Vox via The Hood Witch
We all know to blame Mercury retrograde when we're feeling icky for no real reason. After your period, it's the second most believable way to shed accountability for your sh*tty behavior with impunity, but it's also a very real phenomenon that could be messing with your life. The planet Mercury rules expression and communication, and it affects through processes, data encoding, and for some reason, the USPS. When Mercury is in retrograde, it appears to be moving backward, sending your ability to communicate into a tailspin your life may never recover from. JK, but it can seriously make things suck for the three weeks the planet's motion is wonky, which happens three or four times every year. Every planet goes into retrograde and majorly f*cks your sh*t up at some point, but most other major planets like Venus only retrograde every couple of years.
Mercury retrograde prevents forward motion, but it can be a surprisingly healthy time to reflect on the areas it has affected and process the past, so long as you don't try to force new things into happening. Researchers with Country Living Magazine found that Mercury retrograde can lead to fallings out with your friends, misunderstandings, travel disruptions, emails never being sent, and generally "other misfortune," so proper preparation is key. We've found twenty things you should prepare for during Mercury's retrograde to minimize your L's and maximize your W's.
Mercury retrograde is not a time for things to be pushing forward or for starting new chapters. You've waited two decades, what's three more weeks? Job searching during Mercury retrograde is inadvisable, so schedule interviews before or after the retrograde if at all possible. Because of the disruptive nature of the retrograde, interviews could be postponed, hiring processes can be delayed, and if you do manage to land the job, the pliability of big decisions made during retrograde can make the job not last super long. Bustle made a roundup of some important exceptions to this rule for Taurus, Cancer, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius, who could experience networking benefits by revisiting old acquaintances or coming full circle with old dreams. And obvi, if a dream opportunity comes your way, don't use Mercury retrograde as an excuse not to take it. There are exceptions to every rule.
It's been known that Mercury retrograde messes with your communication and expression, so it's a pretty obvious mental leap that confrontation during retrograde is a big no. You're more likely to misunderstand the other person, and they're more likely to have no idea what you're saying either, which can lead to blowout fights over simple disagreements. Refinery29's expert describes it as not being able to get our message across when we think we're being clear turning into a heated argument. If you're someone who's a fan of open communication and hashing out problems, just hit pause until Mercury gets back into its regular groove, and if you find yourself getting offended by other people's comments or attempts to communicate at the worst possible cosmic time, take this newfound knowledge and chill for a sec before you respond.
Mercury retrograde isn't all bad. It's not, like, this grand evil plot to destroy everything you hold dear (even if it does, in fact, destroy everything you hold dear sometimes). You just need to know how to work retrograde to your advantage. Constance Stellas explained to Refinery29 that retrograde is a time for reflection. Since pushing forward is probably a bad idea, this is the perfect opportunity to look back. Revisiting lost loves, reconnecting with old friends, restarting old projects, or redo-ing things that didn't turn out super great the first time (not like, coke... like, writing that novel) can ground you and act as a positive force in your life. Retrograde isn't something you need to fight against, it's a reminder to reground.
Part of the issues with Mercury being in retrograde is, clearly, with expression and misunderstandings. While this may seem like a great reason to ~avoid~ texting, a hotbed of people not understanding sarcasm or forgetting to answer you, the ability to carefully and strategically pick your words is key when communicating during Mercury in retrograde. Keep things brief (no huge paragraphs or small novels, please!) and to the point to avoid possible misunderstandings. IRL, focusing on touch and not talk is another way to communicate with a lower risk factor. Actions speak louder than words RN.
Like we mentioned before, big decisions happening during retrograde don't always stick. Try to plan your wedding when mercury isn't in retrograde to increase your odds of not becoming one of the 70%. Similarly, signing important legal documents like a lease or a prenup could backfire, partially because they're pushing forward a new start during a reflective time and partially because the blockage of communication and data encoding means you're more likely to miss something in the fine print. If you absolutely must sign something big during a retrograde, make like Santa and check that sh*t twice. This is the time to become someone that reads the Terms and Conditions. Download Grammarly, spell check, and follow up to make sure your documents got to their final destination safely because mercury rules the postal system.
