Mercury Retrograde – Why Mercury Has A Bad Rep

Mercury Retrograde has many of us gasp in fear. We just know that things will go wrong at the worst time and in bad ways during the time when Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky. BUT, is Mercurys bad rep really justified?


Mercury Retrograde And How A Planet Get’s A Bad Rep

Mercury Retrograde - How a planet gets a bad rep

Image Credits Pieter Weltevrede

Mercury is a fickle planet. It is gender less and changes speed, sometimes moving faster then the Sun, sometimes following behind the Sun. Just like the element Mercury, the planet has a flowing and moving character. It’s qualities are wet and cold and due to its changeable quality it can create positive or negative experiences in your life depending on its placement at the time of your birth.

Mercury is a Merchant planet (find your Dharma Type here), the “prince” being the son of the king of the planets, the Sun.  Mercury is associated with communication, intellect, artistry, media, ability to write, business abilities, speaking abilities and the nature of your character in terms of taking yourself very seriously or being more of a comedian. Mercury is playful and all in all a “likeable” and good natured planet. It is rajasic in nature, cold and moist and influenced by all elements.


Does Mercury really go backwards?

To think that the planets go backwards is a scary thought, don’t you think? Or that planets even come to a standstill. Imagine if the Sun stopped moving? We would be in a whole lot of trouble of apocalyptic dimensions.

When a planet goes retrograde it doesn’t mean that it literally moves backwards. What it means is that it slows down enough to appear to be at a standstill or even moving backwards. Each planet moves at a specific speed and its normal for planets to move faster or slower at any given time, we are talking very slight variations in speed.

For example a fast moving Mercury moves 1.40 degrees per day, whereas a slow moving Mercury moves at a much lower speed of only 0.20 degrees per day.

During a retrograde phase the planet also appears closer to the earth which is what ultimately can affect some of the things in our life we are used to function in a specific pattern or manner.


Mercury has a bad rep for causing havoc with technology and communication.

And isn’t it nice to have someone to blame when your computer keeps crashing right in the middle of the important project you are working on to meet a deadline. Emails getting lost, negotiations going south very quickly, fall-outs with friends and family and oh my goodness let’s not even talk about the big fight you had last night over an autocorrect in your text message.

All jokes aside, the truth is that Mercury changing speed and being closer to us then normal may indeed affect some of these areas. The best way to get around it is to be aware and avoid situations before they can happen.


Is Mercury Retrograde Always Bad?

The other side of the Mercury Retrograde debacle is that for some people it is not so much a challenging time but a positive experience when everything seems to flow just a little easier. For those of us who have Mercury placed in a fortunate way at the time of birth Mercury retrograde can bring relief and ease and positive experiences.

Mercury’s Bad Rep

I’ve been conditioned for many years to get worried around Mercury Retrograde, I was dreading it every time it wa s scheduled to come around. I even bought an iPhone app to keep track of the dreaded MR and would get an alert weeks and days before the world of communication and technology was supposed to fall into utter chaos for three weeks (more like seven if you want to count the shadow phase before and after the event which are said to be just as chaotic as MR itself if not more so).

Truth is after trying hard to find problems and blaming every little thing on poor Mercury slowing down in space I had to finally give up and admit to myself that, while challenges come up for sure and everyone around, I had a jolly good time during Mercury slowed down transit.

I had to stop blaming Mercury’s closeness to us for everything that happened. And honestly, it was oddly liberating to take responsibility for my life once again and not just hand it over and let things go bad simply because they were expected to anyways.


Mercury Retrograde Made Easier

There are always steps you can take to avoid major catastrophe during the Mercury Retrograde period. Some things you may wish to be aware off:

  • Avoid carrying out important conversations over text
  • Don’t purchase any expensive technical equipment during this time
  • Stay away from law suits if possible, and don’t sign any important documents (if you are purchasing a new home you may try and deal with closing dates before or after MC)
  • Choose a different time to negotiate important matters such as asking for a raise
  • Delay your oversees travel if possible, or choose travel dates outside the MC and shadow phases (2-3 weeks before and after MC)
  • Don’t put important documents in the mail
  • … maybe not the best time to tell your spouse you don’t like their cooking


Personal Dharma Mala with Gems for MercuryI’m not making light. Planetary transits and retrogrades have a serious effect on the world, our bodies, our minds. We see it every month with the moon going through her cycles. It’s not an imaginary thing, it’s real and to be taken seriously.

Even though I personally don’t feel the challenges Mercury Retrograde brings as raw as others do I still like to show my respect during this period and pay a little extra attention to this planet. I like to spend more time in the mornings meditating with my personal mantra which happens to be for the planet Mercury and to wear and use my own Dharma Mala (as seen on the left) with extra care, which is heavily loaded with gemstones for the planet Mercury because of it’s placement in my own horoscope.

Awareness goes far and knowing where the planets sit on your life map, your birth chart, will do a great deal to empower you in taking care and help you adjusting to the planetary cycles.


Some resources you may find helpful: 

The Dharma Type self test – find out what your Dharma Type is, gain understanding, and find some tools to help you live your Dharma

Get your own personal Dharma Mala custom made in accordance with your Vedic Birth Chart!

Schedule an appointment for a Vedic Astrology Session here to learn more on how to navigate your life path!


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