January 5 - January 25
April 28 - May 22
August 30 - September 22

Remember the shadow phase starts two weeks before and lasts for two weeks after these dates!  This time can be even more difficult than the actual retrograde days! 


Mercury goes retrograde most often, and it's effects can be most irritating.  When it reaches a short distance ahead of the sun three times a year, it seems to move backward from our point of view.  Astrologers compare retrograde motion to the illusion that occurs when one car passes another car traveling at diferent speeds - the second car seems to be moving backward. 

This means that Mercury ruled areas ofy our life - analytical thought processed, communications, scheduling are subject to all types of confusion.  Forewarned is forearmed; be prepared.  People will change their minds.  Communication equipment can break down.  Schedules must change on short notice.  People are late for meetings or don't show up at all.  Traffic is terrible and transportation problems occur.  Major purchases malfunction, don't work, are delivered in the wrong color.  Mail doesn't arrive.  Any new contracts will not work our and will need to be renegotiated. 

We can't put life on hold for nine weeks every year, so we must learn to make this time work for us.  The prefix RE is your key!  Reflect back on life, or the previous months.  Reevaluate, look for deeper insights.  Rest and reward yourself.  This is a good time for a retreat, spiritual work and meditation.  Reorganize your desk, garage; clean out your closets and recycle.  If you vacation, return to a favorite place.  If you must sign contracts do so with a contingency clause to allow for adjustments in the future.

Postpone major purchases or commitments.  Don't get married (unless you are remarrying the same person).  Don't start a business.  Don't rely on others - be sure to have alternatives.  Don't buy anything connected with communication or transportation.  

When Mercury is retrograding through your sign it's effect on your life is intensified.  The sign that Mercury is retrograding in gives an idea of what is in store as well as the sign that is especially challenged.