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Misunderstood Mercury Retrograde
by Mark Dodich
Mark Dodich

People often groan when their astrologer tells them that Mercury is about to turn retrograde. The intent of this article is to help you use this highly potent mental energy to enhance your life.

Mercury represents communications, logic, transportation, quick trips, siblings, short classes, and mental concentration. The groans come because these areas of your life are likely to be disrupted when Mercury appears to move backwards. Retrograde direction is simply an optical illusion occurring when a planet is in a specific angle in relation to the Sun and Earth. It feels like the momentary disorientation you experience when riding on a train, and another train speedily passes you going in the same direction.

If you want to help your skeptical friends see the usefulness of astrology, have them watch the events of their life and world events in the news. Although Mercury is retrograde between Nov. 4-24, you will often see communication breakdowns two weeks before and after the cycle. Watch for postponements, mental errors, miscommunications, lost luggage at airports, delayed flights, and traffic jams.

Mercury retrograde gives you an opportunity to focus your energies on your ideas. Think about how you can take your grand projects into the world. Although there are exceptions, the general rule is to work behind the scenes. Planning for the future is usually better than taking bold actions.

The soul lesson of Mercury retrograde is to remind you that there is a bigger plan for your life. You remember that by releasing the need to control the events of your life, you are opening yourself to miracles that you may never have dreamed possible.

The best activities during Mercury retrograde include cleaning your desk, balancing your checkbook, preparing for projects that are weeks or months away, returning phone calls and writing letters that you have been putting off, making a business plan, updating your resume, and writing your book.

Basically, attend to any mental details that need attention. Remember to make your projects flexible and to schedule extra time between appointments. If you will be flying before Thanksgiving, pack a book and toothbrush in your carry-on luggage.

More than anything, release your need to manipulate the Universe. Invest time by re-establishing your connection to the quiet place within. Open your mind to new possibilities. Mercury retrograde is an opportunity to catch up on ideas and people that are near and dear to your heart.

November's Mercury retrograde cycle begins in the optimistic and adventurous sign of Sagittarius on the 4th, and ends in the private and intense sign of Scorpio on the 24th. An astrology chart cast for this Mercury retrograde indicates a need to seek freedom while working within the boundaries of your life situation. You are encouraged to come up with ideas that will stretch your current life activities to new levels, without throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. In the Pacific NW, it is a cycle of finding creative ways to heal and serve. Ideas and activities from late August and early September 1999 may present themselves for constructive attention.

Read your Sun sign and your Ascendant to get a hint about the areas of your life in need of reorganization during November:

Aries: Travel plans, releasing emotional hurts, and understanding the values of other people are areas of concentration.
Taurus: Issues of partnership, commitment, and sharing of mutual resources need attention.
Gemini: Humble work, pets, health, cooperation with others, and simplifying your life are among your tasks.
Cancer: Simplify your needs in romance, children, and creative pursuits. Write your vision.
Leo: Communicate ideas for home and family improvement. Remodel your home, or prepare your computer for Y2K.
Virgo: Write, plan to teach or take a class, backup your computer files, and sort your file cabinet.
Libra: Handle money and real estate issues. Put your energy into your highest values instead of what you think you should do.
Scorpio: Improve your self-image. Give away old clothes, improve your brochures, and get into the sauna for self-purification.
Sagittarius: Plan some extra time alone during this cycle, either in the woods or in meditation. Explore how your philosophy can be taken into the world.
Capricorn: Attend a social or business networking activity. Shake hands and make plans to work together in the future.
Aquarius: Organize your office and enhance your public image. Prepare to remind the world about who you are. Offer win-win opportunities.
Pisces: Travel plans, education, and philosophical pursuits are all areas that need attention.

For all zodiac signs, remember that Mercury retrograde is a time to be flexible. While it is important to plan for the future, it is equally important to allow space for miracles to enter. Step out of the rat race of life and make room for those ideas that speak to your heart. Instead of groaning when you hear that Mercury is about to turn retrograde, you can now recognize that this is an opportunity to prepare for a higher level of self-expression.

Mark Dodich has been a professional astrologer, specializing in spiritual purpose and relocation, since 1980. He is past president of the Oregon Astrological Association. For a free copy of his newsletter, ASTROMARK, contact him at (503) 252-1558 or visit his weekly Astrology Forecast at