An Astrologer’s Guide to Mercury Retrograde
A year ago
While it happens three to four times a year, Mercury Retrograde is always one of the astrological events that seems to catch everyone's attention. Even though this retrograde may be notorious for stirring up our lives (or even turning them upside down), this is still a powerful transit that offers wisdom to us. Learn more about what this retrograde means and how you can move through it with grace.
Back to Basics: Mercury
Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun and governs the 3rd and 6th houses and rules over Gemini and Virgo. It is the planet of communication that determines how you interact with others, communicate with ourselves, and interpret the world around us. Acting as the messenger, Mercury invites us to look at how you communicate internally versus what you express outwards to others. It calls attention to how you may be different in a private space than when you step out in public or interact with friends.
The 3rd house is the house of communication, technology, and traveling in some instances. It highlights your communication with others, how you interact with them, and the technical modalities you may use to initiate and engage in those conversations. The 3rd house looks at travel in the forms of transportation and how you are getting from one place to another.
The 6th house rules work, service, and your health. The sign that corresponds with this house is Virgo, so there is an emphasis on detail, what your work ethic looks like, and how you can accomplish tasks throughout the day. When it comes to service, this is about how you can take care of others and how that is reciprocated. Regarding your health, the 6th house looks not only at your physical well-being but how your work ethic, environment, and overall responsibilities can impact it.
What is Mercury Retrograde?
When Mercury goes into retrograde, it appears to be moving backward. The planet isn’t actually moving backward, but it appears to be that way from our perspective here on Earth. Mercury Retrograde can happen about 3-4 times each year and lasts for several weeks. There is also a “shadow” that we experience before and after the retrograde period, where we aren’t completely absolved of Mercury’s influence in retrograde but rather are given time to ease in and out of that shaky period in time.
How Does Mercury Retrograde Affect Us?
With Mercury appearing to move backward, the spotlight of this retrograde shines on your past. It is a call to travel within and visit old emotions, habits, experiences, and thought patterns, recognize and acknowledge them, and release them so that you may move forward. This practice would leave you feeling lighter at the end of the retrograde season so that you can keep moving without weighing yourself down and holding onto the things that don’t serve you and your highest purpose. Mercury Retrograde also encourages you to plan rather than take action. It’s an invitation to slow down, reflect, and gather more information. If you are pursuing a new hobby or starting a new project, take the time to gather your resources, think about what that project will look like moving forward, and find out if anything is missing that could potentially cause an issue down the line.
When Mercury is in retrograde, you can also look to the houses it rules to see how it may affect you. With the 3rd house, this retrograde period could make communication more difficult, or you may find that you have a hard time getting your point across. Texts or emails could be more easily misconstrued, so it is wise to double-check what you type out before hitting send. With the 6th house, review your travel plans if you have them, but it is more encouraged to avoid travel during this time. You may notice that you feel under the weather as well. Use the retrograde period to reflect on your habits and how you nourish your body. Are you missing out on vital nutrients? Could your daily routine use a refresh to make sure that you can keep your body moving?
How to Move Through Mercury Retrograde
Even though Mercury Retrograde could shake up your normal routine, that can be for the best! Here are just a few ways that you can refresh your practice and embrace the more relaxed energy of Mercury Retrograde so that once it’s over, you can propel forward with your newfound plan:
- Double-check any contracts or important documents that you may need to read through or sign
- If you need to travel, read through your itinerary and check daily for any last-minute changes or updates
- Write down your tasks, so you don’t forget what you need to accomplish
- Start your day off with a quick 5-minute meditation to set the mood for the day and ground yourself
- Create a vision board of what you’d like to accomplish after the retrograde period
- Include cooking at home into your daily routine so you can ensure that you’re filling your body with fresh, nutritious foods
- Get out and walk or bike around your local neighborhood to help keep your body moving and remove you from your familiar atmosphere
- Cleanse your space daily with your favorite burning bundle or mist to clear any stagnant energy
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