What does Mercury retrograde mean?

Mercury is currently retrograde, and in a few weeks it will be back to its normal motion. Mercury governs communications, so during retrograde periods communication on many levels can be disruptive and difficult. Messages don’t get through, people are misunderstood, computer systems fail.

But what does ‘retrograde’ actually mean?

The planets always move in one consistent direction along their path around the Sun. This is called their direct motion.

But things are a little different when the planets are viewed from Earth. From time to time the planets’ apparent motion is inconsistent. Against the starry background, planets can appear to slow down and stop. And after they stop, they can then appear to go backwards, or retrograde – the opposite direction to their usual direct motion.

And then after a period of being retrograde, a planet will slow and stop. And then start moving back to it’s usual direct motion again.

The part where the planet appears to stop is called the planet’s ‘station.’ So a planet can be ‘stationing retrograde’ (stopped and about to go retrograde), or ‘stationing direct’ (stopped and about to go direct).

All this appears to happen because of the geometry and motion of the Earth related to the planets. The planets all actually go in the one direction all the time. But from Earth, they appear not to do so. The Sun and Moon do not appear to go retrograde.

Astrologically, when a planet is retrograde it’s usual energy is blocked or impeded in some way, things appear to go ‘backward.’

Hey! Leave a Reply