Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 6, 2013

Readers’ Comments and Questions on Mercury Retrograde

©7-6-2013 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

It’s been a lively Mercury retrograde period here on Skywriter, with lots of interesting comments, questions, and discussion from readers on this topic. I thought I’d share some of them with you, in case you don’t visit the comment sections.

Q: Donna, I had an astrologer choose our marriage date, March 2, and was horrified to find out a few days before that it was during Merc Retro (would never have chosen that had I known), and though it was fine in the end, all kinds of things went “wrong.”

I was wondering “What was the astrologer thinking???” But we had been together for most of 10 years with some ups and downs, so would Merc Retro be appropriate for finally doing something we should have done long ago, as we are very happy now??? Thanks.

A: Hiya, Happy Mrs. One of two things could be in operation: 1) perhaps one or both of you had natal Mercury Rx, or the date you moved in together did, or 2) perhaps the astrologer did a good job and the relationship indicators in the chart were very good and outranked Mercury Retrograde. Mercury in and of itself is NOT a marriage indicator, neither good nor bad for a happy marriage. It more often affects trivial things like missed appointment dates, not life-changing events like a wedding. Donna

A reader contributed this helpful perspective: Once years ago a friend told me that she’d signed the contract to buy her condo. I was concerned that Mercury was retrograde at the time of the signing. Later I read from a more experienced astrologer (name lost now) that often contracts, etc are signed during the retrograde season—especially if it’s a culmination of plans started earlier.

Q: I appreciate you addressing the hysteria, though I’m confused still. Are you saying that entering into contracts depends more on aspects of Mercury or other areas of the chart? Would you buy a car or sign a lease during Rx? 

A: No, though it may sound like I contradict myself, I probably would not sign any important legal document or make a major purchase (car, computer, etc.) during Mercury retrograde, as too many annoying details could go wrong. I most certainly would never send my income tax return in during that interval. The retrograde period, after all, is likely to be over soon enough that it’s easy to wait until afterward.

But I would be especially reluctant to do any of those things if transiting Mercury had difficult aspects, such as a square from Neptune or Uranus that lasts pretty much the whole time it’s retrograde and moving slowly. That reluctance is far from the kinds of hysteria I am talking about. Donna

PS: Are you’re asking whether Mercury rules automobiles?  There’s debate among astrologers about that, some thinking Mars is more likely, since  (excuse me, but) it pretty much acts as a phallic symbol for men. Sigh, I honestly can’t decide based on clients’ auto purchases, some under Mars, some under Mercury.  Might it not depend on what’s in their 3rd house instead?

A Reader compares the pop version of Mercury Retrograde with the trendy reality T.V. shows:

I have been studying astrology for over 45 years and have observed enough telephone, computer, car (battery, alternator, solenoid-switch) malfunctions to be able to rank Mercury retrograde occurrences along with tidal changes associated with the Moon as one of the most obvious physical evidences of the efficacy of astrology.

However, I do understand somewhat that this “popularization” is one of the aspects of astrology which keeps it “alive” within in the collective social milieu.  (Yes, I use terms like that because among other reasons, I don’t believe it helpful to treat such a serious subject as astrology like it is on a par with the current, trending reality T.V. show.

A. I couldn’t agree with you more–it’s a LOT like trash TV.  People love the drama of a horrific Mercury Retrograde story and the goose bumps that come from anticipating how awful an upcoming retrograde period might be. Insight into how they may contribute to the difficulty isn’t welcomed, because insight tends to quash the rush that drama provides them.  So naturally, they don’t really want to hear about the helpful ways to use this period and sensible precautions to take to avoid the difficulties.

A reader notes that Mercury seems to be strongest during its stations, either going retrograde or going direct.

A: I’d say that one reason Mercury Rx is stronger at the stations is because whatever aspects Mercury is making to other transiting planets last much longer than when Mercury is moving a degree or more each day.

Let’s say transiting Mercury is squaring transiting Neptune and then slows down for the station. Rather than being in aspect to Neptune for only 4-5 days, it could be making the square for as long as 2 weeks. Since Neptune’s presence in the mix tends toward fog and confusion, things can get muddled indeed. Seeing that square forming in the sky, we’d need to be more careful about double-checking or even postponing for a couple of weeks mission-critical projects. Common sense, not hysteria. Donna

Q: Could you touch on how it affects those of us with Mercury Retrograde natally?

