What to do on Mercury Retrograde

The very first thing you can do on a Mercury cycle is treat big statements and life-changing news as questionable. This may not be the whole story, or the end of the story!

Here’s a checklist of the top ten things to do on Mercury Retrograde, the cycle when travel, computers, transport, the internet, telephones, fax machines and the mail tend to stop us, slow us down, or force changes of plan. Mercury is the Messenger of the Gods.

Here he is, below, with his winged helmet, delivering gossip (or hard news) to a dinner party. The person next to him is reacting, as is the woman opposite. The very first thing you can do on a Mercury cycle is treat big statements and life-changing news as questionable. This may not be the whole story, or the end of the story!

Mercury at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2016 (Adams).
Mercury at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2016 (Adams).



First of all, know the dates of the shadow period (just before and after the actual retrograde). I always publish these online in advance, so you can check. If Mercury will hit a zodiac sign and degree, that matches your own chart, this is the day on which things will be set up – only to come unstuck later, when Mercury goes back over that same sign and degree. Knowing this will help you isolate the issue and the days. For example, if you were born with a planet at 1 Aquarius and you can see that Mercury will hit 1 Aquarius three times in a few weeks (and you know that Aquarius rules your friends) then be really careful about making plans with friends near each date, as you’ll hit delays or reversals.


Treat the entire period including the start/end shadows as time to rehearse. Sketch and plan. Leave things open and flexible. The exact area of your life where you should do this, will be described by the sign Mercury is in, in relation to your horoscope. I give you this information on the website. If you are a Gemini and Mercury is in Aquarius, for example, as he was in January 2016, the issue for you would have been about travel, foreign people and places, publishing, academia, education – the big picture.


Be cautious with Mercury people. Journalists, editors, publishers, news readers, couriers, postmen/postwomen, computer repair experts, Information Technology professionals and so on. They may change their story later, or even be lying to you. It does happen.


This is a great time to go over old ground. To review your own past. To file. To peruse the last 6-12 months to see if there’s anything you missed, that you could use – or correct.


If you get a Mercury Retrograde at sales time, or during an auction for a house or apartment, or during business negotiations – be aware that the price may change. This also applies to the sharemarkets. As I write this, the Chinese economy is wildly influencing world sharemarkets in January 2016. As an astrologer, I know it ain’t going to last. If you really, seriously, know what you’re doing with Wall Street, you can actually gain from flux at this time!

Mercury's winged sandals at Liberty in London, 2016 (Adams).
Mercury’s winged sandals at Liberty in London, 2016 (Adams).


The Titanic sank on Mercury Retrograde, it’s true. And the negotiations to prevent World War Two failed. Should that make you paranoid about this notorious cycle, though? Absolutely not. You will only have a serious issue with Mercury Retrograde if this planet hits the exact same sign and degree as something else in your chart – and even then, it will only de-rail you if this chart placement has tough patterns with other factors.


Always put ‘re’ in front of everything on Retrograde cycles with Mercury. Rehearse, review, rethink. Remodel, reshape, reconvene. Most of all, though, rehearse! Give yourself the luxury of time and space for mistakes – the creative process.


Be aware of the enormous potential for retractions at this time and also product recall. It is also time for refunds. If you work in retail this will directly affect you. If you work in media this will also affect you. What is ‘news’ on Mercury Retrograde is often not news at all, later on. What is ‘sold’ on Mercury Retrograde can often be returned later.


Use your common sense and have Plan B or Plan C if you are doing Mercurial things on this cycle! This means the train, the bus, the plane, the motorbike, the car or the bicycle. I always turn up early to airports or train stations on this cycle because I know that there will be a bus replacement service or the Fat Controllers who run the Thomas the Tank Engine British rail services will have made overnight decisions to change a schedule.


Most of all, remember the odds of extreme weather (extreme heat or cold, flooding, snow, storms, wildfires and bushfires) increases on Mercury Retrograde. It makes sense when you think about it. What is the one factor that could stop the mail, bring down the electricity (and thus the computers), give people colds (time off work means chaos for other people), interfere with sleep patterns (so we become forgetful), and all the rest? It’s the weather. If you go back to the ancient picture of Mercury with his winged helmet and sandals, flying across the sky, you can quickly see how floods of rain, snowstorms or extremely hot temperatures could ruin his wings. Have Plan B. Be insured. Be sensible. Be safe!

Mercury. The Winged Messenger (Adams).
Mercury. The Greek Hermes. The Winged Messenger (Adams).

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