Mercury Retrograde 101
Mercury is said to be in retrograde when it seemingly appears to go backwards in its orbit. This happens on average three to four times a year. Usually, all the planets will move in an easterly direction around the sun. But sometimes they appear to change directions and move westerly – this is what astronomers call a ‘retrograde motion’.
Back in the day, this phenomena baffled ancient astronomers and they couldn’t work out what caused the planets to do that. However, modern scientists have since discovered that the planets themselves don't actually go backwards but it is merely an illusion caused by our vantage point on Earth. Susan Miller, astrologist and author of Astrology Zone, describes this occurrence pretty well:
"Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. If you were in a car and another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of "wind" in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives." - Susan Miller
Mercury is known as the planet that rules over communication, travel and logical reasoning. When we add a retrograde into the equation, it’s almost as though Mercury has gone on a vacation and all these areas in our lives seem to get thrown out of whack and we find ourselves in a catastrophe.
If we take Albert Einstein’s theory that everything is energy, then that would explain why the confusing energy in the skies can permeate into our lives here on Earth and bring a ton of energetic havoc during a retrograde.
"Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics." - Albert Einstein
Tips for surviving Mercury Retrograde
The most common advice for surviving Mercury Retrograde is to lay low and leave all your important tasks until the retrograde has finished. As mentioned above, Mercury affects everything to do with communication, travel and logical reasoning. So, the best things to avoid during a retrograde are the things that fall under these categories.
Here are some common "Don’ts" during Mercury Retrograde:
- Don’t impulsively sign contracts or important paperwork
- Don’t start anything new
- Don’t call your ex that you’ve moved on from
- Don’t make any expensive purchases such as cars, electronic gadgets, or a house
- Don’t lead people on or send mixed messages
- Don’t succumb to gossip or spread rumours
- Don’t make hasty decisions
But, it’s not all doom and gloom during Mercury Retrograde. These are the things that are encouraged:
- Do take a moment to reflect on your life and reassess your priorities
- Do take some time out for self-care
- Do keep all your work and technology backed up
- Do review any past relationships (or people) that show up and work on your inner healing
- Do some yoga and meditation daily to mentally prepare yourself for the hectic retrograde energies
- Do spend some extra time to double-check everything before submitting
- Do remember to be grateful for all the things that didn’t go wrong
At the end of the day, just because it’s Mercury Retrograde, try not to start each day with the assumption that everything will be bad. Life will still go on, things will still get done. Plan a daily routine of (1) being grateful, (2) setting good intentions, (3) surrounding yourself with positive people and (4) keep some crystals around you to lift your vibe. Soon enough, you won’t even notice the effects of Mercury Retrograde that much!