How to Thrive Through Mercury Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde happens 3-4 times per year for 3 weeks at a time, and every single time the internet freaks out.
People start blaming all their problems, communication breakdowns, contract disputes, etc. on Mercury retrograde without even knowing what it means or taking any personal responsibility in the matter.
(And ironically, when I sat down to write this, Facebook and Instagram were down and I spent 2 hours unable to string 2 sentences together. I had to laugh because those are the kind of “communication disasters” that Mercury retrograde often presents to us.)
Well I want to change the narrative on Mercury retrograde. If you flow with the energy of the season, you can THRIVE through it. So here’s what is really going on:
In Greek and Roman mythology, as well as astrology, Mercury is the “messenger” planet. It is said to influence our communication (including technology), and direct the ways that we think and share information.
When Mercury is in retrograde, it is actually an optical illusion that is created when the planet is passing the Earth on its path around the sun and is moving so quickly that it looks like it is going backward.
That’s how it can feel in our lives, too.
Mercury retrograde periods are known for creating communication chaos: setbacks flare up, miscommunication abounds, technology hiccups, and things that we thought were working just break down.
Generally when these things start happening, we lose our patience, throw our hands up in the air and either give up or push harder. But those two options are actually working against the energy of the planet.
When planets are in retrograde, the energy of the planet is spinning inward, so that is what we are being called to do as well in order to use it to our advantage.
Here is a breakdown of the reminders and lessons that Mercury retrograde brings us:
1. Slow down and connect inward. Make sure you are carving out time each day to connect with yourself, manage your emotions, and sharpen your inner communication. Before you engage in any important external communication—including signing contracts or creating new projects, etc.—make sure you communicate with yourself and get clear on exactly what you want first.
2. Think deeper, not wider. Mercury calls us to really analyze and improve what already exists, rather than create something new. It is a good time to evaluate the relationships, projects, routines and systems in your life and make adjustments and refinements to maximize their efficiency and impact. The same goes for if things break down: Don’t freak out, just rebuild them to be even better. Just like us, all things are in constant evolution and require periodic updates.
3. Reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. If retrograde is a backward and inward movement, then it is also a perfect time to reconnect with people from our past. This can mean catching up with an old friend, or it can be an excellent time to go through your list of professional contacts and send them updates on what you are doing in your life and career so that you stay top-of-mind for new opportunities.
Whether or not you believe this stuff, or even that the energy of the planets affects us (“As above, so too below” is a “rule” of astrology), I think that we can all agree that having regular reminders for self-reflection and slowing down isn’t a bad thing. In that way, even astrology skeptics can get on board with what Mercury retrograde is calling us to do.
The most important thing to remember in this season is not to fight against it. If things are breaking down around you, then take a break yourself and practice the things I suggest above. If you choose to just keep pushing, you will likely just create more struggle for yourself—and end up sacrificing self-care and joy—which will only lead to burnout in the end.
And get ready. I like to compare Mercury retrograde to an arrow being pulled backward. It may be frustrating in the moment to feel like you are being held back, but it is just preparing you for massive growth. Do the inner work, improve the systems, habits, and routines in your life and nurture yourself and your projects with some serious self-care, because at the end of the retrograde period you will be ripe to skyrocket into major momentum.