by Ines Sulj
All the planets, except Sun and Moon, go in apparent backward motion from time to time, yet the Mercury retrograde seems to be the most famous one. Almost everyone knows about it, including the people who know nothing about astrology and those who don’t even believe in it.
In astrology, when a planet is in retrograde, it doesn’t actually move backwards in the sky. It only appears to change direction, so it is really an optical illusion. When this happens, the energy turns inward and backwards, resulting in slightly unusual effects.
So should we just stop living every time Mercury goes retrograde? Of course not. Mercury retrograde happens three or even four times a year, and it usually lasts for about three weeks. I even believe that the most challenging moments don’t happen during the retrograde motion period, but during those slow and stationary periods, right before Mercury changes its direction. Mercury is a quick planet which rules all kinds of movement, so it gets a bit awkward when it slows down or stops (to be exact, when it appears to slow down or stop), because it’s contrary to its essential nature.
Mercury rules our nervous system, mind, memory, thinking, learning, perception, communication, data, telecommunications, electronics, contracts, commerce and transportation.
So what happens when Mercury is in retrograde? You might get unusually nervous, frustrated, confused and prone to make mistakes. It might be hard to focus on anything. Misunderstandings, lies, deceptions and delays are likely to happen. You might get stuck in traffic. You might lose some important papers or computer data. Or it might seem as if you’re losing your mind. Computers and electronic devices may break down. Messages might get lost or just sent to wrong recipients.
During the Mercury retrograde period things don’t work in a precisely exact way we want them to. And basically, it seems that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The nature of whatever we begin during the Mercury retrograde will likely change. And more than likely we’ll be coming back to all the new ideas, projects and connections that mark this relatively short period of time.
I’m not going to tell you: “Don’t buy computers or any other electronics!”, “Don’t sign contracts!”, “Don’t go on a first date!”, “Don’t get married!”, “Don’t travel!” or anything like that. Not only because I don’t really like the don’ts and I usually do most of the don’ts just to see what happens, but because you can find these warnings already posted all over the Internet.
Slow down, breathe, take a break, go on vacation, meditate, reflect, think before you speak, listen carefully to others, read the fine-print, do a research. Make sure to explore all the available options before making a final decision, but still be prepared to make a wrong one. Be patient, go with a flow, make a data backup, make a backup plan for a new idea you have, check the recipient before you hit the send button, double-check the recipient before you hit the send button. Make use of your intuition and imagination, raise your awareness, and most importantly, keep a good sense of humor, if you’re lucky to have it.
I don’t think it really make sense telling you how to avoid mistakes. Imagine a mother yelling to her child: “Don’t fall!” And the child replies: “Oh, I really wanted to fall. But now I won’t. Thanks, mom!” We don’t make mistakes on purpose. They happen no matter what we do to avoid them. And they happen all the time, no matter what direction Mercury takes. Right?
Sometimes you’ll make a wrong decision, but you’ll know it was once a brilliant idea. Sometimes you’ll send a message to the right recipient and wish you sent it to a wrong one. It can get tricky!
So, when it comes to the Mercury retrograde, don’t be afraid of making mistakes or wrong decisions. Think in terms of changing direction, changing perspective, old and new, lost and found.
Yes, you can lose or forget some data. But you can also suddenly stumble upon something you thought was lost forever. Or you can recall something you previously forgot about.
So, let’s not talk about how to survive this period. Since Mercury is not currently in Leo, there’s really no need to be dramatic. Let’s rather talk about how to use the Mercury retrograde in the best possible way.
There are many great ways to use the Mercury retrograde. Researching, redoing, reworking, rethinking, reanalyzing, rewriting, rereading, rebranding, reinventing, recharging, retreating and reconnecting. Just choose you favorite “re-” action and don’t be limited with my suggestions.
While the Mercury retrograde might not be such a great time to start anything new, it’s the best time to finish old things and to deal with any ideas, decisions, projects, products and contracts from the past. And by doing that, you’re actually decluttering your mind and making space for new ideas and new projects. You’re freeing your mind and your mind will be grateful to you.
It’s also a great time to reconnect with friends you haven’t heard for a while. That’s one of the main reasons I personally love Mercury retrograde. And that’s something that happens to me a lot, especially because Mercury in my chart rules the 11th house, also known as the house of friendships. Two days ago I finally arranged a video call with my best friend, who now lives in New York, and whom I haven’t properly talked to for a while. Huge joy! Thank you, Mercury, for being in retrograde!
That same day I received a message from Manel (Blanco, the owner of this website). We haven’t heard for a couple of months, and I thought: “Ah, Mercury retrograde strikes again!” But there was another surprise in the message. He actually asked me if I would write an article on Mercury Retrograde, that he would post on his website. What a synchronicity! So, not something you want to say no to. And I (obviously) didn’t. Though, I wasn’t sure I could make it. I do write personal astrology reports, but I have never before written an article on any astrological topic that would be published anywhere. Besides, as I told Manel, I am a quick thinker, but a slow writer, and English is not my native language, so I had all kinds of fears and insecurities about this. But then again, with all these synchronicities and Gemini energy all around, I said to myself: “Ok, challenge accepted! And if I fail, I can always blame it on Mercury retrograde.”
