OMG! Here's What To Do When Mercury Is Retrograde Again

OMG! Mercury is about to Retrograde again! 
Understanding the energy and how to cope with it, as well as how to turn it into an incredibly insightful and productive occasion... in a different sort of way!

I've been quite surprised to learn through Facebook posts that anything that can go wrong in your life can be blamed on Mercury Retrograde! Yes, I have read and heard some ridiculous stuff about Mercury Retrograde. So, instead of shaking my head and uttering a few naughty words - (like WTF!) - this time I decided to write, and rewrite, what I know about the topic. So here it is.

I've aimed for simple and factual info about Mercury Retrograde, and I hope that a few people are interested in the subject. I’m sharing some ways to plan for and cope with the energy; how to figure out what issues each Mercury Retrograde time period will bring up for you… and a few other things. Finally, there is a simple way to go with the energy, instead of against it, that will allow a Mercury Retrograde time period to become an incredibly productive occasion, in a different sort of way than you may have thought about.

BTW - Mercury is not "in retrograde."  It's either retrograde or it isn't. It could go retrograde, but it can't go "in Retrograde." So the next time you read something that says Mercury is "in" Retrograde, you'll know that the author is not an astrologer or astronomer - and take what they write with a grain of salt.

Who am I to think I could shed some light on this weighty subject? I started studying Astrology in 1973. I am not a world class expert, but after all that time, I am fairly competent - and I know a few things about Mercury Retrograde that you might find useful and interesting.

I’ve had three excellent teachers in the 49 years plus that I’ve studied astrology. Each had a different approach, different insights, and different strengths and weaknesses. Each was valuable to my overall understanding of and views about Astrology. My first teacher had an MD, a PhD and was also a Chiropractic Doctor. I’d joined his class so that I could learn enough to prove it was baloney. He gently showed me how ignorant I was within the first few minutes I was in his class.  I still laugh when I think about that!

The nice thing about ignorance - it's easily fixable when you decide you will open your mind and learn about something. I've been interested in the psycho-spiritual uses of Astrology ever since and it’s given me valuable insights into myself and others; insights that have helped me become more compassionate and less critical about things I don’t know anything about – and less ignorant!

 Before I start to explain a little about Mercury Retrograde, and how to cope with it, it’s good to understand that Mercury is Retrograde about 3-4 times per year. It's not a random or rare event; we know when it's going to happen. (Other planets retrograde, also.)

Mercury isn't really going backwards. No planet goes backwards. That's an optical illusion that's created when the Earth and the other planet move at different speeds. (I have a list for the next year or so of dates that Mercury is Retrograde, at the end of this article.)

I’ve never been interested in using Astrology for predictive purposes or to do doomsday readings. I’ve seen many good Astrologers get totally invested in a certain outcome that they’ve predicted - only to find out they were wrong – and yet they refuse to back down from their “know all, see all” stance.  A lot of viral posts about predictions have been wrong a lot more than they were right.
I’ve watched people I respect and love get all twisted up with fear by focusing on what the planets seem to be showing them. When you approach anything out of fear, it's usually lacking in clarity.

In a certain way, Astrology is a calendar that can be useful in understanding life’s patterns. We are likely to do certain things and feel certain ways, during certain planetary transits. Astrology is a great tool to use, to watch for those time periods and increase your awareness.

I don't run my life by Astrological events: far from it. I don't stay in bed when the aspects are 'bad' or Mercury is retrograde. I don't pick my friends and associates by what their chart looks like. I use Astrology as an additional way to understand myself, others, the energy around me - and to get insights into probable reasons people say and do things that are otherwise incomprehensible to me.

The most common superstitions and generalizations about Mercury Retrograde are well known. I’ll list a few of them here. They are based on the things that traditionally relate to Mercury. Remember, it’s the planet that rules communication, logic, information, movement, and commerce.
I keep these in mind when the energy is retrograde, but if I need to do or buy one of those thing I do it anyway - I just do it carefully, mindfully and plan to need some patience. 
-Don't travel or expect anything to happen according to schedule.
"-Don't sign contracts.
-Don't start new projects.
-Don't buy electronics – especially communication devices.

