Each planet orbits the Sun on an elliptical path, so that its distance from the Sun varies regularly from maximum to minimum and back again with each round trip. Astronomers refer to the point of the orbit where the distance is a maximum as the aphelion, and the point where the distance is a minimum as the perihelion.

The closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it travels along its orbit. So, at perihelion (when it is closer to the Sun) a planet is moving faster than at aphelion (when is farther from the Sun). At perihelion Mercury’s orbital speed is 56.6 km/s. At aphelion, half a Mercury year later, it has slowed to 38.7 km/s.

Pic Courtesy- EarthSky

This slowing down process results in the virtual phenomenon that we on our observation from earth call Retrograde.


Mercury goes Retrograde three times every year. As it slows down before the Retrograde period, we call it the Pre-Retrograde period. Mercury starts seeming to move backward at that point in time hence new ventures cannot do well in this period. Then there is the Post-Retrograde when Mercury picks up or gains speed but is still moving slowly enough to cause a slow progress in the projects undertaken. During the Mercury Retrograde period it is best advised not to venture into any new territory and to stay put.

Actually, Mercury keeps going around the Sun, always in the same direction but the speed varies from time to time. Knowing the Mercury retrograde periods can help us to plan our ventures in advance so that they do not go off-track. However, if one wants to revive old ventures and projects after careful thought processes, it can be a very fruitful period. But do think the entire project out and read the fine print carefully.


When Mercury turns retrograde in a water sign it is an opportunity to rethink old habit patterns and emotional responses to life’s challenges.

Mercury retrograde in water is the best time to analyse patterns based on inherited psychological traits. The houses that contain the three water signs tend to present situations in which one has to learn to resist from over reacting to emotional mood swings and anxiety. Hidden and unspoken messages in the environment point towards that which requires attention and often one becomes more sensitive to the core and innermost feelings and emotions.

During this period, the messages sent by the sub conscious mind in form of dreams and abstract happenings take a very strong connection. Dream analysis and journal writing is particularly effective over this time. As is said in all the books of Vedanta and philosophy, not a leaf falls without a cause. So, during this retrograde phase of Mercury in water element, we are meant to carefully observing the events and unspoken processes that occur instinctively and unplanned become aware of emotional issues that have remained unresolved.

Water is an element that preserves. It preserves all things physical and abstract. Memory is a special territory of the water element. All the water signs represent our emotional state and the memories attached to it. In Pisces, it represents the greatest depth of memories and physiological markings whether good or bad whereas in Scorpio it tends to represent the everlasting and embedded memories that tend to become a reason for our character. A point that needs explanation.  A planet in Pisces tell us about those psychological factors that instinctively guide us in life whereas a planet in Scorpio is the one around which events in our life so happen to give our character the form it has evolved to this point.

A person’s emotional needs in relationship with others could also probably use some revising, but only with time will the complex web unfold. Let regression and water activate the feeling and our ability to trust the very reason for our birth on this planet and the karmic connections that we need to fulfill and absolve from become clearer to us. Circumstances the house transited by Mercury so arise that with careful consideration of it we can enhance and make a richer experience of life in general.

Emotional and mental appraisals need to be made objectively. Being direct and honest in relationship is recommended because if one attempts to escape from emotional responsibilities during this time, they surface later with increased complications and problems. The retrograde phase is a period of learning curve and lessons not learnt tend to come back with a stronger force.  Old associations of the past who were instrumental in bringing major life changes emotionally and mentally may surface and require careful observation and attention. But before making that , there is a strong need to self-evaluate. Everyday activities which seem mundane and practical can offset some reappraisal which could later trigger of emotional and spiritual growth. On deep probing one does realise the source of the issue is within rather than without. These issues are likely to keep surfacing at periodic intervals of 3 months when Mercury moves into retrograde motion in the water sign for the next two years to come.

As we all have come to this planet to resolve our Karmas by way of relationships,(before we make the journey back home) this retrograde phase is the best for introspection for making good the maelstrom of emotions we created in the very first place.

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