In this instance, we are speaking of the planet Mercury. Mercury goes retrograde an average of three times each year and during these times its influence is altered. Astrologically speaking, Mercury is the planet of communication and short distance travel; it is the Messenger. When it is moving backwards though the sky, we can expect most forms of communication to be disrupted in some way. Today for example, Facebook experienced several unusual glitches for so many people that the problem wound up being covered by the news media.
Facebook is a mode of communication. Computers themselves are a mode of communication and so may be affected with unusual glitches, problems and errors. Other electronics can experience issues as well, though electronic-specific issues are most felt when both Mercury and Uranus are retrograde or in some way out of harmony since the planet Uranus presides over electricity and technology directly. Mercury rules over things like communication and contracts so try to avoid signing any new contracts at this time. It is very likely that at least a few points in the contract would have to be renegotiated at a later date due to misunderstanding. Personal communication (like, just talking to someone) is equally effected and prone to misunderstanding. Be very careful what you say during Mercury retrogrades so that you do not say, text, tweet or post something you will later regret.
Considering the rosy picture I am painting of the next three weeks (October 21st until November 10th), it’s a wonder that any good can come of this time period, but it can. The positive side of this event is that a Mercury retrograde highlights the “re’s” pretty much anything that has a “re” as a prefix can go smoothly at this time: reevaluation, resolution, repairing, renewal, reapplying, reminiscing, recycling, replacing, et cetera. I’m serious. It’s a well-established phenomenon of a retrograde period that things you redo tend to go better than new projects. In my life, I have had some of the best shopping ever during retrogrades, though only for items that had to be replaced. It’s weird, but it’s true.
We are fortunate to have the holiday of Samhain (Halloween) within a retrograde period since this holiday is very much connected to the Ancestors, the past, releasing obstacles and negativity, divination and spirit work and the harvest (among other things). Since we are in a retrograde, I would suggest that in order to minimize problems, avoid using new rituals that you have not thoroughly rehearsed, traveling to exotic locations for the holiday (unless you’ve been there before and are “re-turning”), or trying anything entirely for the first time. As an example, if you have never before attempted trance mediumship, now would not be the time to start, in my opinion. Also, a very important caution; do not oath yourself to or make a promise to any deity during a retrograde period. The reason being is that an oath or promise is a contract and falls under the “don’t sign any contracts now” rule. Things could very easily turn out to be more than you bargained for or in some way unsatisfactory to both sides (for you and the deity).
On the other hand, divination for answers to questions from and/or regarding the past would be ideal at this time (as opposed to divining the future) as would any work done to honor or communicate with ancestors with whom you’ve had a prior earthly or previously established spiritual relationship. On this Samhain, think to the past, reenact a favorite rite you have done previously, honor those that have gone before, spend time with old friends or have a cozy Halloween at home celebrating the past as you prepare to step into the new year.