Mercury Retrograde: What to Know and How to Prepare

mercury retrograde

People worrying about “mercury being in retrograde” has become a bit of an internet joke, but people who believe in astrology find Mercury retrograde to be a stressful time.

Of all the planet retrogrades, this retrograde can be the most upsetting. Each of the planets in our solar system represents a different sign and corresponds with different elements of our universal human experience.

Learning more about what each planet means will help you prepare for each of their retrogrades. Let’s take a look at what Mercury represents and how we can prepare for its retrograde.

What is Retrograde?

Astrology is the study of celestial objects. Charting their position in the sky can help us learn more about ourselves and what to expect from the universe.

One of those types of movements is called a retrograde. A planet retrogrades when it appears to move backward across the sky. It travels back into the sign it previously transited. This is only an optical illusion, as planets do not start moving in different directions.

People often say Mercury is “in retrograde,” which isn’t the proper terminology. That would be like saying “Mercury is in moving backwards.”

When a planet retrogrades, it is time to reassess and reflect. Just as the planet appears to reverse direction, everything the planet represents will feel off-balance, as though it’s going the opposite of it’s normal flow. This can be a jarring feeling for someone used to living a certain way.

Different signs will react differently to retrogrades. For example, an air sign will face different challenges from an earth sign or a fixed sign. To discover what your sun sign is, use a birth chart calculator

What to Expect

The planet of Mercury rules communication, as well as intelligence, intellectualism, soundness of mind, reasoning, and language. Since Mercury corresponds with such vital aspects of coexistence, Mercury retrograding can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you cross paths with a lot of people.

Communication can break down, resulting in frustrating misunderstandings. We won’t be at our peak intellectualism, so we can get frustrated with ourselves for not being able to process things at the speed or clarity that we normally do.

Our logic and reasoning will be off kilter, so we might make impulsive, irrational decisions in the heat of the moment because we aren’t thinking straight.

Along with not understanding the messages of others, we also won’t be able to express ourselves as clearly as we normally do. Our use of language will feel forced, muddled, and blocked. We’ll feel like we just can’t find the right words to say what we mean, and we can grow frustrated when others don’t understand us and our intentions.

If you live with a mental illness, your symptoms may worsen at this time. Everyone’s minds will take a toll during this time, but if you already struggle with your mind’s wellness, take extra care not to put yourself in triggering situations.

Zodiac Self Care

How to Prepare for Mercury Retrograde

After learning about what Mercury retrograde can feel like, you might look at the time period with a lot of anxiety. However, knowing what’s to come isn’t meant to scare you; it gives you a chance to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

During the Mercury retrograde period, you should avoid these tasks:

  • Making weighty decisions: During this time, you don’t be thinking straight. If you have to make a big decision, it’s best to wait until a time when your logic and reasoning is not compromised. You might make an irrational or impulsive decision that you will regret when the retrograde ends.
  • Signing contracts: Just like decision making, a Mercury retrograde is not a good time to sign a binding contract. You want to wait until you can read over the fine print with a clear head, unobstructed by Mercury retrograde period.
  • Bringing up a difficult subject: If you’ve been planning on having a big talk with your partner, such as discussing moving in together or deciding whether or not to take a break, do not start this discussion after the Mercury retrograde began. Your communication will be compromised and you won’t be able to express yourself as clearly as usual. Beyond romantic partners, another example would be starting an uncomfortable conversation with your boss. If you’ve been experiencing problems in your work environment or you’re looking to secure a raise, wait until after the retrograde motion is over.

Self-Care During Mercury Retrograde

Engage in deliberate acts of self care. Don’t put yourself in any situations that can be triggering for you. Your mind isn’t at its strongest, so you want to take care of it, just like you would a sore leg. Be gentle with yourself.

In addition to caring for yourself, be careful with others. They are going through the same rough patch that you are, and they may not understand why they are experiencing this tension. Think the best of people; don’t let small comments rub you the wrong way. Chances are, they really didn’t mean it to come out the way it did. Try to give them grace during this time.

If you feel like you can’t help yourself from snapping at people, it might be best for you to take some time to yourself. Spending time alone will help you recharge and recuperate while preventing you from saying or doing things you might regret.

All retrogrades give you the perfect chance to reflect. Take this time to journal and meditate. You might make some realizations in certain areas of life that will help you move forward with more clarity.

Thriving in a Mercury Retrograde

The most important thing to do during a Mercury retrograde is to take care of yourself. Show kindness and understanding to others, because they are also going through a difficult time.

Do things that you love to do and surround yourself with people who make you feel safe. Don’t put yourself in risky situations. Wait to make decisions until the shadow period is over. Because Mercury is the planet that controls our mind states, give yourself a mental health day if you need to.

You should always treat yourself with compassion, but this time of year makes it especially important.

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Author, Artist, Photographer.

Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.

She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.

She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.


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