When Mercury goes retrograde, the spiritual community lets out a giant resounding shriek. Sometimes, there can be hangups under this cosmic influence, but truthfully, it's totally manageable if you've got a prepared spiritual self.
Instead of entering a full blown panic, try to look at Mercury Retrograde as one of those weird little gifts that help later. It offers us a chance to tweak some things that can maybe be better. Here's a helpful guide on how to navigate Mercury when it retrogrades:
Wondering what Mercury Retrograde is? In case you need extra details, I've got a comprehensive guide right here.
STEP ONE: WHAT DOES MERCURY GOVERN IN ASTROLOGY?
Mercury is the "messenger" in astrology and it governs communication, opinions and coordination. When it retrogrades, we can feel hiccups in how we communicate - or even how we think! Messages can get confused, lost or misinterpreted, and our schedules can go haywire.
STEP TWO: WHAT SIGN IS MERCURY IN WHEN IT RETROGRADES?
Mercury retrogrades a few times per year (usually three or four), and each one happens in either an air sign, water sign, fire sign, or earth sign. A lot of people talk about what sign it's moving through - like Gemini, or Aries - but I like to focus on the element it's passing through because there are usually patterns throughout the entire year.
For example, if Mercury retrogrades in December, it can happen within a fire or earth sign (Sagittarius/fire: Dec 1 - Dec 20; Capricorn/earth: Dec 21 - Dec 31).
Here's any easy summary to these "elemental" influences:
intellect, mind/thoughts, words
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
passion, drive, motivation
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth signs/builders or creators:
creating, nesting, grounding
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
If Mercury retrogrades while we're in a fire sign, what we are passionate about can be affected. The visions and goals we have - or had - may be resurfacing and asking for a revisit. Mercury often asks us to revisit, redo, or rework something. When it falls in a fire sign, often, the areas we are passionate in, the areas that drive us, and what motivates us are spotlighted.
Picture sitting with all your coworkers, and the same - silly - conversations start coming up. Only this time, there is something different. You. You feel different. Maybe you don't like the "jokes" about the other coworkers anymore - or maybe you suddenly feel offended because your opinion on the matter has changed. Maybe the jokes are about women and you're finally fed up in "tolerating" that garbage! Maybe a heated debate ensues. This is a common experience in a Mercury Retrograde travelling through a fire sign. Mercury Retrogrades in fire signs can get passionate and heated!
Step two is identifying what elemental sign Mercury is passing through so you can get a grasp on the areas in your life that may be affected.
STEP THREE: SLOW DOWN AND INCREASE YOUR AWARENESS
Which, to be totally honest, is easier said than done. But if you are expecting delays, communication break down, or confusion - you can plan for that (to a point). When you also know what area in your life you may find issues with, you can take your time in those areas, and move a little more carefully than you normally would.
Make space for yourself.
Each of us with each a different set of signs will feel a little different. But I find Mercury can feel out of control when we aren't paying as much attention as we could be. Mercury Retrograde is the messenger - it reminds us to slow down and take stock of what we have.
STEP FOUR: UNDERSTAND ALL THE PHASES OF MERCURY RETROGRADE
Yes - there are PHASES! Each of the five major phases offer insight into what we can expect to feel. And becoming more aware of the five phases can actually make Mercury Retrograde less ominous and scary when you know what's going on.
THE PRE-SHADOW PHASE
This is usually where the little hiccups happen - the things you're zooming through and overlooking because you're beginning to feel the effects of communication break down. If you can begin to slow down in the pre-shadow phase, you may be able to catch some of the areas asking for your attention, and move through them with intention and thoughtfulness. This phase offers insight into what you may come up against when Mercury is retrograde.
This phase is approximately a week long, give or take a few days.
This is when Mercury appears to "pause" in the sky before it begins to move backward. This can be a very intense time because the energy is just about to kick backward.
This phase is usually only a day or two long.
During this phase, the little mistakes or "hangups" are usually revealed. This is where we re-visit, re-work, re-do, etc. If you know the elemental sign Mercury is in, and you plan to move with intention, this can be more manageable and even help you excel in certain areas!
This phase is approximately three to four weeks long.
Mercury appears to "pause" again before moving forward once again. It's important to note Mercury doesn't actually move backward - it's just an optical illusion in the sky. During this phase, you may learn about some of the affects that Mercury Retrograde influenced or altered.
This phase is usually only a day or two long.
THE POST-SHADOW PHASE/MERCURY DIRECT
When Mercury goes direct - things aren't just KAPOW back to normal. In fact, Mercury is a little groggy and lazy at first, so it's recommended to still move with care during this time while you regain your speed and flow. If any little things weren't revealed to you, they will be now, and you'll get a chance to re-set and make them right.
This phase is approximately a week, give or take a few days.
Want to work with your crystals while you navigate Mercury Retrograde? Check out this post for which crystals to use to help support you through this influence.