WTF even is a "Mercury Retrograde"? And Why Should I Care?
The Mercury Retrograde is here! I sat down with the awesome Obi – who describes himself as an amateur astronomer – to discuss this phenomenon and how it affects you, from both astronomical and astrological standpoints!
What does it mean when Mercury goes Retrograde?
Astronomy- Just like the earth, Mercury also revolves around the sun, along with the other planets. When Mercury is moving and you look at it from the earth, it points to one of the zodiac signs. As it comes closer to Earth, instead of moving towards the next sign, it seems mercury has slowed down in that sign. As it goes past it, for a brief period of time, it feels that it’s traveling in the opposite direction. This is known as Mercury retrograde. When seen from earth, its apparent motion with respect to the stars in the background appears to be slowing down and, as it slows down, it turns back before continuing in its path again.
The Mercury Retrograde astronomy giving the illusion that the planet is “going backwards or slowly” correlates to astrology and our daily lives in these ways:
we experience delays (in travel especially)
general delays (waiting for payments to process and receive items in the mail)
we arrive late places
get stuck in more traffic jams than usual
life seems to slow down as we imagine mercury is napping or is on vacation
things go haywire for us, we experience tech issues
we think about the past (going backwards)
exes show up in our lives or we start texting exes
(Additional affects of Mercury Retrograde occur and outlined further below- so keep reading!)
Do all planets retrograde? How often does Mercury Retrograde and How Long Does It Last?
Yes, this happens with all the planets but since mercury is closer to the sun, its revolution around the sun is shorter. Mercury retrograde happens more often (3-4 times a year) compared to Jupiter or Saturn, which are located much farther out into the solar system. For those planets, this happens only once in decades. However, those retrogrades are longer and slower as a result. Since Mercury, and all other planetary orbits are not perfectly round, they vary in size and length, meaning that the duration of a retrograde can also vary a bit in time span as well. In some sections of the celestial plane, some retrogrades will be longer because the orbit is more an oval than a circle. If we’re on the shorter side of the oval, the retrograde will be quick and if we are on the longer side, it lasts longer.
Why should I give AF about Mercury Retrogrades? How many happen this year?
From an astrological standpoint, we have lots of reasons to care about Mercury Retrograde. It basically wreaks havoc on our lives, hence all the #MercuryRetrogradeBeLike memes out there on Facebook and Instagram…
The number of Mercury Retrogrades per year can vary between two, three, and four. This year (2020) we experience three.
We are currently in Mercury Retrograde through March 10th, 2020
The next one is June 18th through to July 12th
The final one is October 14th through November 3rd
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces (what we are currently experiencing), is explained as such; if you look up at the sky from the earth, you’ll see that Mercury is pointing to Pisces when it starts its motion onto the other side. It comes to Pisces and starts slowing down as it moves closer to earth. As it slows down in Pisces and turns to the other direction towards the previous sign, we may feel some of the Pisces aspects of the zodiac.
This is why we make memes and jokes about being emotional (Pisces trait) this time, whereas we made jokes about impulsivity when it was in Aries (Aries trait) instead.
Mercury is a planet controlling communication. So when it goes retrograde we expect the following:
you can expect crappy communication
text messages and emails to get lost or don't go through
challenges focusing and learning
speaking gaffes, errors and communication gaps
Advice on getting through a Mercury Retrograde and further symptoms of this Astrology/Astronomy:
Always double check your work and make sure you edit everything – even for spelling errors. It will be hard to do research to find the things you need.
Your Internet might not work well, and even if it did, finding the right web pages may not be as easy as usual. Try not to be so reliant on web information as your own recollection or books.
Mercury retrogrades are a poor time for negotiations. Ideally, don’t buy anything expensive. Wait until afterwards to get your hands on a new iPhone. It might just get delivered to the wrong address, since mail and delivery services can be adversely affected by the retrograde, and even if it is delivered to you correctly, chances are you will drop and break it before the end of this retrograde period anyway.
Technology and plumbing tend to break down with much greater frequency in these few months a year. Do preventative maintenance in advance of Mercury Retrograde periods so that you don't get put on a wait-list for services.
When possible, wait until after Retrograde to get that elective plastic surgery. Unless it is medically necessary, it’s in your better interest to wait a couple more weeks. No one wants a bad boob or nose job. It’s a very expensive and regrettable expense.
Traveling becomes a challenge in Mercury Retrograde periods as well. It’s common to experience traffic delays and flight cancellations or delays. Navigation systems can go wrong as well, or re-route you very slowly. Have an actual paper map in the car, and leave much sooner than you typically would!
Exes often reach out or attempt to come back in your life during Mercury Retrograde periods. Of course, whether this is a good thing or not depends on your past history with these exes, so, some people look forward to this and some don’t. The problems experienced in the past though are likely to arrive along with the ex, and they may even be magnified as Mercury moves closer to Earth. So, if you partner was a liar before, and that’s why you broke up, this time the lies will be of even greater grandeur and may seem even more believable so tread carefully!
Mercury Retrograde isn't 100% horrible. Here's the Upside!
The majority of people familiar with Mercury Retrograde energies think of it as a negative thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Ideas, people, feelings and things can come back to you, but some of those things are great! It’s a time period of nostalgia, or to reconnect with long-lost friends and family members. Remember when you lost your great-grandma’s necklace? You might find that during a retrograde!
Retro starts with ‘Re’. It’s a good time to ‘re’ anything. Reevaluate, refocus, redo, redesign and revamp things. Any project that you started but did not develop the way you wanted, this is the time to make it right.
What does it mean when Mercury Retrograde happens in two signs? How is that possible?
A Mercury Retrograde cycle can and does occur in multiple Zodiacs every now and then. The 12 zodiac signs we are familiar with are made up of stars in the sky. These are further divided into 36 constellations in total, which means that the constellations we are identifying are therefore shared by two zodiac sign constellations. So, as a constellation might be part of two signs, or rather, on the cusp of it, the entire retrograde period can span over two or multiple signs.