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Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury in Retrograde: Everything You Need to Know

There’s a lot of talk about Mercury Retrograde these days and most of it reads like a horror story: traffic lights will change with impunity putting millions of drivers at risk of accidents; computers will inexplicably crash and destroy stocks, bonds, and jobs; phones will errantly call former lovers during romantic dates causing strife and ruin relationships. But what does it mean when Mercury is in retrograde and more importantly, is there anything we can do about it?

What Is Mercury in Retrograde?

As Mercury makes its way around its orbit, there are several times throughout the year that it, as seen from Earth, appears to stop (station) and then travel backward (retrograde). Murphy may have come up with his famous law (what can go wrong, will go wrong) during one of these periods. It often feels like there is a struggle between you and your phone, laptop…any electronic device really, as communication is often one of the hardest-hit things during Mercury retrograde. Travel, which also falls under the rulership of the planet Mercury, will often be tricky during this period, with unexpected delays, cancellations, and possibly lost luggage.

Also, the normally outgoing energy of this planet spirals in on itself, making this a time better suited for reflection rather than action. The energy of Mercury retrograde is inward yet we live in a very straightforward, linear world. That works quite well with the rational, reasoning, calculating, outward-flowing energy of Mercury but when Mercury stations retrograde, the mind needs to slow down, reflect, consider, and circle. It’s not the easiest thing to do for many of us.

What Happens When Mercury is in Retrograde?

Anything relating to electricity can go haywire and usually does! Your computer crashes; your smartphone suddenly becomes not-so-smart; your cable box acts more like a cardboard box; your car decides that it no longer recognizes the battery starter or for that matter, the fact that a key opens and starts it! And speaking of transportation, guess which planet rules transportation… that’s right, Mercury!

Does Mercury Really Move Backward?

Mercury’s backward movement is just an optical illusion. It appears to move backward because we aren’t viewing it from a stationary spot. The earth has its own orbit and spin, which is slower than speedy Mercury’s. During certain times in Earth’s orbit because of its position relative to Mercury, it’s going to look like it’s going backward when in reality both planets are just traveling forward on their fixed paths as they always do.

When the separate periods of Mercury retrograde are added altogether, that can take up weeks to a few months out of an entire year. While this is only an optical illusion, the effects of that optical illusion are very real. The energy of Mercury is the energy we use when we communicate. When you stop to think about it, isn’t the way that we communicate that which makes us human? It’s as if you’re driving down the highway of life and for three weeks at a time you pull off onto the side of the road.

How to Survive Mercury in Retrograde

So should we plan to live in a bunker during the period of Mercury retrograde? Not so fast! Although there are absolutely some things we should avoid doing if we can, there are not only ways we can flow through this energy gracefully, but there are also ways we can use it in our favor. Contrary to popular perception, Mercury retrograde periods are not all that bad. As a matter of fact, if you know how to use them, they actually can benefit you. Let’s talk about the Do’s and Don’ts for this period.


  1. Don't Expect Clear Communication - Don't broach a sensitive subject during Mercury retrograde. Not only will you struggle to communicate your thoughts effectively, but the other person will likely misinterpret your intent. Whether you're talking in person, sending an email, or even writing a letter, communication is rarely clear during Mercury retrograde. Since Mercury rules all modes of communication, you're more likely to misspeak or include problematic mistakes when you try to get your message across.

    If you do need to communicate, make absolutely sure you understand what the other person really means before reacting. And when it comes to matters of the heart, if your boyfriend or girlfriend says something extremely hurtful or that they want to call it quits, take a breather and wait. They may not mean what you think they are saying. Give them room and wait to see if they really mean what they said during the retrograde. Also, don’t be surprised when someone from the past just happens to show up out of the blue at the worst possible moment!

  2. Don't Start Something New - Simply put, it’s not a good idea to plan an event or start anything new during Mercury retrograde. Each time Mercury orbits past Earth, the smaller planet appears to be spinning backward rather than forward. As a result, moving forward with new projects, fresh contracts, or innovative ideas can easily backfire during Mercury retrograde. When Mercury is retrograde there are certain activities you should try to avoid if possible: car and computer repairs, surgery, getting married, and extensive airplane travel. Major delays as well as mix-ups and redo’s are very common. Your patience will certainly be tested.

