It’s that time again, y’all. Mercury retrograde. Oof.
Doesn’t it seem like we just went through one? Oh, wait… we did. In January. Even though Mercury only retrogrades three to four times a year, it always feels like too much too soon.
I experience Mercury retrogrades pretty intensely, as I’m a Virgo and it’s my ruling planet. But I imagine that a lot of us are heavily affected by the shift, regardless of our astrological signs, because Mercury rules, like, everything. Okay, not everything. But a lot of things – all written and verbal communication, travel, transportation, media, news, contracts and agreements, just to name a few. Basically, things that many of us rely upon and utilize in our day-to-day lives. And when Mercury is retrograde, these things get a bit… weird.
I used to really dread Mercury retrogrades and be worried about all kinds of shit going wrong, and even came to expect it. I found that this attitude isn’t helpful for two reasons: One, being fearful and neurotic doesn’t stop the retrograde from happening. Mercury doesn’t care about my feelings. And two, the retrograde lasts for about three weeks (a few longer if you include the shadow phases that bookend the event), and that’s a long time to be hyper-vigilant and scared. I realized I had to change my relationship to it and find a way to consciously work with the energy.
In recent years I’ve come to accept that when Mercury retrogrades, it’s time to slow waaaay down. It’s not a time to force anything or try to push plans or projects forward. So many things are in flux, and tomorrow Mercury will join four other planets currently retrograding. I’m not an astrologer, so best to consult a professional one for more information pertaining to your particular sign and birth chart. But I do have some self-care suggestions which help me
survive thrive during Mercury retrograde:
1. Getting into a grounding practice or routine. With things getting a bit wonky, including my thoughts and emotions, I like to focus more on actions that make me feel grounded and connected. This includes morning yoga and some meditation (even just five minutes), writing in my journal, spending time outside in nature, and doing Reiki on myself to promote relaxation. Right now I have some crystals by my bed that I’m working with to bring clarity in my communications, thoughts, and vision – clear quartz (crown chakra), amethyst (third eye chakra), turquoise and lapis lazuli (throat chakra). I also find it best to eat more fresh food, drink more water, get more sleep, and drink less caffeine or none at all as I tend to be more agitated during Mercury retrogrades.
2. Being more mindful in my communications. Missed signals are more likely to happen for me during Mercury retrogrades – misinterpreting something that someone is saying to me, thinking I sent an email to someone when I forgot to press “send”, or texting a response to the wrong person are just examples. I’ve learned to accept that retrogrades are not the time to finally confront that person about their bullshit or attempt to clarify a misunderstanding that happened months ago. To be really real, I tend to avoid social interactions all together during retrogrades. When that isn’t possible, I try to be as aware as I can be and very clear in what I say and do. This leads me to #3.
3. Unplugging more. Mercury retrogrades and excessive social media use don’t mix for me. I realize that I am more likely to misunderstand what someone is posting or rush to react, and am more sensitive to online shenanigans. Combine that with the tendency for electronics and computers to crash and do strange things, and I find it best to step away from Facebook. Engaging with people online less frequently decreases the chances for confusion. It also frees up a lot more space in my mind and life.
4. Revisiting and reviewing projects, plans, and goals. Mercury retrograde is a great time to review. During this period I like to re-read journal entries, edit old writing, and return to the foundations and planning aspects of projects. This retrograde will be in Taurus, which is my ninth house. Some themes which will be activated are about my philosophy, values, faith and truth. Keeping this placement in mind will help guide my reflections on how I’m living my life path and if I am manifesting my truth through my actions. I’m trying to be open to my inner wisdom and new sources of inspiration. And speaking of foundations, this is an opportunity to reconnect with ancestors and other spirit guides through ritual.
5. Respecting and appreciating my resources. Mercury retrograde is a bad time to buy new things, and I try to find ways to use what I already have. Expanding on the theme of reviewing and revisiting, I find it helpful to focus more on building and developing what is already present and useful in my life. I also find that consciously expressing gratitude for what I have helps me feel more stable and secure, and alleviates some of the anxiety and worry I feel about money and “having enough”.
One of the things I remind myself of during Mercury retrogrades is that change is happening, even if I can’t see it or understand it yet. And in those fierce retrograde moments when I’m like “Are you fucking kidding me?!”, it helps to remember that things usually look and feel different on the other side.
Plus, there’s always booze.
We gon’ make it, y’all.
P.S. Here are some more posts about dealing with change and Mercury retrogrades: