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If you’re not an expert in all things astrology, hearing someone mention that Mercury is in or is going into retrograde may sound a bit foreign to you. After all, what does that even mean? Is it just an excuse for people to communicate poorly or have bad attitudes? Is it something that really happens or is it some sort of unsolved mystery? Does Mercury in retrograde have an affect on the way you communicate with those in your life?
Though it may be a little confusing at first to understand, astrologer Leslie Benson, founder of the website Astrology for Awakening, told INSIDER that Mercury retrograde is very real and has a bigger impact on our lives than we probably realize.
“In modern western astrology, Mercury represents the areas of life involving mental functions, attaining knowledge, communications, and short travels,” she revealed. “Mercury goes into retrograde motion, which is when the planet appears as though it slows to a standstill in the sky, and then begins moving backwards in the opposite direction for a few weeks, where it again stops and then begins to move forward again. The planet doesn’t actually move backwards, it just appears as though it does from our earthly vantage point. When this time comes along, it has corresponding symbolism and indications in astrological meaning.”
Mercury retrograde happens between three and four times a year and although its effects may not be noticeable to you at first, once you start to take stock of the way events in your life are altering, you’ll see how much of an impact it truly does have on the relationships that surround you.
Each zodiac sign is affected differently.
Though everyone will see a change, Mercury going into retrograde will not have the same effect on everyone. This is mostly dependent upon what part of the zodiac Mercury is traveling retrograde through, and how that particular position relates to a person’s birth chart.
“Those whose ruling planet is Mercury — people with Gemini Rising or Virgo Rising — may be more in tune with the planet’s cycles, so they could have a heightened experience of it,” Benson said. “If someone has an otherwise strongly placed Mercury in their birth chart, or their sun sign falls under the rulership of Mercury — either Gemini Sun or Virgo Sun — they may be more in touch with the Mercurial energies, as well.”
Researching your own birth chart can help you figure out exactly how you’ll feel when the retrograde hits.
Mercury retrograde can have a positive impact on everyone.
Though Benson noted that the effects will be different depending on the part of the zodiac Mercury is traveling retrograde through, everyone will end up experiencing an overall positive impact from the event because it causes us to focus more on ourselves.
“Mercury retrograde asks us to turn our energies more inward toward the relationship we have with ourselves. It promotes self-reflection and slowing down to reorient and re-prioritize” she told us. “This can have a positive effect on our relationships, if and when we endeavor to take it as an opportunity to love ourselves more fully, and improve the relationship we have with ourselves. Holding ourselves in loving kindness and positive regard, helps us relate to others in the same way, with a lot less of our own fear or pain getting in the way.”
Confirming the age old mantra that you have to love yourself first before trying to love someone else, Benson said that Mercury retrograde will help us love ourselves before we can love others.
Likewise, Mercury going into retrograde has negative effects on everyone, too.
Although Mercury retrograde provides a means of self-awareness and enlightenment to your spirit, it can also prove to bring a bit of chaos to you life if you let it.
“Mercury retrograde can turn into a very bumpy ride if we are not listening to what life is asking of us, are rushing, are lacking self-awareness, or if we are trying to push our own agendas,” Benson told INSIDER. “This disruption to the normal flow of things has a way of getting our attention so that we can tend to those areas of life where mishaps occur in appropriate and empowering ways.”
So, be sure to pay close attention to the way the events are altering in your life and how your body is reacting.
Themes from Mercury retrograde can be seen in different relationships in your life.
The relationship that you have with yourself is not the only relationship that has a possibility of suffering when Mercury retrograde occurs. Benson noted that you’ll see the chaos appear in many different forms.
“Themes of Mercury retrograde can show up in the area of relationships as poor communication or misunderstandings, and the hurt feelings, reactivity, or conflicts that arise as a result,” Benson told us. “For some it can also manifest as a tendency to isolate or push their loved ones away in unskilled or hurtful ways. For others it may show up as feeling unheard, or like they just can’t get their message across. It can also exacerbate and highlight where we have inappropriate expectations of others, and the disappointment and resentment that can arise when those expectations go unmet.”
Do your best to take it easy on those around you, as the retrograde will be affecting them too.
Yes, you can prepare for Mercury retrograde. But not in the ways you may think.
Since Mercury retrograde has a lot to do with connecting with our true selves before connecting with others, you’ll need to look inward to prepare for its effects.
“We can prepare for and more gracefully navigate Mercury retrograde by pausing each day to meditate, breathe, center ourselves, and reflect,” said Benson. “If you know you’re going to have a challenging conversation with a partner, coworker, or family member, prepare by envisioning that conversation happening smoothly, and surround yourself and the other person(s) with kind, loving energy prior to speaking with them. This is an especially good trick before going to family gatherings where your buttons might get pushed! Take a moment before you arrive to send everyone there some love and appreciation.”
Unfortunately, new relationships should be the last thing on your mind.
As tempting as it may be to jump into something new when chaos ensues in your old relationships, Benson revealed that it actually isn’t a good idea to embark on a new relationship or start a big project with people you’ve never worked with before while Mercury is in retrograde.
“Consider this a time to tend to existing relationships, connections, and projects. You can also help things go more smoothly by being very mindful in your communication and interactions,” she told us. “Double check any written correspondences before sending them out. When someone is speaking with you, really tune in and listen carefully. Pause to take a breath before you respond in conversations or meetings. If something’s not feeling right to you, take a minute to stop and ask yourself what’s off, or what you might be needing in that moment. Overall, take good care of yourself, rest, recuperate, reflect, and get plenty of sleep.”
Mercury retrograde will have occurred four times this year once the final cycle initiates (December 3 — December 22). The next four years, however, will offer just three. So, breathe easy and start your preparation now.
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