What is Mercury Retrograde and How Can You Make the Most of It?

hermes or apollo and the planet mercury in retrograde

You may have heard people complaining about Mercury in retrograde. They may have had bad things happen . But what is Mercury retrograde and why is it so well known?

Mercury Retrograde Explained

Mercury doesn’t really move backwards. It only appears that way when viewed from Earth. Typically, as seen from Earth, Mercury moves from right to left in the night sky. During Retrograde, this path reverses. After a few weeks, this phenomenon stops, and Mercury seems to move forward again.

The video below highlights periods of retrograde in green. Credit to Dr. James O'Donoghue for his Explanation of Mercury Retrograde.

Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth. This is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. As Mercury speeds by, it creates a sort of turbulence. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it goes retrograde can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.

The reason for Mercury retrograde being so famous is because this phenomenon affects everyone in a quite uniform way. Its effects are always obvious. Once you start paying attention to events in your life during periods of Mercury retrograde, you might notice that some things change during this phase. Knowing about this phenomenon and keeping track of it might help you increase your productivity and have a better understanding of certain events in your life.


Mercury Correspondences

Mercury is the planet of communication and trade. This includes speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling and buying. It also rules all that’s related to technology, trade and transport, as well as important documents such as contracts, books, term papers, etc.

So when it comes to these types of things what happens when Mercury goes retrograde? When a planet is in retrograde, astrologically, it’s in a sleeping or resting state. So while Mercury is in retrograde all the activities it governs don’t function as well as when the planet is direct (or prograde). Is Mercury in Retrograde? Then Get ready for a little bit of chaos.

What to avoid during Mercury Retrograde

During this phase, try not to make any important moves. Nothing is quite settled for the future in this period. You’ll find it almost impossible to organize a successful plan. During a retrograde period, it gets quite difficult to have others make decisions that impact you. Even if a decision is made, those decisions may go through some unexpected changes after Mercury stops being in retrograde.

Mercury retrograde may not be a good time to start something relating to communications. This could include launching a website, a new social media account or a publicity campaign. In fact, these phases are not a good time to launch any project in general.

quill signing magical contract during Mercury Retrograde

Avoid signing a contract during Mercury Retrograde

It’s also not the best time to sign any contracts or close an agreement. For example, agreements like getting married, getting engaged, signing a prenup or even getting divorced. This is a time when things are quite changeable and they may take a last minute turn. Any contract or agreement you enter during this period will have to be reevaluated later. It does not necessarily mean that the situation is hopeless. It does, however, mean that it will bring about headaches once Mercury goes direct. Mercury also rules trade and commerce, so don’t buy or sell anything expensive during its retrograde phase.

Mailing might also be affected by Mercury retrograde, since this planet rules the conveyance of information. Be extra careful when sending important packages and be patient if you are waiting for one. Be extra careful with your emails, you wouldn’t want to send the wrong email to the wrong person.

Keep an eye on all your technological devices. Mercury retrograde is well known for causing computers to crash and for cell phones to fall and break. Be careful with other electronic devices, you may never know when it may be the last day for your e-reader or tablet. You may also forget about them outside or misplace them.

Making a business trip during Mercury Retrograde may be a little bit messy too. If you have to travel, make sure everything has been planned for and be prepared for an unexpected last minute change. Despite this, Mercury retrograde is an excellent time to make personal trips to places you have already been to, especially for those who want to disconnect from their routine.

You might be a little bit forgetful during this phase. Also, be careful of miscommunication problems with your partner or group of friends.

When Mercury is in retrograde, think of it as a signal that the wind is changing. Some radical changes are on the way. The problem is that they might take a while to show up and that makes the energy at the moment seem a little bit stagnant.

What if you can’t wait for Mercury to go direct? Just proceed anyway. You don’t need to stop your life for an astrological event. You can still take this phase into consideration so you are ready for any inconvenience. But if we are talking about a task or a purchase you can easily postpone, wait a little bit.

What should I do during Mercury Retrograde?

There are situations where you can move forward without much worries during Mercury retrograde. For example, if you are revisiting something from the past, you are generally safe to go forward.

An important point to keep in mind: Mercury is more powerful on the onset and finish dates of its retrograde. Also, always allow at least two days, minimum, after Mercury finishes its retrograde before you start initiating projects or making big purchases. If you can wait a few weeks, even better.

Not everything about Mercury retrograde is so bad. Mercury retrograde periods might be frustrating, but they are also quite useful too. This period allows us to reassess, revisit, readdress, redo, and redesign our plans. This event allows us to stop, look, listen, and redirect our energy more productively. It can help you to give closure to some unfinished business.

meditating on top of a cliff during mercury retrograde

Take time to reflect during Mercury Retrograde

If a meeting is postponed or canceled, you have more time to gather additional information that will come in quite handy later on.

Wait before making a big purchase. A few weeks later you might find the very same object with a discount or cheaper in another place.

Missing objects are likely to be found. That earring you lost the pair weeks before may later appear in an unexpected place.

Taking a closer look at some situation with greater depth during Mercury retrograde can be very good for you. These periods help us slow down a bit so we can see things with a different light.

It’s also a great time to reorganize your space so once Mercury starts moving forward you’ll have everything ready to start from zero. Pack up clothes you haven’t worn in a while and give them to charity. Reorganize your files and take away everything that is not useful anymore. Take this into account for your workspace and you might see some benefits from doing this.

How does Mercury Retrograde affect witchcraft?

When it comes to your craft, some witches prefer to refrain from doing spells during Mercury retrograde, especially big spells that could go poorly if they are done incorrectly. This is because spells can be interpreted as an act of communication with the universe. Manifesting during this time may also be a bad idea, as you may get something entirely different from what you expected. Routine cleansing and protection rituals are fine, as well as using crystals or herbs for small tasks.

incense for cleansing during mercury retrograde

ritual cleansing during Mercury Retrograde

Is Mercury Retrograde Bad?

Mercury retrograde is not the end of the world. Don’t expect everything to go wrong. It’s a great moment for introspection, to disconnect a little from your routine and to connect with something or someone from your past. If you go with the flow instead of against the current, you might find it a more favorable period than most people who complain about this phase.


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