    To avoid a bad beginning or initiating a poorly thought-out plan, don't start anything new at this time. If you have to start a job during Mercury retrograde be prepared that the job might change dramatically or suddenly end altogether. This actually applies to all transactions and contracts, including marriage.

    If you happen to begin a job, open a business, or start a court case when Mercury is retrograde, Mercury will become your major event status clock. That means that every time in the future when Mercury goes retrograde, you will get an update on the status of your job, court case, or how your business is really doing.

  3. Don't Make Major Purchases - Moving forward with a big purchase, such as a home, a new car, or an expensive piece of jewelry typically takes planning and budgeting. Before signing on the dotted line, consider the timing of any major purchase, too. Take care not to move forward with a big buy during Mercury retrograde, as you could encounter defective products, snafus, miscommunications, and other misfortunes.


  1. Do Anticipate Delays - Since Mercury also rules travel, delays are almost guaranteed when the planet orbits by Earth. While you don't necessarily need to cancel all travel plans, you should add extra time to your schedule in case of delays, missed connections, or other unavoidable issues. Even if it's inconvenient, try your best to go with the flow to have the best experience during Mercury retrograde.

  2. Do Take Your Time Making Decisions - Procrastinators Rejoice! Speedy Mercury’s regressing trajectory means this is the perfect time to slow down and put certain things off. Mercury is moving very slowly during these periods, particularly at the points of change in direction (stations), so the thought process (thinking, planning, and communication) isn’t as fast. But the rest of us will need to consider some modifications to our plans. During Mercury retrograde, everyone should make it a point to be extra observant in all of their senses so they can be aware of the points of resistance to moving forward in any area of their lives.

  3. Do Take Time for Self-Reflection - If Mercury is communication and a retrograde motion turns things backward (and inward) then it is a perfect time to communicate with the inner you. It is an excellent time to be creative and an advantageous time to turn the light inward that normally shines outward. This is the perfect time to try this Mercury Retrograde tarot spread. Relax with yourself by recognizing and aligning your mind, body, and spirit. In this way, you move with the flow of Mercury instead of struggling against it.

    A good mantra for Mercury Retrograde periods is anything with the prefix “re:” re-view, re-think, re-consider, re-search, re-new, re-flect, re-evaluate. Think of it as the “re” season. This Roman prefix means, “again,” which essentially means to circle around, look at all the angles, see things from a different view, or take the long way around. Final decisions will be delayed until the three-week session is over. It’s one of life’s ways of helping us put on the brakes. It’s the opportunity to make sure we’ve taken the time to go over plans, goals, relationships, investments, travel arrangements, and just about anything that needs extra attention related to the active house in your astrology chart.

  4. Do Take Time to Re-Assess What You Have - These are periods of inventory-taking. All of us, from the ordinary Jane or Joe to the corporate tycoon can benefit from taking stock of their assets and liabilities, considering what is working and what isn’t, then evaluating, and reworking our strategies. Conveniently, these are just the things that the individual would be well served to do during Mercury Retrograde periods. Also, it’s a time when people, situations, or lessons from the past come up for review. Mercury retrograde is a slowing down, inward process, that allows us time to go deeper.

  5. Do Schedule Down Time for Yourself - It can be frustrating if you are someone who is always in ‘go’ mode. But breaks are always beneficial times for introspection and often provide the potential for stronger growth in the end. In order for us to move forward in our lives, we sometimes have to stop, look, and listen. Mercury in retrograde forces us to do just that. It has a way of slowing us down, so we can rethink and gain clarity on what’s not working in our lives. It gives us a chance to clear away the old stuff. And best of all – by clearing away the old stuff, we allow the universe to bring in something better.

  6. Do Rethink Existing Agreements - Starting something brand new isn't likely to go smoothly as Mercury passes by, but that doesn't mean you can't rethink your existing plans. In fact, Mercury retrograde is a smart time to reevaluate and propose changes to your current situation. Renegotiate your upcoming raise, rethink your quarterly business plan, and strive to complete what you've already started.

