Mars & Mercury: Retrograde Mercury
Dr. Shanker Adawal
Whenever a retrograde Mercury is in a chart, the native will find that the manner in which he
communicates to others and the tendency towards having an impractical approach to life are being
repeated from a past lifetime. The retrograde Mercury will also bring to the individual a nervous
condition, a restlessness, as a carry over from a past lifetime; a tendency to go on not only nerve
energy, but also to react in a nervous manner to all facets of life. This would bring about the quality of
worry or fear. Every item or detail in a person’s life would be worried over, fussed about, etc.
It shows that the person’s thought, approach or thinking process in the past, by being impractical,
rash, impulsive, resulted in confusion and chaotic conditions in past lifetimes. If repeated now, the life
would be characterized by the same confusion and chaos.
It should always be remembered that the higher octave of Mercury prefers precision, orderliness,
perfection. The lower octave of Mercury couldn’t care less, so that the person must learn to work
through the higher octave of Mercury now. This is where the focus should be and what the person
should attempt to achieve.
One of the things to watch, with a retrograde Mercury, is that the person might strive, in overcoming
this, to become too perfect, bringing upon himself frustration, since few can reach perfection. The
native could very easily be falling short of his goals and would be subject to disappointment. There
would be a tendency to evaluate others according to their degree of perfection. In an ordinary
housewife, with a retrograde Mercury, she would be a fuss-budget, everything would have its place
and have to be there – in drawers or near little piles, etc. She could be the woman in the T.V.
commercial who enters a room and says, “My, you have cats, don’t you?” She would be very quick to
criticize where others are concerned, since Mercury, as the ruler of Virgo, bases it all upon her own
In attempting to transmute retrograde Mercury, you could also invite additional karma by overcoming
a certain trait and by swinging to the opposite polarity. The individual could transmute one and bring
up something negative on the other end. Care should be used when converting negative qualities of
retrograde planets into something positive.
Sometimes, with a retrograde Mercury, you might have been a writer in the past – it does rules the
written as well as the oral word – if in Scorpio, you probably wrote book such as the Marquis de Sade
– pornographic literature.
Many times, a person with a retrograde Mercury doesn’t care that he says or how he says it, what he
writes or how he writes it, especially true if this Mercurial condition is posited in Leo. Leos are very
blunt, direct and frank, anyway. It wouldn’t be the most constructive location for a retrograde
Mercury, since ten the Leo certainly would use the power of the word to push people around.
In Aries, the retrograde Mercury would enhance the bossiness, the lack of patience with others who
can’t do a job as well as the native does it. In other words, it would bring in that impatient quality or
lack of tolerance for people who are not as clever as the Arians. Also, some people can really verbally
lash out at others. Aries does no do this as much as Virgo. Geminis can put people in their place very
nicely. Although Aries are bossy and pushy, they are not as Virgos and Leos are.
With a retrograde Mercury, it is quite possible that the person wrote in the past and would, in all
probability, write the same thing again. This is because there is a tendency to repeat action from the
past, nor only in character, but also in action. Remember, too, that Mercury always deals with the
mundane, the practical, so that the retrograde Mercury would likewise be so involved. The person’s
mental interests could be identical from the past and have the same manner of expression.
Always to be remembered, with Mercury, is the service aspect. From the viewpoint of service, the
person would probably be thrown into the same situation where service would be demanded of him,
and it would be in the same type of service as given in the past. For example: If you were a teacher in
the past (there can be an abuse in teaching), the tendency would be to be thrown into the same areas
of teaching. There is a subconscious element (remember Virgo is the natural ruler of the 6 th house,
which is opposite to the 12th house), so the person might have a subconscious reaction to stay away
from that in which he did not succeed in the past. The tendency would be to come into this life with all
influences channeling you into the instructional field, and the retrograde Mercury would cause you to
attempt to avoid it. Remember, Mercury is the natural ruler of Virgo; Virgo rules the 6th house of
service; it opposes the 12th house of the subconscious and karma – it all ties in.
