Astrology: What IS Mercury Retrograde?

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You’ve seen the memes, heard the jokes and maybe you can even feel it happening. So here’s what you can do for the next one to prepare yourself. 

But what does it mean when Mercury is retrograde? 

Astrology What Is Mercury Retrograde?

In a literal sense, a planet going retrograde means that from Earth it appears to be reversing its orbit. All planets in our solar system revolve around the Sun, right? But when a planet gets a little closer to the sun, it is pulled into it’s orbit a little more and more, causing it to spin faster and faster. Mercury is the fastest planet in our solar system, so it retrogrades 3-4 times a year— more than any other planet. 

Why does it matter in astrology?

Mercury is said to be the planet of communication, intellect, transportation and memory. As you can imagine, when the planet of communication appears to reverse around humans on Earth, so does… almost everything else. Delays, technological changes and difficulties, transportation issues, relationships and old cycles and habits are all possible and probable during this 3-4 weeks period. (Yes, this is why that assignment was late and why your ex DM’d you…). 

So how do you get through it?

Well the good news is you’ve already survived it! Odds are you may feel a little off center or have had a pretty big shift take place. The Scorpio Lunar Eclipse on May 5th amplified a lot of cycles that were being repeated and highlighted your beliefs around self-worth…. But we’ll get into that in the next astrology post! 

For now, just know when Mercury retrogrades expect a few hiccups. So if your check engine light was on before Mercury is retrograde, get it checked ASAP. Additionally, any cycles, beliefs or relationships you have recently closed out (or have been refusing to close out) are highlighted. It’s generally advised to not begin any new projects or sign contracts that are not already underway during this time as well because of the apparent ‘reverse’ in communication and intellect.

Truthfully, you always hold the power to create what you believe. I tend to view Mercury retrograde periods as a time to truly reflect and witness where I’ve been ignoring change. Seeing this time as a few weeks of slowing down, reviewing details and taking my time to appreciate the tests that inevitably arise helps me feel more grounded and focused when Mercury “stations direct” and it’s go-time!

For more insight on Mercury Retrograde, we suggest reading The Mercury Retrograde Book.

Here to flip these beliefs on their head, bestselling author Yasmin Boland and astrology expert Kim Farnell explain this misunderstood cycle. Read it now!




Did you miss out last article breaking down horoscopes in our Astrology 101? Find out more about your rising sign. Or learn about your moon sign. But always be on the look out for our next lesson in astrology!