Posted by: Donna Cunningham | September 26, 2008

Why Mercury Retrograde is a Good Thing–Its Helpful Uses

©2005 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

This is an excerpt from the 2005 Edition of Donna Cunningham’s classic text, An Astrological Guide to Self-Awareness, modernized and in ebook format. To order Donna’s Ebooks, visit

During  Mercury retrograde, we’re told to sign nothing, buy nothing, make no major purchases, and to expect cancellations, missed appointments, bank errors, and being stood up on social engagements. We are given reams of anecdotes and horror stories to back up this taboo.

And yet, vast numbers of people buy cars, begin jobs, get married, and buy homes while Mercury is retrograde without experiencing any difficulty whatsoever. The world simply cannot come to a screeching halt for the three or four periods a year that Mercury is retrograde for three weeks at a stretch. Imagine the impact on the economy if it did!

PS. Helpful hint: If anyone tells you that Mercury is IN retrograde, feel free to ignore their advice.  They clearly don’t know Jack about astrology, or they’d say that Mercury is retrograde.

Mercury REtrograde periods are a natural and even helpful recurrent cycle, totaling no more than 70 days each year—it is part of the natural rhythm of life, just like the seasons. At these times, we get the opportunity to REthink, REview, and REvise our thinking and our written and spoken communication. If we use it to REexamine the flow of our work and our day-to-day lives, these little mishaps can teach us something about Right Action. They can be a valuable corrective that helps us prevent more serious and ongoing errors in our work that might otherwise be compounded over time. Used correctly, these intervals can enhance our productivity and the quality of our work.

For instance, Mercury retrograde is a good time for revising and updating your procedures, mailing lists, and other systems, because during the retrograde, you tend to go over things from the past and find the glitches or dead wood. Sort out old files, catch up on correspondence, finish that backlog of paperwork, compile those tedious statistics the boss insists on every few months, get back in touch with associates and clients, and catch details that have fallen through the cracks. Reconcile your bank statements, adding all the figures twice for good measure. Deal with those stacks of mail and credit receipts. Go through that pile of magazines, newspapers, or journals that has accumulated, remove the articles you need to keep, and recycle the rest. You get the picture.

As a writer, I cherish and rely on the Mercury retrograde weeks of the year. In fact, I’m not sure I would ever complete a large writing project if it weren’t for this natural rhythm of retrograde and direct motion, for I always have many more ideas and inspirations than I can use while Mercury is direct. I schedule editing and revisions for the retrograde phase, because looking back over the material, I see places where my communication is unclear.

I also seem to have more patience to check my data for accuracy, to catch errors and typos, do needed research to back up my conclusions, and do the really tedious pieces like footnotes, a bibliography, and a table of contents. In RETROspect and with a cooler head, I also see the places in the text where it would have been better to keep my opinions to myself! I

Those of you who are more advanced in your studies may be interested to know that not all Mercury retrograde spans are alike. Some are smooth, passing with hardly a ripple if one uses sensible precautions. Others are real bears, with nothing running smo
othly, an epidemic of computer crashes, and great difficulty in getting paperwork finished or ironing out agreements.

In my observation, Mercury’s retrograde motion is not the deciding factor, but rather the aspects Mercury forms to other planets around the time it is stationary turning retrograde. From around the time it turns retrograde to the time it turns direct, it moves fairly slowly, so AGSA cvr 2014 smany difficult aspects Mercury forms will be in effect continuously for about three weeks .

This is an excerpt from the 2014 Edition of Donna Cunningham’s classic text, An Astrological Guide to Self-Awareness, modernized and in ebook format. To order Donna’s Ebooks, visit

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