunction
  • Pay extra attention in traffic as errors in judgement can occur – by yourself and others
  • Be prepared for random weather patterns and other interruptions.


General comments in summary

During Mercury retrograde periods, there are more noticeable errors, disruptions, breakdowns and complications It is a time where we are forced to revisit, redo and reconnect with people, projects and circumstances from the past, even if we thought we were moving forward with all our new plans.

Usually, it is not a good time for starting anything new, employing new people or signing contracts. Sometimes even purchasing new things only means we will have to fix it, exchange it or return it later.

As the information is general it is not always the case and does not apply to everyone in the same way. It is best to look at all the factors and variables in combination with your unique birth chart.


Contact Sylvia to find out more on how it affects you