Misconceptions in modern astrology and Mercury retrograde. How to make the best of this misunderstood period?

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In modern astrology, Mercury retrograde is handled quite plainly. Meaning, it is mostly considered an annoying occurrence that creates havoc and problems for us down here on earth. I’m generalizing and aware of this but this is the mainstream understanding of it.

And although true to some extent, this requires much deeper analysis than “Oh my God it’s Mercury retrograde, all is going to shits!”

What do we need to do to determine the quality of the period for the individual?

First, we need to analyze the quality of Mercury in the natal chart. Starting off by sign, then the house. If we have established that we need to look even deeper. Is Mercury dignified, does it have strength from the perspective of more “ancient astrology”? By rulership, exaltation, triplicity, term or face?

Last, but definitely not least, we need to look at the natal aspects. If Mercury has more positive aspects (sextiles and trines, we can add minor aspects as well) then the individual will have a much easier time during the Green Trickster’s closeness to our planet earth.

And on the contrary, if the person has more difficult aspects (squares, oppositions, etc) the individual will face more challenges. External and internal, depending on the aspects.

For bonus points, You can also look at transiting planets and their aspects to natal Mercury.

All of this will determine the quality of the native in question. If Mercury is dignified but has difficult aspects, it will be a so and so period. A period with challenges but the person will most likely deal with them quite nicely. So on and so forth. If more harmonious aspects, generally a more enjoyable time.

To add to this, if the person has Mercury retrograde natally, they are more likely to “thrive” or won’t be so annoyed by the influence. They are used to it, or well versed in using the energy.

This all means that there is much more than discussed in mainstream modern astrology to determining the overall quality of the period from a personal perspective.

What about the general influences?

It is important to remember here that Mercury rules business activities, marketplaces, information, intellectual activities, and thinking.

During this time, if used properly and with awareness, Mercury actually allows us to achieve a lot.

What does this mean in practical terms?

Lots of information and ideas (Mercury rules those as well) will reach us during the period (especially during the shadow period approximately 1–3 weeks before the actual retrograde, for me it’s usually 3 weeks but I have quite a prominent Mercury in my chart). What we do with those ideas and information is up to us.

And yes, we can get clues from the strength of Mercury in the natal chart and where it is overall (what sign and what aspects, terms, etc currently during the period) but it is still up to us to use the energy of Mercury.

How to use it then?

Great time for intellectual activities that mostly use the left brain. Although it feels like it’s on overdrive at times, if gradually worked with daily, the retrograde period is made for researching, thinking, writing, creating and finishing courses, developing and refining ideas, programming, inventing, creating marketing campaigns, and preparing media projects, learning new skills or improving old ones, digging deep and getting to the bottom of things, fixing problems, etc.

A gentle reminder that it usually requires more effort, and it’s easier to get frustrated because of the repetitive nature of the period. Although again, it is in those repetitive actions where mastery is born.

Use this period wisely, it has tremendous potential.

Ian Altosaar

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