We need to talk about Mercury Retrograde. But before I even get into it, I’m begging you – don’t make the same mistakes I have! Download the Mercury retrograde cheat sheet here and stay one step ahead.
You know those days when it feels like everything is going wrong and everyone is just so annoying?
You miss the train to work and have to wait like, an hour for the next one because it’s delayed.
You text your boss to let him know and oops! You’ve accidentally texted your ex.
Then you get to work and your boss is pissed that you’re late again.
Then you spend hours working on a document and just like that, the computer shuts down and it’s all gone.
You get home and your boyfriend sees the reply from your ex on your phone and now he’s pissed.
Then you drop your phone down the toilet.
‘Why is this happening to me???‘ You think.
Chances are, it’s Mercury retrograde.
A retrograde is basically when a planet in the solar system looks like it’s moving backward (it’s not really). What’s really happening is a change of speed in the planet’s orbit (there’s a better explanation in the Cheat Sheet).
All planets go retrograde at some point, and they affect us in different ways, depending on where that planet is in our birth chart.
Except for Mercury. When Mercury goes retrograde…well, it kind of shits on us all in the same way.
At least we’re in it together?!
About Mercury retrograde
Mercury retrograde happens 3-4 times a year, for just over 3 weeks at a time.
Virgo’s and Gemini’s are always especially affected because Mercury is the ruler of those signs. Also – if Mercury is in your sign’s element when it retrogrades – for example, if you’re an Aries and it happens in Leo (another fire sign) you might feel it a little more. But that doesn’t mean everyone else is exempt. We ALL feel it – trust me.
The main Mercury-related areas of life include speaking and communication, electronics and technology, travel, writing, thinking and the mind itself. These are the areas of life where you’ll notice things getting a little crazy during the retrogrades (so basically, everything!).
Upcoming Mercury Retrograde dates
Just so you know.
August 12-September 5 (Starts in Virgo, ends in Leo)
December 3- December 22 (In Sagittarius)
March 22-April 15 (In Aries)
July 26 – August 18 (In Leo)
November 16 – December 6 (Starts in Sagittarius, ends in Scorpio)
March 5-28 (in Pisces)
July 7 – 31 (Starts in Leo, ends in Cancer)
October 31 – November 20 (in Scorpio)
See the Cheat Sheet for dates up to 2021!
What makes Mercury Retrograde so annoying?!
The best way to understand it is to look at the planet Mercury like it’s a person – a naughty little person who likes to take naps when he’s supposed to be taking care of the areas of life listed above.
While he snoozes on the job, he’s causing delays, setbacks and everything can feel like it’s going wrong. Cheers mate!
Knowing when Mercury is going to retrograde can help you avoid some truly irritating times. And if you’re a bit skeptical – just take a note of the next retrograde date and watch what happens in your life when it comes.
The effects are so obvious, you’ll realize what’s happening straight away. Even if nothing happens to you personally, you’ll notice it in current events, things in the news, things happening around you.
You’ll feel a shift in energy. You’ll also come to understand why so many people hate it (but I’ll also explain why you should never hate Mercury retrograde – I actually enjoy it. Sometimes).
What not to do during Mercury retrograde
Mercury retrograde can cause some frustration but it’s nothing to worry about. In fact, if you prepare for it properly and know what kind of things you should and shouldn’t do, it can be okay. Ish.
Generally speaking, Mercury retrograde is an excellent time to redo anything – revisit, revise, reschedule, relax. It’s a good time to deal with things and people from the past. It’s a terrible time to initiate, start anything fresh, launch something new or set big plans in stone.
Anything initiated during Mercury retrograde normally ends up going to shit, being disappointing or a waste of time as you end up having to redo it.
Now let’s get into some specifics – here are my top things to avoid during Mercury retrograde.
Don’t change your hair or give yourself a makeover – please!
Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to initiate anything new – that includes new looks!
Guess who ended up with patchy brown streaks in their hair after trying to dye it during a retrograde – TWICE?!
