Associated with the Greek messenger god, Hermes, Mercury symbolizes communication and information exchange. Every year -- for three periods that last about three weeks each -- Mercury moves backwards in what's commonly known as a "retrograde" pattern.
Between August 3-26, 2011, Mercury reverses itself through the sign of Leo, making communication bloopers much more likely. Wires will get crossed, misunderstandings will occur, and dates and times will be easily mixed up.
But Mercury retrograde doesn't entirely represent problems. In fact, its reverse motion offers you the chance to slow down and, rather than try to come up with new ideas or make fresh contacts, follow up on existing deals and outstanding communications. This is a time to review and redo. And since communication and contractual arrangements are more flexible during a Mercury retrograde, it's also a terrific time to renegotiate existing schedules.
In the business world, Mercury retrograde encourages you to chase leads that haven't yet come to fruition, as well as finalize projects that may need some finishing touches. Also, use this period to investigate new opportunities you'll want to pursue once Mercury begins moving forward again.
During its retrograde, Mercury aligns with Neptune, Venus and the Sun, and each of these aspects will make for some intense dynamics. Keep an eye on the following pair of dates:
August 8: Mercury/Neptune
This could be one of the most confusing days of the entire retrograde period, as Neptune's elusiveness is known to create chaos. Avoid signing documents or agreeing to plans; instead, make time to escape reality by immersing yourself in creative outlets.
August 16: Mercury/Venus/Sun
This rare triple alignment brings sweet relief and creative insight. Expressing yourself may take a bit of effort, but a little persistence can help you refine your ideas. Compromises are possible.
Finally, if you'll be traveling during this period, be sure to pack patience and a flexible attitude -- even the best-laid plans can come undone when Mercury is retrograde! And if you're a Leo, be aware that repetition will be necessary to ensure your point is clearly heard.