Copyright 1999-2002,

Retrogrades Are More Than Meet the Eye

Our planetary neighborhood is such a magical place! As we circle the Sun along with all the other planets, each planet periodically appears to stop and then reverse direction in the sky. This is called “retrograde motion.”

Astronomers are concerned with observing the mechanical movements of the planets. Astrologers, however, delve deeper, studying how planetary movements synchronize with human behavior.

Mercury, the swiftest of all the planets, retrogrades for approximately three weeks every four months. When it changes its apparent direction it feels like you are riding in a speeding car and the driver just slammed on the brakes. You can't help but notice and react. The repetitive retrograde cycle of Mercury is one of the most obvious of all the cosmic patterns.

Machines and Computers Too?

For many of us, it’s a leap from our scientific training to acknowledge that planetary movements really affect our lives. It may even be harder to accept that machines, especially computers, are also affected.

During Mercury retrograde periods, it’s especially important to keep your computer backups current. Think through any software upgrades very carefully, and always keep a path back to the previous version, just in case. Even cars, copiers, telephones and fax machines seem more susceptible to breakdowns and quirky problems during this period.

Do these machines respond to the planets, or is it that we drive a little harder or hit the copier button faster and more often? Before judging this question too quickly, be aware that the Engineering Department at Princeton University has produced some pretty amazing research results showing that human thoughts can and do influence logic in computer chips!

Ancient Lore and Superstitions…

Astrologically, Mercury represents our minds, our thinking process and all aspects of communication. Traditionally, Mercury retrogrades are not the best of times for communication-related activities. Ancient texts warn us not to sign contracts while the Winged Messenger is running backwards in the heavens.

We are advised that communications of all types may go haywire for the entire Mercury retrograde period. Letters can get lost in the mail, phone calls get missed, conversations are misunderstood, travel can be delayed and things generally fall apart at the seams. You may think that this is the way life is all the time, but once you start to track Mercury “retros,” you will see recurring patterns that demonstrate that this ancient lore may actually be true!

A Blast from the Past

As Mercury is appearing to move backward, it’s almost like a whirlpool of time that reverses direction. Of course, time does not move backward, but we are often reminded of things or people from our past. Watch for those phone calls or emails from someone who has fallen out of your life.

Another telling characteristic of a Mercury retrograde is when an old friend, lover or acquaintance returns suddenly into our lives. Coincidences happen that bring something back into your life, even if it was from only a couple of months ago. Time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t reverse. But, if you ‘re looking for a good time to reconnect with someone or something this could be your chance to try again.

In Your Life…

So, watch your communication lines. Pay attention if things seem to be moving too fast. Don’t sign that contract without reading it carefully. Then read it again before signing. Review plans. Revisit completed jobs. Reconsider decisions made. Reorganize your desk or files. Reevaluate your life. You don’t necessarily have to do anything different, just pay attention to how your mind is working and take care of those loose ends that need attention at this time.

Mercury Retrograde: A Modern Look

An Interview with the Messenger



Rick Levine is Co-founder of He has been involved in the technology sector for 30 years. As a Founding Trustee of Kepler College, he is interested in the education of astrologers. As a frequent lecturer at astrology conferences, he teaches about the important relationships between science, astrology and our spiritual traditions. He writes the Daily Horoscope Column for, which is published on,,,, and more. He co-authors (with Jeff Jawer)

Visit the author's website.

Send an email to the author.

For more information about Rick Levine, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Rick Levine:

  • Rick Levine's Blog   8/17/2013
  • Mercury Retrograde: A Modern Look   6/29/2013
  • 2012: Beyond the Mayan Prophecy   11/16/2012
  • Opa Retreat - Marco Island, Florida -- April 22-25, 2004   2/7/2004
  • Winter Solstice Poem   12/19/2003
  • The Gift of the Magi   12/24/2001
  • Astrological Christmas Carols   12/20/2001
  • Solstice 2001   12/17/2001
  • Recent Saturn-Pluto Cycles   11/10/2001
  • The New Global Perspective   10/20/2001
  • Ben Affleck Turns 29   8/20/2001
  • Attack on Kepler College: A Modern Inquisition   5/18/2001
  • A Christmas Poem   12/24/2000
  • ProSig October 1999   10/20/1999
  • Solar Eclipse August 1999   9/1/1999

    Return to Story

    Copyright © 1999-2019, Inc.