Mercury Retrograde: Oct 4 to 25th - 7 Tips to Avoid Frustration & Disaster

It's time to prepare yourself for the next 3 weeks when Mercury goes retrograde and the world goes haywire with all kinds of communication problems.

Based on my readership and emails received, I can tell you that millions of people, all over the world have become believers in the cosmic event known as: Mercury Retrograde. If you're still a die-hard skeptic, I have a challenge for you. Over the next 3 weeks, write down on your calendar each time a communication problem or equipment failure occurs. Make sure to include on your list: the mistakes that occurred because your communications weren't clear, the arguments that resulted from simple misunderstandings, the plans that were cancelled at the last moment and the major delays you experienced, as well as the items you unexplainably lost.

If you add up all these incidents on October 26, you may have an epiphany that will cause you to put your hand over your mouth and exclaim, "Oh my God, so that's why the last 3 weeks have been so crazy!" Remember: today's believers were yesterday's skeptics. Soon you'll be a member of the MR club. You just don't know it, yet.

Have You Heard About the "Shadow Period?"

It's enjoyable writing about the retrograde period but always a challenge to come up with a new angle on this familiar topic. So, let's discuss what is known as the "shadow period." The shadow period refers to the seven days before Mercury retrograde begins and the seven days after Mercury retrograde ends, when you're likely to experience the effects of the retrograde even before it formally begins and even after it officially ends. Essentially, the shadow period extends the period of the retrograde to a total of five weeks.

Therefore, if you have any extremely important decisions to make that can be delayed outside of the shadow period, you might consider doing so. Otherwise, be sure to pay strict attention to the 3-week retrograde period.

What Is Mercury Retrograde?

For those unfamiliar with the cosmic event called Mercury Retrograde, here's what you need to know. The planets in the cosmos exert a unique influence on us, and the world we live in, much the same way at the Moon affects the tides. The planet Mercury rules our intelligence, mind, memory and, all types of communication ranging from talking and texting to writing. It also affects our self-expression, and communication style. In a more public sense, it rules commerce, computers, telephones, transportation and air travel.

How Mercury functions in a person's birth chart explains a great deal about how they think, formulate ideas and communicate them. It indicates how someone makes sense of the everyday world they live in. During these three weeks when Mercury is retrograde, one's mental faculties and communication skills are not functioning well; in fact they seem to mal-function.

When this unique event happens (3-4 times a year), communications of all types go awry, haywire, or even crazy! Unexpectedly, normal communication becomes unreliable, filled with misinformation where important data is missing or misunderstood. The passage of information from one person to the other seems to be unintentionally cloudy or confusing in some way.

Why would this be the case? The answer becomes clear when you understand that Mercury rules the mind, mental clarity, talking, self-expression and overall communication. During the Retrograde period, Mercury, which rules a person's intellectual, communication and mental processes - are less acute. They become dull, careless, mistake-prone and forgetful.

The result is that any action one takes or decision one makes during the retrograde don't have the intended result. In fact, they often fail or seem sabotaged. As a result they will have to be re-done or restructured in some way when the Retrograde period ends and Mercury goes direct. Meanwhile, here are some tips to help you avoid the typical problems that occur during Mercury retrograde.

7 Tips to Avoid Frustration and Disaster

1. Watch Out for Accidents. Because people aren't thinking or in a hurry, there's a higher propensity for accidents to occur out of the ordinary. Over these three weeks, be mindful of circumstances where you're likely to be careless because you're under stress or engaged in risk-taking activities. During the retrograde you'll often read about athletes who have weird accidents or unexpected injuries.

2. Avoid Arguing or Fighting. That means even if you love to debate - do your best impression of Mahatma Gandhi during the retrograde. Don't argue with anyone in your day-to-day life, especially, lovers, friends, co-workers or your boss. No matter how well you normally communicate with these people, you'll find yourself misspeaking, saying the wrong thing and having disagreements you don't normally have. There is a very high propensity for mutual misunderstanding. Avoid being critical or to trying to push your own agenda. This is a time to listen to those you interact with. Be willing to throw out fixed ideas and agree to have an open discussion without trying to reach a final decision on any matter.

3. Delay Buying Boats, Cars, Motorcycles or Bicycles. Since Mercury rules transportation, any driving vehicle you buy is likely to be unreliable in some way; so it's not an ideal time to buy one because it may be a "lemon." Instead, research your favorites, test drive them, and then go home and evaluate your choices. Be ready to make your decision when Mercury goes direct.

4. Minimize Travel. These days, traveling is already filled with built-in hassles and stress. But they are amplified far more during these three weeks. If you can't put certain trips on hold, just be aware that you can expect an unusual amount of last-minute flight cancellations, meeting postponements and long transportation delays. Allow extra time when traveling; make sure your bags are very secure. Take extra precautions, because during this time they're more likely to be lost or stolen. (I bring my bags on the plane for this reason.) Re-confirm your reservations. Be patient and practice acceptance of the fact that inefficiencies are part of the retrograde. Slow down.

5. Don't Purchase Electronic Equipment, especially computers or phones. The planet Mercury rules computers and communication devices such as phones. When it goes retrograde, equipment of all kinds, suddenly do not operate correctly. Your fail-proof computer crashes or you end up buying the "computer from hell" - the one that had a defect when it was made at the factory. If you need to buy equipment, make sure to get a long-term warranty. Expect glitches to occur with any new software you install. Since hard drives can fail more often during this period, make sure to back them up ahead of time.

6. Hold Off Starting a New Project. This is not a fortuitous time to launch a new enterprise; it's a time for considering and evaluating it. While it's a great time to discuss a new idea, it's not a good time to make that "big presentation," that requires the support of others. During the retrograde people may either not understand it or oppose it. Or, you may find out later you left out a vitally important detail that you didn't think of. If your project is adopted, it may either fail or have to be totally restructured at a later date to succeed.

7. Avoid Signing Commitment Agreements. You're likely to skip over important details and regret it later on when you realize what you've forgotten. There's something you don't know that you'll find out when Mercury goes direct. For these reasons, it's a horrible time for negotiating contracts or making decisions. Avoid entering into any agreements or signing any legal documents unless you're prepared to make serious revisions in the future.

The Solution

Wait until Mercury goes direct on October 25, to take action and make important decisions. When that happens, clearer communication will return, important data can again be relied on, and you'll see matters with crystal clear vision. You'll possess important information you didn't know while Mercury was retrograde. This new knowledge will help ensure you're making a correct decision. If you heed this cautionary advice, you'll have less frustration, fewer mistakes and disappointing failures during these three weeks.

If you want to know if you were born with Mercury Retrograde; and, where your personal transits are - to see if they are affecting you, go to the Free Transit Calculator and enter your birth date. Then, read about how each transit is affecting your life in other Huffington Post articles by Larry Schwimmer.

Larry Schwimmer is an astrologer in private practice. For private consultations contact him at: or go to

Read Larry Schwimmer's latest books, What the Hell is Going On in My Life? Using Your Birthdate to Find Answers About Relationships, Career, Money, Sex & Health;and How To Ask For A Raise Without Getting Fired - And 24 Other Techniques For Resolving Conflicts At Work & In Life; and Winning Your Next Promotion In One Year (Or Less!).

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Larry Schwimmer is president of, a San Francisco-based consulting company. The firm uses planetary cycles analysis to counsel individual and corporate clients on picking the "best dates" to make successful decisions of all types: personal, marketing, financial, and political. The firm currently advises a diverse client base that includes politicians, presidents of major corporations and an MLB baseball team. Schwimmer is an internationally known business consultant, life coach and astrologer (with a Fortune 500 M&A background). Visit his website: