Mercury Retrograde: It’s Not What We Think.

Via Saraswati J.
on Feb 3, 2014
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Retrograde Mercury has a bad rap.

Many astrologers like to tell us that life goes a bit haywire when Mercury assumes a “backward” motion in the sky. A lot of emphasis is put on not starting new things, understanding that communication will be “off” and that we are all entitled to blame things not running smoothly on retrograde Mercury.

Contrary to these popular beliefs, it isn’t quite that easy to explain. I have found that most of these interpretations come from Western astrologers using a Tropical system, but that the Jyotish (Sidereal) approach differs quite a bit. My personal experience has shown that retrograde Mercury can be a gift in fact. I look forward to retrograde cycles for many reasons.

We know that retrograde planets are seemingly moving in reverse. (Seemingly, because the planet only appears to be moving backwards due to the planets’ elliptical orbit and this is only in relation to our view from the Earth not that the planet is actually moving backward).

Retrograde planets are moving against the forward flow and forward momentum of the other planets. Rahu and Ketu are always moving in retrograde motion and these lunar nodes show us where our past karmic cleanup is being directed. In a similar way, retrograde planets direct our focus, or re-direct our focus in essence.

They become stronger as a result and increase the indication of the planet and our desires as a result. An exalted planet that goes retrograde becomes nica (debilitated) while a debilitated planet when retrograde will become uccha (exalted). Obviously there is great power in the retrograde motion, but perhaps dire predictions should be tamed, as great benefits can also result from this movement as well.

I look forward to retrograde cycles. I almost get giddy about it in fact! Have you ever wished for a delete button on life? Or a rewind option? Have you ever wished for a pause button where you could then find a better way to do something? Retrograde planets give us this opportunity. But we must be armed with awareness in order to reap the greatest benefits from these cycles.

Retrograde Mercury offers many wonderful possibilities to us for growth and creativity, for connecting and communicating in new and different ways. Look for the mental body to be retracing old steps, conversations to be revisited, behavioral patterns to come to light and a chance to re-do what is has not been working in your favor. Relationships might come into question and your experience with them, so listen closely as you are being offered an opportunity to make some changes this time.

Financially and with business agendas, we will be in a rewind as well. This is not a bad thing at all. Missed opportunities will be available to us once again and doors will re-open that we thought were closed. Be willing to take a new direction, re-direct your focus, and stay open minded about new possibilities. Retrograde Mercury can be genius for finding new strategies, ingenuity and a gaining a new creative edge. Old accounts and business clients may re-visit you, suddenly making a re-appearance and be in need of your services. This can be a great thing for income and increased business. It can offer us a “return on our investments” whether this comes through monetary means or through past investments of time and effort.

Mercury begins its retrograde motion on February 6th (and returns to direct motion on 2.28). At this time, Mercury will be moving from Aquarius back into Capricorn which will make him sandhi (in weak degrees) for a few days as he gains strength in Capricorn. Then once he begins his direct movement after the 28th, he will retrace the sandhi junction between Capricorn and Aquarius. This needs to be taken into account for this particular cycle and will effect his “strength” but can also offer greater possibility for intuitive insights and inner excavation at the same time.

During this transit he will mostly be in the nakshatra Dhanishta, the shining star ruled by the Vasudevas. The Vasudevas help us with success, prosperity and being seen. The planetary ruler is Mars, while both Capricorn and Aquarius are ruled by Saturn. Thus these planets and their placements/nakshatras will also be part of the dynamics of Mercury’s movements. Jupiter’s transit through Gemini, a sign ruled by Mercury, also throws in his two cents.

Simultaneously, Mars will begin his dance into Libra (on 2.04) which will put him in sandhi as he changes signs and this will effect our experience as well. (Read about Mars and what you can expect from his eight months of forward/backward movements in between Virgo and Libra in my article Mars as the Karma Yogi & His Unusual Transits This Year).

This will be a great time for us to be building and implementing our desires—even if it is only on a mental level—during the next few weeks. Pay attention to your dreams and desires at this time as they offer insights into where to put your focus and attention. Dream big and write these desires down, making a more solid contract with the universe.

The planets begin a complicated and intricate weaving of multiple forward and backward movements simultaneously in the coming weeks and months. We can be certain that much will be offered to us in regard to re-visiting our past actions and experiences, while giving us opportunities to do things differently at the same time.

Mercury’s retrograde motion which begins this week is an opportunity for revisiting our goals and desires, finding new, more innovative ways for accomplishing our visions and making them a reality.

When chaos enters, it can be an opportunity for us to hit the pause button on our lives and to find a different, more life supporting option for ourselves.

