Retrograde Planets: What to do?

Published by chris on

In the previous post, I outlined a few ways in which a retrograde planet might affect someone personally:

  1. the person is heavily ruled by the planet that is retrograde
  2. the person is in a planetary period ruled by the retrograde planet
  3. the retrograde planet is aspecting a person’s chart directly
So what happens when there’s a retrograde and life must go on? The washing machine breaks, and you have 4 kids at home and no laundromat nearby. The lawn mower blows up and your yard is turning into a field of wild flowers. Your boss has scheduled that important conference, conference call, or project deadline during the retrograde period. We can’t just stop in our tracks until the retrograde cycle is over.
Let’s take Mercury retrograde as an example, since it’s the one that most people are familiar with, and the one that happens most often (it also “conveniently” rules many of the things that make our daily lives “work”).
A friend recently replied to the news that Mercury is now stationary retrograde by posting that she has a new business set to open a few days before Mercury goes direct again (surprise!). I don’t know what kind of business it is, but all businesses that are involved in Merchanting are ruled by Mercury (you can even see the similarity in the words Mercury and Merchant). Does this retrograde spell automatic doom for the business? No! While it’s not the ideal astrological situation under which to open a new business, there are some things that can help a great deal here.
On the day of the Grand Opening, one can pick a time that minimizes the Mercury influence in the chart. Now if Mercury were in really good shape (in Gemini, Virgo, or another Air Sign), one would want to maximize its effects for merchants. But here’s a trick for minimizing any damage that he might do. Construct the chart for the opening time of the business so that Mercury does not rule any houses in the chart that are significant to the business. This requires a good knowledge of the houses in a chart and what the mean, and how they might relate to one another, which is beyond the scope of this post. But I’ll spell it out a bit more by way of example.
Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo. So these signs in the chart of the Grand Opening should be on the cusps of houses that have nothing to do with what the business is about. Here are the houses that will generally be important to any business:
  • 1st house (aka Ascendant or Rising Sign) rules the actual business and the life and health of the company
  • 2nd house rules the money that the business makes through its own efforts, and any assets that could be liquidated quickly (for example, not real estate or stocks)
  • 10th house rules the reputation or fame of the business (think publicity)
  • 7th house rules clients
  • 6th house rules employees
There may be other important houses involved, but without knowing more detail, it’s impossible to guess. So we want to pick a time of day when neither Gemini nor Virgo is on the cusp of any of these houses. Also, we want to make sure that the Mercury retrograde is not in any of these houses.
The good news for my friend is that there are a number of realistic times during that day where Mercury is not in control of these places. At 9-10 am, for example (at her location), Gemini is on the 12th house cusp (secret enemies, isolation). So having the 12th house ruler (Mercury) in really bad shape (retrograde) is a good thing! Also at that time, Virgo is on the 4th house cusp. The 4th house is the land; so unless she (and/or any of her business partners) own the land for the new business, this is not a serious issue. Also during this time, Mercury itself is passing from the 12th house into the 11th house. By 11 am, however, that Mercury retrograde is in the 10th house of the chart (reputation, fame, publicity), so I would definitely avoid opening between about 10:30-1pm. And then as Gemini and Virgo move around the houses, they may fall onto places where you don’t want them. For example, by 1pm, Virgo is on the 2nd house – money, which would not be a good thing.
So this is how you might avoid potential disaster during a retrograde cycle. Especially with new businesses, you should do everything possible to keep your hard-earned investment money and make it grow.
Disclaimer: there are other things in electing a time like this. Other planets, signs, and houses, and especially the Moon will play a significant role. And just because the Mercury retrograde does not rule any of these significant houses in the chart, that does not mean that they are automatically in good shape; one must take many factors into account. But this should give you an idea of how to go through the astrological “back door” when it’s necessary.
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Christopher Warnock, Esq · 2010-05-02 at 10:36

Finally, some good traditional sense about retrograde planets! If Mercury retrograde was so terrible and powerful wouldn't the entire Internet, all computers and all communications shut down then? How is it that some people have their best contracts, communications and business set ups under Mercury retrograde? Guess it isn't as simple as moderns would like to think.

Chris LaFond · 2010-05-10 at 14:18

Thanks, Christopher. I often like to quote Bob Zoller when he says "Ze old vays are ze good vays" 🙂

It baffles me that in the "age of reason", modern astrologers are so uncritical when reading modern-based astrological literature.

Here We Go Again – Christopher A. LaFond, Professional Astrologer · 2020-01-18 at 15:05

[…] We could extend this list logically to modern areas that are developments and newer versions of older things. For example, Printers refers to the people but by extension to modern printing machines (since Mercury also rules inventions and writing). Given Mercury’s rulership of Writing, Logic, Inventions (etc.), computers are clearly a Mercury-ruled area.(Note that “Communications” is not an area that is listed among the nine classical authors that Lehman surveys, yet somehow this is the first thing that we often think of when we think of Mercury retrograde. A few authors gave rulership of Messengers to Mercury, but not universally; others gave it to the Moon, and “Messages” was given to the Moon, or to the 3rd or 5th houses in a chart [depending on what kind of message it is]. This points out the modern astrological tendency to invent rulerships without grounding them in the Tradition.)Now while the classical authors don’t delineate Mercury retrograde specifically (other than to delineate Mercury debilitated by any means), Bonatti (and others) refer to retrogrades in terms of  complications, distresses, defects, destruction, disagreement, loss, lack, reversals, etc. So a logical conclusion might be that there would be setbacks of these types in these Mercury-ruled areas. But not automatically; the “right” (wrong?) connections must be made. […]

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