Mercury Retrograde and Other Astrological Challenges

By Guest Writer, Stellar Astrologer Cheney Hall



Cheney Hall is a Master Astrologer the link to his blog is:



With the Sun currently transiting through the sign of Libra and one of the main purposes of this energy being to find balance and harmony in relationships and partnerships, it seems like an excellent time to pull out the Cosmic binoculars and look ahead to address something I have been alluding to in several of my recent blogs … that would be what I have named the upcoming “Personal Planet Retrograde Flip Flop” which I will be referring to as PPRFF from this point forward to save some excessive typing !!! … the Universe will be placing each one of us on a steep learning curve in the “school of life” particularly in reference to the way we think and communicate, romance, partnerships and relationships, personal values, finances, and our personal initiative over the next 10 months … this sequence begins on October 1st with Mercury entering its final shadow point for 2013 and concludes with Mars exiting its next retrograde zone on July 21st, 2014 … when Mercury kicks off the PPRFF on October 1st, the Universe will bestow us with the beginning of a personal planet retrograde sequence that goes in the following order – Mercury, Venus, Mercury, Mars then Mercury … these three planets are considered to be the “personal” planets as their energy tends to reveal behavior characteristics that make one unique … the Sun and Moon are also in this group but they never go retrograde … the following is a general idea of the timing of their retrograde periods during the PPRFF … each retrograde period will be addressed in more detail later as they actually begin … 


To start with, every planet, no matter which one that is involved in a retrograde journey, goes through a period of influence … it begins with the approaching backward energy making itself apparent, the actual retrograde period where the energy is indeed moving backwards, and then the energy turning back into forward motion as the planet moves back to the point where it began its retrograde period … these point are respectively referred to as :


SHADOW POINT – the planet, still in forward motion, reaches the degree where it will end its upcoming retrograde period


RETROGRADE PERIOD – the degrees and sign, or signs in some cases, where the retrograde takes place


EXIT RETROGRADE ZONE – the degree and sign where the retrograde period began to which the planet has now returned to and is passing over … considered by some astrologers as the planet returning back up to full speed …


Shadow points aren’t always thought of as being that detrimental, but they often will produce some kind of energy or event that appears to foreshadow what the upcoming retrograde period will involve … the retrograde period is the actual time where one should slow down and be careful as to actions being taken especially in regard to which particular area of life the planet, and the sign it is retrograding in, rules or exerts its energy over … if you’ve had a natal chart done then you will get an even better idea as to where this backward energy will present in your life for you to deal with in regards to the house or houses it occurs in, natal planets it aspects, and natal planets the retrograde planet crosses back over … once the retrograde is over the planet has now resumed forward motion and in most cases it is not a problem to proceed with what needs to be addressed in your life, but one just might want to be somewhat more cautious until the planet exits the retrograde zone …

Even though this sequence will cover approximately 10 months, there are no days when one of the personal planets won’t be in a shadow point or moving back in forward motion to exit a retrograde zone, but there will be some days when there will not be a personal planet retrograde … these days are :


10/1 – 10/20

11/11 – 12/20

2/1/2014 – 2/5/2014

5/20/2014 – 6/6/2014

7/2/2014 – 7/15/2014 


After 7/15/2014 there will not be a personal planet retrograde or preparing to take its next retrograde journey until September 14th, 2014 when Mercury enters its shadow point in advance of its final retrograde period for 2014 beginning on October 4th, 2014.

The following is a brief description of the general effects of a Mercury, Venus or Mars retrograde period … as mentioned before, they will be dealt with in more complete detail later as they occur.

MERCURY – Mercury goes retrograde 3 and sometimes 4 times a year … it governs our thinking and how we communicate naturally governing the 3rd house (Gemini) of the horoscope … it also governs the 6th house (Virgo) thus making its retrograde period a time when work and health issues arise especially in regard to the sign or signs it takes its retrograde journey in … as a rule, communications are going to be challenged both to and from others – partnerships and relationships often hit the skids during these periods … it is NOT a good time to make major purchases – especially cars, a big NO-NO – that goes double for USED CARS, computers or anything that involves electronics … purchasing homes can end up producing unforeseen problems and even the contracts can have unexpected difficulties along the way or at closing especially if the closing takes place during the retrograde period …. it is not a good idea to enter into contracts or start new jobs as they will most likely not pan out and end up becoming dead ends … and weddings, well I know it takes a long time to plan a wedding and some of them will just have to go on as planned, but if you can avoid a wedding in a Mercury Retrograde – DO IT !!!


