If you’re familiar with the term, “Mercury retrograde,” odds are you don’t have good feelings about it. “Oh, no, not again!” is the usual reaction to learning that one is coming up.

Take heart! It doesn’t mean the sky is falling. Mercury retrograde is not a freak occurrence, much less the end of the world. It’s a regular phenomenon that happens three or four times a year. We can’t stop it, but we can understand and work with it. Read on for how.

What does it mean?

First, the technicalities: Mercury is retrograde when it’s traveling backwards. That’s an optical illusion, of course, and happens when the planet’s orbital speed changes in comparison to the earth’s. It’s the planetary equivalent of speeding up on a highway, passing a car and seeing it fall far behind after you in the rear view mirror.

How this works: When Mercury is moving in reverse, the areas of life it governs do not play by the usual rules. Anything related to communication and travel requires extra attention. This includes phones, computers and electronic devices, the mail (remember that?), cars, public transportation and commutes.

The need for that extra attention often comes from things not working properly. Our information flow is always a casualty. Messages go astray. Misunderstandings, confusion, half-truths and deception are rampant. Both sides of a conversation may use the same words, but the words may not have the same meaning at all. Or expectations and assumptions may differ. (Real-life example: an organization awarding a book contract on a Mercury retrograde and terminating it two retrograde cycles later, because the authors and the publisher never agreed on what the book was supposed to be about.)

Vehicles of communication also misfire. Machines or systems with an inherent instability hit the breaking point. Technology malfunctions. Websites and networks go down. Programs stop working. Tasks that should be ordinary turn into a gauntlet of error messages and trouble-shooting.

Challenges rain down on our vehicles for getting around, too. Traffic snarls. Travel gets delayed. Buses don’t arrive. Detours pop up and complicate your route.

What should you do?

Postpone launching major projects, signing major contracts and buying big-ticket items if possible. (You may not have complete or accurate information; the subject or purpose may not be what you think it is.) Double-check fine print, backup your data and allow lots of extra time when you’re on the road.

The good news? You may get a good shot at a do-over or two, which may take the form of unraveling or restructuring. Mercury retrograde is also an excellent time to investigate and research, finish old business, clean up paperwork and get in touch with people you haven’t talked to in a while. Pay attention to who surfaces from the past, in person or in thought. Their reappearance could help tie up loose ends or resolve lingering business. Organize and prepare so you’ll be ready to move ahead when Mercury does!

Mercury retrogrades in 2017

Mercury is retrograde in 2017 from:

December 19, 2016 - January 8, 2017, going from 15 Capricorn 8 to 28 Sagittarius 51
April 9 - May 3, 2017 going from 4 Taurus 50 to 24 Aries 15
August 12 - September 5, 2017 going from 11 Virgo 38 to 28 Leo 25
December 2 - 22, 2017 going from 29 Sagittarius 18 to 13 Sagittarius 0

You’re likely to feel the retrograde coming before Mercury stations. Communication and transportation matters usually start slowing (or growing complicated) a couple of days before a retrograde begins. The day of the retrograde station (when Mercury appears to be motionless, as it appears to change direction) can feel as if time has stopped altogether.

The same sensation returns when Mercury stations direct. Communication and transportation matters don’t suddenly speed up once the retrograde ends, either. Give the planet time to get moving again. Wait a few days after Mercury stations direct before resuming business as usual.

The first three of this year’s Mercury retrogrades begin in earth signs and back into fire. Watch for concrete, practical and mundane considerations to give way to passionate emotions and heightened activity. They’ll prevail when the year’s final retrograde travels only through fire.

The first retrograde, from December 19 - January 8, 2017, brings awareness of cost, consequences and practicalities while Mercury is backing through Capricorn. The few days in Sagittarius, from January 5 - 8, promise impatience, frustration and a high likelihood of mishaps, malfunctions and delays involving trains, planes and cable.

This retrograde has the potential for undercover and behind-the-scenes work that does not surface until weeks later. When the retrograde began, Mercury was approaching a conjunction to Pluto, ruler of the depths of our psyches and of the earth (and of phenomenal power and wealth). Issues and inquiries were set in motion, but not completed or resolved. Expect more of the story to come out when Mercury meets Pluto on January 29.

The second retrograde, from April 9 - May 3, 2017
, is complex, multi-faceted and ultimately motivating. Money, love and getting our due dominate until the 20th, when Mercury is in Taurus. Those themes are intense and inescapable through the 15th, because Venus, ruler of Taurus, is finishing up her own retrograde. Expect to revisit old loves, old artistic pursuits, old values and ways of earning. After Mercury returns to Aries on the 20th, energy, activity and emotions heat up. Last December’s holidays are likely to come to mind, and trigger tinkering, tweaking and rethinking directions, ventures and matters that shot ahead then.

The third retrograde, from August 12 - September 5, 2017
, sees Mercury in his second home base until August 29. Rethinking, redoing and improving go double then. Still, the winged messenger is comfortable with Virgo’s intellectual spin on earth energy, so we’re likely to experience less of the slowing and foot-dragging that accompany his retrograde in the other earth signs. His brief stint in Leo explores the meaning of the August 21 total solar eclipse in that sign. Important realizations and a refreshed mindset come when Mercury turns around, because he stations direct exactly on the degree of that eclipse.

The final retrograde, from December 2 - 22, 2017
, travels territory that has been extraordinarily active since December 2016. And active is an understatement for this stretch. High in energy, noise and passions, it has the potential impact of a clean-up batter who comes to the plate with bases loaded and hits the runs in. Be on the lookout for course corrections and missing pieces that lock situations into place. Like the year’s first retrograde, this one also brings impatience, frustration and a high likelihood of mishaps, malfunctions and delays involving trains, planes and cable.

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Hi, Kathy - Just a word to let you know that we will get back to you if this is being included with any of the editions or being done on the website. Checking with the publishers now. Thanks for the audio also ~ Happy Holidays ~ Blessings! 

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