Never Mind Being Born With Mercury Retrograde

Fyodor Dosoevsky

Because i was looking at this fab Dostoevsky site – complete with the most inspirational and beautifully edited selection of quotes/references – i got interested in his astro all over again.

I’d always know he Scorp and SUCH an intense life, depth perception etc. We know all that.

But what i noticed this time around is that Dostoevsky – official literary genius, one of the most respected novelist/thinkers of all time – has Mercury not only Retrograde but officially “in detriment” (that is, opposite from Gemini, one of the signs ruled by Mercury) AND in the 12th House.

Vintage astrologers could and would add all this up to deem the guy a semi-literate lunatic. It was seriously fashionable in the olden days to have these sorts of categories such as “in detriment” or “in fall”. But that is such a non-nuanced approach, not at all in the now.

Some people fret that their Mercury is Retrograde or whatever but fret not! It’s amazing how many of the most incredible writers, poets, musos and other creatives have just such a Mercury.

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75 thoughts on “Never Mind Being Born With Mercury Retrograde

  1. My Venus in Scorpio is ‘Detr” and Mars in Cancer is ‘Fall’

    However, Jupiter Retrograde in Pisces is ‘Dom’, as is Saturn Retrograde in Aquarius

    Not at all sure what impact that all has, though.

    • Your Venus and Mars perhaps require a bit of effort to get comfortable in their signs. Venus a little intense and serious in relationships? Mars a little fickle and uncertain in action? Upside I guess is loyalty and depth in relating, soulful and empathic in action.

      Your Jups and Saturn are in the signs of their rulership, so less effort required to be comfortable. Old books talk about retro in natal outer planets, but newer astrology seems to think it irrelevant, as do I.

      • Thanks for taking the time to offer your insight and analysis.

        a merely adequate virgo

        • Hey, enough with the self deprecation already. You’re Virgo. Be out, be proud! Sounds like you’re letting that first house Saturn do the talking.

          And you’re welcome.

  2. I would have no idea even how to check that even with my chart in front of me. I can report that I have Mercury Rx in Scorpio in the 10th. What that means? ?

      • It’s more of people coming to me and unloading really heavy stuff. I’m guessing people do the same with you? They feel comfortable in talking to you about taboo things.

        • Would not be shocked with Moon in 8th and Uranus in 3rd. Yes sometimes peeps do unload what with my massage work and all.

        • But I’m thinking with your in depth bird’s eye view, you could maybe write on psychological topics or some such regarding career.

          • Body work is intensely personal and transformative so I can see that happening.

            Andl you are of course right on. I had intended on becoming a psychiatrist after discovering Freud when I was 14 or so. But that didn’t happen and instead find myself in the film industry. Ha!

    • I’ve merc retro in 10th too.
      Taurus, conj Sun and Venus.
      So I talk to people about ‘stuff’. Which is true.
      Retro doesn’t seem to have impacted my ability to be a wordsmith.
      Although I do waffle, but surely that’s my Gemini prerogative.

      In fact, given my chart and sign ruler are conjunct, with some Venusian conj MC action thrown in, (and Saturn lending support of course) I’m declaring that my words shine with beauty and authority and some other things as well, what’s that shiny thing over there … *scrambles off soapbox to go see*

    • If you have your chart done over at Astrodienst (, then in the box on the LHS which has all the planets in the signs, if it is detr or fall, there will be a notation there (along with a ‘r’ next to the degree if it retrograde – as per my chart here

  3. Merc Rx conjunct Sappho….Sappho one of the “nine lyric poets” and loved to write poetry when younger.

    As an aside, came across a great song today in case anyone ever needs to be reminded to not drunk dial (no I do not do that…I only run over cacti)

    The Script…”Nothing”. It’s my new fave tune.

    • “I wanted words but all I heard was……..nothing”

      Ha, how apropo for this post Mystic and Merc rx/sappho. x

  4. Timing Mystic. Well now you made me go and look up his chart.
    I love that you debunk on the vintage astro as it can be bit daunting to read this and that, I had some people tell me not great things about Merc Retrograde.
    Inspiring, he has a venus/neptune exact conjunct too! but uranus is sitting right next door on that conjunction. and then jupiter conjunct saturn. woah.
    Intense days for him. Just re reading Wiki.

