This happens three to four times per year, when the planetMercury1 slows down and appears to stop (station) and move backward (retrograde). It's an optical illusion, since there is forward movement, like speeding by a slow-moving train -- as it recedes, it appears to go backward.
I saw this on a road trip, driving alongside a moving train going slower than my little white Subaru -- it really does play tricks with your mind!
While delays and misunderstandings do seem to happen, I've noticed a magical trend -- that people and ideas return, for integration, resolution and more.
Mercury is the messenger, and in this time, the delivery is warped or the message gets lost en route. Some people find that their computers go on the fritz or phone lines go down. If you're at all jittery about it, go ahead and back up your important files.
There can be delays, so give yourself plenty of time to get places. What happens in those down times? Mercury retro is known to be a time of 'fated' events -- who will you meet? What will be revealed?
Mercury retrograde gives us time to catch up with ourselves and reflect. Something from the past returns in a different form. People, ideas or buried insights that are keys to moving forward, float to the surface. Often it's felt as a slowed down, contemplative time, and depending on the sign, a chance to go over old ground again, to claim what you missed the first time.
Err on Side of Caution:
There's a long-held belief that it's best to avoid making set plans during the Mercury Retrograde. This means holding off on signing contracts and forming partnerships and alliances. What gets put in writing at this time may turn out to need serious revising after Mercury goes direct. But since tying up loose ends is the domain of retrograde, this type of finalization might fly.
Can you repeat that?:
In our relationships, sometimes we gloss over things that pushed buttons at the time, but which we let slide. What seemed not worth the trouble may reveal itself as a major issue in need of our attention. The Mercury retrograde is a time for review when the underlying patterns come to light.
Back to the Drawing Board:
Some dreams and goals get lost in the hectic rushing around of daily life. The Mercury Retrograde period can be a rich time of reflection on those longings. This makes it a time for the soul to ponder its destiny. You might look over old journals, review your creative work, muse on serendipities of the past that have pointed you toward your spirit's calling. It can make the retrograde period a time of solidifying a sense of your personal story and where you're headed.
What does it mean in each different sign?:
The Mercury retrograde is shaped by the sign through which it is cast. For example, a Mercury retrograde in Cancer turns the mind toward things like family, home and the invisible emotional bonds that connect us. On the other hand, a Mercury retrograde in Aquarius gives it a different spin, with a review of group dynamics, the larger human community, all from a detached perspective.
Making the Most of Mercury Retrograde:
A major cause of stress at Mercury retrograde is frustration from mishaps, things breaking down, computers going black. But if we know it's cycling, this makes it feel less terminal. If things go pear-shaped, see what's there to see. Take a break from the usual routine.
Just observe and see what happens, and be open to the past returning for review. If it's coming back, there's likely something more to learn or release from it. This can be a good (and productive) time, in its own way.