VENUS – Venus goes retrograde roughly every 18 months for a period of about 6 weeks … Venus naturally governs the 2nd house (Taurus) which addresses money, how you earn it and how you spend it, as well as personal values … it also naturally governs the 7th house (Libra) which addresses face-to-face partnerships and relationships … during a transiting Venus retrograde, old lovers or friends may resurface – some hoping to reconnect while others are only in and out for “pass and review” so to speak … relationship issues, both personal and professional/ public and private, come to the forefront thus causing all types of contracts and partnerships to be reconsidered especially if they have become difficult or challenging … this is also a time when our personal values get reconsidered – both material and spiritual – to see if they still make sense or need adjusting somewhere … the main purpose of a Venus retrograde is to reconsider relationship and acquisition needs as these change over time for all of us … it becomes very important during this time to get in touch with ones present values, wants and needs, and to become clear about exactly what you want to attract … it’s NOT a good time to purchase “luxury ” items if you can wait because when Venus stations back into direct motion you might well find yourself thinking “Why did I spend THAT MUCH on something I really didn’t need or want”, or you may simply feel you did not get the anticipated value for what you spent your hard earned money to purchase … often in a Venus retrograde money can become low and scarce and we could also end up having to spend money we hadn’t counted on spending, but in some cases one may end up getting money “coming back” to them from one source or another!!! … it is not usually a good time to begin a new job if you can wait because you may never get the money you expected out of the job, and the job might not pan out down the road for some reason … that being said, unfortunately as a Venus retrograde can indicate the “tightening of the purse strings”, salaries could be cut back or the job may be terminated for one reason or another … we also tend to become a little less sociable and often forget our manners … ABOVE ALL ELSE, weddings are most certainly a huge NO-NO as this is the planet which rules romance, love and affection – do you really want that energy going backwards on the day you say “I Do” ???


MARS – Mars goes retrograde roughly every 22 months for about 9 – 10 weeks … Mars naturally governs the 1st house (Aries) which addresses not only the way we individually project ourselves out into the world but ultimately our desires, drives, ambition and personal energy … during a Mars retrograde we have to evaluate what it is that motivates us and we have to determine if we are on the correct path to achieve our goals, and if we are doing what we should be doing to get there … Mars retrograde periods are time for all of us to adjust our actions and aggressive instincts to ensure that our intent is accomplished … this often includes going back over previous actions and having to redo them or let them go in order to move forward … old resentments and personal issues that haven’t been resolved in the past have a tendency of resurfacing during this period which yields an awareness that the time has come to develop new strategies and approaches for dealing with issues, anger and learning assertiveness … it is often said that during a Mars retrograde we may become somewhat less “warlike” and that our energy can hit a lull to the point where it seems our get up and go truly got up and went !!!!


The following are the actual dates of the upcoming personal planet retrograde periods in case you would like to mark your calendar or make a note in order to be prepared … and for the sake of once again saving excessive typing these are the following letter abbreviations to note the period of the particular retrograde … SP = Shadow Point … RX = Retrograde Period … ERXZ = Exit Retrograde Zone :



SP : 10/1 … 2 degrees Scorpio


RX : 10/21 – 11/10 … 18 – 2 degrees Scorpio


ERXZ : 11/27 … 18 degrees Scorpio 




SP : 11/20 … 13 degrees Capricorn


RX : 12/21 – 1/31/2014 … 28 – 13 degrees Capricorn


ERXZ : 3/4/2014 … 28 degrees Capricorn






SP : 1/12/2014 … 18 degrees Aquarius


RX : 2/6/2014 – 2/28/2014 … 3 degrees Pisces – 18 degrees Aquarius


ERXZ : 3/20/2014 … 3 degrees Pisces






SP : 12/26 … 9 degrees Libra


RX : 3/1/2014 – 5/19/2014 … 27 – 9 degrees Libra


ERXZ : 7/21/2014 … 27 degrees Libra






SP : 5/22/2014 … 24 degrees Gemini


RX : 6/7/2014 – 7/1/2014 … 3 degrees Cancer – 24 degrees Gemini


ERXZ : 7/15/2014 … 3 degrees Cancer


Now you have a basic idea of what to expect over the next 10 month period in regard to the backward motion and resulting influence of these three planets … transiting retrogrades affect everyone because the energy we feel from the retrograde planet is “different” while it is, so to speak, moving backwards … it doesn’t mean it is all doom and gloom and something that should be dreaded … sometimes a retrograde period may come and go with side effects barely noticeable while other times it could prove extremely challenging … but that of course is going to depend on where you are in life and what is going on around you … for those born with any of these planets retrograde in their natal chart, I sometimes have found these clients seem to navigate these often choppy waters with less stress and aggravation … and you have to keep in mind that these particular energies aren’t the only ones producing influential energy down here below … there are always many different energies in play “upstairs” at any given time which results in the universal energy affecting one through transits around their natal chart, progressions to their natal chart, solar returns, lunar returns and a vast array of other cosmic influences which can usually be deciphered for you by an astrologer … 


Though we all will probably experience some kind of effect from the ensuing PPRFF, those that may be more sensitive to it include Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Libra, Gemini and Cancer born as these are the actual signs in which the respective retrograde periods will take place … Gemini, Virgo, Taurus, Libra, and Aries may be equally as sensitive to these retrogrades as these three are your ruling planets : Mercury = Gemini and Virgo, Venus = Taurus and Libra, and Mars = Aries …


Ultimately retrograde periods are simply Universal time outs put in place to slow us down and give us the opportunity to get back in sync with the Universal rhythm thus making them thought of as global wake-up calls … so why try to swim upstream in a raging current … go with the flow – adjust and adapt … and, most importantly, in trying to determine what is going on around you due to planetary energy interplay and influence, and as nothing is set in stone, it is always a good thing to keep in mind a phrase my astrology teacher, Lyn Hammond Gray, used to stress over and over, from the very first day of class : when synthesizing the overall astrological energy at any given moment in time, always remember to consider this possibility – “MODIFIED BY WHAT ???”


“Everything must change … nothing stays the same … everyone must change … no one stays the same … “

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