  7. Do Revamp and Redecorate - Although you won't want to buy anything new during this cosmological event, it's a great time to revamp what you already have. Since redecorating requires a shift backward, it lets you align your movements with Mercury's path. That means revising and renewing are much less likely to introduce adversity or bad luck into your life. Curious about when to prioritize renovation over new construction? A video psychic chat can help you get a handle on when Mercury retrograde is slated to happen and how long it could affect your plans.

Other Things to Watch Out For in Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury retrograde offers a unique energy that can be helpful for taking a clear-eyed assessment of our lives so that we can decide if we are on the right track. Although you shouldn’t rush or make any final decisions on things during this time, the energy of this period will clearly lay bare what is working for us, and what isn’t. This is when our shadows, the darker things about ourselves that we want to deny, will be the easiest to see and confront if we have the will to do so.

We can recognize that some things need to die for the phoenix to be born from the ashes even more beautiful than before. Like highly acclaimed intuitive Colette Baron Reid says, it is "Life Alchemy," meaning, the separation of elements in order to form something new. When we let go of the things that are no longer needed to continue with us on our paths and let the aspects of ourselves die that need to, we can fully embody the authentic expression of our life purpose and live more joyfully.

What are the Benefits of Mercury in Retrograde?

Mercury retrograde always offers a gift: an opportunity to self-actualize and integrate personal healing. We must look into our personal chart and notice what the retrograde is touching to see the benefit. It may not be readily apparent, as we are surrounded by an “immediate gratification society” – however, retrogrades allow us an opportunity to slow down; they are a time of re-flexion…repair, and self-care.

Here are 3 Ways Mercury Retrograde can benefit you:

  1. It allows you more time to communicate clearly. This happens because of miscommunications during mercury retrograde. These miscommunications teach us to slow down a bit and think about how we’re speaking. By checking with the person we’re speaking with, we come to a greater understanding and we achieve better results.

  2. If you have issues in a relationship that need to be resolved, Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time to do it. Or if you had something to get off your chest with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend that you never got a chance to express, then do it during a mercury retrograde. The issue is more likely to be resolved.

  3. If you’re not sure if something like your car, computer, or cell phone needs fixing, a Mercury retrograde will surely let you know. So, if any electronic device of yours needs a checkup, take it in during Mercury retrograde. But remember that this is only for devices you already have! Wait until Mercury retrograde is over to buy any NEW electronic device, such as a computer, cell phone, or even a car. Also, be careful about signing any important papers or contracts during Mercury retrograde. If you do have to sign any of these, please read the fine print and check for errors.

What Does Mercury Retrograde Means for Each Zodiac Sign?

Mercury in Retrograde for Aries:

For a sign that has speed as one of its primary traits, Mercury retrograde for Aries can be especially challenging. Expect delays to be one of the hallmarks of this time, and that the usual Aries method of just bulldozing through problems isn’t going to work. This is an opportunity to cultivate patience.

Mercury in Retrograde for Taurus:

Thankfully, you are used to doing things slow and methodically. But Mercury retrograde for Taurus not only has the potential to bring out some latent impulsivity it will often make you confront your stubbornness from the inevitable communication issues that arise. Breathe. Now is not the time to unleash your legendary temper lest you burn bridges you later wish you had left intact.

Mercury in Retrograde for Gemini:

The bad news—Gemini is ruled by Mercury, so you’ll feel especially shaken up by its chaotic energy. The good news—Gemini is one of the most adaptable signs in the zodiac, so if anyone can weather the ups and downs with grace, it’s a Gemini. Mind your words especially carefully during this time. They will often come out with a sharper edge than usual.

Mercury in Retrograde for Cancer:

Think of Mercury retrograde as the period between when a crab molts its old shell, but its new one hasn’t had time to harden yet. There is ample opportunity for Cancer to shed what no longer serves them, but they are quite likely to have raw nerves through the whole process. Be very aware of your emotions during this time. Journal if it helps you keep track of them. And try not to let them color your worldview.

