Ready to Survive and Thrive During Mercury Retrograde?

What does Mercury Retrograde mean?

First, the technicalities: Mercury is retrograde when it’s traveling backwards. That’s an optical illusion, of course, and happens when the planet’s orbital speed changes in comparison to the earth’s. It’s the planetary equivalent of speeding up on a highway, passing a car and seeing it fall far behind after you in the rear-view mirror.

How this works: When Mercury is “moving in reverse”, the areas of life it governs do not play by the usual rules. Anything related to communication and travel requires extra attention. This includes phones, computers and electronic devices, the mail (remember that?), cars, public transportation and commutes.

Three or four times a year, Mercury passes the earth in its orbit. As it rounds the bend, Mercury slows down and appears to stop, or station, and spin backward — otherwise known as retrograde. Of course, it really ISN’T moving backward, but much like two trains or cars passing each other, this creates the optical illusion that Mercury, is in this case, going backward.

In astrology, Mercury rules communication, travel, and technology — so all of these areas go haywire for about three weeks, with today (Jan. 21) marking the beginning of the chaos.

To top it off, Mercury retrograde also has what’s called a “shadow period” so you may have already felt the retrograde a couple weeks before and after it actually happened.


The things we are told not to do during Mercury retrograde

1. Don’t start anything new.
2. Don’t sign any contracts
3. Don’t move into a new place
4. Don’t buy a new car
5. Don’t travel
6. Don’t mail important documents
7. Avoid people from your past that suddenly appear.


Things we are told will go wrong during Mercury retrograde

Your electronics will crash
Your car will breakdown
Traveling will be terrible
Communication problems, fighting, misunderstandings, etc.


How Do You Avoid A Total Meltdown?

Let’s be realistic. If everyone followed these rules the whole world would stop functioning.


Remember, Mercury is going to bring things to the surface that you need to work on. These things will be brought to your attention so it is really all about your mindset, approach and attention to detail that will not only help you survive this transit but thrive throughout its course.


Here is your mini survival guide for Mercury retrograde:


DO …

1. Review all contracts and legal documents before signing.

2. Pause and breathe before speaking and repeat yourself if necessary!

3. Read all emails and documents before you send.

4. Insure/track important mail and packages, since Mercury rules the postal system.

5. Get your vehicles (or bikes) tuned up and be sure to pack an emergency roadside kit.

6. Leave early for any travel and appointments, since Mercury can delay flights.

7. Renew your commitments instead of making new ones.

8. Focus on the prefix, re — which means to go backward — and renew, review, revamp, redecorate, et al.

9. Plan reunions with old friends & loved ones, but prepare for possible mishaps!

10. Expect to hear from/run into people from your past at the weirdest moments.

11. Get sentimental. Reconnect with your roots and walk down memory lane.

12. Practice forgiveness. Finish processing what’s unresolved so you can let it go.

13. Confirm all dates, plans, meetings and appointments.

14. Think of the retrograde as a quarterly review period, a chance to pause and finish what you’ve started during that timeframe.

15. Back up your digital data (photos, contact lists and files) before the retrograde or ASAP, if it has already begun.



1. Buy used electronics or vehicles and get a warranty if available.

2. Sign contracts without a thorough review. If contracts have something askew, problems will arise later.

3. Fly off the handle or jump to conclusions if someone misunderstands you.

4. Run into the arms/bed of an ex without careful screening (Mercury reunions aren’t always meant to last).
You might even hear from the most RANDOM exes and childhood classmates during retrogrades.

5. Shoot the messenger if someone from your past comes around.

6. Put anything sketchy into an email or text (you could hit “Reply All” or send to the wrong person!).

7. Leave late for flights or appointments.

8. Start anything new before finishing what’s next on the to-do list.

9. Lead people on, give mixed messages, or believe everything you hear (actions speak louder than words).

10. Spread rumors, rant on social media or share unconfirmed information.

11. Turn in sloppy or unchecked work, cut corners, or dash off hasty communications. Inspect to protect!

The silver lining? Mercury retrograde is a great opportunity to handle unfinished business. Most of us start a million things that we don’t complete, never realizing how much psychic clutter this creates. The retrograde is a chance to tie up loose ends and create a clear vision for the future. Take advantage of it, and you’ll emerge fresh and ready when Mercury goes direct.

As the cliche goes: what you resist, persists. So the more you can embrace chaos or a lack of control, the better you’ll survive this cycle.


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