Mercury Retrograde in Libra

After an intense Saturn Rahu conjunction and a partial lunar eclipse, a more common astronomical phenomenon is about to re-occur.  This will be Mercury retrograde in Libra in Vedic astrology, or Jyotish. While many people dread the period when Mercury is retrograde, Vedic astrology offers a somewhat varying perspective than Western astrology. In Vedic astrology, retrogression is seen as a sign of strength.

When a planet is retrograde, it is closer to the earth than usual. People feel its presence more powerfully than usual, for better or worse.  Retrogression connotes the notion of repetition, renewal, and revisiting of situations.

What is most problematic is when a planet goes from being direct (forward motion) to retrograde or from being retrograde to being direct.  For any planet to change direction, it first has to slow down considerably.  A planet stops moving for a period of time and then has to slowly gain momentum.

Presently, Mercury is moving at 15% of its normal speed. Mercury comes to a standstill on October 21, 2013 at 3:25 AM PST. This is problematic for Mercury more so than other planets. As the second fastest moving planet after the Moon, Mercury is quick, impulsive, and changeable.  It moves in an agile manner,  like a train along on a mountain track, making its way adeptly to its destination with twists and turns.  Its restlessness makes Mercury retrograde in Libra a slow moving planetary manifesto. 


Mercury indicates communication, both oral and written.  It is also connoted with technology. Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac and associated with partnerships – both personal and professional.  With Mercury just inching along, there is the potential for communication to be stalled or for disruptions in communication.  It may take multiple conversations or emails to convey a particular point.  There can also be misunderstandings with a significant other.

Being dual-minded, Mercury creates the desire to want to pursue at least two varying paths simultaneously. Mercury’s innate ability to multi-task is hampered by its slow motion. There can be bouts of frustration which impact the nervous system (or majja dhatu in Ayurveda) due to the slow moving impediment.  In terms of relationships, there can be ambivalence regarding commitments.

As the indicator for commerce, Mercury is powerfully able to use its versatility and intellect to create opportunities for itself. Yet, with Mercury retrograde in Libra, there can be the refining and rewording of contracts and agreements with business partners.   There is emphasis on the thinking mind in communication, but the thoughts may be repetitive.

Mercury will be with an exalted Saturn, a debilitated Sun and North node Rahu in Libra.  Mercury takes on the nature of the company it keeps.  Being with three natural malefics, Mercury will take on their qualities. Jupiter’s presence in Gemini only mildly stabilizes Mercury. Jupiter’s benefic qualities can’t mitigate the other harsh influence of the other three planets.

On October 23, 2013, Mercury will be moving at 30% of its normal speed.  It hastens to 75% on October 26. Two days later, Mercury is back to its regular speed. 

Mercury comes close to Saturn and engages in another planetary war on October 28, 2013 at 6:20 PM PST.   There is an exact conjunction on October 29 at 1:30 PM PST.  The two planets separate by more than one degree on October 30 at 8:30 AM.   While this planetary war is occurring, both planets are also in close proximity to the Sun, further hampering their ability to display their natural qualities. On November 1, Mercury will be totally combust as it is at the same degree as the Sun. This can make one’s nervous system feel “fried”.

Mercury retrograde in Libra starts slowing down on November 6, 2013.  On November 8, it is at half its speed. Then on November 10, Mercury stops moving again as it comes out of retrogression. This is another time when caution is warranted, especially for those in a Mercury planetary cycle. Mercury returns to its normal pace on November 17.

On November 24, Mercury re-enters a planetary war with Saturn at 11:20 PM PST. The peak of the war is on November 25 at 5:40 PM PST. The war ends when the planets separate on November 26 at 12:45 PM PST. The evening of November 30, Mercury enters Scorpio.

The specific influence of Mercury retrograde in Libra and the planetary wars for you will depend on the placement of planets in your personal chart.  Planetary cycles also have to be factored in to determine how you can utilize this time to your advantage, and what cautions may be warranted. A personalized Vedic astrology reading will take all these details into consideration.