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Mercury Retrograde: What It Is and What It Means For You

Have you noticed that this month has felt a little different? Has communication felt faulty, or has technology been not as reliable recently? If so, a possible culprit could be the current Mercury retrograde. It’s an astrological phenomenon with its duration lasting from January 30th to February 21st. I’m sure everyone has heard about Mercury retrograde, either from memes or your one friend who got super into astrology over quarantine, but a lot of people don’t really know what it means. So, allow me to be your astrological guide through the concept of retrogrades, and more specifically, how this current Mercury retrograde can affect you.

  First, what is Mercury retrograde?

    Super glad you asked! A planet goes into retrograde motion when it appears to us on Earth as going backward, due to the optical illusion of different orbits. You know when you’re driving on the highway and you pass the car in the other lane, and you notice it looks like the car is going backward? Retrogrades are exactly like that, but with the planets’ orbits. Mercury is very close to the Sun and has a very small orbit compared to the Earth. What this means is that Mercury goes into retrograde motion three to four times a year, each period lasting for about a month. When Mercury is expected to go into retrograde is easily predictable, as this table from Astrology Zone documents every mercury retrograde date until 2030

 Where does astrology come into this?

Though the explanation of what exactly a retrograde is was a bit more astronomical than astrological, these roles switch when we ask what it represents. Though the severity varies between specific planets, most astrologers agree that a retrograde is a red flag that certain problems will arise. Since we’re in a Mercury retrograde, we have to look at what Mercury represents in astrology. Mercury is seen as the messenger of the gods, thus making it the planet of communication. Ruling aspects such as logic, self-awareness, and intellect, Mercury represents an environment of being able to think quickly on your feet and pure self-expression. In an individual’s natal chart, the sign in Mercury indicates the styles in which the person is likely to communicate or process information. 

So, how will this affect me?

Since Mercury rules communication, it is expected that when in retrograde, communicative skills weaken. The general misfortunes that come from Mercury being in retrograde include miscommunication, conflict, and confusion. Expect scheduling mishaps, butting heads with others, and misunderstanding texts and emails sent to you. However, not all is lost! But like a diamond in the rough, there are a few positives that can be found in this retrograde. It is said that things like intuition and coincidences are heightened during these times, and there are a few techniques that you can use to fight back against the frazzled feelings of a retrograde. Reread the email you’re going to send to your professor after misreading a homework assignment to make sure what you’re trying to say is expressed. Allow extra time to travel, and be prepared for hold-ups. Overall, now is the perfect time to step back and reflect. Then, when the coast is clear and Mercury is no longer in retrograde motion, you can use your newfound insight from introspection to make any final decisions.

Grace Bradley

U Maine '23

Hello all! My name is Grace and I'm a third-year Communication major with a minor in Journalism here at UMaine! Originally from Connecticut, but I wanted more trees! Biiig music, art, and politics gal. Give me every outlet of expression!!
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