Oh, the infamous "Mercury retrograde." You've probably heard the phrase, though you may or may not know what it refers to. Similarly, even if you do kinda sorta know, you might not be sold on the hype. You might be inclined to dismiss it as astrological mumbo jumbo – say it ain't so!
But the truth is if you're feeling a little off, moody, introspective, even misunderstood (as in, you're just not getting through to people right now!) you can lay the blame on Mercury in retrograde.
So what does that really mean? Well, during a retrograde period, a planet appears to spin backwards. Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the sun, its orbit is much shorter than ours on Earth; meaning that at certain times throughout the year, it appears to speed past us as Earth passes it in its orbit. This creates the optical illusion that it is spinning backward.
Now, while other planets undergo periods such as these as well (for example, Venus just went direct on September 8th after a lengthy retrograde period), Mercury retrograde is on a whole other level. According to astronomers, Mercury seems to speed up its orbit around three times a year. This lasts for about three weeks each time, meaning this time, it will last until October 9th.
Here's how you can tell. You know, for that inching suspicion you get when you're not in the know, but can't help feeling that something is up. And yes, the fact that that website even exists is a big fat hilarious everything to me. Thank you for that, O glorious Internet.
After all, as the planet of communication and technology, it makes sense that when Mercury enters a retrograde sesh, we'd be thrown for a loop on Earth. It means that lines of communication that are normally reliable tend to get blurred or crossed, and go slightly haywire in other ways, on our planet.
Here's what happens during Mercury retrograde, and what you can do to maintain your sanity, and yes, even grow during this time.
Get ready to be thrown for a loop.
Yes, you can look forward to communication mishaps and snafus, both via text, phone calls and emails, and even – you guessed it! – in person. Since you can pretty much count on these frustrating miscommunications happening, do what you can to avoid them by getting your point across as clearly and concisely as you can. If you absolutely can’t wait to talk to a friend or loved one about an important issue, be sure to meet with them in person. You don't want to risk your texts being misread or misconstrued.
Don't worry if you feel a little foggier than normal.
Oh, another important little fact: Mercury also happens to rule mental faculties such as our intelligence, mind, memory and self-expression. No big deal or anything.
So, because Mercury controls our sense of mental clarity, you might be feeling less sharp than normal. Trust us, it’s not you – it’s Mercury messing with your head!
Personally, dark periods (another name for retrograde periods) do not usually sit well with me. I have this tendency to withdraw and internalize, and it makes expressing my emotions difficult. The good news is, if you can relate to that, you definitely aren't the only one! I've found that taking up journaling, scrapbooking, and alternate ways of releasing creative energy, can be a huge help in times like these.
Avoid making any huge life changes or decisions.
If you're a fan of famous astrologer Susan Miller, you may have noticed her distinct insistence not to make any big electronic or technological purchases during a Mercury retrograde period. Similarly, try to avoid signing any contracts or starting something new!
Either way, make sure you read all the fine print – and we mean every last line – before you take pen to paper during a retrograde sesh. Because Mercury is also the ruler of travel, computers, telephones, and other electronics as well as direct lines of communication, it just might turn out that critical information was missing or not conveyed somehow.
If you do make a mistake, try not to dwell on it.
Mercury is named after the Roman messenger of the gods, also known as the trickster god, according to the mythology of ancient times. So how exactly does that affect us now? Since it's a "trickster" planet, Mercury is quite the spitfire, sure to play around with our heads and hearts – and make sure that important signals get crossed. #YouWould, Mercury.
This means that certain things in your life may feel like they're in flux right now, but trust us: You'll get through it. Try to be as flexible as possible. Even if you've got a total Type-A personality, be sure to go with the flow right now. And if you do make a mistake, know that it's okay; at least, if it's not right now, it will be. Apologize, do what you can to make up for it, and move on! Just keep powering through.
Take the time to think things through.
Mistakes made and lessons learned now can often lay the foundation for important realizations later on down the road. For instance, if you really can't stop thinking about something, it could be a subconscious finger pointing to the fact that there is a significant something you really need to prioritize or figure out in your life.
Just know that a retrograde period is not the right time to take action. Instead, take the time to reflect and build from the ground up when it comes to making those major life decisions. That way, when Mercury goes direct again on October 9th (meaning the planet's orbit – and all of our lives – will be back on track and we can all let out a collective sigh of relief), you'll be ready.