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

Are you arguing with your friends more than normal?

Did you mishear the due date for your assignment?

Have any people from your past made an appearance recently?

If you’re experiencing any or all of these annoying symptoms, you’re most likely suffering from the effects of the astrological phenomenon Mercury Retrograde. NOT Gatorade. NOT reggaeton. RE-TRO-GRADE. 

I know you’re probably thinking, ‘Okay Sophia, but what does Mercury have to do with my ex-boyfriend resurfacing after two whole years?!’  

Don’t worry. I’ll get to that.

To fully understand Mercury Retrograde, let’s get down to the basics.

What even is Mercury Retrograde?!

Mercury is a cute little planet located about 62 million miles away from Earth. Known as the planet of communication and technology, Mercury can influence the way we talk, write, organize and transfer data. Sounds great, when things are moving the right way. But what happens when things aren’t? The word ‘retrograde’ means when something is moving backward. When Mercury is in retrograde, it’s not actually moving backward, it’s just slowing down as it rounds Earth’s orbit. This decrease in acceleration makes Mercury appear as if it’s stopping and moving backward, hence retrograde. Imagine looking out the window of a train car as another train is passing by in the opposite direction at a similar speed. You get this distorted image that makes it appear that your train is moving backward. That’s exactly what Mercury being in Retrograde physically looks like.  

What does Mercury Retrograde have to do with me?

Rather than Mercury getting motion sickness from this change in pace, this appearance of retrograde instead throws everything Mercury rules out of whack. That’s why during these periods of time things relating to communication, technology and any sort of planning start to get really weird and frustrating. You may be getting into a lot more conflicts due to miscommunication. Exes and old friends may be coming out of the woodworks left and right in an attempt to communicate things unsaid from the past. Your computer may crash and delete the paper you’ve been working on for the past 3 days. It’s quite the opposite of the most wonderful time of the year.

How can I make Mercury Retrograde less terrible?

Now that we all know what Mercury retrograde is and how it affects us, I think it’s clear to say that it sucks. There’s no sugar coating it, but to shift the perspective a bit lets try to look at the bright side. Yes, Mercury retrograde can make our lives temporarily messy, but it also gives us the opportunity to grow. Having an ex resurrect can be traumatizing, but maybe choosing not to respond or choosing to open up that conversation can activate the power within us and help heal old emotional wounds. Getting in a conflict with a friend you’ve never fought with before can teach you how to best resolve a conflict with them if one ever arises again between you guys in the future. If a paper you’ve been working on for a while gets deleted maybe it’ll inspire you to invest in an external harddrive moving forward. 

Life is full of mistakes that teach us something new about ourselves, our environment and the people around us. It’s what we choose to do with that knowledge that helps us grow. 

Next time you hear that Mercury retrograde is approaching there’s no need to scramble and isolate yourself in an attempt to avoid conflict until it’s over. Just try to expect the unexpected during this period of time. Triple-check that professional email before you send it, allow space for flexibility in your schedule, take things people say with a grain of salt and avoid making too many permanent decisions. You got this!

Important things to know:

Mercury experiences retrograde three to four times a year for about three weeks at a time. 

In 2020, we will only experience it three times. Here are the dates:

February 17 to March 10 

June 18 to July 12 

October 14 to November 3


Sophia is a first-year graduate student at Georgia State University pursuing her Masters in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling.
The GSU chapter of Her Campus