An Astrologer Demystifies Mercury Retrograde
As an astrologer, anything that gets people talking about astrology excites me. I believe astrology is a language and the best way to learn is to speak it.
When it comes to Mercury retrograde, people are talking. Like a teacher who corrects mispronunciations, I’d like to debunk some of the misconceptions I see surrounding Mercury retrograde.
I get it; people love to complain and have someone to blame. Mercury in retrograde (or Gatorade, according to memes) has become the scapegoat for our problems. It’s easy to point the finger, especially when we aim at a planet deep in space.
Astrology is a system of symbols, archetypes, and aspects associated with each of the celestial bodies. Mercury is the planet of communication, thoughts, and intellect. During a Mercury retrograde, these themes are up for renewal.
Mercury retrograde advice usually includes a big long list of things you shouldn’t do. Let’s take a look at common Mercury retrograde myths and why they get it wrong.
#1. Mercury is Moving Backwards
Retrograde motion is an apparent change in the movement of the planet through the sky. It is not real in that the planet does not physically start moving backwards in its orbit. It just appears to do so because of the relative positions of the planet and Earth and how they are moving around the Sun. Normally, the planets move west-to-east through the stars at night. This is referred to as prograde motion. However, periodically the motion changes and they move east-to-west through the stars. We call this retrograde motion.
During retrogrades, everything is moving forwards. It’s an optical illusion that creates the appearance of a given planet moving backward.
We can imagine retrogrades are similar to pulling an arrow back before launching it forwards.
When we pull back that arrow, it might seem like we are going in the wrong direction. Yet this is the way to hit our target. If it feels like you are moving backward during Mercury retrograde, this retracing could eventually catapult you forwards.
#2. Don’t Start New Things
This one always gets me. I don’t believe in putting our lives on hold because of astrology. Let’s reframe astrology from something that “happens to us” into information that can enhance our actions. From here, we realize that the stars are never trying to kibosh our lives or put walls in front of us.
We can appreciate astrology, but we must take ownership of our lives. Sitting back and blaming Mercury retrograde for why we are not writing a new article or launching that new program will only disempower us.
Retrogrades are times of all things “re”.
Reviewing, rethinking, re-looking, reassessing, etc. We can imagine that a retrograde is like studying for an exam. We have to take the time to look back over course content if we want to pass the test and move forwards.
After reviewing, we might decide to let go of a project. That’s cool! The choice is ours, but let’s not blame Mercury.
#3. Don’t Sign Contracts
Mercury retrograde focuses on communication and miscommunications. Some translate this to not signing anything.
Under the energy of Mercury retrograde, we need to prioritize how we communicate. Communication is a two-way street. Listening to what others are saying, while becoming aware of what we are expressing is critical.
There could be mix-ups when signing contracts if communication is not clear. But here’s the thing, we should be taking the time to clarify arrangements all year long, not just during a retrograde.
It’s always good advice to know what you are signing and understand what you agree to. Just because it’s Mercury retrograde, don’t stop your life from moving forward.
I bought my house during a retrograde period. I signed a bunch of contracts, but I made sure to take the time to slow down and read each word. If there was something I did not understand, I asked questions.
It always disheartens me when I get a message from someone who receives an opportunity but is worried about taking it because of a retrograde. To continue with the arrow analogy, as long as we know this is a time of pulling back and allow ourselves to review, we do not need to put our lives on hold.
#4. Technology Breaks Down
This dynamic took me a while to understand because I have had retrograde periods where all my technology breaks down. I’ve come up with the following theory as to why.
Mercury is concerned with communication. We review our communication during a retrograde and take the time to slow down before we can launch forwards.
In this world, most of us communicate via technology, and everyone knows this leaves room for confusion. During retrograde periods, we need to focus on “real world” communication. Like picking up the phone and having an actual conversation. Or clarifying what they meant by the seemingly sassy text message.
During this time, we need space from technology to commune with ourselves and others. I can’t say if this is why tech glitches occur during retrograde. I can say that the days when my phone is off, are the days I’m most in tune with myself.
It’s not that Mercury wants to break our devices; it wants us to turn off the screens.
Back to the analogy of retrogrades being like review periods. In University, I would study while simultaneously checking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I would never get anywhere. I had to take time away from social media to understand the content of my courses.
In a way, retrogrades are the same. Being pulled in all sorts of technological directions leaves us feeling scattered. From here, we rush through life and cause problems for ourselves or others. Tech breakdowns are a reminder to slow down and reconnect to our physical selves.
Astrology could be a placebo effect. If people believe it, they are going to find evidence of it out in their realities. What you choose to think about Mercury retrograde will yield individual results.
My invitation is to see astrology as a framework to become the artist of your life, from there using its information to make your existence a unique masterpiece.
Yes, retrogrades are times to take it slow and review but don’t let mainstream misconceptions of Mercury retrograde become black ink staining your experience.
Take note of when Mercury retrogrades are occurring, notice how you feel, be open to review and keep on living your life.