A: The Mercury RX natal people I know seem to routinely start things, sign contracts, etc. during the times when transiting Mercury is retrograde, and it works just fine for them. Donna

From Business Astrologer, Ellen Longo: Natally, I have Mercury retrograde as my chart ruler, and I had a name change within days of my birth. I have a birth certificate with one name and then an amendment stapled to the back with another name.volcano1-a2d

I was appalled at the astrologer that recently said the volcanic eruption was due to Mercury retrograde. If it was the same person, she put it on Facebook too and I let her know there that I disagreed. It takes a much more massive influence than Mercury Retrograde–I’d be looking at the Pluto-Uranus square.

Since I know you don’t mind, Donna, I wanted to tell your readers that I wrote a post titled Best Practices for Mercury Retrograde on my blog today,

From an astrologer: THANK YOU DONNA. There are only a few things in astrology that I truly believe are power of suggestion bunk, and they are 1) medical astrology, 2) anything that involves being able to predict sexual orientation or mental disorders, and 3) Mercury retrograde.

Provided that you’re not some careless slob who leaves all your shit till the last minute and then freaks out when it doesn’t go your way, Mercury retrograde should not be THAT much different from any other time of the year- except that you’ll want to put additional effort into clearing out the stuff that’s not working, because it becomes apparent just how much it’s not actually working. But that can be done without hysterics.

And from an obvious skeptic: When I first started reading, I found myself nodding my approval. People losing their heads over the apparent motion of an orbiting planet in the sky? Ridiculous. I agree.

But then you go on to substitute one fiction for another. So the retrograde motion doesn’t matter “THAT much?” I’ll do you one better. IT DOESN’T MATTER AT ALL! The idea of sensible astrology makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I mean, if you’re nutty enough to believe in any of this crap, you might as well commit. What’s with the half-assed conviction? So I can do a business transaction, but I just can’t back up software? Oh, ok, that makes sense. Wait a minute.. No it doesn’t.

Nothing short of a detailed, double-blind statistical analysis will convince me that the motion of the planets affects our lives in the slightest. And since astrology has a proud history of shirking the scientific method, I doubt I’ll find a corroborative study any time soon. Enjoy your day.

That’s all, Readers. To end on a humorous note, it’s apparently good business to write about Mercury Retrograde, whether you’re among the astrologers who feed the hysteria or among those who, like myself, want to introject a note of common sense about it.

Today by noon, even though I hadn’t added any new posts to the site in going on a week, my statistics had hit a new all-time high: 7142, more than double my previous one-day high, even though the day is far from over. The single biggest contributor to the spike is a very old post from 2008 (Why Mercury Retrograde is a Good Thing–Its Helpful Uses). It’s had 5049 hits so far today

Final count: I can see why so many astrologers write about Mercury Rx–it definitely improves circulation to your site. By the end of the day, I had 10,349 page hits, triple the number of my previous highest one-day record, and that doesn’t include the subscribers who got it by email. Over 7000 read the post about why Mercury Rx is a good thing. I’m really happy that I’ve done my part to counteract the hysteria over Mercury Rx.

Is this what they mean when they say something went viral?? Do I need penicillin?

Readers, if you’d like to join our discussion with your own observations, you’re welcome. Scroll down below this post to the comment section.

Mercury Retrograde Articles on Skywriter:

 More Articles that Share Readers’ Insights into Astrology: 

Other Articles here about Mercury You Might Enjoy:


  1. Hi Donna, How does Mercury Retrograte affect those who are going through a job interview process? Thank you.

    • Well, double check the appointment time, address, and the exact names and spelling of the people you’ll be interviewed by for filling out an application. Look up directions on how to get there. Take an up to date resume, and the addresses and contact information on past jobs and references–but double check to see that the information is current. Research the place you’re applying to for up to date information on the company.

      Of course, this is the type of preparation any smart applicant would be sure to do anyway, right? Donna

      • Thank you for the advise!

    • I had an interview before Mrx started and than they asked me some additional documents to provide.
      After reading it carefully, I filled them out – but, I lingered on provision where I was suppose to have a stamp from one authority in case I do not have attached statement. I had an attachment and decided to go without a stamp. However, they called me back and asked me to provide that document with a stamp… Typical Mrx! 🙂 In any case, I would not be worried if they call me until 22 July to sign a contract, finishing business during Mrx is fine. I even had my graduation thesis during Mrx in 2008 🙂

      • Do you have Mercury Rx natally? If so, you may find that you make good progress during current retrogrades. Donna

      • The basic rule is to not start anything brand new during Mercury Retrograde except if something comes up at the inferior conjunction of the sun. By the way the superior conjunction is the one that happens between Mercury Retrogrades when Mercury is direct. The inferior conjunction of the sun is an approximately two day time window.

