According to Dena Moore, an ‘intuitive evolutionary astrologer’, retrograde planets in the birth or natal chart are ‘karmic indicators that literally force the person to regress back over time again and again as they struggle to come to terms with what has occurred before…whether in this lifetime, or a prior one’.

Specific to those with Mercury Rx in their charts, Moore writes that, they are ‘likely to have difficulty focusing on the now’ whose ‘entire inner consciousness is indeed different from a person who has a direct Mercury in his or her chart’. This may result in difficulties in relationships, ‘simply because you think differently than [other people] do’. Moore goes as far as to surmise that:

In the past you may have been punished or killed for the thoughts and ideas you brought into the world…ideas that others were not yet ready to accept. This may leave a huge fear of communicating with others for some, while for others it simply makes them more determined to have their ideas acknowledged and heard. Obviously, relationship difficulties may manifest for the individual with Mercury retrograde no matter how they handle the energy. If you are unable to communicate openly without fear or if you push your ideas down other’s throats, that will make for difficult relating. It is something that must be worked on continuously.

Rather than try to verify if this is truly the case (that one might have been killed or punished), I think the point is to work through issues with communication one may have, regardless of whether one has Mercury Rx in their charts or not! This may be harder for those with Mercury Rx in their charts, but I don’t know if it is any less difficult for those with Mercurial aspects that appear to hinder communication, such as Saturn conjunct Mercury or Saturn in the 3rd house or say Mercury in Capricorn? I’ve got Saturn conj. Mercury and I often feel misunderstood……. .

Jan Spiller has a slightly different take on the matter, though not altogether opposed. She writes that people with Mercury Rx in their charts often feel ‘inarticulate’ (as opposed to being inarticulate), take longer to assimilate ideas, and participate in ‘subjective decision-making’. The example she gives, incidentally, is something that recurs with me over and over, even though I do not have a retrograded Mercury in my chart (but I do have Saturn conj. Mercury…):

For example, if a friend says: “Do you want to go to the movie tonight?” The Mercury Retrograde Person’s best bet is to say: “Sounds like a great idea! Let me think about it, and I’ll call you back in 20 minutes”. Then they have the time to get in touch with themselves, see how they authentically feel about going, and then call the friend back: “Gosh- I really appreciate your inviting me, but I just have a sense that it would be better for me to ‘pass’ on the movie tonight.”

Or, if when they get in touch with themselves they realize they would like to go: “Gosh- I’d love to go to the movie with you!” .. and then they’ll have a great time, regardless of what happens externally, because they have decided according to their own inner prompting.

However, if they go without having first taken the time to get in touch with themselves inwardly, they won’t have a nice time even if it’s something they would have normally enjoyed doing.

It’s weird, but that’s exactly how I am, agonising over every social decision, made worse I think by Saturn (conj. Sun in Gemini) wanting to ‘do the right thing’ and not (1) be wishy washy (Decide now! Why take 20 minutes?), (2) feel bad when I do decide immediately and change my mind 20 minutes later. The funny thing is, my friends probably don’t care whichever way my decision goes, or how many mental convolutions it took to get there.

Jeff Jawer reckons about fifteen percent of the population are born with Mercury Rx in their charts, but I think I read somewhere else it was closer to eighteen. I’d like a list of famous people born with Mercury Rx, but it’ll have to wait until I find a reliable source.

Jawer, Jeff. ‘Mercury Retrograde’. Star IQ. Accessed 30 May 2006.
Moore, Dena L. ‘Mercury, Karma and Retrogrades’. Through Nights Fire Astrology. Accessed 30 May 2006.
Spiller, Jan. ‘Mercury Retrograde’. Astrology with Jan Spiller. Accessed 30 May 2006.