It’s a Mad World: Mercury in Retrograde

+ enlarge
Photo courtesy of

Almost a month ago, to this day, the Mac genius looked me straight in the eye and told me to make sure I did it soon. I nodded in agreement, thanked him, then headed home, with my machine and my new, slim storage device in tow. I never backed up.

But I should have. A month later, as I opened up my laptop to start working on this very piece, I was confronted with a screen filled with a random dot pattern of “snow”. It was as if I’d tried to tune into an analog television station that wasn’t part of my basic cable package.

Have you too, recently experienced a technology snafu? Or maybe you just started a new job only to discover your boss would be leaving soon? Been forced to deal with a serious family matter that has been lingering for some time? Realized after hitting “send” on an email that it went to the wrong person? If it seems any of these questions could sum up your past two weeks, you may be experiencing the effects of the planetary phenomenon known as Mercury in retrograde.

What is It?
Mercury retrograde is when the planet Mercury appears to slow down and stop and move backward (retrograde). According to, these retrograde cycles are, in fact, just optical illusions caused by “our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Mercury turns retrograde more frequently than any other planet. It can never be more than 28 degrees from the Sun, and whenever it reaches its furthest distance from the Sun, it changes direction.” Some people view this time of retrograde as a period in which they should lock themselves behind closed doors for three weeks, speaking to no one. Others take it as a perfect opportunity to reflect on life in quiet solitude.

When Does it Happen?
For the year 2012, according to, Mercury retrograde was from March 12 through April 4, July 15 through August 8, and now—November 6 through 26. It happens three times a year, each period lasting about three weeks total.

Try to Refrain From
There are certain things we should try to avoid during this time, these include:

  • Starting anything new—jobs, projects, travel plans, business deals, classes, and contracts.
  • Purchasing anything new related to communication or travel such as a new car or bicycle or computer or phone.
  • Sending important correspondence.

Also, Virgos and Geminis, which are both signs under rule of Mercury, may find they are even more susceptible to the effects of Mercury in retrograde.

Focus on
This time can an excellent chance to reflect on the past. I think explains it best, “Because to move forward it is sometimes necessary to backtrack and reconfigure our paths in life. It is important to reconsider, repair, reflect, and reconnect. Mercury forces us to slow down and fix what's broken, and in so doing, rethink things. It also gives us time to get to projects we have put on the back-burner.”

We should focus on:

  • Revisiting and, possibly, revising plans.
  • Thinking deeply about any serious, life-impacting issues.
  • Tying up any outstanding projects or business.

Make the Most of It
Don’t just let November 26th come and go. Be proactive for next year’s retrograde and mark your calendar. Instead of being caught off guard and being left feeling confused and frustrated, know when your life might be affected and try to use the retrograde cycle to your advantage. According to findyour, here are the dates Mercury will be in retrograde in 2013:

  • February 23 through March 17
  • June 26 through July 20
  • October 21 through November 10

All calm and normalcy returns when this Mercury retrograde comes to an end on November 26. While I found some comfort in knowing that my technology problems may have simply been the result of some weird planetary effect, I—finally—backed up just in case.





Loading comments...