I know, online shopping is an addiction. You can't just stop cold turkey. But because the retrograde disrupts travel, your packages could easily go AWOL (and, if you're taking a trip, you could experience some nasty delays). Whether it's electronic mail or snail mail, the communication doomsday prophecy of retrograde disrupts the transmission of information even in this very literal sense. It's a risk to online shop when the postal system is prone to mistakes because your packages could easily end up in Nowhere, Idaho or get stolen by an *sshole neighbor who's feeling weirdly bold that day. If you're trying to transport *yourself* somewhere aka travel, try to plan your trips outside of retrograde as a gift to yourself and also buy your tickets when it isn't retrograde if you can.
Just to hammer in the "avoid big decisions" theme of the article, maybe break up with your horrible boyfriend *before* Mercury in retrograde starts to make sure it really sticks. Like other life changes made during the retrograde, they're easily undone, whether it's because people are using Mercury in retrograde as an excuse for their S/O's horrible behavior and giving them second chances or because of some weird cosmic force mind-controlling us. Who knows! It's also common that you'll look back on arguments you had during retrograde and realize that they weren't really that deep to begin with, be able to communicate your feelings better once the three week period has ended, and go back to your happy relationship in the afterglow, according to Bustle's psychic.
IDK if it's because of Mercury's hold over data encryption or because all technology is just computers talking to each other in their weird numerical language, but Mercury actually rules technology. When Mercury is in retrograde, weird tech problems are more likely to occur, even on the level of Wi-Fi connectivity issues, machine malfunctions, or hardware self-destruction. Have you ever wondered why your hard drive wiped itself on the same day your motherboard crashed? Probably Mercury's bad. It's unrealistic to take a three-week tech cleanse, so just make proper preparations for the worst: make backups of your backups, obsessively save your work, and order a portable charger from Amazon. Also, maybe it's time to invest in a portable hotspot, just in case. Better safe than sorry!
Pivoting back to the benefits of retrograde, revisiting the past doesn't mean you have to make the same mistakes you did back then. Reassess and reconsider events in your life, and take The Hood Witch's advice to look at things from a different perspective than you have in the past. Use the opportunity to heal, find understanding and depth, and finally forgive the past so that you can push forward once retrograde has finished. This is a great time to start journaling or scrapbooking — two off-line activities perfect for exploring and reminiscing on days gone by.
Refinery29 asked a literal doctor of astrology, Michael Lennox, how to get through Mercury in retrograde without messing up your entire life and everything you've built. His number one piece of advice? Be patient. Whether it's pressing pause on impulsive decision making or waiting for a moment of clarity throughout all of the fuzzy, hazy communication barriers, just try to chill out and center yourself. Count to ten. Meditate. Wait for the truth to reveal itself to you or whatever. If you're wondering whether to act or wait: don't do it.
You're not the only one who will be feeling the nostalgic effects of Mercury's retrograde. Even your evil ex may be revisiting his/her past, and while you may remember the relationship as a garbage heap on fire, they might be looking at it from a new perspective. I know that's advice we *literally* just gave you, but if the thing you're revisiting is an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who cheated on you with a bunch of b*tches on Tinder and then forgot your birthday, maybe don't. Post their text on your finsta, laugh, and move on. Looking back at the past can also be remembering why you left certain people and things behind, and that's okay too. Make peace with it, but just because you forgive doesn't mean you need to forget. If your ex happens to be hot and not human scum, then that's a whole 'nother story.
When communication is off and literally the whole world is experiencing, effectively, cosmic PMS, stuff is going to feel off. Your neighbor probably didn't read this article, got into a huge fight with his GF, and got dumped over an argument about putting fish in the microwave (disgusting, never do it, but anyway). Your boss might have had a hard drive crash before she could save her work for the twentieth time, your little is dodging texts from seven of her deadbeat exes. Things are bad all around, and the weird vibes might be real, they're just not really about you. Ignore them as best you can, rise above it with possible, and fight fire with positivity and short, clear sentences. Your friends don't hate you, it's just the gravitational pull of the universe making people grumpy.
So, not *every* retrograde is different, but there are a dozen variations Mercury in retrograde can take. Mercury retrograde is affected by which astrological sign it's being cast through, which depends on the position of the planets at that specific time period. If Mercury is cast in Aquarius, ThoughtCo explains that it will be a more detached, mass communication issue through group dynamics and "the larger human community," whereas Mercury in retrograde through Cancer presents itself a little closer to home with a focus on family dynamics and one-to-one personal bonds. If you're worried about a specific relationship or opportunity being affected by the retrograde, Google its sign to see how worried you really need to be.
