Mercury Retrograde Guide

Mercury will be retrograde from December 10 – 30, 2010. Here’s a guide to what that means and how to deal with it.

Mercury rules communication, transportation and short-distance travel. When it is retrograde, it appears to be moving backward. (That’s an optical illusion much like when you pass a car and it falls beyond you in the rear view mirror.) When this happens, everything ruled by Mercury operates differently — more slowly, less smoothly, with more disruption and unpredictability. You know those times when everything seems to go flooey? This is one of them.

Challenges & Strategies
Communication gets garbled. It’s rife with misunderstandings, confusion, inexactness, lies. For this reason Mercury retrograde is not a good time to make deals, sign contracts, make major purchases or launch important projects, because key factors are probably not what you think they are. On the other hand, if you want to keep a door open, sign away; odds are you’ll have the opportunity to revisit or renegotiate the deal later.

Double- and triple-check assumptions and fine print. Don’t rely on your memory for addresses and dates. People are going to be showing up at the wrong house or wrong time the entire party season.

Technology malfunctions. Machines break. Don’t be surprised if something you rely on — your computer, cell phone, printer, DVR, wireless router, toaster, car — suddenly stops or undergoes a personality change. Traffic snarls. Travel gets delayed or impeded. (When Mercury went retrograde in Taurus in the spring of 2010, airports shut down across Europe because volcanic ash had made flight impossible.)

Why This One Is So Intense
All of this is going to go double, triple, quadruple for the December 2010 Mercury retrograde, because of other conditions in the sky. Mercury is in a hard aspect to Mars and Pluto (which rule action and transformation, respectively, as well as anger and really deep anger), and he’s one of the rulers of the full moon/lunar eclipse on the transportation axis.

Accidents and breakdowns will be rampant, and so will temper tantrums. Stay out of harm’s way: Back up your data (several ways, if possible). Allow lots of extra time when you’re on the road. Take something to occupy yourself, a blanket, water and snacks, too, so you won’t be bored or endangered if you get severely sidelined.

What’s The Upside?
You can learn and clean up a lot and put much in order. Mercury retrograde is ideal for going back over old territory and digging deeper.

Investigate and research. Finish old business and organize paperwork. Information can pop up that clarifies the past and this particular retrograde is going to up end a cornucopia of secrets and explanations. Launch negotiations, too; just hold off signing on the dotted line.

People from the past tend to resurface under this influence. Pay attention to who shows back up in your life, and make a point to get in touch with people you haven’t talked to in a while.

How Long This Lasts
The scope of a Mercury retrograde is longer than the time the planet is actually retrograde. It begins when the planet hits the degree to which it will eventually return, and it finally ends after the planet has turned direct moves past the degree where he went retrograde.

The time period on either time of the actual retrograde is called the retrograde shadow.. Issues that will be important during the retrograde tend to start showing up during the first part of the shadow, and they continue being addressed or worked out during the back end.

For the December 2010 cycle, Mercury entered his retrograde shadow on November 22, when he reached 19 Sagittarius. He will clear the shadow on January 18, 2011, when he passes 5 Capricorn.

Other Important Dates for This Retrograde
At the beginning of this retrograde and at the end of his shadow, Mercury is activating the Capricorn lunar eclipse from June 26, 2010. Themes, issues, conversations and people that were prominent in your life then will come back around. Important disclosures are probable — more background, more brutal honesty, more data that changes everything. This influence is especially active December 1-18 (5th-15th being the hottest) and January 13-21.

Mercury is also passing over the degree of the Gemini lunar eclipse that’s happening on the solstice, December 21. He’ll activate that point by January 13th and 14th, so watch for more to be revealed at that time about this season’s holiday sagas.

Real-Life Experiences
In the first day of this Mercury retrograde, my electric tea kettle broke, the controller went out for the blower of the pellet stove that heats my home, and my intended route home from an event was blocked by the aftermath of a multi-car collision in an intersection (including a fire truck, two ambulances and multiple police cars, all with flashing lights). This one’s going to be a doozy. Feel free to share your own experiences and questions. Plan ahead; take your time; and keep breathing!

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