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The first Mercury retrograde of the decade has started. February 16th, 2020 Mercury partook in one of its most notorious past times: seemingly traveling backwards in orbit. Mercury in retrograde has become one of the most dreaded times of the year for astrology twitter and all social media astrologists alike. But what does Mercury being in retrograde actually mean?


Mercury in retrograde is a period of time in which Mercury’s orbit around the sun appears to be moving in the opposite direction. It’s an illusion created as Mercury and Earth’s orbits interact. Mercury slows down as it makes its way round the bend of the orbit, appears to stop and spin backwards. This optical illusion is called apparent retrograde motion and its backwards appearance is often the point of blame when things in our life start going backwards too.


In astrology the planet Mercury is known as ruler of technology, travel, and communication. It determines how we talk, think, and learn. So, during Mercury retrograde these aspects of our life can become chaotic, stressful, or inconvenient. Mercury is the mind’s planet. Its backwards orbit can affect the way you communicate with the people around you and how you process the information you are given, so keep that in mind if you find yourself in a heated argument this month.


With every Mercury in retrograde it’s important that you practice patience. Things may not work out the way you want them to for the next couple of weeks, view this time as a learning opportunity or a chance for personal growth. Your package could get lost in the mail, you might accidentally send a message to the wrong person, hell your WiFi could be slow this week. Just know you’re not the only one who’s world may feel upside down. Most importantly take time this retrograde and every retrograde in the near future to take a step back and acknowledge what you’re currently putting your energy into. Is it helpful? Do you enjoy it?


The extent to which Mercury in retrograde may influence you depends on the signs in your natal chart and which sign Earth is in when the orbit appears to shift backwards. 


So, to those that often dread this time of year, don’t. Welcome the first retrograde of the decade with open arms and face any challenges that come your way head on. Let it empower you.


Raven Flowers is a sophomore Biology major at Howard University where she works as a student researcher in their College of Arts and Sciences honors biology program. In addition to research and health studies, Raven enjoys reading, writing, music, yoga, and vegan alfredo. She is an advocate for inclusion of Black environmentalists in the global fight against climate change and enjoys partaking in conversation about sustainability movements, particularly in the fashion industry.
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