Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun so its orbit is the fastest, taking just 88 days. However, because the Earth doesn't stand still, within one solar year, from the Earth's perspective a Mercury cycle takes 12 months to complete. This means that Mercury moves through the 12 Signs in the Zodiac at roughly the same time as Sun, always either in the same Sign as the Sun is in or the Sign before or after, but never more than 28 degrees away. It order for the Earth and Mercury's cycles to seemingly coincide, Mercury turns retrograde (or appears to from Earth's perspective) 3 times a year.
Mercury is ruled by the god Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods and rules the mind and communication, in fact all the things we do in our day to day life. Mercury rules the work you do on the computer, it rules how you get to work, what you do when you get there, all those mundane happenings and goings on in your life that are regulated by mental tasks and reasoning. Mercury rules the conversations you have and the way you communicate with others, as well as your ability to approach things in a smart, intelligent and astute way. It is all the things that you use your mind and a sense of logic for that are Mercury's domain. Mercury highlights communication, writing, literature, short journeys, study, contracts, commerce and technology. In short everything that involves communication, transportation, technology or the brain. However Mercury doesn't rule the subconscious part of the mind, nor our emotions, intuition or imagination, which are far too vague for smart and savvy Mercury.
When Mercury is in a particular part of our chart, this is where you are naturally smarter, you're able to process information quicker, communicate effectively and your mental faculties will be sharp. How useful would it be then to know when Mercury is going to be in your career sector, your relationship or your financial sector? Wouldn't it help going into the bank for a loan to have Mercury in the area of your chart that rules financial lending and borrowing, ensuring that you're presenting your case in the best way? Imagine applying for a job when Mercury was in your career or work sector? Well you don't have to imagine, because through your daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes, you'll know exactly where he is, at any given time.
Three times a year Mercury moves into retrograde motion. This is an optical illusion, for while from our perspective on Earth it looks like Mercury is in reverse motion, it isn't. From Earth, if you looked into the sky night after night, you'd see that there are times when Mercury does indeed appear to move backwards. All planets, except the Sun and Moon have retrograde periods, but not the 3 times a year that Mercury retrogrades. As with the retrograde periods of the other planets, this is a time to go back over old ground, maybe even get a second chance at things that have passed you by, an opportunity to hit the rewind button. It is a time when you look back, not forward, when it comes to the influence of a planet in retrograde motion.
While that is still true with a Mercury retrograde period, there is another dimension. During a Mercury retrograde period there is an increased chance of communication breakdowns and misunderstandings, as well as mistakes and small accidents caused by rushing. We miss appointments, we get stuck in traffic jams, we loose files on the computer. It has been called 'Mercury Madness' or 'Mercury Mayhem' and that's what it can be if you don't know how to play it. The whole essence of a Mercury Retrograde period is to get us to slow down. If Mercury is in retrograde motion, before you send that email off, re read it. It's less likely to go to the wrong person if you take your time. For a Mercury retrograde period is all about slowing down, giving unsaid words a voice and reconnecting to the past. Getting stuck in traffic is your chance is literally slow down, take a breath and slow the pace down.
But it's not about avoiding them mistakes, delays and hold ups, it's about knowing how to use them. If you expect delays, you won't be uptight or even phased. These are times when getting stuck in a traffic jam can be used as a time to do a little thinking. Use it to your advantage. You can't avoid a Mercury retrograde period, so make the most of them.