    • I reckon the Venus Uranus Neptune shows in the epilepsy. Apparently he had massive creative inspiration during the prodrome for his seizures.

      I read tons of his books when younger. Discovered via Henry Miller, who used to bang on about him endlessly. Lost interest in Henry Miller, but will always be fond of Dostoyevsky — so sensitive, compassionate & soulful.

  5. got half way through reading ‘the idiot’ and got lost of course, annoys me that i didn’t finish the book, slow learner, but i do learn, takes twice as long and hard to focus on one thing unless it’s important …

    with my 10th Merc, it’s opposite my detrimental 4th Jup in Gem and next to my 29 deg Taurus moon, and then zinged by uranus and pluto, so when i do something its twice as much and never by halves…i really do have focus though, and be very careful that i don’t get lost in my negative emotions as these drain my Qi, and i’ve only 10 per cent fire in my chart in my Sun, supercharged moon…outwardly of course i’m usually hiding it all behind my calm & collected presidential persona, some days i’m def better keeping my mouth shut tho 🙂

    • i’m gonna try Dostoyevsky’s short stories…thought ‘the lady with the small dog’ was a good one 🙂

    • my merc is not retro, soz to mislead, but my Jup is, and so is my node, uranus, and pluto…my merc is def. in detriment as can be seen…oh well, my intention is good

  6. Oh Thank you for this Mystic. I have mercury retro in Taurus- the slowest thinking sign ever (like Savador Dali). No offence to other Taureans. I have pt fortune, sun, mars, mercury, chiron all conjunct in taurus. I did an English and communications major at uni because I really needed help with communications. I also did another degree and am doing a certificate (9th house sun) but I struggle big time to get my work done. Sometimes the words don’t happen but other times they do. I word as hard as I can on my editing but I still forget grammar and punctuation rules at times- very embarrassing and irritating for the reader.

    Half of the people I have worked with or know say ‘you have a really good way with words’ and others say ‘you need to work on your communication skills’. I do find that the messages I write in birthday cards are thoughtful and generally well received.

    I do have saturn and pluto conjunct in third and feel that it’s an indication to work on communication. As a child I was never allowed to have a say in my family so it’s been a tough lesson to have confidence and stand up for myself and to ‘speak my truth’ (3rd house issue again). To go with that I have venus conjunct north node in 11th house of friendships and there’s basically a strong focus on socialising and working with groups yet I don’t get out much at all at the moment.

    Other retrograde planets in my chart: pluto, saturn, uranus, neptune, jupiter and also the moon nodes. Mystic is there any significance to outer planet retrogrades?

      • Oh thank you! I do find that I have to work hard at communications. I’m having my first saturn return exact in October next year- in Scorpio. I have a feeling that the next few years may be tough re communications.

    • You’re more likely to consider what you say before you say it or write it. A skill quite a lot more people could do with, lol.

      • Yes UV you’re right. In some ways it’s good but sometimes I spend way to much time before I publish a comment or respond to something in writing. It can be detrimental. I have had several online classes last year and this year and I often worry about what to write to the point where everyone else gets their comments up first and I come in last and out of step with everyone else. I think grammar and punctuation are really important and I need to invest more time revising.

        Do you know that when it’s mercury retrograde I always have trouble speaking- getting my words out during conversation. I stumble over words, I mumble, I forget what I was going to say. This only happens in the mercury retro!! I’m used to it now and I just do my best but it amazes me how significant the speech issue is for me at those times.

        • I stumble too, but not just during retro. I think my brain moves faster than my mouth(?) But cause I have Sagg rising I just keep going. Like one of those hurdlers who knocks over all the hurdles and keeps running.

          For what it’s worth, I think it’s better to take time and get your thoughts right than go off half cocked. The thing about Taurus is you’re more likely to actually finish what you start, and do it completely, as in well. Fire and air signs, esp the cardinals and mutables have the opposite problem, starting out all ablaze, but losing focus, running out of puff etc. Hare and tortoise stuff.

          Hey and like anything of quality, some of the best, most enduring literature takes a long time to perfect. Hesse took 12 years to write one of his novels. Michelle de Krester 6 years etc But so worth it.

