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WTF is Mercury Retrograde?

WTF is Mercury Retrograde?

In the realm of the cosmos and celestial bodies, there's a phenomenon that’s more than just a trend which always stirs up a chaotic whirlwind of intrigue, apprehension and so many memes — Mercury Retrograde. You've probably seen the microwave Gatorade memes and heard the term flung around and hyped up in conversations about astrology, but WTF is Mercury Retrograde? What does that even mean? Let’s break it down a bit and shed some light on the (very real) significance of this multi-year planetary shift, demystify the hype and gain some perspective guidance on how to navigate its cosmic influence with practicality and maybe even a little bit of enjoyment.

Deciphering Cosmic Cycles✨

Mercury Retrograde occurs when the planet Mercury appears to move backward in its orbit relative to Earth. Despite its name, Mercury isn't actually reversing its direction; rather, it's actually an optical illusion caused by the differing orbital speeds of Earth and Mercury. This celestial phenomenon typically happens three to four times a year and lasts for about three weeks each time (which feels more like three months if we’re being honest). You can account for an extra 7-10 days on either end of those 3 weeks for what is known as the “shadow period”, as Mercury is still transiting in and out of Retrograde.

The Influence of Mercury Rx: from Tech to Communication✨

Astrologically, Mercury governs our communication, technology, travel, and contracts. Which is why you’ll find it totally normal to experience your car battery breaking down on the same day your computer spontaneously shuts off, as you get locked out of your Instagram and have a major fight with your roommate over nothing. During Mercury Retrograde periods, it’s typically best advised to hit “pause” on any new deals, contracts, business ventures, or partnerships. If you’re feeling the spontaneous pull into making a snap decision on something that’s come out of the woodwork, wait! Allow yourself instead to reflect and meditate on it until we emerge from the shadow period to see if you’re still excited and seeing clearly on the idea, or if you were looking at this opportunity through crazed and foggy glasses. These areas of life may likely, in all honesty, be affected by multiple disruptions, misunderstandings, meltdowns and delays. Communication often becomes muddled and heated, technology glitches become frequent and unexplainable, travel plans encounter hiccups and delays, and contracts become subject to renegotiation or revision. We advise instead of beginning something new or finalizing something major to sit and admire our existing projects on the shelf, building out their ideas on a brainstorming pad to revisit later.

*Also, don’t be surprised if you get a spontaneous text from your ex at this time, be strong. Delete. You got this.

Navigating Mercury Retrograde: Tips for Riding the Wave✨

  1. Practice Patience and Flexibility: During Mercury Rx, it's essential above all else to remain adaptable and patient – go with the flow, and when you feel any resistance, even the slightest bit, pump the brakes. Stop and ask yourself if it’s worth pushing forward against the grain, or if you can take another route (metaphorically or literally speaking). During this time, it’s best practice to redirect, rather than going against the flow and forcing yourself into a frustrated series of attempts that will likely just leave you annoyed and exhausted at the end of it all, wondering why you didn’t chill out sooner. Expect to experience delays and setbacks, and approach challenges with as calm and a collected attitude as you can. Remember, this too shall pass – eventually.
  1. Double-Check Communication: With miscommunications at an all-time high, and clear, concise, un-triggered communication at an all time low, we can easily wind up prone to misunderstandings during Mercury Retrograde. Thus, it's crucial to double-check your messages before they send, sit on replying to that email until you’re less heated, and move slowly and gently in important conversations. Come into these situations clarifying your intentions and avoid making assumptions to mitigate any possibility of potential conflicts.
  1. Back Up Your Tech: Technology glitches are among the most common of occurrences during Mercury, so it can never hurt to back up any important data and files regularly. Also get ready for your phone to freeze, your socials to glitch, and even random traffic light malfunctions to pop up out of nowhere - and when in doubt, go technology free however often you can to avoid burnout and excess frustrations!
  1. Pause, Review and Reflect: It can be the most helpful and rewarding at this time to actually capitalize on it as a “no action, only introspection” period. Use Mercury Retrograde as your personal reflection time as it’s the perfect excuse and opportunity for getting more insightful and introspective. Focus on journaling, practices of gratitude, meditation, reading, reviewing your goals. Reflect on how far you’ve come and take stock of all the milestones you’ve managed to survive – however big or small. Revisit an art project or delve completely into your creative expression. It's a wonderful chance to check in with yourself, to realign yourself with your intentions and make any adjustments or shifts in direction if it feels necessary to let them go or to gently redirect.
  1. Avoid Making Major Decisions: Not to sound dramatic, but Mercury Retrograde is honestly not the most ideal time to be making significant life-altering decisions or embark on a brand new venture. If you’ve already started something major and had it in the works for awhile pre-retrograde, proceed carefully, double-checking things along the way. See if you can slow things down at all and don’t jump to quick conclusions or make any brash decisions. Be sure to hold off on signing contracts, starting new projects, or making major purchases until Mercury resumes its direct motion.
  1. Self-Care is Key: Mercury Retrograde can really get on your last nerve, push every single button, and test your patience beyond its limits. Because it’s known to be such a draining time energetically and emotionally, it’s so important to prioritize self-care and focus on nurturing activities wherever you can. Take the time to rest and recharge, recognizing that rest is an action, and you definitely don’t need to feel guilty about it, especially if that’s what you’re feeling called to do – or if it’s the only thing left to do. Taking the time to read, relax, focus on artistic expression, spend time with your pets, or bask in the sun is essential to replenish your energy levels and nourish your mind and body.

Finding Your Harmony & Creating Peace of Mind✨

Honestly, don’t freak out. While Mercury Retrograde may be sure to bring its fair share of drama, resistance and challenges, it's also a major opportunity for patience, growth, resilience, reflection, and realignment. It can be easy to get swept up in all the hype around this astrological period and become very doom and gloom, but the higher path and the truth of the matter is that it’s just an opportunity to shift your focus into being in passengership. By recognizing you aren’t in control of steering the vehicle, you are merely an observer, you can empower yourself instead of getting sucked into a chaotic swirl of emotions. In learning to lean into the ebb and flow of the retrograde cycles, we can learn to navigate our own impatience, need for control, and sense of urgency, and begin to ask ourselves how urgent is it all, really? How much am I in control, anyway? How can I honor myself and move more intentionally and in less of a rush? It may not happen in a graceful manner, and frustrations are still just as likely to pop up, but awareness and objectiveness is the key here. Remember, the universe has a way of giving you what you need to grow – the learning is what is actually guiding us through to the next obstacle, even in the most turbulent times, and Mercury retrograde is no exception. You got this. Knowledge is power!

Everything is an Opportunity✨

So instead of flipping out and getting into a full panic meltdown because Mercury is hurdling more tests our way, let’s empower ourselves with a spirit of openness and non-resistance. Instead of being consumed by fear and anxiety, let's choose to go gently with ourselves, embrace the lessons and insights that Mercury Retrograde has to offer, even if they are super annoying. Remember – when in doubt, don’t. If you’re feeling resistance, stop. Be mindful of how kind you are being to yourself. Foot off the gas, step into observation. Honor yourself and know the wisdom you hold has gotten you this far, it’s just another cosmic wave to ride out. Let’s embrace the adventure rather than fear the worst, until we can finally say bye bye, Mercury Retrograde!

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