Okay, so 2020 has been wild … and not in the same way that a fun night out is wild, or cute baby lions are wild.
Wild as in - the amount of global bullshit we’ve had since January, you couldn’t make up.
If it was a movie, it would excessively strain the limitations of suspended belief.
Like, if you were a time traveler and jumped in a time machine, you would NOT want to land back in 2020. And on top of it all, now Mercury is in retrograde.
In a pandemic world where travel has been kiboshed (and led to disastrous consequences), our whole social and professional lives revolve around Zoom calls and navigating the precarious tightrope of online communication and its many pitfalls … well, 2020 just feels like one giant Mercury retrograde, doesn’t it?
Or, at the very least, while we’re adjusting to our new normal, Mercury retrograde is DEFINITELY dreaded even more than usual.
It feels so unfair - like surely the Universe could have just let us sit this retrograde out?
All jokes aside, Mercury retrograde has become a little bit of a dreaded time amongst the “Instaspiritual” community.
Technology goes haywire, technical difficulties abound, travel plans get disrupted, and communication gets misinterpreted.
Sounds like a perfect shit storm in the current climate, doesn’t it?
But to a large extent, a few minor inconveniences aside, I believe that Mercury retrograde gets an unfairly bad rap.
Like anything in life, it is not what is happening in the world around us, but how we respond to it, that determines our response.
(I could write a whole blog post about how we create a “Mercury retrograde” effect through the power of focus, but that’s for another day.)
WHAT IS MERCURY IN RETROGRADE, ANYWAY?
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you have some level of familiarity with Mercury retrograde already. Or maybe you’ve seen it circulating in various memes and status updates around the Internet and have no idea what it actually is or why people complain about it.
All of the planets go into retrograde at various points of time for various lengths of time. Retrograde simply refers to the optical illusion that occurs when, to the naked eye observing the planets from Earth, a planet in retrograde appears to be moving backward, as opposed to forward.
Yep, that’s basically it.
When Earth overtakes an outer planet in orbit, it causes the retrograde optical illusion. The outer planets, like Mars and Jupiter, have longer orbits and go into retrograde more rarely, however, their retrograde periods last longer.
For the inner planets, like Venus and Mercury, which have smaller orbits, they go into retrograde every time they lap us.
Since Mercury only has an 88-day year (one full trip around the sun), it goes into retrograde fairly often - about three or four times a year.
Mercury will sit in retrograde for about three to four weeks at a time. The last time Mercury was in retrograde was between June 18 to July 12. This particular retrograde, the final Mercury retrograde in 2020 occurs from October 14 to November 3.
WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ON MERCURY RETROGRADE?
In astrology, each planet in our solar-system rules different “life areas” - like love for Venus, luck for Jupiter, and healing for Neptune. When that planet goes in a backward direction, the areas it rules also go haywire.
Mercury is the ruler of communication, technology, transport, and our ability to rationalize. Hence, when it goes into retrograde, it is unable to “move” these areas forward, and these things turn to custard.
In today’s global village, where travel, technology, and communication are more central to our lives than ever before, we tend to notice the mischief of Mercury retrograde far more.
THINGS TO BEWARE OF DURING MECURY RETROGRADE
Many people claim that buying technology during Mercury retrograde is asking for problems! But hey - if you need a new phone, you need it now.
And also: if your existing tech is going to go kaput on you, it probably will during a retrograde - and you’ll need to replace it.
My best advice is to do your research! Getting stuck with expensive technology you hate SUCKS - trust me. I’ve been there.
Review the specs, research the model, and make sure it will genuinely fit your lifestyle and needs, not just because everyone’s got it. Buy protective casing where appropriate, and invest in extended warranties and insurance if you can.
Don’t put your life on hold, but go through every clause with a fine-toothed comb, be careful not to miss any important information, ask questions about ANYTHING you’re not sure about, and make sure every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed before you sign anything (and really, you should be doing this anyway.)
THINK before you talk
Make sure everything you say passes the THINK acronym:
Is it TRUE?
Is it HELPFUL?
Is it IMPORTANT?
Is it NECESSARY?
Is it KIND?
Think about how the words you say will impact the person you are saying them to, and take any disruptions to communication into account.
Remember, the responsibility of how the communication is received lies with the sender.
If you aren’t doing this already, go over emails and posts before hitting the ‘Send’ button.
Confirm appointments/social gatherings
Make sure you’ve got the details right to avoid confusion.