The lesson to the learned in this lifetime, with a retrograde Mercury, regardless of where it is located
in the chart, is to conduct oneself in the right manner and for the right reasons – motives are very
important when it come to a retrograde Mercury in a chart.
First House: Retrograde Mercury in the 1st house would indicate that the person would find it difficult
to make decisions, for it slows down the thinking. Normally, Mercury is a very fast planet and causes
one to think fast, speak fast, each fast; everything is done quickly, even to making snap decisions.
The negative condition of a retrograde Mercury in the 1 st house states that the individual should not
speak first and think afterwards.
A retrograde Mercury in the 1st house would bring about negative quality traits and indicate that the
person would have to learn patience, the proper use of discrimination, not to judge too quickly, to
communicate constructively with people and, of course, to be of service to others.
It brings a restlessness and nervousness to the personality of the individual – a lack of continuity in
effort. The person would tend to initiate many projects, but complete relatively few.
If, at the person’s birth, Mercury was retrograde, and ten days later it went direct, it would mean that
in the tenth year the person would be subject to change. This would be his potential at that time. This
is based on the theory of a day for a year when doing progressions. All retrograde planets are focal
points in the chart, so that, in this case, it makes the native’s tenth year important from the viewpoint
of the Mercury qualities.
Second House: This location would make for a rash, impulsive type of spender, a person whose
values would fluctuate according to moods and events in his life, day by day. Since Mercury does
emphasize the mundane sine of life, too much attention was placed on material security in the past,
with little regard for the higher qualities of life.
Observe, here, that retrograde Mercury in the 2nd house opposes the 8th house of higher values and
higher learning in the search for truth, so that the lesson, with a retrograde Mercury in the 2 nd house,
is to exercise proper discrimination as to what is really important and what is not important, not to
place attention on the external features of life as being the center of being.
Third House: Retrograde Mercury here is emphasized since Gemini is the natural ruler of the 3rd
house and Mercury rules Gemini. Probably the most important quality to be considered, with a
retrograde Mercury in the 3rd house, is that of communication. What it indicates is that the individual,
in the past, did not communicate too well with others, mainly because of the combination of the
qualities of Gemini and Virgo. The individual tended to discriminate improperly in that if someone were
not intelligent enough, the native did not even bother with him. This is a normal Gemini trait anyway,
for if Geminis feel you are not interesting, they don’t want to be bothered – they are snobbish only in
an intellectual manner. They demand people be interesting – mentally.
Retrograde Mercury in the 3rd house tells the individual that he must communicate with people on all
levels of thought, for giving in communication is as important as receiving. Third house Mercury
enjoys being stimulated intellectually, but must learn that it, too, must stimulate.
In a minor way, this location of a retrograde Mercury shows a poor relationship with siblings and other
relatives and neighbors. To transmute this would require the native assuming a more democratic and
realistic approach in relationships with others.
Four House: This shows that the person was responsible for much disharmony around him, since the
4th house defines how we influence others by our personality development (our home is not only the
physical structure of the house, but also the auric field in which the physical body is housed).
Retrograde Mercury in the 4th house tells that the individual was far too restless, impulsive, rash and
often offensive in speech (especially if in Taurus or Scorpio) to those who came within his sphere of
Perhaps the esoteric interpretation of the glyph of Mercury is the best example for the lesson involved
in retrograde Mercury in the 4th house. The crescent represents the personality: the circle represents
the divinity or divine spark within; the cross is the cross of matter. In this glyph, Mercury represents
being the instrument of our spiritual and mental equipment. Too often, we crucify the spiritual within
us on the cross of physical life. Thus, the retrograde Mercury demands that the individual present
himself positively and more spiritually in his contacts with others. Esoterically, Mercury represents the
bi-polar quality; again emphasizing the need for balance which was not achieved in a past lifetime.
