When we say a planet is retrograde we mean that it appears to move backwards from our perspective on earth. Astrology is not astronomically correct because we are observing the planets from earth rather than objectively from space. When a planet is traveling retrograde, its effect can be more intensely personal and there is a sense of looking back into the past to go back over events that have already taken place.
Mercury rules the processing of information and the mental function, and it also presides over small machinery, short trips, and messages. While Mercury is retrograde, we can expect glitches in all of these areas as our attention is drawn back into any area that needs to be revisited and given a second look. Often we find breakdowns in our email and communication systems, which can usually be traced back to human error. Contracts signed and agreements made during Mercury Rx periods often need to be renegotiated and plans made often need to be altered.
Because our attention is turned inward and backward during these periods (Mercury will be retrograde until May 30), they are excellent times for anything that needs a do-over. Anything that begins with the prefix “re-” (from the Latin “back” or “again”) is suitable during the Mercury retrograde period: Rewriting a manuscript, renovating your home, returning to a place you have been before to learn something new, retreat into contemplation and meditation. Try to avoid buying a new phone system or a new computer until Mercury turns direct, and don’t make any major changes to your software systems.
If you do need to begin a new project, hire a new employee, or sign a contract during this time, try to be as clear as possible and have all agreements in writing, but expect that there will be some renegotiation required. Mercury retrograde does not by any means ALWAYS bring problems, but being aware of the potential for difficulty and the reason behind it goes a long way towards easing any problems that do arise.