So, yes, with the Mercury retrograde you can expect and joyfully anticipate reconnections, reunions and second chances in all kinds of relationships.
The biggest problem with the Mercury retrograde seems to be things going the way we don’t expect or want them to. That’s where all the panic, fear and frustration come from. So, what makes us struggle most during these periods is our need to always be in control and a fear of change. First of all, relax, because nothing is under control. Ever. And second, the only constant thing in life is change. Like it or not, that’s the fact.
The retrograde motion of Mercury is also considered the shift from the predominantly left-brain way of thinking and perceiving things to a right-brain way, which is more creative and intuitive.
So, use this period to cultivate your creative and intuitive powers. Listen to the music, write, paint, dance, sing, play an instrument, make something with your hands. If you don’t consider yourself an artist, you can still be creative in all kinds of ways.
And if you happen to be one of those right-brain oriented individuals and don’t usually feel comfortable in everyday life, dealing with practical issues that seem to be normal and logical to everyone except you, now you suddenly feel at home and you have no idea why everyone around is freaking out. Congratulations!
If you find it hard to express yourself with words or if you find it hard to figure out what someone else is trying to tell you, forget about the words and pay attention to all other ways of expression and communication. Pay attention to signs and synchronicities. Pay attention to body language. Pay attention to the energy in and around you.
Pay attention to how you feel. Pay attention to the physical sensations in your body. Your body never lies. Did you know that you can test your subconscious beliefs with a little help of your body? And your body will give you straight yes or no answers. Yes, you read it right. Just search for “muscle testing”. It’s a technique that comes from the field of Kinesiology, and it’s very easy to learn and apply.
Just a day before Mercury turned retrograde, we had a New Moon in Taurus. So consider this a perfect time to set intentions and start (New Moon) rethinking and reinventing (Mercury Retrograde) the way you perceive (Gemini) your body, your own personal values, money, possessions and the material world in general (Taurus). Reconnect to your body. Reconnect to nature. Accept and embrace the duality (Gemini) we live in. Let’s engage and expand both our mind and our heart. Let’s not separate the spiritual from the material. And let’s remember there’s no day without the night, no beginning without the end, no life without the death and no light without the dark.
Now let’s take it a step further. Mercury, also known as the Messenger, rules communication, words, signs, messages, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, perception and understanding. So let’s try to rethink the way we perceive things happening while Mercury is in retrograde.
What if all the things that happen to you are just signs and messages, delivered by Mercury the Messenger? Not everybody will get stuck in traffic, and not everybody who does get stuck in traffic will feel frustrated, angry or helpless. Not everybody will lose something. And not everybody will be lied to. Right?
So, depending on what exactly is happening to you, instead of taking it for granted and instead of feeling like a victim of circumstances, you can change the perception of a certain event, take it as a sign and use it consciously to change something about yourself. And by changing yourself, by changing your thoughts and by changing you perception, you’re changing the outer circumstances. People and situations that you encounter (or attract, if you like) are there just to show you something within you. They make you pay attention to what really is. Think in terms of reflections and mirrors – Gemini again.
Let me give you an example. Someone has lied to you. And now you find out about it. How do you feel? Sad? Angry? Betrayed? Now is the perfect time to re-examine the way you treat yourself and the way you communicate with yourself. Are you honest with yourself? In which ways do you lie to yourself? In which ways do you betray yourself? Why don’t you trust yourself? There’s no point in pondering over why someone has done something to you. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is you.
Since Mercury is in Gemini, be curious and experiment with your thoughts. Turn them over. Turn them upside down. And don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t run into self-criticizing. Play with your thoughts in a gentle, light and breezy way, just like Gemini is. And since Mercury is now approaching Mars, which is also in Gemini, be determined and take action (Mars). And remember, you always have a choice. You can let your thoughts be your enemy or you can make them your ally.
There’s no better time than now to change your thoughts, to release and let go of old beliefs and thought patterns that no longer serve you, and start thinking in a new way, with new perception and new understanding. Rewrite your story. Imagine who would you be, or better yet, remember who you are without all those thoughts and beliefs that you somehow, somewhere along the way adopted to protect you from being hurt or abandoned or rejected.
There’s no better time than now to see things as they really are, to accept what is and to let go of old illusions and (self)deceptions.
There’s no better time than now to deal with past issues and experiences. And if you find yourself struggling, it’s usually just a sign of your inner resistance to change. So, again, be gentle but determined. At least soften the resistance by starting questions with: “What if…?” and “Wouldn’t it be nice if…?”
Mercury retrograde is, after all, an optical illusion. So pay attention. Be present. Be aware. Be honest to yourself and others. Be willing to see and hear the truth. Be willing to see and accept what really is. Don’t trust everything you hear or see in the media. Turn off your TVs and computers and at least for a while step back and reconnect with yourself and people around you. Gemini is an Air sign, so it’s all about connecting, sharing and being engaged. Yes, be the change you want to see in the world, but don’t be self-absorbed. Don’t be passive. Get out there, get engaged, make a difference. Be inspired. Be an inspiration!
“Happiness is only real when shared” – Into the Wild