Poor Mercury gets a real bad rap in astrology. When it retrogrades, people expect mishaps, delays, mood swings, scary changes and ruined plans. The retrograde is almost always associated with disappointment and darkness.
While it’s true that Mercury does mess with us in all these ways when it retrogrades, confronting the process with negativity and fear can make this jumbled time worse.
It’s time for a change in perspective. Mercury retrogrades are a fantastic opportunity for practicing self-reflection, exercising your emotional awareness, and making lemonade out of lemons.
What Does It Mean When Mercury Retrogrades?
The monster that is a Mercury retrograde isn’t so scary once you get to know what makes it tick. So, let’s clear the air on what it means when this happens in astrology.
About every four months, Mercury appears to reverse directions as we see it from Earth. The planet’s orbit isn’t actually changing, making the retrograde an illusion – sort of like when you pass a car on the highway, and the other vehicle seems to travel backward as you accelerate.
In fact, all planets retrograde – but it happens to Mercury the most, which is why it’s become such a pain in the you-know-what for astrology lovers everywhere. Mercury rules communication and travel, so when it appears to move backwards, it takes a toll on our ability to hold our plans together.
Mercury typically stays retrograde for an average of 21 days. That’s about three-straight weeks that astrologers tell us will be filled with speed bumps. They ask us not to move too hastily, because miscommunication and upended plans lie around every corner.
Sound fun? No, of course it doesn’t. That’s why preparation and awareness are key to making Mercury retrogrades work for you, not against you.
Making friends with Mercury
As you prepare for a Mercury retrograde, you must be honest with yourself. Self-reflection is incredibly important at this time, because the roadblocks you hit during a retrograde will be easier to deal with if you can accept what is and isn’t working in your life.
Take time to journal about your feelings, and pay close attention to any situations that are bothering you. Inner turmoil can overwhelm you during a retrograde, and shying away from your feelings at this time is no good.
For example, astrologers often tell us not to sign important contracts during Mercury retrograde. If you’re not in tune with your body and your spirit, you might make a hasty decision during a retrograde that won’t pan out well in the long run.
This is also a time to practice patience and flexibility. The best-laid plans often go awry (and they always do when we’re dealing with a retrograde), so this is an opportunity to hone your skills of slowing down and staying present. When things go haywire, remember that this is all part of a greater process. Take a deep breath and count all the things that are going right for you. Then, ask yourself what lesson the universe is trying to teach you through each setback you face.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? That’s the beauty of a Mercury retrograde. If you can stay patient, gracious and emotionally aware throughout the weeks of a retrograde, you will come out the other side feeling empowered, not broken.
Mercury retrogrades don’t have to harm our lives – they’re more a test of our toughness. These periods highlight the aspects of our life that need to be addressed so that we can grow. Meet them with love, and you’ll be just fine.