Mercury in Retrograde for Leo:

The dazzle that often surrounds Leo quite often will lose some of its shine. The recognition you wanted? Lost in the shuffle. The unforgettable first impression you hoped to make? Perhaps you want to take more time to plan it out. You will feel ever so slightly out of sync with everyone, so be sure to make time to center yourself, see where others are at, then go forth with a plan.

Mercury in Retrograde for Virgo:

Also ruled by Mercury, Virgo is especially sensitive to its chaotic energy—and we all know how well Virgos do with chaos. While you aren’t as comfortable going with the flow of your Gemini cousins, you are very, very good at coming up with contingency plans. Expect plan A to go awry. Make the energy of Mercury retrograde your ally in figuring out where all the weak points of a situation are and how things might go wrong.

Then plan accordingly.

Mercury in Retrograde for Libra:

The energy of Mercury retrograde is like nails on a chalkboard to harmony-loving Libra. Where did all this disagreeableness come from? Why is everyone arguing? Libras, check and triple-check your information before passing it on, and don’t rely heavily on electronic communication at this time. If it’s worth saying, try saying it in person. Your inclination towards harmony will help keep situations in check.

Mercury in Retrograde for Scorpio:

Scorpio likes being in control, something in short supply during Mercury retrograde. They also may find out during this time period who was worthy of their trust, and who was not. Scorpio, allow yourself to feel your feelings, but don’t blow things out of proportion either. After you’ve had time to acknowledge your anger or sadness, let your logical sidekick in so you know what battles are worth fighting and what you can let go of.

Mercury in Retrograde for Sagittarius:

Travel-loving Sagittarius, perhaps you should put off your wanderings until after Mercury retrograde is over, especially anything that is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime or dream vacation. The chances are good for a number of small complications to overwhelm your plans and rob you of your enjoyment. Lean into your free-spirited side when you can and try to find the adventure in the inevitable shifts in plans.

Mercury in Retrograde for Capricorn:

Workaholic Capricorns are not going to appreciate any slowdowns to their big plans, but this may be exactly the sort of break you need to reassess them to be sure things are headed where you want them to. It might not be easy to embrace the slowdown of this time period but think of it as a necessary part of your overall plans. You’ll find you will be far more efficient at reaching your goals if you do.

Mercury in Retrograde for Aquarius:

Aquarius is one of the signs most likely to love (and have lots of) high-tech gadgets, so they are most likely to feel it the most when those gadgets start going haywire. But Aquarius is also endlessly adaptable and good at finding workarounds. You are also one of the most likely to recognize that this period is affecting more than just you, making it easier to extend a bit of grace to others who aren’t handling it as well.

Mercury in Retrograde for Pisces:

Like your fellow water signs, you might notice that your emotions are a lot more tender and easily bruised during Mercury retrograde. To make things worse, those heightened emotions are going to throw up energetic static, making it harder to tune into your innate intuition. Pisces needs to use this time to step back. Give yourself plenty of quiet and space to process your emotions and give your personal energy a soft reset, so you can really see what’s going on.

Mercury Retrograde in Your Natal Chart

If you were born when Mercury is retrograde, your perspective on life is unique. First off, smile; this isn't a sign of doom. Quite the opposite. Mercury in retrograde in your natal chart gives you something of a superpower during this period. You're traveling mentally in the opposite direction of others on the planet, except when Mercury is retrograde. For that special three-week period, you're at your best. You get a progressively greater understanding and clarity helping you to spring forward as you suddenly formulate action with a stronger direction. The rest of the year, you can still think with your feet on the ground. However, certain quickness, clarity, and agility require more effort and patience to achieve.

What to do After a Mercury Retrograde

Once Mercury goes direct again, delays fall away, lost luggage is found, jobs are accepted, and contracts are signed. Life returns to a more normal pace as you get back on the highway of life moving in forward motion. It will seem as if the pressure is off and it's smooth sailing. We're being filled with revitalizing energy!

