Ah my old frenemy, Mercury Retrograde, is about to rear its ugly head again. Although I’m a bit skeptical on most of the claims made in Astrology, I can honestly say that after years of studying this phenomenon, seeing and experiencing its effects both personally and as a bystander, i’m convinced this is not just another superstitious event. As a result, I stand firm on the effects that Mercury Retrograde (also known as MRx) has on our day to day lives during its transit periods. This retrograde period will be the first of 2019, starting March 5 and ending March 28.
WTF is Mercury Retrograde?
I’ll start at square one. Mercury Retrograde happens 3-4 times per year for approximately 24 days each round. As the planet Mercury is closest to the sun, its orbit around the sun is faster than Earth’s which is why the retrograde phase happens so often. To compare numbers, Mercury’s orbit around the sun is only 88 days while Earth’s is 365 days. The reason we call it a “Retrograde” is because when Mercury passes by Earth on our side of the sun, it appears (from our perspective) to be moving backwards for part of it’s transit. Retrograde = backwards. It doesn’t mean we are going to travel back in time but the intention on us is to revisit or review any areas of our lives that have been hidden in the shadows as a means to make improvements. It’s a good time to slow down and to make changes where needed.
“Mercury” in Astrology and Mythology is depicted as a male figure having winged sandals and a winged hat, indicating the ability to travel quickly. He was the official messenger of the ancient gods and goddesses and, as such, governed communication. In astrology, Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo. These signs will usually feel the effects of the retrograde the most, however, everyone should expect some degree of chaos to ensue.
Why Does it Matter?
Mercury Retrograde is the king of delays which forces us to slow down and to take look at things a bit more closely and where we are stuck in our lives. It’s a good time to take care of unfinished business, projects that got tossed to the wayside and anything that requires revisiting. I like to think of the “RE” in Retrograde and apply it to life such as redoing, renovating, refinancing, reconnecting, redecorating, remodelling, rethinking, revising, remembering, revisiting or restoring. Where do you need to “RE” in your life right now?
What to Expect During Mercury Retrograde
Delays, delays, delays. I always say that if something happens fast during Mercury Retrograde, squint at it and question why. I find that the first few and the last few days of the retrograde period are the literal worst because that’s when the most chaos tends to happen. Double and triple check everything and for the love of god, back up your digital files! I like to compare Mercury Retrograde to Murphy’s Law. It’s almost as though someone is playing a sick joke on us with the strange events that sometimes happen during this time period. Expect any and all of the following to occur:
- Communication breakdowns and information delays
- System failures
- Unexplained sudden problems with electronics
- Contracts going sideways or falling apart
- Unforeseen delays with travel or transportation
- An ex lover or old friend may re-appear in your life
- Last minute changes to plans and hold ups
Mercury Retrograde is your laptop that decides to shit the bed right before you hit “save” on that article you just wrote and you end up losing all your work. It’s the brand new phone that keeps glitching for no reason. It’s the super important email that won’t send because the wifi decided to cut out. It’s the printer that quit working when there’s a hot deadline to meet. It’s the application you submitted that got rejected 2 weeks later because it was missing one signature. It’s the misunderstanding of what was said between you and a loved one. It’s the Fedex guy who comes with your package 2 minutes after you leave the house. It’s the loan officer who goes on vacation right after your meeting about the urgent loan you needed, causing it to be delayed. See my point? Sounds pretty awful but I assure you that Mercury Retrograde isn’t all bad, if you can look past the frustrations and little annoyances. These things are forcing us to slow it down to better review what’s going on.
Avoid Starting Anything New
The keyword here is “new“. It’s advised not to start anything brand new while Mercury is in retrograde. Some examples would be signing new contracts (unless its a revision to an existing), get married or engaged, buy new electronics or vehicles, start a new business or project, start a new job or have a first job interview, first date or booking new travel plans. What seems like a good idea now likely won’t seem that way once the retrograde phase is over.
You can’t put your life on hold for 3 weeks at a time, 3 times per year to escape (although I have tried). Life will happen, so put off the things you can until the retrograde passes but if you can’t, make sure you think things over really well before making decisions. There are some exceptions of course, such as finalizing projects or decisions. For example, if you’re in the middle of purchasing a new home and put in the offer before the retrograde started but the contract has been drawn up for signature during the retrograde period, then it should be ok to finalize the offer so long as you double check everything. However, don’t be surprised if the paperwork or offer gets delayed or if another brand new home comes available on the market that tempts you causing you to rethink your decision on the first home. Know that this is happening for a reason to cause you to rethink or to revisit what is important to you. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t let distractions get the better of you during this time.
Plan Ahead and Triple Check Everything
Personally, I can sense Mercury Retrograde about a week before it’s official start date. Aside from the fact that i’m Gemini, this is probably due to the Shadow Period of the retrograde phase, which means that sneaky little inconveniences will likely start to occur even before the retrograde starts. It’s always a good indicator for me to start wrapping some things up and to manage my expectations on projects for the next 4 weeks.
