What is Mercury Retrograde?


Mercury Retrograde is an astrological event that happens several times a year. We are currently in the middle of a mercury retrograde! According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the dates for mercury retrograde for 2019 are as follows:

  • March 5 to 28
  • July 7 to August 2
  • October 31 to November 20

So, what is it, exactly?

When a planet goes retrograde, it just means that it appears to move backward in the sky relative to the zodiac. For Mercury, that happens three times a year.

What happens during Mercury retrograde?

In astrology, Mercury is the planet that rules our communication and thought processes. It is the planet of our everyday forms of expression and communication - the way we talk to each other and form our opinions.

During Mercury retrograde, the illusionary backward movement of the planet affects us in the same way the pull of the moon’s gravity affects the ocean tides. Instead of things going smoothly, our conversations and communication often end up muddled, distorted, and unclear. This is a time when big decisions often go awry, technology often goes wonky, and we are all generally feeling off.

What can you do to combat the energy of Mercury retrograde?

Well, since we can’t make the planet appear to go in the right direction on our way, we simply have to ride it out. During Mercury retrograde, avoid making any major decisions if you can, give yourself extra time to travel from one place to another, and don’t upgrade your IT equipment if you can help it.

Instead, use this as a time of self-reflection. Since Mercury is a planet that rules our communication and expression, think of ways that maybe you could improve those aspects in your life. Is there something you can do to help you speak more clearly?

Take the time to pause, especially when you’re faced with big decisions. Some decisions you can’t help but make during Mercury retrograde, but when you can hold off for a bit, I recommend doing so. You might find that your thoughts are clearer and easier to understand once Mercury moves out of retrograde.

Funny Story?

So, when I worked in the corporate world, I worked for a local hospital system here in Central Oregon. During a Mercury retrograde last year, our hospital system decided to upgrade its electronic medical record system. Long story short, that was a big nightmare full of technical problems, glitches, and errors.

Also, I’m getting ready to do my first ever podcast live stream on YouTube as I type out this article…so hopefully Mercury retrograde leaves me technical equipment alone! I spoke too soon. Guess who just got an e-mail that their website is experiencing technical difficulties?! This girl!

How does Mercury retrograde affect you? Do you have any other suggestions on how to avoid the nightmare that a retrograde can be if you aren’t prepared?

Sources and Other Reading
Cafe Astrology - Mercury
The Farmer’s Almanac - Mercury Retrograde
Astrology Zone

Thanks for this very informative post!

I like to think that Mercury retrograde won’t affect me (it doesn’t ALWAYS have to, right?) but this week I’m having a really hard time making decisions, and struggling with a bit of anxiety too. :grimacing:

I’ll follow your advice and try to be more self-reflective and not self-deprecating. I prefer to believe that Mercury retrograde is not a “good” or “bad” time, but just a challenging phase. :muscle:

I wish it didn’t affect us, but it tends to, even in ways that we might not notice at first. But yes, being more self-reflective is always a good idea when Mercury is in retrograde - it helps pass the challenging phase with as much ease as possible.

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