Mercury retrograde is coming soon in Libra (September 17th!), bringing our attention to this planetary retrograde after we’ve just ended Venus retrograde, but what about when you have Mercury retrograde in your natal chart? (Edit: We're in Mercury retrograde right now as this is reposted, this was originally from 2015!).
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What is a retrograde planet?
For the newbies, a planet is called retrograde when it appears to be moving backward from our viewpoint here on Earth; it isn't actually moving backward, it only appears that way because of the way the planets move in relation to Earth. If a planet is retrograde when you were born, you have that planet retrograde in your natal chart (a snapshot of the planets and houses at the moment you were born from the location you were born at).
Retrograde energy differs from when the planet is moving in its usual forward motion, and this is especially true of the personal planets - Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The personal planets have a direct impact on our personalities and preferences in life, our habits and who we are, so when any of this trio are retrograde in the natal chart, this can stick out like a sore thumb to the native.
What it means to be a Mercury retrograde native:
Mercury is the planet of communication and how you express yourself and learn, and so those of you born with Mercury retrograde tend to feel very misunderstood. The energy of Mercury retrograde in the natal chart is actually very similar to that of Mercury in the 12th house (and how misunderstood you must be if you have natal Mercury retrograde in your 12th house!). You have difficulty communicating clearly with others, with being heard, with understanding others as well, and with using your mental energy properly. You can be someone who has a ton of mental energy and is far more intelligent than people realize. You just don’t know the right way to show it.
For some of you born with Mercury retrograde, you can feel that you must reject your mental energy and power. You can have so much that it overwhelms you and you don’t know what to do with it, or you receive such negative feedback from people that you feel there must be something wrong with you. Some of you were likely told you had some sort of “learning disability” (especially if your retrograde Mercury is also at a critical degree), or made to feel like you were “stupid”. Let me say right now, THERE IS NOTHING “WRONG” WITH YOUR MIND. It just operates differently from the rest of us.
Natal Mercury retrograde natives can actually have really incredible minds. It’s just hard for the rest of us non-Mercury retrograde natives to understand. There’s a tremendous amount of mental energy and power that can be unlocked with Mercury retrograde in the natal chart. It just usually takes a while to let go of the fear, isolation, or insecurity that accompanies this position.
The insecurity can really kill the Mercury retrograde native. You need to work on developing confidence in your mental abilities, your ideas, your opinions, your words. Growing up feeling misunderstood no doubt caused that insecurity, but it’s a skin you must shed in adulthood, or you get stuck in that insecurity forever.
You can be a quiet person, one who stumbles over their words publicly, or who is unfailingly truthful. You can have a wicked sense of humor because you interpret what you see in the world differently and point out the things that are so ridiculously absurd.
Traditional methods of learning may not be the best thing for you, and you can find unconventional ways of taking in information that might seem weird at first glance, but can have a hint of pure brilliance in them. Artistic and creative outlets can be beneficial to you, especially when young, because they offer the easiest ways to learn something in a nontraditional way that’s still somewhat acceptable by society.
When you can do well as a Mercury retrograde native:
When transit (moving) Mercury is retrograde, this is when you thrive. The rest of us are completely hopeless, and you’re speeding along. This is because the retrograde energy is natural to you, so when Mercury is in his normal forward motion, you’re uncomfortable, but when he’s retrograde, you’re at home.
This is a time when you can make great progress and really get your point across. You should make the most of the times when Mercury is retrograde. You can also work on better understanding the proper ways for you to communicate, express yourself, and learn during Mercury retrograde, so pay close attention to that.
Suggested Reading: Prominent Natal Mercury, Venus, or Mars Retrograde