        Before then concentrate on routine things and re- things such as redo and review. After the inferior conjunction of the sun if something comes up at the inferior conjunction of the sun the rest of Mercury Retrograde will often be dominated by following up on that.

        The inferior conjunction of the sun is often a time of new activity. That is appropriate.

        This just happened to me again.

        Mercury Retrograde is not a monolithic three week period of time of ugliness and bad things happening as many people believe. Even the time before the inferior conjunction of the sun has its purpose. And things get moving again at the inferior conjunction of the sun.

        And if you already have something underway when the Mercury Retrograde starts anything that comes up with regard to that can be dealt with.

        It is really no different than moon void of course except that moon void of course has no activity generator within it like the inferior conjunction of the sun. With moon void of course you simply have to wait until it is over with to start anything brand new. But then even the longest moons void of course do not last even nearly a week.

      • Excellent clarification and new tips, Rainer, thanks so much. Donna

  2. I am a scientist by background, an engineer by training, worked as an engineer for years, and only came into astrology later. I came into it because a very senior engineer I worked with convinced me of its validity.

    And I later proved it to myself.

    The key issue is that astrological application is psychological. One can prove astrological correlations in the same way a psychology professor proves his or her theories and no other way. Astrological application is not scientific in the sense of the hard sciences. Only chart calculation is that. And so astrology actually ties everything together and is one of the most comprehensive “sciences” of all.

    In astrological application all that matters is human experience. There is no such thing as a hard mathematical proof.

    But I also know Americans to be very optimistic people who hate any form of difficulty. I think that is why difficult experiences such as hard aspects in transit and natally and Mercury Retrograde throw Americans for such a loop.

    Astrology teaches that these experiences are all part of the human experience and part of the cyclicality of life. But Americans want only good times not cycles.

    I think that is why Mercury Retrograde has such a bad reputation. I have been working with Mercury Retrograde successfully for years with no problem at all. But then I do not fear difficult energies. Mercury Retrograde is actually one of the lesser difficult energies in astrology, just a frequent one, and is therefore easier to handle than most. Try an outer planet square sometime – then you will know what difficult is.

    Most of the time Mercury Retrograde is more of a pinprick than anything else. But someone who just always wants to be positive and optimistic all the time will not even appreciate a pinprick.

    The difficult energies of astrology are wake-up calls. If one does not like to be awakened to reality one will not like the difficult energies of astrology. I think most Americans fit in the category of not liking to be woken up to reality.

    • Two thumbs up on your observations, Rainer–it’s entirely possible for Mercury retrograde periods, if handled well, to be a useful part of a well-ordered work life. As an author, I couldn’t do without it. Donna

  3. Do you have any references to the influence of mercury turning retrograde
    in one’s progressed chart?

    • Hmmm. I don’t work with progressions all that much, so any reader who does is welcome to chime in.

      IF it were happening to me, I’d be thinking about what my natal Mercury, with it’s aspects, house, and sign meant. And what ways I maybe hadn’t developed my communications skills or mind to its fullest. Or, maybe was there something I’d studied or that had interested me in the past but that I’d let go of because of other pressures or responsibilities. And might now consider going back to those studies or interests.

      Just as an example, maybe as a young person, you’d written poetry or had an interest in languages, but had to give it up for more practical studies. And maybe now your kids were grown or whatever, and now you had time to take it up again.

      That’s just a made up scenario, and you’d have to study your own chart to see if those principles might apply to your situation. Can anyone with direct experience of progressed Mercury going retrograde fill us in about what it’s like? Donna

  4. Rob Brezny mentioned you, w/link to your article / site. That’s how I discovered you and all this wealth! Maybe that’s how your slew of new readership found you too. Thank you 🙂

    • Thanks, Claudia, I was wondering where you all came from!