I’ve had my hair dyed brown for about four years now, and I love it most of the time. However, during every Mercury retrograde, I get this crazy urge to dye my hair jet black like it was in the past. I think this is pretty normal considering Mercury retrograde does tend to get you reminiscing.
These days, I can easily resist the urge thanks to the results of my past mistakes – I’ve dyed my hair twice during a retrograde.
Both times ended with me running around a supermarket like a lunatic, searching for another box of hair dye to cover up the mess I’d made.
Both times, that cover up dye made it worse.
And both times, I ended up regretting it once Mercury went direct, returning to my original colour shortly afterwards.
Coincidences? I think not!! I dye my hair once every few months and never have any problems except during Mercury retrograde. My hair disasters during this time aren’t just limited to dye either – TRUST me, there have been dodgy haircuts and hair extensions that I won’t even go into for the sake of the length of this post.
While it’s OK to get your normal hairstyle during a retrograde, leave any makeovers or big changes till well after the retrograde has ended. It’s just not worth it!
Don’t move house
Mercury retrograde causes us to miss important information as we’re not thinking clearly. Also, hidden details normally come to light after the retrograde.
Guess who went flat hunting during a retrograde?!
I had my heart set on a beautiful flat I’d seen online and was so excited when the day came to go and view it in person. But when I got there, the estate agent put the key in the door to unlock it and it just wouldn’t budge. She tried for about 45 minutes but the key just would not open the door.
It was the correct key for sure, and another agent had used it to enter the flat earlier that day. I wasn’t annoyed or upset – in fact, I had to laugh. It was typical Mercury Retrograde.
I ended up having to revisit the flat a few days later and that time we did get in, using the exact same key. I stepped inside and instantly decided that was where I was going to live – it was such a stunning flat. But the Universe had other plans.
Almost a month had passed and I still hadn’t heard back about our offer from the owners of the flat (delays – typical again). I had a time limit to move out of my current place, so I had to give up. The retrograde passed, and I found a much better place anyway.
Eventually, the estate agent called back with some news about the original flat I wanted. I found out that the owners weren’t very nice people, to say the least, and there were also some problems with the flat – so Mercury Retrograde did me a favour!
A big decision like buying a house should never be made during Mercury retrograde. More than likely, you’ll discover something wrong with the place or the contract once you’ve moved in, or you’ll end up moving out again soon after.
Of course, there will be situations where you won’t be able to wait around and may have no other choice. In this circumstance, take the house – but double and triple check every contract and document.
Keep records of absolutely everything. Ask as many questions about the property as you can. Make sure you’re clear on the payment plan or rent agreement and inspect the place like a detective during your viewing.
Don’t start a relationship
Communication is OFF, minds aren’t thinking straight and the energy is all wrong. People you meet during this time don’t tend to stick around.
Yes, I’ve done this too!
You may feel amazing connections with people you meet during Mercury retrograde, but these connections can fizzle out just as quickly.
I once went on a first date the day Mercury retrograde ended (this was my justification – it had ended, but!! It was still in the shadow period – Mercury takes about 2 weeks to fully ‘wake up’ from a retrograde). Our three previous attempts to connect during the retrograde (yes, I should have known better!) failed – changing and cancelled plans are common during these phases.
When we finally did connect, the date went really well. The conversation flowed and we had fun.Things went well for a little while, but 6 months later it was all over. We seemed so in-sync on that first date, but it turns out we weren’t. The time spent with him came out of the blue and ended just as suddenly.
There was another time where I connected with a guy during a retrograde. He was a friend of a friend and we very quickly went from not knowing each other to speaking all day, every single day. We grew close very quickly, but as soon as Mercury went direct he became a different person. The opposite of the person it seemed I had gotten to know.
Be really careful with people you meet during Mercury retrograde – these connections can come so out of the blue and hit you so hard that you think it could only be fate that made it happen.
