What does it mean when Mercury is in Retrograde?


Every few months, you might hear about Mercury going into retrograde and people claiming it impacts their lives. What does that mean and why do people believe our smallest planet has that kind of influence?

According to the Farmers Almanac, the word “retrograde” comes from the Latin word retrogradus, which translates to “backward step”. When Mercury is in retrograde, it appears to go backward in orbit when viewed from Earth. This optical illusion is called an “apparent retrograde motion”.

Why the superstition around a planet in retrograde? If you read into Astrology, each planet rules a different aspect of our lives. Mercury is said to govern transportation and communication, much like the Greek god it was named for. When the planet is in retrograde, instead of having a positive influence, it is said to cause chaos in everything from losing mail to car accidents.

Although there is no scientific backing for any of the retrograde superstitions, many still choose to be cautious during the three-week duration.

Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2020

  • February 13 – March 9
  • June 17 – July 12
  • October 13 – November 13