A lesson to be learned; likely a big one since it has re-appeared.

Stay alert and see these calamities as opportunities for growth. Some of us will be surprised with monetary and relational gifts; and depending on your individual chart, this Mercury cycle can bring great benefits and favors. Be alert to the changes in your self and strive for more mental balance.

Follow my transit reports, horoscopes and daily Moon Mind posts in order to help your Self-tracking efforts as well as my Creative Engagement Activities—a jyotish inspired take on Expressive Art Therapy.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise



About Saraswati J.

Saraswati J. is a Jyotish Coach and Consultant, bridging ancient Jyotish wisdom with Embodiment and Expressive Art Therapy resources. Her Jyotish work is especially well suited to the extra sensitive artists, mystics and healers—and those who need insights for their dharmic path and personal transformation process. Check out her website and find her on Facebook. You can join her newsletter for special astrological insights or register for her weekly Jyotish Basics classes for an extra dose of healing wisdom. Additionally, she creates unique adornments with the urban goddess in mind. Check out her jewelry at Swati Jr* Jewelry and also on Facebook.


15 Responses to “Mercury Retrograde: It’s Not What We Think.”

  1. Amy says:

    Sounds like an opportunity for personal growth and healing.

  2. swati jr* says:

    Indeed! As with anything, a bit of insight can assist with this process. One of the many reasons I love jyotish! Be well,


  3. Adrienne says:

    Thanks for this. I usually feel uneasy during the periods of Mercury Retrograde. This shift in perspective will likely help me out in the coming weeks.

  4. Mariana says:

    Love the positive insight on this. I'm coming to learn that Mercury Retrograde, for me, can make me feel a bit off but it usually kicks up dust in areas that need to be noticed by me and I may have not been (or trying not to) paying attention.

  5. swati jr* says:

    So glad my article was helpful Adrienne! I hope this helps re-frame the retrograde cycle for you.
    Be well,


  6. swati jr* says:

    Very good self tracking Mariana. This is not a "bad" thing at all and actually fortuitous it sounds like. Listen carefully and pay attention for the messages. Also, you may be surprised what other types of positivity comes to you that is "out of the norm". 😉

  7. Sharita Star says:

    Check your signs on this one. Mercury starts Rx on 06 Feb at 03 degrees PISCES, and will back track to 18 degrees Aquarius. Venus was just in Retrograde alert in Capricorn, and her Shadow completes 04 March. This one is a tricky passage is a trickier one under Mars Approach to Rx, and her shadow- three inner planets asking for the reflective feel. Great information otherwise across the board. =)

  8. swati jr* says:

    Sharita. I am a Vedic astrologer. My article refers to the Sidereal approach, not the Tropical (Western) system. 🙂

  9. "Dream big and write these desires down, making a more solid contract with the universe." love this. thank you for the insight!

  10. Sharon says:

    I too love Mercury in retrograde – it's such a great time for doing anything retrospective, like taxes or clearing out file clutter. But I had not thought of it as a chance, as you say, for missed opportunities to reemerge, or doors that were closed to re-open. It certainly feels like that now. Thanks for the new insight!

  11. swati jr* says:

    So glad this feels meaningful to you Kate! Enjoy.

  12. swati jr* says:

    I agree Sharon. I notice my natural inclination to "clean things up" at this time that previously had been lost in the shuffle. Retrograde periods (and the specific planetary inclination) provide us with opportunities. What we choose to do with these opportunities is up to us! 😉

  13. Chantel says:

    I'm extraordinarily sensitive to Mercury as a whole – I'm also a terribly sensitive individual. I tend to encourage myself to slow down during retrograde periods to allow myself the opportunity to think through things more thoroughly where I would allow my instincts and impulsiveness guide me at other times. While I have had some serious moments as well – understanding my own relationship to this cycle has given me another way to examine my own reactions to these skerfuffles.

    I thank you for this post because I have never had anyone address retrograde for me in a more positive light. I really need positive messages as I go through a particularly difficult time in my life. Proves that I don't know everything yet.

  14. swati says:

    Glad to help Chantel. Jyotish should be providing a service of hope and clarity. Nothing is all good, nor all bad in our existence- especially retrograde Mercury. Be wary of those who say otherwise.

  15. Vishal Sathyan says:

    Very great information. But, there is something false in this article. It is that the retrograde planet, if in exalted sign, behaves like debilitated and vice versa. But, the truth is that, the planet, EVEN IF IT IS DEBILITATED, acts like an exalted planet when it is retrograde, and thus the exalted retrograde planet becomes more powerful.