RP: Why Is Mercury Retrograde So Bad? (Hint: It Isn’t.)

RP: Why Is Mercury Retrograde So Bad? (Hint: It Isn’t.)

Mercury, the messenger planet, has dared to go retrograde again.

If you’re at all cognizant of how this plays out in the world of doom-mongering Astrologers and other whirling dervishes, you’ll have seen that news of a Mercury retrograde transforms sensible citizens into fearful, quivering sacks of flesh. Don’t buy that new car, they say. Don’t you dare sign on your new dream home! Sign no contracts! Buy nothing!

Some of these warnings are indeed well-advised. I would also recommend a measure of patience on any signatures or shopping during this transit if you can help it. However, we still have to live life, and there is nothing to fear here. The things that are right for you won’t be phased or misdirected by Mercury being retrograde. The smartest move is to review all transits through the filter of your birth chart: some Mercury retrogrades can be a blast, where old friends come back on the scene, and you reconnect with old pleasures and hobbies that were long-forgotten. If possible, try and consult a well-trained, experienced astrologer.

It’s my pleasure to write today’s post and smash these fearful stereotypes to smithereens. Firstly, because you probably know by now that I abhor fear-inducing faux-spiritual BS, and secondly because it ties into something I’ve been working with the past few months:

Whatever you don’t master, masters you. 

This is true of so many things, especially emotional stuff. Le bagage.

Most of you are already familiar with this line of thought, so I won’t wax lyrical for too long here. It boils down to this: whatever you choose not to love and bring in from the darkness will run you ragged. Whatever shit it is you’re dealing with, and oh yes, it can be very shitty shit indeed, needs to be owned fully and loved it if you want to move forward. You can’t let a fear of intimacy, failure, ‘bad’ energy or spirits make you their bitch. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a relatively benign piece of astrological news like Mercury going retrograde, or big life changes like having children or getting married: when you let an old crappy program rule how you perceive and move through life, life tends to suck hard. You are the master, let everything else be your apprentice. Keep this in mind as we look at Mercury retrograde, but feel free to apply that little ditty to anything else that is kicking a bit of dust into your face right now.

5 Reasons You Don’t Have to Fear Mercury Retrograde

ALL planets turn retrograde, except for the Sun and Moon. Every single one. We should be happy that the average Mercury shuffle only lasts a few weeks. When an outer Planet like Pluto goes in retrograde, it can stay there for up to six months. Uranus turns direct December 29th, 2016 after being retrograde for five months. Venus usually goes retrograde every 18 months or so for about 6-8 weeks (and will do so in 2017!). See what I’m getting at here? Mercury’s retrograde cycle is just a normal part of astrological life, and we should be aware of it, but not fearful. We don’t have to allow it more power than any other planet’s retrograde transit.

Mercury goes into Retrograde 3-4 times a year, every year. To the fear-mongers, this would amount to at least 9-12 weeks of a living Hell where we are completely paralyzed, listlessly hanging on to life by a thread, eating Cheetos on the couch. If you consider that we technically experience a ‘shadow’ period up to 2 weeks before and after Mercury stations retrograde, a time where we can start to feel the effects of the transit, this would mean the couch would be occupied for an additional 12-16 weeks, just to be safe. Or, we can do this weird thing where we just decide that we’re going to live life, which is always a bit messy, and tend to the snafu’s as they arise.

You need to chill. During Mercury retrograde, life tends to slow down.  Many of us resist this change of pace, as we’re so used to being all systems go 24/7; additionally challenging is that in Western culture we often equate achievement with movement, even if its a frantic, cat-in-tumble-dryer movement. Sometimes, the ‘monkey mind’ slows down too: we may feel a bit fuzzy or lack our normal capacity for precision and detail, which may appear to hinder progress. Overall, a Mercury retrograde transit is an excellent time to review how you’re feeling and regenerate a bit. Use the momentary pause to catch your breath and administer some self-care, especially for your physical body. Meditate, visualize, journal, draw.

Old friends and contacts get in touch. This is one of the many enjoyable aspects of Mercury retrograde: calls and letters from old friends, colleagues and acquaintances tend to land on your lap during this transit, sometimes from out of the blue or after many years of non-communication. Additionally, many astrologers say a Mercury retrograde transit is second only to a Venus retrograde transit when it comes to hearing from old lovers. I’ve experienced this many times, and it can either be a ‘closing’ cycle (finding closure in old relationships), or a revival of past friendships or business contacts.

Things turn out differently than expected. Expect the unexpected. One year, a friend of mine signed an employment offer and started a new job in a Mercury retrograde transit. She had taken the job because she was excited about working with her new boss, a great mentor, so she was shocked and disappointed when he unexpectedly quit two weeks after she started. However, he fought for her to take his place after he left. Result: she got fast-tracked to a promotion and a significant salary increase. This is a fantastic example of Mercury in Retrograde. Things won’t necessarily turn out as you thought, largely because you don’t have all the facts, but sometimes that is a great thing. Life can be magical, and sometimes that magic is tangled up in lots of details that read badly on the page but live beautifully in reality. 

BONUS: Check your chart! Create your birth chart now and figure out immediately if you any planets which will be interacting with this Mercury Retrograde. You’ll need to check if you have any natal planets within the degrees of the current Mercury retrograde. Also, consider checking out the house that the Mercury Retrograde transit will occur in for you.


Mercury retrograde dates 2016

January 6 – January 26th, 1° Aquarius – 15° Capricorn

April 29 – May 23, 24° – 14° Taurus

August 31 – September 23, 29 – 15° Virgo

December 20 – January 9, 2017, 15° Capricorn – 28° Sagittarius

Mercury retrograde dates 2017

April 10 – May 4, 5° Taurus – 24° Aries

August 13 – September 5, 11° Virgo – 28° Leo

December 3 – 23, 29 – 13° Sagittarius

Mercury retrograde dates 2018

March 22 – April 15, 16 – 4° Aries

July 26 – August 19, 23 – 11° Leo

November 16 – December 16, 13° Sagittarius – 27° Scorpio