You feel like you know the person inside out until Mercury goes direct and you realize you didn’t know them at all.
One or both of you may end up changing your mind (Mercury rules the mind) or discovering some kind of hidden secret about the person. If you’re getting to know someone you met before the retrograde and you’re ready to make it official, wait until the retrograde is over and both your minds are clear.
It can be the perfect time to get back with an ex if you’ve been wanting to do that (this doesn’t mean the relationship is guaranteed to last). Exes are very likely to pop up during retrogrades as everyone is thinking about their pasts. If it feels right, go for it.
You’re very likely to bump into some blasts from the past during retrograde periods or get back in contact with people you haven’t seen in a while. It’s very surreal – people will just pop up at the most random times in the most unexpected places.
It’s a great time to reconnect or resolve any issues from past relationships– just not a good time to start any new ones.
Also – try not to make any final decisions involving your relationships – this includes getting married, engaged or breaking up.
Don’t buy new electronics! In fact, don’t make any big purchases at all!
Electronics and technology are ruled by Mercury and are normally the first things to start acting up when the retrograde hits.
If you need to buy a phone, computer, car or any sort of technology, do it before the retrograde starts. Mercury rules electronics so technology bought during this time is likely to be faulty, glitchy or break down.
I once bought a laptop during Mercury retrograde. I am very grateful for it, but I have to admit I’ve had lots of problems with it. I also once tried to take out a new phone contract during Mercury retrograde. Big mistake! The phone was never delivered, and it took me months to cancel the new contract for a phone I didn’t even have.
If you work around computers, make sure you back up anything important during Mercury Retrograde.
Email documents to yourself, print them out – be extra careful as now that you’re aware, you’ll notice just how difficult computers can be during these times. They stop working, just like that. Data gets wiped. That document you just spent typing up for 3 hours? Watch it disappear before your eyes.
As almost everything we do these days relies on technology – we now need to be extra prepared for Mercury retrograde.
I once had a laptop completely stop working during Mercury Retrograde. No warning, no reason. It just shut itself off and never turned back on again. I lost absolutely everything. All my writing, photos, music – everything (that’s how I ended up buying a laptop during Mercury retrograde – I needed a replacement ASAP).
Don’t buy clothes during Mercury Retrograde – especially not online when you can’t try them on first. Guess who’s also made the mistake of shopping during a retrograde. I’ve bought things that looked amazing in the changing room and hideous when I got home.
There was one time I bought a jumpsuit during Mercury retrograde that I loved and still do. But that’s an exception to the rule!
Don’t book a holiday and prepare properly for your travels
As Mercury is the ruling planet of travel and short journeys – these areas are affected by retrogrades.
Leave early for work and appointments – there’s always way more traffic than normal.
When it comes to holidays, Mercury retrograde is actually a really good time to travel, as a relaxing getaway can help you to de-stress and minimise all the mind-frazzle. However, it’s the worst time to book travel due to the breakdown in communication and technology.
Important documents get lost, the trips don’t work out as planned or sometimes an event may arise that stops you from being able to go altogether. If you must book a holiday during a retrograde, make photocopies of everything, keep records of confirmation emails, double and triple check everything.
Take your time to confirm you’ve booked the right flight, airport, hotel – be super careful. Make sure you have your passport and important documents to hand before you leave, and make sure you know your gate number and exactly what time your flight is.
Don’t take or interview for a new job
The difficulty in communication makes it a bad idea to take or interview for a job during Mercury retrograde.
Once Mercury goes direct, you’ll often find out all wasn’t as it seemed – your role could be completely different to what you thought you were applying for due to your misunderstanding or your interviewer’s miscommunication.
Or you just might end up not liking the job.
If you’re the one that’s hiring – the same rule applies. You may not be happy with your choice of an employee if you hire during a retrograde so try to hold out until everything is back in sync.
I took a job during Mercury retrograde just before I started learning astrology and it ended up being the worst experience. My boss, who seemed lovely during the Mercury retrograde interview, treated me horribly and the work itself was not enjoyable at all. I ended up working there for 6 months and left as soon as I got another opportunity.
