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Mercury will go retrograde (appears to be moving backward) on December 19 or 20, 2016, and remain so until January 8, 2017. The date will vary depending on where you live. During this retrograde cycle, Mercury will be in between 15 degrees Capricorn and move as far back as 28 degrees Sagittarius before it goes direct again.

Mercury retrograde cycles are most important to those that have Mercury retrograde in their birth chart, although it does affect everyone to some degree. This will be particularly true if you have Mercury retrograde in your birth chart and then also have it in the critical degrees and the signs (from 28 degrees Sagittarius to 15 degrees Capricorn).

Mercury retrograde seems to create external conflicts for those that meet the above criteria. It may seem as though any plans that you set in motion during these dates are subject to delays, mishaps and there will be the need to make sure that what you are proposing to do is well prepared for and all necessary preparatory sets have been taken before you finally move forward with your goals. Even the best laid plans can go astray during this cycle and many Astrologers suggest that their clients wait until this cycle is over before proceeding with their plans.

Much depends on other influences in the birth chart related to these degrees (28 degrees Sagittarius to 15 degree Capricorn). If you have other planets within these critical degrees and especially if they are in square (90 degrees), in opposition (180 degrees) or conjunct (0 degrees) to this placement, they might indicate some struggles when it comes to making plans actually happen as they were originally planned to unfold.

Plans seem to be postponed or reversals happen during this time, and making new plans during this cycle, unless totally unavoidable, are not suggested. If, however, you have natal planets that are in sextile (60 degrees) or trine (120 degrees) and in some cases (the conjunction 0 degrees), goals may not manifest as you expected. The outcome, however, may still be favourable. Regardless of the aspects, the time spent during this period is often not as disruptive or devastating as most people believe. You will find that some things go by without a hitch although some things can go terribly wrong. It is suggested, however, that if you do need to move ahead in something, particularly any written contracts, such as making plans to buy a car and signing important documents, you carefully weight things out and read the fine print before signing.

There are often delays or unforeseen delays. Taxation problems have been noted to go astray or the purchasing of a home may also signify some type of hitches during the process. Either the house is not ready or the plans do not go as timely as they are supposed to. Make sure you are totally satisfied before you sign any papers. Signing documents is often a huge part of the process in the Mercury retrograde cycle, as Mercury is the ruler of such things.

If you are getting ready to write an exam or a final paper, you should make sure that you use the retrograde time to study the subject in a complete and comprehensive manner. Mercury retrograde cycles are great times for study. Preparatory work is well suited for this time frame.

Regardless of what has to happen during this period, you should still go ahead if you must, but be prepared for delays and minor obstructions along the way.

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