  7. A couple of things I have come to learn about being born with Mercury Rx (mine’s retrograde in Virgo):
    whereas most people, when learning something new, will go from A to B to C to D in a direct line, the Mercury Rx person will go from A to some space deep below the distance between A and B while enroute to B, and then to B, and so on, and then will return to A after getting to D, which all results in an extremely in-depth study of the subject matter. In other words, we have the type of extreme patience that you would have to have to write a tome like Brothers Karamazov.

    I am always really attracted intellectually to other Mercury retrograde people – even when there’s no accounting otherwise for any intellectual connection. Our minds are synchronized to that studied view of things. Just met a guy in fact who has tons of fire, but he is a famous wildlife photographer, which requires patiently taking and re-taking picture after picture to get the precisely right shot. I get that.

    • interesting you site learning, as mentioned on here i always struggled with more traditional learning (merc conjunct sun soft conjunct uranus 5th house scorpio saturn 3rd house virgo) but precision even with unusual methods of obtaining said goal rings true here. love the wildlife photographer story

      • yes, I think our method of learning seems backwardly slow to non-retrograde people, when actually our way of learning leads us to becoming masters and experts in the subject we’re learning. And just realized I wasn’t clear about the photographer: he has lots of fire, which one would not expect to allow someone the patience to take shot after shot until he could capture the rightpicture. But he has Mercury retrograde (that was the part I left out), which gives him that focused mental concentration)

        • I love the way you’ve put that. I’m a self taught software developer and after 10 years of being told by ‘qualified’ developers how things should be done, my unique method of obtaining outcomes in business systems has just started to be recognized as actually being an advanced form of the art. Those same developers are now saying “how did you do that?
          Well the process you described is the perfect answer.

    • I have Mercury in Virgo Retro in the 11th House.
      I have trouble communicating with groups of people and are often misunderstood. I feel I live in my own head researching topics to death (Scorpio Rising/Mercury Retro in Virgo), and daydreaming (Moon in Pisces).
      Being severely dyslexic does not help with my communication or lack of skills.
      I cannot write a technical manual or instruction booklet but, write lyrics, poetry the more surreal or dada the better.

      “whereas most people, when learning something new, will go from A to B to C to D in a direct line, the Mercury Rx person will go from A to some space deep below the distance between A and B while enroute…”
      I completely agree with you. 🙂

      • I have a similar chart. On top of being a virgo I have mercury retro in virgo/11th house. Which I always thought was annoying since mercury is supposed to be my ruler and what not. And I’m Scorp rising as well. I always feel like I have a block between what goes on in my head and trying to communicate my thoughts to other people.

  8. Was just reflecting today in the car, on how much practical wisdom MM generously and efficiently dispenses – and how it can really help us to live better. Thanks Mystic!
    Timely post on merc R: I have it natally in Libra in 8th – and great for the confidence as a creative to hear all this. Just started writing again this morning & into the photography too. Feeling good!

  9. How funny — Laura Bush was also a lacerating Scorpio and her favorite author and book was Dostoevsky’s “Brothers.”

    Courtesy of the Dept. of Useless Information.

  10. Hmmmm….. Any ideas re: other plants in retrograde?
    Natally I have Pluto retro in Libra house 9, Uranus retro in Scorp house 10 and Neptune retro in Sag House 11. My instant response is that I’ve often felt like I’m living my life backwards…

    • The thing is, slower moving planets are retro for half the year, so the retro thing isn’t as relevant for outer, transpersonal planets as it is for personal planets. And as Mystic points out, even retro personal planets (merc, venus, mars) isn’t the hassle it’s cracked up to be, and depending how you look at it, can be a gift.

  11. Well, some of the greatest writers on the planet have natal Mercury retrograde. So far I’ve found Margaret Atwood, Vladimir Nabokov, Samuel Beckett and Gabriel Garcia Freaking Marquez!! I mean three of these have won the Nobel Prize for literature!

    So don’t anyone be down on natal mercury retro.

  12. I’m merc in aries 0 degree ( retro) stationing direct. I do tend to get my point across 🙂

  13. l don’t think there is such a thing as in detrement/fall it sounds negative. l mean l will be a big detrement and fall if l’d have to look at that! It’s not so black and white. There is always a darker side to everything no matter how exalted you are! You must have a shadow following you. l bet mercury retro are great writers.