There may be a time when you really need to take a job, whether it’s Mercury retrograde or not. I found myself in this position this time last year. After months of searching, I received the perfect job offer during Mercury retrograde. It was the writing job I had been hoping and praying for since I graduated from university.
I’d been working in my job for 3 years and was desperate to get out. I would have settled for any job in that desperation – but a writing job?! I had to take it.
Maybe it’s because I took the time to thoroughly read the company contract and make sure I understood the role.
Maybe it’s because the job was in a Mercury-ruled field (writing and technology).
Maybe it’s because I started the interviewing process before the retrograde began or because my start date was 2 weeks after the retrograde ended.
To be honest, I’m truly not sure why Mercury didn’t shit on my new job, but it’s a year later, and I still work for that company. I absolutely love my job and my colleagues. The company is thriving, my role hasn’t changed and everything is going well.
Lesson learned – if you really do need to take the job and can’t delay until the retrograde is over then take it – things could work out. But I’ve had both the good and bad experience of taking a job during Mercury retrograde – and the bad is really bad!
The only other exception where it’s OK to take a job during Mercury retrograde is when you’re going back to an old company you used to work for or you have a past relationship with the person hiring.
Let’s say you used to work for them, and now they work somewhere else and have invited you to work for their team in their new company. That’s OK – Going back is OK. Starting new, most of the time is not.
That includes launching a business, by the way, that’s the worst thing you can do.
Also see: Time everything perfectly with astrology
Also… don’t take anything personally
Communication is so crazy during these periods. No-one can really think straight – everyone’s extra tired and confused and stressed out from all the random little things that are suddenly going wrong for ‘no reason’.
Misunderstandings of words and even body language are common, as is feeling misunderstood. This goes for email and text messaging as well. Reread and double check before you send anything.
Once you’ve put it out there you can’t get it back.
If you notice you’re bickering with your loved ones more than normal during this period, slow down. Breathe. Listen and try to understand what they’re really trying to say. If all else fails – agree to disagree for now.
It’s just not worth it during a retrograde, and when the mind fog eventually clears, you’ll both be able to get your points across much better.
Expect the unexpected
Remember Mercury retrograde can make your mind feel a bit frazzled – you may be forgetful or do silly things you wouldn’t. Don’t beat yourself up!
A few retrogrades ago, I was totally convinced that I had a doctor’s appointment on a Wednesday. I’d read the message they sent me three or four times and was sure I was sure of the date.
I left work early and headed to my appointment, only to get there and be told the appointment was for the next day. I looked down at my phone and realised it was Tuesday – I’d been thinking it was Wednesday all day! I had to laugh.
Don’t dread them!
Despite all the stories I’ve just told, when you know what not to do during the retrograde, they’re never that bad. I’m a Virgo, so I tend to be highly affected by these periods.
But even so, there are some that are pretty uneventful and actually kind of…enjoyable. I love not knowing what to expect. I love bumping into old faces I haven’t seen in ages, or hearing from people I’ve missed.
I tend to get great opportunities during retrogrades (it’s just a shame I have to be so careful about taking them!) and I feel like more goes right for me than it does wrong (I was born during Mercury retrograde, and there are rumours floating about that us Mercury retro babies have better times during these periods. I don’t think that’s true – but it would make sense if it did! Here’s how you can find out if you’re a Mercury Retrograde baby like me.)
It’s more likely because I’m always prepared for it now, and use the time to relax rather than pursue any new projects.
The brain fog is real. So chill and rejuvenate during these phases.
So it turns out Mercury Retrograde isn’t 3 weeks of hell…
They can actually be amazing if you use the above tips to unlock the power of the energy of retrogrades. Yes – there will be irritations. But focus on the right things and you’ll do just fine. Don’t forget to print your cheat sheet so you can have all the most important information whenever you need it.
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