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Mercury Retrograde: A Complete (Survival) Guide

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ASU chapter.

What does it mean when Mercury is in Retrograde?

We’ve finally made it through Mercury Retrograde, the so-called “struggle bus” of astrology. While something was definitely off for everybody from Sep. 27 to Oct. 18, many don’t understand what this event really means. Before we get into the implications of Mercury retrograde, it’s important to understand what it means when Mercury goes into retrograde. 

The phenomenon of retrograde is an illusion – it makes it appear as if Mercury is moving slower than usual, or is rotating clockwise as opposed to its normal counter-clockwise direction. This is because of the difference between Mercury and Earth’s orbit duration. Mercury orbits the Sun at about four times the speed that Earth orbits the Sun. Mercury retrograde comes three to four times a year and lasts for about three weeks at a time.

How does Mercury Retrograde affect us?

Now that the basics are out of the way, what happens to us when Mercury is in retrograde?  It’s important to note that Mercury is the planet that governs travel, communication, and technology. Therefore, many aspects of our lives become very messy during this time since many parts of our daily routine involve some kind of communication – especially through electronic means in this age of modern technology and social media. 

It seems like everyone is in for a whirlwind of distress and confusion, but did you know that some signs have the potential to be more heavily affected by Mercury retrograde? Signs who experienced the worst of the most recent retrograde include Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn. 

In short, Mercury retrograde often brings misunderstandings in communication, faulty technology, and issues with traveling like delayed flights. I, for one, lost my ID in the airport on my way home for my fall break. I blame Mercury retrograde. Many people also blame retrograde for Facebook’s recent crash on Monday, Oct. 4. 

In a time like this, so many things can become messy, including your internal communication. You may find that you don’t really feel like yourself, or are constantly slipping up, and that is okay – but what if we want to avoid these feelings and mistakes? What can we do to make this a more stable time for ourselves?

Obviously, the most effective method would be for all of us to hide in our rooms for the next few weeks to avoid any sort of communication and human interaction. Realistically, though, something that can be helpful is to look at Mercury retrograde is a time for self-care and reflection instead of an absolute mess. That way we can be distracted from negativity by improving ourselves. 

Some advice I’d like to offer for the next Retrograde, which begins Jan. 14, is to dive deep within yourself. Try a guided meditation, a Mercury Retrograde tarot spread, or perhaps even journaling if you’re looking for a less formal and time-consuming activity. Any of these three things can help you to come to terms with all your retrograde-related struggles, and may even help you to devise a way out of these unfamiliar feelings. With that, I wish you all the best during the next retrograde. 

My name is Emery, and I aspire to become an entertainment journalist and photographer in the future. Since I grew up in Colorado, I love to spend time in nature, mostly slumped in a hammock reading poetry, or writing about whatever comes to mind. All my life I've been dedicated to writing and have always wanted nothing more than to be given a platform to share my voice.