This balance demonstrates itself through our auric field.
Fifth House: Retrograde Mercury here could easily shows that the person was rather indiscreet,
careless, and untruthful in love affairs. The person did not discriminate very well, not communicate
well, with those with whom there had been any romantic entanglements. Undoubtedly, the individual
did not prefer the responsibilities involved in raising children, and could very easily have paid too
much attention to the lighthearted pleasures of living, with little regard to the responsibilities involved
in life itself.
Leo, being the natural ruler of the 5th house, could imply that false pride was a dominating
characteristic of the past, and the retrograde Mercury emphasizes that this quality was the channel
through which the individual communicated his personality to others.
The lesson, with retrograde Mercury in the 5th house, is that of proper motives in romantic affairs, the
assumption of responsibilities of those in our care, and the proper discrimination in pleasures.
Sixth House: Retrograde Mercury in this position focuses attention on the nervousness, restlessness,
and impatience on the past of the individual in a past lifetime. This person would have lacked
discrimination and certainly would not have been one who enjoyed being of service to others. The
individual certainly did not relate well with public needs or public interests, having little or no respect
for the average human being. The tendency would have been to be far too critical, even to the point of
being sarcastic, of public trends, those with whom he worked, or who worked under him. There would
have been an inability to communicate properly with any of these because of a lack of rapport. All this
is further emphasized by the fact that Virgo is the natural ruler of the 6 th house and has dominion over
discrimination and serviced. Therefore, the retrograde Mercury would bring in the qualities of being
negative discriminative, of judging too quickly, and of being too impatient.
It could very well be, also, that a degree of mental snobbishness of Gemini would be involved here,
indicating that, in a past life, the person held his fellow man in contempt.
The lesson to be learned, with retrograde Mercury in the 6 th house, is patience, understanding, respect
for social trends, to be of service where public needs are concerned, without hope for personal reward.
Seventh House: This would indicate that, in the past, the individual was the cause of the dissolution
of any partnership, be it job, or marriage. Undoubtedly, the important features concerned were, with
retrograde Mercury, that of being overly critical, much too impatient, improper values, self-
centeredness, unreliability, and, very possibly, deceit, not only to others, but self-deception as well
(opposite the 1st house of self).
The person with a retrograde Mercury in the 7th house would certainly have not entertained the best of
motives in any partnership established in a past lifetime, nor would that person have communicated
his ideas properly and correctly.
Retrograde Mercury in the 7th house requires that the individual be sincere, have proper motives, and
rationalize carefully before entering into any partnership, be it marriage or job.
Eighth House: Here, too, this position shows that the person entertained low, materialistic values in
the past, was superficially interested in the search for truth, was the cause of his own undoing when it
was concerned with how things ended, whether it be a job, a project, or a friendship, or life itself. The
person’s impulsiveness, rashness in both speech and action, caused all things to end negatively.
This could also have been the false prophet of the past.
The lesson to be learned here is to be more rational in thought and action, so that all things are
completed positively and completely, nothing is left undone, and there are no repercussions. It
requires that the person be sincere in the search for truth and how he communicates this to others,
how he disseminates knowledge in a correct way.
This person must be very discriminative as to what groups he becomes involved with – should avoid
witchcraft groups, followers of Satan, séances, etc. Truth should be understood and clarified in a
practical, down-to-earth manner. By being an example of truth, he could transmute retrograde
Mercury in the 8th house in the finest way.
Ninth House: Here, the rashness of Mercury is also emphasized. The person with retrograde Mercury
in the 9th house could easily have been a tumble-weed in life, going from here to there, with no
direction, no purpose, no plan. Similar to a retrograde Jupiter, it could indicate the individual who was
a religious fanatic or bigot in the past, tolerating no one else’s opinion except his own. Improper
speech and action in religious beliefs or philosophy caused animosities and enemities in the past (it
does square the 12th house of secret enemies).
