Retrograde 1: February 23, 2013 at 9:41 a.m. GMT, 4:41 a.m. Eastern, 3:41 a.m. Central, 2:41 a.m. Mountain, 1:41 a.m. Pacific
Stations Direct: March 17, 2013 at 8:03 p.m. GMT, 4:03 p.m. Eastern, 3:30 p.m. Central, 2:30 p.m. Mountain, 1:30 p.m. Pacific
Retrograde 2: June 26, 2013 at 1:07 p.m. GMT, 9:07 a.m. Eastern, 8:07 a.m. Central, 7:07 a.m. Mountain, 6:07 a.m. Pacific
Stations Direct: July 20, 2013 at 6:22 p.m. GMT, 2:22 p.m. Eastern, 1:22 p.m. Central, 12:22 p.m. Mountain, 11:22 a.m. Pacific
Retrograde 3: October 21, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. GMT, 6:29 a.m. Eastern, 5:29 a.m. Central, 4:29 a.m. Mountain, 3:29 a.m. Pacific
Stations Direct: November 10, 2013 at 9:12 p.m. GMT, 4:12 p.m. Eastern, 3:12 p.m. Central, 2:12 p.m. Mountain, 1:12 p.m. Pacific
The planet Mercury is retrograde about three times a year for three weeks per span. Mercury races past the part of its orbit that is closer to the earth and begins to travel on to the further side of the sun, and from our perspective, during that time, moves in the opposite direction as the earth. By Earth’s sight against the sky Mercury seems to move forward, then backwards, then forward again as it returns to pass the earth again in a three week cycle.
As seen from Earth, all the planets appear to periodically switch direction as they cross the sky. Though all stars and planets appear to move from east to west on a nightly basis in response to the rotation of Earth, the outer planets generally drift slowly eastward relative to the stars. This motion is normal for the planets, and so is considered direct motion. However, since Earth completes its orbit in a shorter period of time than the planets outside its orbit, it periodically overtakes them, like a faster car on a multi-lane highway. When this occurs, the planet being passed will first appear to stop its eastward drift, and then drift back toward the west. Then, as Earth swings past the planet in its orbit, it appears to resume its normal motion west to east. Inner planets Venus and Mercury appear to move in retrograde in a similar mechanism, but as they can never be in opposition to the Sun as seen from Earth, their retrograde cycles are tied to their lower conjunctions with the Sun. Asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects (including Pluto) also exhibit apparent retrogradation.
At certain points on Mercury’s surface, an observer would be able to see the Sun rise part way, then reverse and set before rising again, all within the same Mercurian day. This apparent retrograde motion of the Sun occurs because, from approximately four Earth days before perihelion until approximately four Earth days after it, Mercury’s angular orbital speed exceeds its angular rotational velocity. Mercury’s elliptical orbit is farther from circular than that of any other planet in our solar system, resulting in a substantially higher orbital speed near perihelion.
What To Expect
In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially those who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, consultants, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, salespeople, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves. Mercury also has an occult side, so healing, astrology and the transmission of spiritual knowledge are also in his area.
Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry.
It is not exactly wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is likely that such decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!