  14. From old second hand book I’m reading now: “The Horoscope as Identity” by Noel Tyl:
    On Retrogradation:
    “It might be rewarding to consider that understanding retrogradation manifestation has less to do with apparent “backward” movement and more to do with the fact that the planet, after going direct again, will cover the same ground over which it apparently back-tracked.” An eg. He gives is that painters and sculptors sometimes repeat certain accents in their works.
    Then he says that when the planet goes “direct” again, it will do so with “knowledge of the ground already covered”
    On Mercury he says: “…the counterpoint is a mental parallel with reality, promising a re-orientation, a shift in thought when direct motion is regained.” He says that “the shift to direct motion brings an important release in the progressed horoscope; the lapse into retrograde motion brings a corresponding shift into counterpoint, a new theme introduced to play against or with the major melody.” I hope this is useful.

    • Thank you for sharing Chriochic, would have to look at my progressed chart to see when Mercury went direct, but do think there is a correlation for a propensity for introspection and learning other than the regular retrogradation transit with the natal rx.

      Love Erich Fromm (Aries) so much but I differ (as an Aries) that introspection leads to misery (peeked at Mystic’s tweet and then googled his quotes). It’s a way of self evaluation and we would not have wisdom without it. Yet, on the other hand, do agree with him in that sometimes we just need to simply live life and not sit around thinking about it creating castles of philosopy.

      Teacher once said that the enlightened Masters don’t have philosophies. If one is living their truth, fully in the moment, they don’t need it. Think that’s where we’re heading..

      Good on you for your studies tho. I have N.T’s Astrologer’s Handbook. It’s huge and have I studied it properly? hell no…lol

      • Hi Sweetpea 🙂 Yes me too with the introspection, i need bodywork not thinking and doing work for others such as helping out friends and volunteering i’m looking forward to soon as well, interacting with people brings me alive and living with people in the joy of the moment, however mundane that is it doesn’t matter to me as i get older.

        I live in my own state library, as a friend put it, a lot of reference books mainly on various subjects and i’m so sick of seeing my walls of books these days, i just want to live my life lately, not read about it or think about it, but i am a compulsive book person too, they have been my greatest friends over the years in some ways, but i’m preferring people more now. Yes, Sweetpea castles of philosophy are pretty stagnant dreary places i agree.

        And when people ask me if i’ve read ‘all’ of my books my elevator speech is “they’re reference books, they’re not meant to be read cover to cover 🙂 “, well that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it 🙂 lol lol

      • Dechamfort..not Fromm…but am keeping Fromm’s quotes for those, you know,”those” kinda days when one needs them.

        I honestly have not heard of many of these peeps mentioned here…So far so good but a little assistance never hurts either..x

        • quotes are excellent sources of inspiration, cut to the chase like, love ’em!

          yes, can’t wait for my new life to fully download, but can already feel it now in some ways, looking forward to actually ‘doing’ & ‘being’ so much more 🙂

          • Absolutely…the female persuasion tends to “live” things rather than think about them…

            Not that we don’t need a

            Was told once to “just be”. Is that not enough? x

  15. how do you find out in your chart whether a planet is rX? is it displayed in a separate astrodienst chart? (still very green at this, apologies)

  16. hi Strangelove, great name btw !

    When you on astrodienst, there is a column on the right with all sorts of free goodies you can click on to bring up small reports and diagrams etc.

    Just looking now for you,
    click on free horoscopes at top of right column,
    then click on horoscope drawings and calculations,
    then choose extended chart selection (this is a larger image to view)
    you will then see your chart (after imputing your birth data previously)
    look for little ‘r’ next to the planet symbols on your birth chart
    i hope this helps you 🙂

      • one more queestion. i assume d means direct. if there is no letter next to the planet does that mean stationary?