Here, again, you have superficial knowledge and a lack of application of knowledge to actual living
conditions. The person, undoubtedly, was involved with negative groups, whose activities brought him
into conflict with accepted situations and/or the law. An afflicted Mars to retrograde Mercury would
indicate that the person spent some time in confinement because of his actions and beliefs.
The lesson to be learned, with retrograde Mercury in the 9 th house, is a true search for higher
knowledge and higher self, to live from the Christ center within, to see truth in all of its variables, to
learn and apply this learning to all areas of life in a practical, down-to-earth manner. This person
should respect all religions and all philosophies, even though contrary to his own. Despite his own
beliefs, there needs to be a respect for law and order and for established institutions. Retrograde
Mercury here also shows that the person must respect the rights and freedoms of others.
Tenth House: In so far as the person’s profession in the past was concerned, there was a tendency
on the part of the person to be rather indecisive, irresponsible, perhaps shiftless, and so these
qualities caused him to lose favor with superiors, bringing about a loss of position and a lack of
advancement. These same qualities prevented the individual from achieving any degree of recognition
in whatever field he chose to follow. It would be safe to say that there was a degree of craftiness and
deceitfulness involved in not only the job, but also in any governmental affairs. This person could
easily have been a minor official in some government position and use his authority and position for
Retrograde Mercury in the 10th house stipulates discretion in speech, development of good perception,
being observant and clever.
Any person with a retrograde Mercury in the 10th house could be very successful in a commercial field,
or in a governmental clerical type of situation, if he practices sincerity, honesty and dependability.
By transmuting the negative qualities of retrograde Mercury in the 10 th house, the person could do
very well in some informational type of governmental service, or advertising.
Incidentally, the retrograde Mercury in the 10th house emphasizes the karmic debt to the mother, and
it is very important how this is worked out, since Mercury, retrograde or not, always indicates in a
chart how we work out our karma, and this is the house of the mother, so there is a Karmic tie with
the mother. The native of the chart must discover the means of working off this karma.
Eleventh House: Retrograde Mercury in the 11th house deals with how we conducted our social life in
the past, how we related in social functions, and what kind of friends we chose. Definitely, the friends
were of a low type, more involved with physical activities – very possibly sexual activities – and more
attention was placed upon the material types of social life – they were certainly not intellectually or
Many times, the retrograde Mercury in the 11th house shows that the person deliberately chose or
associated with inferior types of people so that he would be the center of attention, that these people
would look up to him. Thus, the motives behind friends selected were negative and the social affairs
and social activities would likewise be negative. It brings out the superficiality which often
The individual lacked good communication with his peers and superiors and so resorted to those less
intelligent, less refined than he. The individual also tended to use others for his own pleasure and
The lesson of retrograde Mercury in the 11th house is in being discriminative in selecting friends, in
being a sincere friend, and in evaluating people properly. Social activities should center around
mentally stimulating ones, and the ability to communicate with people on all levels should be
Twelfth House: Primarily, retrograde Mercury in the 12th house shows that the individual did not
work out any of his karma in a past lifetime. It tells that the subconscious soul qualities were
neglected and not demonstrated in the person’s journey through life. Impulsive speech, rash actions,
false discrimination developed many resentments and secret enemies. Being opposite to the 6th house,
the native refused to accept the concept of service to others, and thus retarded his own spiritual
Here, the retrograde Mercury’s lesson is that the outer should reflect the inner, than the soul qualities
must be developed and demonstrated in service to others. Self-awareness should be developed and
coupled with group awareness as an over-all direction in life. Again, a sense of discretion should be
developed where speech and action are involved in relations with others. Since Mercury is always
involved with discrimination and judgements, anyone with a retrograde Mercury in the 12 th house
must curb the tendency to judge too quickly and to evaluate others. Much attention should be placed
on being aware of Karmic debts and working these out in the everyday facets of living.