Mercury being in Retrograde is a term we hear quite a lot nowadays and to be honest it tends to be in the form of either an excuse, or a fearful warning. While the astrologically informed may be pretty familiar with Mercury Retrograde, most of us are pretty clueless. So what is Mercury Retrograde? Why does it matter? How can we protect ourselves?
First off, it turns out, embarrassingly, people having been saying it all wrong: Mercury is not ‘in Retrograde’ but rather it’s simply ‘Mercury Retrograde’. Secondly Mercury Retrograde is actually an optical illusion. The planet Mercury is situated closest to the sun, and because of its proximity, its orbit around the sun is therefore much shorter. This means that three, occasionally four times a year, Mercury - due to its position in relation to Earth’s axis - appears to move from forward to backwards. This was a pretty big deal to our ancient astrologers, but now we understand the planet does not actually change direction, but in terms of astrology it’s still a really significant event - just like the phases of the moon, the alignment of the planets will have an impact on each of us.
Like I said Mercury Retrograde can happen three to four times a year. Luckily for us, it will only happen three times this year but unluckily its most recent retrograde is beginning soon, on the 22nd of March and ending April 15th.
- March 22 – April 15 (In Fire-sign Aries)
- July 26 – August 18 (In Fire-sign Leo & Water-sign Scorpio)
- November 16 – December 6 (In Fire-sign Sagittarius, ends Water-sign Scorpio)
Why does it matter
Well it matters because Mercury is just so god damn important in terms of all communication. When it comes to communication Mercury is king, but it also rules expression and mental function. Mercury impacts your thought processes, can influence coordination or lack thereof, sensory information and even can effect technology and electronics.
During the Mercury retrograde phase we can all be slammed into a world of misunderstandings and miscommunications, fogginess and confusion. Travel is also a major issue during this time so you are advised not to plan big trips as it probably wont go well.
How to survive it?
First of all, although Mercury Retrograde can seem like a horrific time of confusing arguments and disruptions to you your life. It can, as some astrologers claim, be a positive time. It’s a time to slow-down, to reflect and re-prioritise. Mercury will be connected to a particular element during these phases, which in this case, is the element of fire. This tells us while in this time of flux we need to innovative and be ground-breaking when it comes to solutions to our problems, as fire represents visionary action. So think out of the box when attempting to re-align your life. Also keep in mind that Mercury Retrogrades in a particular zodiac sign, which this time is Aries, so everyone born under Aries must be extra vigilant as all of the effects will be far more pronounced for you. So while you re-align yourself here are some tips to avoid any major catastrophes during this special time.
- First off, don’t sign any contracts, and if you really must then make sure you cross every T and dot every I. Oh, and read the fine print.
- Don’t start anything new! Had something on the back burner for a while? Well Mercury retrograde is not the time to birth that endeavour.
- Back up. I mean this is a really good lesson in life anyway, but back up all your electronic devices since Mercury Retrograde is notorious with computer and electronic problems.
- Check, check then check again any important emails or correspondence. A stupid mistake could cost your dearly.
- Clarify, if you’re unsure of something don’t just assume you understand and hope things will be fine, get that extra clarification - whether it’s from your boss or your partner, ask again just to make sure.
- Making any big life decisions, considering moving city or changing careers? Well maybe leave those decisions until after Retrograde.
- Re-organise your life. Think of Mercury Retrograde as preparation time. Time to get your life in order.
- Re- connect with your past. Have something hanging over you? Well now is the time to take care of that.
- Pay attention to the details. A key to not falling victim to Retrograde hijinks is to make sure you are paying attention.
- Finally, chill out! Try to keep calm during tense times and conversations. Getting angry will just make the situation so much worse.
Cover image courtesy of NASA