Mercury in Retrograde: A Survival Guide

You’ve probably overheard some your ‘goop-iest’ friends muttering about it for the past few months, but what exactly does it mean when Mercury is in retrograde?

For starters, let’s get one thing straight: no, Mercury isn’t actually revolving backwards all of a sudden. When we say that Mercury (or any planet, for that matter) is in retrograde, what we mean is that it appears to be moving backwards as we stargaze from Earth.

How is this possible? For those of us that might not remember our 2nd grade astronomy lessons about the solar system, Mercury is the planet situated closest to the sun and therefore has a much shorter orbit than Earth. Several times per year, Mercury zooms past Earth giving the appearance of moving backwards. Confused? Think about it like this: if you’re zipping down I-90 one sunny afternoon and a car traveling at 85 mph tries to pass you, you notice it’s going faster. But if that same car starts to slow down and you pass it, it appears to be moving backwards…get it?

So, why do we care?

When things are running smoothly, you might not even notice where in the solar system Mercury is at any given time. According to astrology gurus, Mercury governs all forms of communication and, just like you’re unlikely to give your coveted iPhone 7 a second glance so long as your texts are going through without a glitch, the same goes for this nifty little planet. However, when Mercury begins a period of retrograde, get ready for the sh*t to hit the fan…

And, you guessed it…Mercury is in retrograde as we speak.

Mercury has already entered retrograde once this year (March 22 – April 15) and will continue to be in retrograde until August 18th. Don’t get too comfortable though, because this bad boy will be heading backwards one last time before year’s end between November 16th and December 6th (yep…right smack in the middle of the holidays…).

Mercury in retrograde is typically the time when, at least for a lot of us, everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. It’s a time when your printer mysteriously dies. When your laptop crashes and you lose all of your work. When you get into a slew of stupid fights with your boyfriend about who cleans the dishes. When business contracts fall through. Basically, if it has anything to do with communication or the sharing of information, expect some hiccups!

Before you start ordering a 2 week’s supply of Postmates and crawl back into bed until mid-August, take a breath. Yes, periods of Mercury in retrograde can be intense, but there are a few things you can do to survive and, dare I say it, thrive during this astrologically significant time!

#1: Practice a Bit of Patience & Allot Extra Time

Now is not the time to press your luck and see just how close you can get to a looming deadline before missing it or trying out a brand new route to work. If you know you need to print off something before your big presentation, do it a day early. If you have a meeting downtown at noon, leave at 10. Give yourself a cushion whenever possible and allow yourself the space for a little patience along the way. Instead of majorly freaking out when that important email to your boss gets lost in cyber space, simply take a breath, come back to the here and now, and proceed accordingly.

#2: Avoid Signing a Lease for Your Dream Apartment or Starting a New Business (if you can)

Astrologists will tell you that this is not the time to sign a lease, enter into a business agreement, or sign any kind of new contract. Why? Because miscommunication is running amuck in everyone’s lives and the stars are aligned perfectly for a classic case of “but I never agreed to that!”

Now with that said, you can still enter into these sorts of situations when Mercury is in retrograde so long as you double, even triple check that you’ve dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s. I know this because I actually signed the lease for our New York apartment, hired a team of movers, and hauled my entire life from Boston to Manhattan the last time Mercury was in retrograde. Were there unexpected challenges along the way? Sure. But did Mercury keep us from moving into our new home and tying things up in Beantown? Nope. We survived.

#3: Be Open to Change

One the upsides to Mercury in retrograde is change. I like to think of this period as the ultimate Shiva moment, a time when those things that have been holding me back are absolutely desecrated, leaving room for rebirth of those dreams and ideas that truly serve me.

#4: Be Compassionate Towards Others and Yourself

Instead of allowing instances of miscommunication to rip apart the relationships in your life, practice a little compassion and give your loved one’s the benefit of the doubt. Ask for clarification when possible and, along the same lines, cut yourself a break if you lose your cool a bit over the next few weeks. Just apologize, clarify, and LET. IT. GO!

#5: When All Else Fails, Know that This Too Shall Pass

Look, it’s already August 3rd. That means that we have a little over two weeks left of this craziness before everything goes back to the way it was and all is right with the world again. Go inward, meditate a bit, slow down and ride it out…before long, Mercury will be headin’ in the right direction again!

Keep Calm and Double Check Every F*cking Document,

The Yogi Lawyer

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