As for me, I’ve faced everything listed above, and more. I’ve signed numerous contracts when Mercury was Retrograde and even (gasp) when the Moon was Void of Course.
I also travel often when Mercury is Retrograde and when the aspects are terrible for traveling. I do pay attention to the energy, and I plan ahead.
I bring extra funds with me for “just in case” weird emergencies - even if that means I take my property tax money out of savings and take it with me.
If I'm driving, I make sure I have my insurance cards and the AAA membership paid up - and that card is with me. I bring a toolbox, two jacks, and have at least one extra spare tire with me. (I once had NINE flat tires during a cross country trip with Mercury Retrograde.(My advice is to only buy from a nationwide tire place, whenever possible and always buy the tire road hazard insurance!)
If I'm flying or taking a train, I make darn sure I know the schedule, keep on top of it, and verify that I am at the right gate or on the right platform way earlier than seems logical. There are almost always unusual delays and changes that come up at the last minute when Mercury is Retrograde.

Sometimes I travel with groups of people and if Mercury is Retrograde, I realize some of them may not communicate, with me or each other, nearly as effectively as normal, during that period of time. So, I make sure to communicate with people I am traveling with or meeting - and I do it as often and as clearly as possible. I tell the group that Mercury is Retrograde and what I think about it and how we can learn from it… and I check, and double check, and do not assume anything.
(I have more than a few stories about this kind of thing!!)
Most of all, I take responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings and behavior. 

Instead of fearing a Mercury Retrograde period, I suggest you learn to work with the energies! For example, you can avoid making big commitments during Mercury Retrograde, unless it's about something that's already been established. If you have to sign a new lease, or a contract, or you are about to accept a new job - it's unlikely that you will be able to ask if you can wait to sign until Mercury is direct again. You will have to to confront your fear of what could happen; get clear about how you can mitigate the effects.  For example, go over a contract or anything you have to sign more than once; become familiar with the details before you sign anything. If you can afford it, get an attorney to go over it. You can also read it out loud to yourself or have someone else read it to you; hearing it uses a different part of your brain.

Mercury rules thinking and logic, so you may tend to over think things during a Retrograde, but Mercury Retrograde is not an excuse to be disorganized or irresponsible.

Yes, sometimes things go wrong - but they can, and do, go wrong even when Mercury isn't Retrograde!

All of this having been said, some people do feel a Retrograde more than others. Knowing this is possible, remind yourself that there are ways to mitigate the effects: you can handle it. This too shall pass.

HERE IS A FACT: Retrogrades of any planet - and especially Mercury - can be an incredibly productive time!
Slow down, review your past, and take a close look at the direction you are headed in.
It's a great time to stop and consider where you are going - maybe try to look at it from a new perspective. Your life will move forward anyway, but it can't hurt to take a good look at where you are going and decide if that's what you really want or not.

In a very real way, Mercury Retrograde represents “Bear Medicine.” 
Bear teaches us to go out into the world and gather as many life experiences as we like; but then to go back to our “cave” to take the time to process and integrate what we’ve experienced.
Without taking the time to “go to our caves” and take a break from rushing headlong into one thing after another, we cannot make full use of what we’ve learned. We need time to think things through.
Take time to reflect on your life and your direction.
Have a sense of humor about things. Try laughing at the blunders Mercury Retrograde brings your way. Mercury Retrograde doesn’t need to be a disaster.

An astrologer I once knew told me this:
Instead of saying, "Oh no, with Mercury Retrograde everyone will be running late!"  Try saying
"Hey, no problem. It's Mercury Retrograde, so go ahead and take your time!"
Mercury Retrograde could be the perfect reason to ease up on yourself: leave work early or arrive late! You could take a nap or reconnect with old friends. Take time to reflect; rushing around won’t help a thing and you will be going WITH the energy if you are willing to allow yourself to slow down!

The stars don't hold some kind of absolute power over you. You have free will - so use it! Mercury Retrograde doesn’t rule your life - there’s no need to have the mindset or fear that it does. If you let your anxiety about Mercury Retrograde guide your behavior, you can make yourself miserable. Your life will be almost impossible and you might be fairly impossible to be around.

Live your life and do what you need to do, whenever you need to do it. Things will work out - one way or another.

