Effects of Mercury Retrograde in the Natal Chart

lego forestWhenever people ask about the meaning of retrograde planets in the natal chart, Mercury is always the first planet they mention. This makes perfect sense given how fearsome and frequent Mercury retrograde periods can be. People wonder if having Mercury retrograde means their business or mental affairs are going to be difficult forever.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Somewhere between 15-25% of the population has Mercury retrograde in their natal chart, and somehow everyone’s lives keep plugging along. The other great benefit is that they get to thrive while others founder. When transiting Mercury goes retrograde, you come alive. As I always say, when planets go retrograde, the retrograde get going.

But Mercury retrograde does create some undeniable changes in the way Mercury expresses itself.

  • Mulling It Over – People with Mercury retrograde natally tend to need a bit of time to think. Instead of making up their minds immediately, they often need a moment to check in with themselves before making a decision. That’s because so much of their mental experience is turned inward. These natives tend to have incredibly rich inner worlds and will devote large amounts of energy toward their inner processes. They will often ruminate, but not necessarily in an unhealthy way. It’s just that old issues continuously bubble up for reconsideration and reintegration. In this way, people with Mercury retrograde may have a leg up on the rest of us. While we’re outside, too busy to face our demons, people with Mercury retrograde have been dealing with them every day. 

In addition, their intuition is off the charts. Because they turn inward, people with Mercury retrograde learn to listen to their inner voice. For this reason, they may seem to know more than they ought to. Sometimes they can look at someone and just know what that person is really about. It’s not that the information isn’t available to everyone. It’s just that people with Mercury retrograde know how to pay attention.

  • A Slow Start – People with Mercury retrograde can feel like their life is on hold. Often, these people were super bright kids, but because their minds work a little differently, their natural talents were squashed. It’s only later in life, when they have more autonomy, that Mercury retrograde people are able to truly access and appreciate their natural gifts. In addition, when things are delayed, it often turns out to be a blessing. More often than not, new information is revealed during that delay which alters the person’s course. In that way, they’re much less likely to make the impetuous mistakes the rest of us do.
  • Different Angles – People with Mercury retrograde think best when they can attack a problem from an unusual angle. This can make them iconoclasts, geniuses, and revolutionaries. Think about J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series.  He took the long-standing history and folklore of his area and turned it into something entirely new, essentially inventing the modern fantasy genre. And while yes, he’s known for his meandering, overly detailed writing style, that’s just another Mercury retrograde innovation. He might not be direct, but he could paint a mental image like no one else.

Of course, entire books could be written about this placement alone. But overall, it’s important to remember that just because things work differently, happen slowly, or challenge our assumptions, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. In fact, these hidden geniuses are what drive the world forward.

Do you have Mercury retrograde in your own chart? Do you know someone who does? What is it like?

8 thoughts on “Effects of Mercury Retrograde in the Natal Chart”

  1. I have a question, my son has natal mercury retrograde. But current progress chart showing mercury direct. Does it mean, he will have the natal mercury retro effect? Or should I consider it mercury direct?

    1. This touched on a topic that I was going to ask about – perhaps a request for a later post on planets turning direct/rx by progression? My progressed Mercury went rx (direct in natal) and Pluto has turned from rx to direct by progression. I’m in the midst of Uranus turning direct too by progression too. It takes an age but you can get a sense of a timeline from the birth year ephemeris.

      1. Progressions are a slightly different animal, but I’ll definitely put this on the list and make sure I address it in the series! 🙂

  2. I have it natally in Gemini in 9th house. It is conjunct Venus, and I additionally I have Sun and Uranus in Gemini. Mercury is also my Ruling Planet as I have Virgo ascendant. If it wasn’t for Merc Retrograde I would be the world’s biggest chatterbox but as it is I prefer to listen rather than talk. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head re the mulling things over and the slow start. I’m in my 70s now and am only now appreciating the qualities that Mercury regrograde has bestowed on me. Very good post, Midara.

  3. I have it in Scorpio in the 7th, conjunct Neptune, Mars and Sun. All of this is trine my Pisces Moon (12th). I have always been able to do as you said, I can look at people and just “see” them. I see what they are feeling especially, and I can discern what their motivations are. When I was younger I didn’t know how to protect myself from all this energy coming from other people, but I usually can now. I still like to spend a lot of time by myself because of it though.

  4. I have it, and Mercury rules my chart. I would say that I do make connections that are seemingly illogical to others, but they make sense to me. And I agree with @mm, I listen more than talk. It makes me appear shy to people who don’t know me well, though I’m not really shy at all.

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