Mercury's In Retrograde: What That Means & Why You Care

by Dani Katz
That's right, Mercury is in retrograde once again. 

You know the drill. You get a flat tire. Your mother-in-law picks a fight. Your smart phone craps out just as you’re boarding a flight to Portland that gets rerouted to Houston, thus rendering you several hours late for the conference you signed up for six months ago, only to be told by the facilitator (once you actually arrive) that there is no one by your name registered for the event. Is there an explanation for all of this bad luck?

“Mercury’s in retrograde until September 5th,” shrugs a nearby dude with a greying ponytail and those weird toe separating shoes. It's true: Mercury retrogrades from August 13th to September 5th, then from December 3rd to 23rd this year.

Can Mercury in Retrograde Affect You?

We live in an interdependent solar system comprised of stars and moons and planets whose energies and trajectories all affect one another. The Earth is not exempt from this planetary interplay, as much as the idea offends our egos, and its notions of isolated autonomy.
“I’m not affected by something as silly as a planet,” scoffs the ego. “I’m running this show.”
Except our egos aren’t running this show, and neither are we. We are all part of a much larger organizing structure (i.e. the cosmos) comprised of spinning rocks we call planets. These spinning rocks radiate archetypal energies that animate our bodies and lives. So, that's the argument for astrology charts, and horoscopes. 

Also by Dani Katz on Z Living: Get Really (Really) Mad. For Fourteen Seconds.

What Exactly is a 'Retrograde'? 

The planets are in constant motion—circling themselves while also circling the sun. Retrogrades occur when a planet slows its roll, and thus appears to be moving backwards. It isn’t, but it is definitely downshifting from its usual pace. When this happens, the usual dynamic tension that orients us to these planetary energies is altered. So then, activities and energies the retrograding planet influences can get kind of wonky.

BTW, Mercury Retrogrades More Than Usual This Year

Mercury retrogrades three times a year. Usually. For the second year in a row, it’s retrograding four times, because clearly the universe thinks we’re not already enduring enough planetary intensity as it is. Mercury is the planet that rules communication, machinery and travel. I don’t know exactly how a planetary pace-change translates to a dead car battery, but there is a lot humans don’t (yet) know about how the cosmos works.

Also by Dani Katz on Z Living: PSA: Where Are You Putting Your Sacred Attention?

Our Checklist For Preparing for Mercury in Retrograde:

  1. Back-up your tech—your computer, your phone, your whatever. Mercury retrograde lends itself to computer glitches. Plan, scan and charge accordingly.
  2. Avoid signing contracts, and making big purchases/life changes—Mercury retrograde affects our communication, and can make our thinking a bit murky. It is not the best time to bind ourselves to agreements flushed out during this dodgy time, let alone to break the ones we put into place beforehand.
  3. Prepare for travel delays.  
  4. Amp up your patience. And your sense of humor. Because – well, #3.
  5. Avoid launching projects. Mercury retrograde is not the most auspicious time to start things. The momentum is not in our favor.
  6. Do reflect and tie-up loose ends. Mercury retrograde tends to bring our past to the forefront. Use this time to reevaluate the bits of your past that organically enter your awareness/reality. Finish projects inviting completion.
  7. Rest. Recharge. Lie low.
Pay attention to how its energies are affecting your reality. Are conversations more strained than usual? Are your gadgets and machinery a little less reliable? Wait times longer? Do you want to strangle your boyfriend every time he opens his mouth?

Personally, I love a good Mercury Retrograde if for no other reason than it bonds me to my fellow man by way of frustration, thus reminding me that I am not in charge, and that despite my will and my best efforts, I can’t control everything.

Also by Dani Katz on Z LIving: Are Your Opinions Really Your Opinions?

Some Final Advice

Why don’t we add one more bit of advice to our de facto Surviving Retrograde Season checklist:
Be gentle.
It’s impossible to say how Mercury being in retrograde will play out for each of us. So, I invite you to be super gentle with yourself. Be patient, and flexible. Surrender to what life throws your way with as much ease and grace as you can muster. 


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