In astrology, the planet Mercury rules several facets of our lives: communication, thought patterns, and relationship quality, among others. During Mercury retrograde, you might have found yourself hovering in the shadows, catching up on Netflix, and avoiding social situations to protect yourself. This time period does give us all a viable excuse to seclude ourselves at home and avoid communication with others. Now that it's over, trade your pajamas for actual clothes and get out in the world. Reconnect with loved ones, try new electronics, and book a vacation. Since retrograde can influence air travel and computers, you might have stayed away from those things over the last three weeks. The time is right to start making changes for the better!

This is the perfect time to communicate, finish that business plan, journal a life review, have that heart-to-heart with someone you love, or write that letter you've been putting off. It's smart to stay tight-lipped during Mercury retrograde. You're likely to make an unintentionally offensive comment or irritate someone you love. After Mercury goes direct, you can relax and let your guard down. You're less likely to offend someone during this time; feel free to open up. Let loose your thoughts and emotions without worrying about a misunderstanding. Any blockages are now being released and we can all once again move forward refreshed with the lessons of the retrograde.

Money will be flowing in with more ease, and career opportunities and projects will proceed and flourish. Thinking about switching to a new line of work? Now's the best time. Mercury retrograde has ended, so pull out the classifieds and start your new employment mission. When Mercury goes direct, job hunting becomes more productive and less stressful.

Most people find that spending money during Mercury retrograde results in buyer's remorse. Once it's over, however, you can loosen the purse strings a few notches, perhaps go shopping for some big-ticket items you've been considering, like a car or a home---especially if part of the process involves negotiating a price. Since Mercury retrograde inhibits your ability to negotiate from a place of strength, wait until it ends. Now you can feel free to haggle at the dealership or with the loan officer. Don't go overboard --- you still have to pay your rent --- but catch up on the shopping that you eschewed during the retrograde. If you're not sure whether this is the right time to buy a house or car, consult phone psychics for guidance.

Sometimes there are shadow periods in the few days following Mercury retrograde, making things a little unstable as the energy settles back into normal. But that too will end, and we can move forward with ease. Situations that had been delayed now feel energized. Our thinking is clear and organized and we are ready to take on those tasks we've been processing throughout the retrograde phase. And don't forget to include preparing for the next eventual period of Mercury Retrograde on your to-do list!

How to Prepare for Mercury Retrograde

So now that you've learned How the energy of Mercury retrograde can affect our lives, how do we prepare for it? First consult an ephemeris, a log of the solar system and its motions, so you can see when the next cycle for Mercury Retrograde will start.

Once you know in advance when the next Mercury Retrograde is and how it is most likely to impact you, make plans to ride with the energy of the retrograde, not against it. Have you been on the go a lot? This is a perfect time to slow down and really tune into the little things you may have been overlooking. You may want to use this time to take a technology break or just a break from social media. While traveling isn't a great idea, Mercury retrograde is a good period to take a look around your home and see what might need repairing.

Check-in to see if what you are doing is in alignment with your higher self and make changes if you need to. As frustrating as Mercury Retrograde might seem on the surface, this is a necessary time and your experience of it is a direct correlation to your perception of it. During Mercury Retrograde allow yourself to shift which side of your brain you think with. If you continue thinking with the current side of the brain things may seem harder than they need to.

This period goes by much more smoothly when we don't fight it. What if we take this time to let go of all our fancy technology and go within? What if we take walks in nature and meditate and do yoga and put our phones away and just be? No, we can't be technology-free all the time. We have to get calls from family and work etc., but people did survive without their phones years ago. We can survive for a few hours a day while we let go and breathe and let ourselves become more grounded. In the end that's all Mercury Retrograde is trying to tell us--- "Take a breather, people!" Life shouldn't be this busy. Enjoy the simple pleasures of a good cup of coffee or the dizzying effects of a sweet kiss.

Get a Reading

One of the easiest ways to prepare for Mercury Retrograde is to consult an expert astrologist. They often are very aware of the timing of major astrological events and can help you deal with problems as they arise. But more than that, a good astrologer can see how Mercury retrograde is specifically affecting your chart ahead of time, guide you through the potential setbacks, set up a good game plan, and get you right back on track.

Before the next Mercury Retrograde begins, you may want to try a special Mercury Retrograde Tarot Spread that you can easily learn how to perform yourself or with the help of a Psychic Advisor. 

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