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Mercury Retrograde: What is it? Why is it so bad?

On TikTok and in everyday conversations, all I’ve heard is people blaming their problems on Mercury retrograde. But what does Mercury retrograde even mean, and how does it affect us?

“Mercury retrograde describes an optical illusion during which the planet only appears to be moving backward from our viewpoint on Earth,” according to Horoscope.com.

Retrograde isn’t exclusive to the planet Mercury. However, Mercury’s retrograde period is especially nerve-wracking. 

As the communication planet, Mercury is associated with communication, information, technology, logic, travel, relationships, and clear thinking, according to Horoscope.com. When all of that is disrupted, it can feel like we’re moving in reverse too.

Friendships end. Breakups happen. Disagreements abound. 

Whether your WiFi stops working or your relationships are rocky, it may be due to Mercury heading into retrograde. 

Lately, though, Mercury retrograde has become the scapegoat for every little misfortune. Whether or not Mercury’s apparent backward motion through space is responsible for your life feeling as though it is off track too, there are benefits to its retrograde. 

Since the start of retrograde, my life hasn’t been great. I’m going through a breakup, my schedule has been thrown off, and I’ve been having issues with my electronics. It’s easy to turn to Mercury retrograde for validation on bad days. But it doesn’t fix anything.

Mercury retrograde doesn’t have to suck.

Yes, bad things are happening. But, good things can happen too.

Going backward doesn’t have to mean not moving forward in life. In my case, this has been a time when I’ve learned a lot about myself and others. For instance, I’ve learned that my former relationship was toxic and that I deserve better. I’ve taken this time to reflect on our past and I am using what I’ve learned to have better caution in the future. 

Other things you can do during a retrograde are finishing all of your unfinished projects, reconnect with someone you lost touch with, repair burnt bridges, rediscover former passions, reassess your life, and return to your resolutions.

Mercury retrograde lasts until Oct. 18, so, until then, use this time for the better instead of focusing on the worse. 

Ashlyn Robinette is a student journalist based in Phoenix, Arizona. She majors in journalism and mass communication and minors in digital audiences at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. In her spare time, Ashlyn enjoys fashion, art and film.
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