Your Vishuddha chakra (aka your throat chakra) is your fifth chakra, and it controls your center of communication, expression, and listening. Naturally, this means that some nice opening and clearing of the Vishuddha chakra can help dilute the effects of a Mercury retrograde. Meditation is always an option for chakra clearing, but certain yoga poses are said to help open the fifth chakra and rebalance it to find ~our authentic truth~. These poses are really just anything that opens the frontline of your neck, like a supported fish pose, camel, or baby cobra, or compresses the frontline of your neck, like shoulder stand, bridge, or seated forward fold. If you're looking for a simple, daily fix, use kundalini yoga chanting to create vibrations in your throat or find a kriya used to balance the throat chakra.
If things tended to go *right* during Mercury in retrograde, you wouldn't be reading the article, and we'd have twelve weeks out of the year that didn't suck majorly. Because mistakes tend to happen during retrograde, it's not the best time to make big spending decisions. Your judgment is affected by the "meh" in the air making you feel unstable, which can make retail therapy seem super appealing. But if you do make that big purchase, there's a larger probability of something bad happening whether it's another lost package, spilling coffee on your new coat, or not reading a price right and ending up with a $1,000 charge instead of a $100 charge. It's not the safest time to buy a Fendi purse, ok?
Just like how you bought a bunch of things to prevent the worst from happening ~electronically~ during retrograde, prepare for the worst in every aspect of your life. Always be prepared! Put an emergency roadside kit in your car with some snow chains, make backup plans for travel, nights out, and meals, and consider having a chat with your significant other about anything that's been bugging you lately. You could even warn them or your friends jokingly that retrograde is going to make mountains out of molehills, even if it's in a joking way, to try and preemptively avoid any retrograde blowouts.
Mercury in retrograde is more than just the three weeks of lskjdflsakjfdg that happens three times a year. It also has a shadow period before and after retrograde that can be calculated with math I cannot do (vectors are hard, ok?) but Astrostyle can. It's roughly two weeks before and after the retrograde, but it's not an added month of sh*t. The shadow period is actually a set period of interstellar time for us to prepare before and process after retrograde for any planet. It's still best not to jump headfirst into anything new during this time because this is when the soul-searching really begins and ends. So, the stars are still messing with you in the retroshade, but it's also when you put what you've learned into action and fix anything that was broken, even before retrograde began.
Just like flight delays affect long-distance travel, train delays affect your short-distance commute, so it's best to give yourself a little more travel time before work to make sure you're not late for three weeks straight. You can't find a job during retrograde, so it's not a great time to get fired for constant tardiness. You also might just be running late because everything sucks, you're getting zero sleep *because* everything sucks, and you're distracted by all of the suckage. Wake up early, bribe yourself with a breakfast sandwich on the way to the office, and don't let retrograde mess up your mornings, too.
Yeah, it sounds mean, but it's for your own good *and* theirs. Avoid Geminis and Virgos, but also avoid anyone whose Mercury is housed in Gemini or Virgo (this is a good time to download the Co-Star app and add all of your friends, BTW). It's nothing personal, these are just the signs most affected by the communication and expression difficulties during Mercury in retrograde. Don't blame me, blame the stars. I don't make the rules, I just follow them to the letter. If you have no choice but to still talk to the Geminis and Virgos in your life for the next three weeks, brace yourselves.
Clearly, buy them *beforehand* because we aren't making any big purchases during Mercury retrograde, but if weird magical forces are ruining your life, maybe they can fix it, too. Energy Muse suggests using labradorite to "help see the light hidden in the gray areas of life," and helps you find a silver lining. It also helps you recognize what needs to be changed in your life, a big part of the retroshade, and reminds you to think before you speak. Black tourmaline can also help by getting rid of fear and chaos, hematite grounds you and pull negative energy out of your field, and amazonite promotes clear communication and clarity in speech, making it a big recommend on our end. Quartz crystal is pretty *and* brings blockage-removing focus, and fluorite gets rid of negative energy to promote peace.