Triple checking things such as contracts, appointments, applications, emails that you’re sending, remembering to lock the door behind you, documents, travel accommodations and even remembering to bring along your eyelash glue with you in case your falsies decide to start peeling up unexpectedly on your first date (true story).
Mercury Retrograde in Travel and Work
If you scheduled a job interview during the retrograde or are in the process of securing a deal for new employment, make sure you put everything on the table, be honest and ask for the same in return. Getting a second opinion on things may also be a good idea. Know exactly what you are getting into. Things are not as they appear so expect the unexpected. Double check the time and dates of your meetings and review your work before submitting it to your boss or the client.
Now, try not to get too freaked out about travelling during Mercury Retrograde. It’s VERY unlikely that you’ll be put in any one-off life threatening situations or danger on airplanes or in cars. When we talk about travelling during MRx, it’s always to do with delays and making sure to double check things. For example, if you’re about to go on a road trip, you may want to think about when the last time was you had an oil change or tune up, or if you’re driving through a remote mountain pass you might want to take that last exit to fill up on gas rather than to chance it on a quarter of a tank. If you’re flying, make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the airport to avoid and unforeseen hold ups such as delays due to road work or an accident. Leaving enough room to get to your destination on time could also mean you not rushing and therefore avoiding a fender bender while driving. Sometimes making a list before you travel can be useful so you don’t forget something important like your passport. It’s all about being extra diligent in your planning and prepare to be flexible if needed.
Planning or purchasing new trips during this phase is not usually a great idea. I’ve booked a few “fun” vacations months in advance only to realize after that I mistakenly chooses the travel dates to be during Mercury Retrograde. I can honestly say the trips weren’t as fun as they could have been if I had chosen different dates. A little foresight with the dates of this phenomenon can be a game changer. That being said, it can be a good idea to take a relaxing trip to a familiar or frequently visited place during this phase. Going alone or with someone who you are close to could be a great way to recharge and rethink while being away from all of life’s demands (so long as you can learn to roll with any delays or miscommunications that could pop up). It can be a great way to practise some personal introspection to gain more self awareness which is what Mercury Retrograde is all about.
Mercury Retrograde in Your Love Life and Relationships
As Mercury Retrograde is all about the “RE”, you can usually expect some reconnections to happen. You may hear from an old friend who you lost touch with. Sometimes old lovers, flames or exes start to seep out of the woodwork during this time giving you a chance to reconsider, reconcile or renew. Certainly don’t take old, toxic lovers or people showing up as a cue from the Universe to engage in contact with someone who’s clearly not good for you just because they contacted you out of the blue. If this is the case, it could be a good time to remember and review why you are no longer with that person and perhaps start the process of letting go. Sometimes miscommunications happen in existing relationships, so if you find yourself breaking up due to a fight with your partner, give each other some space and wait until the retrograde is over to talk things out (if you can). Usually by the time MRx is over, both parties are thinking clearly enough to reconcile. If this is not the case, trust that the relationship ending was purposed for you both. Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to put things to bed and to end whatever isn’t serving your higher purpose anymore.
It’s advised not to go on a first date with someone during Mercury Retrograde, so if you can, try to push it off until the retrograde is over. If you decide to go on a first date with someone, approach them without expectations or attachments. Being upfront and honest will go a long way too. It’s likely that once the retrograde period is over, you will come to realize that either you are no longer interested in that person or that a relationship with them is not feasible. Be careful when starting new relationships during the retrograde phase as things are not what they appear to be while the veil is over our eyes. Forcing things during this time never works so it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride as much as possible.
If you mistakenly planned your wedding or other important event during a MRx phase, make sure you review and confirm the details with all parties involved a second or third time. You may realize that you mistakenly ordered the wrong flowers months prior, or that the catering company was planning to make 1200 cupcakes instead of 120 but thanks to double checking, you still have time to make the changes needed. A little extra due diligence with these details will go a long way to have things run as smoothly as possible. Again, be prepared to roll with the punches because it’s likely there will be some that come up.
My rule of thumb during this time is: “If it’s not going, don’t push it.” Trust that it’s not “going” for a reason and revisit it later on when the retrograde phase is over.
Although it’s good to be aware of this phenomenon, it’s really nothing to fear. You can’t (and shouldn’t) put your life on hold, or hide in a cave until it’s over. Instead, start to journal the events that take place during this upcoming phase and mark the future dates in your calendar so that you can be prepared for what could be ahead. Your patience might be tested once the 3 weeks of ridiculous events have drawn to a close so try your best to stay calm and know that this too shall pass. Try not to take things that happen too personally, laugh at the random events that happen as much as possible and take comfort that things will soon become clear again.
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Also published on Medium.