Planets are said to turn retrograde when they appear to be moving backwards from our hermes.jpgperspective on earth.  Western astrology studies the motion of the planets from earth, since we are the center of our own universe, and when planets are in retrograde motion there is a tendency to look back over what has been rather than move forward into the future.  This is a necessary part of the process of self-actualization and should not be feared!  Nearly every planet is seen to turn retrograde at one time or another, but the retrograde motion of Mercury is the best known. 

Mercury rules communication, travel over short distances, messages, and the processing of information.  When Mercury is retrograde, about four times a year, there is often (but not always!) disruption in these areas of life.  Negotiations stall and have to be reconsidered, mechanical and communication systems will sometimes fail.  On the other hand, Mercury Rx periods are excellent for re-dos – for going back and perfecting something that has already been completed.  These are also good times for the internal processing of information such as psychological work or self-examination.  
Contracts and agreements entered into while Mercury is retrograde are subject to renegotiation and confusion, so if you must sign anything binding during this period be as careful as possible that all terms are clear and in writing, and fully understood by all parties.  The current negotiation in Congress over the huge financial bailout will give us an opportunity to see this principle at work.
In other Mercury retrograde news, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning texting (Mercury) while driving in California, Condoleeza Rice admitted that she led torture talks (Mercury) in 2002, and North Korea reversed its position on denuclearization talks (Mercury). In addition, Google launched its new Android phone yesterday, perhaps not the best time to release a new gadget.  The Iphone was also launched with Mercury retrograde and while it has been a great success, it also has experienced controversial setbacks such as a rapid price reduction which led to Apple’s being sued by disgruntled fans who stood in line to overpay for their new gadget.  Finally, the new supercollider has been shut down until spring because of electrical problems, 
Mercury will remain retrograde until October 15th. 
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