Because this is all about Astrology, most people want some kind of prediction. I’ve already said I’m not focused on predictions, but I know an interesting and effective “old school” way to get some clues about what an upcoming Mercury Retrograde may be about for you.
I’m talking about something called “Shadow Periods” – the times directly before and after a Retrograde period. They are arguably just as significant as a Retrograde itself.
“Shadow periods” aren't discussed much anymore, maybe because working with them takes making an effort to pay attention to the little things that foreshadow events in your life; it takes some increased awareness to make use of them.
These time periods can be incredibly useful if you know about them - and pay attention.
Simply put, the “pre-shadow” period happens before Mercury is Retrograde, about 2-3 weeks beforehand. The pre-shadow time period gives you indications or hints about what areas of your life you can expect to be dealing with during the upcoming Retrograde period.

Then the “post-shadow” period, after the Retrograde, offers you another opportunity to tie up any loose ends, get clear about any lingering issues - or to reconsider situations you may decide to change.

The “pre-shadow period” reveals what the issue might be that is about to come about during the period of time that Mercury is Retrograde. Then, the “post-shadow” period resolves the issue.

Here’s something that might help you understand the concept – it’s easy to use the shadow periods, when you know what you are looking for. There's an old saying that
“Whatever you lose during Mercury Retrograde will be returned to you.”
The classic example is that you and your significant other start fighting a lot during the pre-shadow period. Then you break up or come very close to it during the Retrograde. During the post-shadow period you realize that you don't want to lose your relationship. You start to communicate more effectively with your partner to resolve it, and as a result, you get back together.

Also - the area of your life that is affected - where you take stock of your situation - depends on the planet that is Retrograde and how it relates to other things in your birth chart.

Lastly, people who are born during Mercury Retrograde usually do very well - and even thrive - during a Retrograde period. Maybe you are one of those people!  Google the Mercury Retrograde dates for your year of birth and find out.  

If you do have Mercury Retrograde in your birth chart and you have been freaking out a little about Mercury Retrograde...well it may give you some reassurance and something you can feel good about!  ;-D


If you don’t have an accurate birth chart and want one, I can help you with that! I offer reasonably priced, accurate personalized Astrological charts and reports. You can check out the list of chart wheels and reports that we have available.

Here is a bit about the other planets. You can expect the energy surrounding these planets to get turned upside down when a Retrograde of one of them happens. In general we could say that...
Mars is vitality, action, disagreements, energy, and passions.
Venus is associated with love, beauty, luxury, and the Arts.
Jupiter is the energy of expansion, philosophy, growth, and abundance.
Saturn is responsibility, structure, and duty.
Neptune is fantasy, inspiration, dreams, spirituality, illusion, and confusion.
Pluto is transformation, renewal, and rebirth.
Uranus is a rebellious energy, the unexpected, changes, and originality.


Upcoming Mercury Retrograde dates:

September 9 – October 2, 2022 - Starts in the Earth sign Virgo and ends in the Air sign Libra

December 29 – January 18, 2023 - Starts and ends in Earth sign Capricorn

April 21 – May 14, 2023 - Starts and ends in the Earth sign Taurus

August 23 – September 15, 2023 - Starts and ends in the Earth sign Virgo

December 13, 2023 – January 1, 2024 - Starts in Fire sign Sagittarius and ends in the Earth sign Capricorn

Here is my little Chinese Crested dog, Greta Gayle, looking frazzled - before I explained Mercury Retrograde to her. :-D 


  • Rose Shuttleworth

    Thank you for this excellent article which has shown me we should be thankful for these times
    when we can be extra awake and truly take responsibility for what we are doing!

  • Katrina Carnagey

    I really enjoyed this article and it makes a lot of sense. I did go check if I was born in Mercury Retrograde and it does not appear that I was. I did find this little tidbit which backs up and puts into different words what you are trying to tell us. Hope this is ok:

    First, no retrograde period has “a negative affect on the calendar year.” Retrogrades are part of a cycle, it is only when we try to go against the cycle that they seem to express as negatives.

    For example, let’s take Mercury. During its retrograde, the universe is trying to get us to do all sorts of things that begins with the prefix re-. It is a great time to do REsearch, REstructure, REcharge, REfinance, REinspect, REopen, REpair, REread, REsurface, and in general, REdo things. Looking over things that were done before the retrograde period will often show up mistakes and problems you didn’t see then. It is only when we try to move against the flow that Mercury Retrograde comes across as negative.

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