Back up your phone and computer data
If technology is going to go haywire, it’s likely during a Mercury retrograde. Now is a great time to make sure you’ve got your important documents synced with your Google Drive and spare hard drive.
Speaking as someone who almost lost EVERYTHING a few months ago when my Macbook Pro battery exploded … it is terrifying and heartbreaking to think all your hard work and memories could be lost in an instant. Back up your shit!
Messed up dreams
Nothing screams “wtf is going on with my subconscious” like a Mercury retrograde nightmare. Eat less before bed (easy on the cheese, especially). I also have learned to practice lucid dreaming for dealing with my nightmares.
Many of us aren’t doing much travel nowadays. But even for local/day trips, things can be chaotic or prone to mishaps. Wash your hands regularly, practice physical distancing, and have contingency plans up your sleeve.
I feel like all of this is stuff we should be doing anyway!
That’s what I love about retrogrades. Really, a retrograde doesn’t “cause” new things to happen. It’s simply a shift in energy, pulling back the curtain as it moves back to reveal what’s already simmering beneath the surface.
If you tend not to back up your work, not think before you speak, or travel by the seat of your pants, Mercury retrograde can bite you in the ass. Otherwise, it at worst will cause minor inconveniences no different to any other period in the year.
HOW TO USE MERCURY RETROGRADE'S EPIC ENERGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Retrogrades aren’t all bad, you guys! Remember, it is simply a shift in energy.
I love to rumble with Mercury retrograde energy - here’s what I love working on.
Rolling with it
I struggle with surrender and loosening my grip on the steering wheel, so Mercury retrograde is a beautiful teacher that there is a difference between control and responsibility.
I can’t control everything that shows up: like technology glitches, miscommunication, or mislaid plans. However, I can ALWAYS be responsible for how I respond.
Mercury retrogrades teach me how to roll with the punches, be flexible in my approach, and think outside the box.
Working on my triggers
Identifying my triggers and my insecurities is a highlight of this time. Mercury retrograde pulls the curtain back on internal aspects I’ve been neglecting, and insecurities I’ve pretended aren’t there.
But when technology fails, or I get in a disagreement, I’ve learned to welcome these obstacles! Rather than seeing them as blocks, I see them as opportunities to heal my trigger points, so that I can put my best foot forward and become stronger.
Our dreams, particularly dark or traumatic ones, symbolize unhealed and unintegrated elements of our subconscious that our brains are reconciling and healing.
I find it so powerful to write down my dreams and work through the shadow that reveals itself during a Mercury retrograde, either through dreams or when I’m triggered in waking life.
When technology is being difficult, sometimes the best thing is to walk away from it. Mercury retrograde is a great time to take a break from technology.
Go on a social media comparison detox, and spend more technology-free “me time” reading, going for walks in the sunshine, and resting.
Improving my communication
Communication in today’s day and age is so instant isn’t it? It’s easy to bust out a quick text, hit send, and plunge headlong into the next thing on our to-do list.
Mercury retrograde is a great time to evaluate your communication style, slow down and re-read messages before sending, or speaking, and ensure your communication has the desired impact.
See Mercury retrograde as an opportunity to become a more effective, intentional communicator. After all, the purpose of human interaction is to seek to understand and be understood.
Reaching out to an old friend
Have an old friend you’ve fallen out of contact with? Mercury retrograde favors “blasts from the past” - a great opportunity for networking with old business contacts, getting back in touch with an old friend, or touching base with a family member you don’t speak to often.
It’s a perfect time to forgive old hurts, pick up old friendships where you left off, and reforge newer, stronger connections than ever before.
HONESTLY, JUST KEEP LIVING YOUR LIFE
No cosmological event outside of an asteroid collision, a solar explosion, an alien invasion, or our moon being destroyed by Dr. Evil is likely to turn the world upside down (pardon the pun). Ergo, whilst it’s great to be conscious of Mercury retrograde energy, don’t let it terrify you.
There’s no need to put your life on hold or walk around like the sky is going to cave in. You and you alone are 100% responsible for how things pan out.
Even though we can’t always control what happens to us, or the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can always be responsible for how we choose to respond, what we choose to make it mean, and how we choose to move forward.
Contrary to popular belief, I believe Mercury retrograde is a wonderful energy to work with. It reminds me to be mindful in communication, purposeful with travel, and to slow down and explore the parts of my subconscious I’ve been neglecting.
How do you view Mercury retrograde? Does it create chaos in your life, or do you view it as a powerful opportunity for growth? Let me know in the comments!