      New Readers, there’s an index of the over 550 astrology articles on this site that you can download under the “Free” tab
      on the front page. It has active links that you can just click on to read the ones that interest you. Donna

  5. In answer to your question about progressed mercury retrograde, my mercury recently (a couple of years ago) progressed retrograde in aquarius and falls in my natal 5th house. (Natal mercury in 2nd, square natal Pluto and moon, ruling 9th and 12th houses) A couple of things. I have found myself reviewing and calling up past creative works, either writings, songs, etc. But more importantly I have taken a teacher training in kundalini yoga that I feel incorporates everything I have ever studied before. Almost like a recap and home coming, bringing together all the things I have ever learned to do. Like a review. I think the energies of the retrograde sweep up all that we’ve done and help us appreciate ourselves for our accomplishments. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to think about what this progressed mercury retrograde has meant to me.

    • Thanks so much, RU. That was exactly the sense I got of it, that it was a sort of homecoming where mental pursuits are concerned. Donna

  6. Donna, Just a snarky comment on your going viral:
    Anitbiotics don’t work on viruses. Now if you were going bacterial, that would be another thing altogether! LOL!

    • Oh, I knew that MELO. it was just a joke. Strange, but one drawback of my sense of humor is that when I’m kidding, people think I’m dead serious. And when I’m dead serious, they laugh uproariously, thinking it’s a joke. Uranus in Gemini, no doubt. I HATE smiley faces, but pretend I put one there. 😛 Donna

  7. I have often deliberately waited for Rx mercury to conjunct the sun for purchases and sometimes decisions. Worked pretty well every time i tried.
    Once my husband was planning a trip to Arizona. I kept telling him he had to wait until friday to make all his arrangements. He really didn’t like that, and made his plans for car rental, flights and motel. Thursday night a friend called and not only put him up at his house, but lent him a car!

  8. I view Mercury retrograde periods as I do full moons. They are all different and have a character all their own. Some retrogrades drive me crazy, others are mild and tolerable (I have Mercury Rx myself).

    • My observation, too, Jack. It depends a lot on the sign, of course, and also the aspects Mercury makes to other transiting (and natal) planets while it’s moving slowly, as those aspects last much longer than when it’s moving full-tilt. Donna

  9. The thing I’ve noticed about MercRx is that IF something happens (and it usually doesn’t), the event is associated with the house that MercRx is transiting.

    • Thanks, Cj. I totally agree, and that’s one of the reasons you have to understand the person’s natal chart when you’re trying to predict how Mercury Rx would affect them. Donna

  10. Generally, I’ve found that the week before Merc goes retro and the week just before it goes direct are the times when misinformation, meeting times and dates, missed phone calls, etc. are most likely to happen. Nothing earth-shaking, just inconvenience or needing to reset times, dates. etc.

    Amy T.

  11. Considering the current drastic fiasco of the ACA website and the news about the breadth of the NSA spying (excuse me, surveillance), all involving communications and electronics, one can’t help but say “told you so” to skeptics.

  12. I realize this is an older thread now, but a wedding question for you – is it ok to get your marriage license while Mercury is retrograde so long as you don’t actually sign it until it is direct again? Or does this fall in the don’t start anything new category? There are some complications to getting the date we want and a license being only good for 60 days and the 18th is the first day of retrograde… Help!

    • I’d say no to the license–why take a chance? Donna

  13. Hello Donna, i’m going through psychotherapy and think it’s good time while Mercury is retrograde. it brings back the issues of the past and it’s a good time to fix them. Also, this period brings back to me friends from the past whom i didn’t see for 2 years… Jules

    • Yes, good use of that Mercury energy. Oddly, I am also hearing from friends from long ago…but then natal Mercury is part of a Gemini stellium in the 11th. Donna

      • Hey, Donna,
        firstly, Mercury retrograde has slowed down my writing activity, i’ve only found few spare minutes to finally reply to you.

        same thing for me. My Mercury is in 11th house in Libra in relocation chart (friends from the past) and it’s in the 12th house in the birth chart (bringing me the psychotherapy experience).

        Secondly, talking about the past – I’ve just read your book “The Consulting Astrologer’s Guidebook”! 🙂 thank you Mercury retrograde to bringing me this knowledge 🙂
        I found it tremendously good! straight to the point, written with lots of humour and and answering all my questions in regards to starting and promoting my own astrological practice. Thank you so much for you wisdom and experience!

        Lastly, what do you think on meeting new people on retro-Mercury? Will they stay in life? thanks, Jules

  14. Hi, Is it ok to repair cars or re-file past years taxes to fix errors during Mercury Rx?

    • Personally, I wouldn’t–they’re important tasks. Donna

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