Mercury will be retrograde from October 31st to November 20th. It will begin its retrograde motion in Scorpio and then enter Libra on November 7th. When Mercury, or any other planet for that matter, is retrograde, its energy becomes intensified. It can be compulsive, obsessive, or urgent. You can think of the retrograde phase of a planet's transit to be like a cup overflowing.
Planets are not weaker when they are retrograde, they are stronger. If there is a problem related to a retrograde planet, it is due to that planet's energy being exaggerated or excessive.
With Mercury this means that mental energy is overflowing. That can lead to problems in communication. When you begin something new and important during Mercury's retrograde period, it isn't necessarily a death sentence for that endeavor. It normally means that there will be problems to fix, things that have to be done over, mistakes to correct, and information that comes to light later that makes things more complicated.
The retrograde phase of any planet is a good time for correcting mistakes related to the significations of that planet. For example, Mars is the planet that represents the muscles of the body. So, Mars retrograde phase could be a good period for taking an intensified training in yoga, or martial arts.
Mercury, on the other hand, signifies information and how the mind processes and interprets information. It governs our perception of our world. So it has a much more wide-spread effect on us than most of the other planets. When Mercury is retrograde, we notice it more, so it's a good idea to take more care, astrologically.
Generally, the advice during this period is simply to not start any important new project, or sign any important document, if possible, unless the project or document is intended to fix or correct things. But, if you must start something, and Mercury is retrograde, don't worry about it. Just do what you have to do and don't obsess. Astrology is here to serve us, not the other way around. If you find yourself constantly worrying and obsessing about astrological timing, then you should probably take a break from astrology and relax.
We all try to make good decisions and to avoid bad decisions. We make plans for the future and work to make our lives comfortable. Astrology can help in that process by showing us when the time is good to move forward and when it's better to wait. Understanding Mercury's retrograde phase, is a small part of that kind of insight. But astrology only gives us the illusion of being in control. On a deeper level, it reveals a karmic pattern at the basis of our lives, that teaches us how to accept things that we can't change.
It's a great paradox. We make effort using our free will, to improve our lives, and that does make a difference. But we also have karmic momentum, set in motion in the past, that we have to accept. Some things we can change, some things we can't. The integration of these two principals is wisdom.