Mercury Retrograde Effects: How This Astrological Time May Change Your Life

You might have been hearing about Mercury retrograde lately without understanding what it’s supposed to mean and why everyone seems to dread the effects it has. Here’s what it is and why it might be wreaking havoc on your life this month without you realizing it.

What is Mercury retrograde? Mercury retrograde is a phenomenon where the planet Mercury appears to be moving backward in relation to Earth. In truth, this is merely an optical illusion: because Mercury moves faster than Earth, it looks from our vantage point to be moving backward in its orbit of the sun at certain times of the year. For astrologers, these periods are more than just an astronomical event. They believe that Mercury retrograde triggers a period of backwardness that causes increased misfortune and turmoil.

How often does it happen? Because of its relative speed compared to Earth, Mercury appears to be in retrograde three times each year. This year, the first period took place between January 14th and February 5th. The current cycle runs between May 10th and June 3rd, and the third and final period for 2022 will occur between September 9th and October 2nd. The first of 2023’s cycles begins on December 29th of this year as well, meaning that we basically get four Mercury retrogrades in one year, which feels very on-brand for 2022 if you ask me.

The planet that rules communication. The reason astrologers ascribe so much power to Mercury retrograde is that Mercury is the planet that rules communication. Its backward motion, though an illusion, throws all things related to communication out of whack. Your wifi, relationships, inner monologue, and schedule could be affected, making this time nerve-wracking for many. Here are a few ways it might impact you.

Miscommunication with loved ones. Hurt feelings, missed calls, and forgotten texts may be more frequent during Mercury retrograde. You and your partner may argue more than usual. You might have to cancel a phone call with a family member. And you’ll probably forget to respond to a thoughtful text that someone sent you that you definitely planned to reply to with something caring and meaningful. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You aren’t alone.

Mistakes at work. Did you lose track of the documents that your boss wanted you to bring to the meeting? Do you think your coworker is secretly undermining you? Did you accidentally “reply all” when you meant to respond directly to a colleague? All of these things (and many more) may occur at work during this time. Unfortunately, it’s probably not a good idea to throw up your hands and say, “Mercury in retrograde, am I right?” but accepting that you might not be up to your usual standards will help you get through the embarrassment as things inevitably crop up.

Arguments with friends. Sadly, Mercury retrograde does not spare your friendships. You may become more distant with your closest pals during this time, or even have a full-blown argument that leaves you feeling angry and misunderstood. Whatever the issue, take a step back before jumping to conclusions or saying something you can’t take back. You may not be able to prevent troubled communication during Mercury retrograde, but you can take control of your emotions and wait it out until you’ve cooled off or the cosmic order is back to business as usual.

Old relationships creeping back. One of the ways that Mercury retrograde can throw your life into chaos is by bringing up old relationships. You might run into an ex at the grocery store or end up on a blind date with a guy you stood up in college. You might just find your thoughts turning to “the one that got away” and have no idea why. These interactions will throw you off-kilter and set your mind racing through past lives and missed opportunities. In this vulnerable time, it’s okay to be contemplative, but don’t make any life-altering decisions until you’ve had a chance to soberly consider the consequences.

Spiritual crises. If you follow a religious or spiritual path, you may find that the usual connection you have with a higher power has gone silent. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “believer” of any kind, you may find yourself asking big philosophical questions about life, death, and love. Try not to let your fears run away with you. Harness the power of these questions and let them unfold within you without trying to wrestle answers into existence. Be open to uncertainty. You may find yourself in a better place than where you started.

Burnout. One of our most important channels of communication we have is with ourselves. Being in touch with how we’re feeling physically and mentally is a big part of our lives, and it’s vital to staying healthy and content. During a period of Mercury retrograde, you may lose access to your thoughts and feelings and only get back in touch when it’s too late. Burnout is a common outcome when we push ourselves beyond what we can handle. To avoid stress and exhaustion, take this time to be compassionate and gentle with yourself, even when you don’t think you need it.

Plans falling through. Canceled flights, late trains, and unanswered emails may stall whatever vacation plans you have during this time. If this heightened uncertainty concerns you, you could opt to change the dates for your planned travel, or simply take the opportunity to go with the flow and challenge yourself to meet the unpredictability with openness and flexibility.

Use Mercury retrograde as an opportunity to focus on connection. While Mercury retrograde is usually associated with disconnection and misfortune, astrologers stress that it should not be seen as a negative time to muscle your way through with your eyes closed. On the contrary, when approached with awareness and focus, it can be a time of immense growth. Its pitfalls offer a chance to be more mindful of your communication, meaning that it may be an ideal time to reach out to people you’ve lost touch with and get up close and personal with how you treat yourself.

What To Know For The Next Mercury Retrograde

According to astrologer and author Lisa Stardust, there are variations between Mercury retrogrades. The first retrograde of the year, for example, influenced how we communicate thoughts, while the current one is forcing us outside our comfort zones. Stardust states that the next retrograde (September 9th to October 2nd) is expected to impact the balance of our lives and our modes of communication, while the final one, which will straddle the end of this year and the beginning of next year, will force us to “take a step back and examine the whole picture.”

Given that each of these periods can be viewed as an opportunity rather than a threat, focusing on how you approach the unique challenges of the following periods of Mercury retrograde will put you in the best position to come out of them with a net gain rather than a chaotic mess of broken pieces that need to be stitched back together.


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