        • i guess d means direct strangelove, if no letter next to planet i guess it means it’s ‘regular-like’ in terms of movement…Stationary is another thing altogether, a special situ i guess, and i’m not an astrologer, when you play with bringing up the charts, there should be a table that comes up showing the sum of all the aspects in triangular like graph, this might tell you more, i hope someone else here can give you better answers than moi, but you can always google your questions too and see what comes up, then again astro has a humungous database of info too, good luck

          • the graph will be visible under the chart when you scroll down past the birthchart i think, best wishes with it Strangelove

  17. Just something interesting I noticed recently, I have Mercury retro in Leo natally at 19 or 20 degrees (conjunct Mars). When Mercury went direct again recently (I know it was noted on this website and was exact conjunct my Mercury) I had such a ditzy day for half a day or so, couldn’t concentrate on anything. It was really noticeable and fortunately didn’t last all that long.

    I think Mercury retro makes us interesting… makes it easy to get into subjects, but I am happy to drown myself in them, go by intuitive leaps as they say, rather than start from the front and work through. I do find that I do tend to link all kinds of things together, other people don’t see the connections so easily.
    Mercury retro in Leo in the 6th (conj Mars) – never ever have had any trouble studying, really like studying. The discipline of forming it into an essay or something at the other end though — I HATE having to leave stuff out, hate having to leave out all the many and varied stuff I have found out along the way.

  18. I am SO glad to hear this since my natal mercury is stationing to go retrograde in my progressions. I have been a bit worried. The station takes about two years.

    The stationing to go retro explains so much to me since for the last few years I have changed completely in the way that I need much more time alone, cannot handle working in an office anymore, need more time to think, don’t communicate the same way (still getting the handle of merc retro communication) and have had a complete change of life. It is almost as though a completely new phase in my life has started, you really can see this through progressed retrogrades.

    Its good to hear that once I get used to this energy, I can explore all the good things about it – deep research, study and dot connecting, writing style, putting pieces together of the big picture et al.

    Merc rules my 7th house and new phase for relationships too.

    Time to value my unique mind not try to be normal.

  19. I have a triple-bollocks Mercury as well–RX, Pisces, 12th. And I was top of my class! So my head works mostly okay haha 🙂

    • I know Mercury was a hermaphrodite, but triple bollocks? I’m not sure I get your meaning. Are you sun moon merc in Pisces?

      I do wonder how natal Merc retro got such a bad rap. Clearly a lot of gifted folk, including yourself, have it.

  20. Because evolutionarily speaking, any planet Retrograde, are all guide-posts for our most elusive, powerfully divine gifts we have available. First, the journey of finding those gifts deep within ourselves need to be exhumed, before the outer world can take in and accept what was ordained.

    My natal chart is – a Bucket chart. My solitary handle planet is Saturn. My Saturn is the only planet retrograde, in Cancer, on the 4th/5th cusp.

    An awakened, fully conscious Retro Saturn has changed my life immeasurably, thanks to spiritually seeking. My conscious public deeds, by virtue of strong personal ethics, principles, responsibility and father-like leadership disciplines, have given me meaning in the freedom of structure. Development in the Public arena.

    Freedom within public structure, is a beautiful oxymoron which I would never have cultivated had it not been for by my intense life curiosity and seeking. Had I ignored the depths of Hades and continued on the painful animal/material plane for meaning, I would not be here writing on this blog.

    I’d be manipulating life and people with my Lower-self.

  21. Oh wow, nice to hear. I have Mercury Rx, too. Never really bothered me but it’s nice to hear this anyway. I think it’s also in my 12th (might be 11th though, can’t remember…)

  22. Wow this thread has made me feel so much better…My son is a Virgo and was born on the first day of Mercury Rx. He has just turned 2 and started to reveal speech difficulties. I was fairly worried about him but reading what some of you guys have to say about having mercury retrograde in your charts makes me feel at ease. So not all is lost!

  23. As a young person I was never able to speak what was really on my mind because my mom is the type what she says goes. As i get older i find it hard to speak up for myself. Added i am a very slow learner than all my friends when it comes to school work, driving a car, and working a job. This is all impart to my retrograde Mercury in Taurus that i was born with. sometimes I feel really stupid, yet I think about things deeply on an intuitive level.

  24. Well I’ve gone and looked this up since it appeared and I recall an earlier post linking Mercury in Saggi and writers or something. Couldnt find that post.

    Turns out I have Merc Rx near the end of the 7th as a Saggi.

    And.. also have Jupiter Rx in the 2nd (Gem and true node).

    Hmm.. this shall be mused upon further.

    • correction, true node is actually 1st house but still Gem.