Over the last few years, Astrology has made a major comeback, especially for those who are shifting their focus into a more intuitive and collective mindset. Folks are spending more time looking deeper into their birth charts, discovering that they are FAR more than just their “star sign” (which is actually your Sun sign), and that Astrology is far more complex than simply reading your horoscope on the weekly newsletter.

I have observed that one of the most talked about phenomena in Astrology that has seemingly become glamorized is Mercury Retrograde. There is almost a sense of fear surrounding it, because it has become associated with exe’s sliding into your DM’s, miscommunications and failed technology attempts. While these things are certainly associated with this particular alignment, there is far more to this pattern. 

With that being said, I’m going to break down what a Retrograde is, what the planet Mercury is connected to, and how Mercury Retrograde is actually an incredible time for reflection and understanding your patterns.

So let’s dive right in!

In our solar system, we have 9 planets that orbit around the Sun, and each of them have a unique orbit. Some planets take longer to make a full return around the Sun, and some take hundreds of years. The closer they are to the Sun, the faster their geocentric paths. The further they are from the Sun, the slower their patterns.

Each of the paths these planets take have unique patterns within them. They may make small or large loops in their paths around the Sun, multiple times or once in a while. This all depends on the gravitational pull of each planet.

As you can see on this diagram above, Mercury’s geocentric pattern contains multiple loops in one single cycle around the Sun. If you analyze the patterns of all the other planets (Pluto not included), you’ll notice they all form unique and complex patterns.

When the planets are in these loop cycles, they make a detour on their trips around the Zodiac, sometimes moving backwards for a certain period of time. Once they station direct and get out of these loop cycles, they continue on their path around the Sun. This is what a Retrograde is.

This is why energetically Retrograde’s are incredible opportunities for reflection rather than taking action; we take a few steps back on our journey to analyze and learn from the experiences and patterns we have just overcome, and once the planet stations direct, we continue on our course of action. 

Now for the planet Mercury.

Mercury, an inner planet, is the closest planet to the Sun. The inner planets in Astrology are associated with our persona and different aspects of it. Mercury, otherwise known as “the messenger of the Gods”, is the planet of communication, technology, education, short term goals and travel, and how we express ourselves.

Mercury also has the fastest orbit around the sun and takes 88 days total to make a full return. However, it will go Retrograde 3 times a year for approximately 3 weeks at a time, which stretches out the cycle to be a bit longer.

Therefore, there are 3 major opportunities a year for us to reflect upon our communication, patterns, and how we show up authentically in our expression.

In the year 2021, Mercury is going to be Retrograde in air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra), which will bring us a wonderful opportunity for mental expansion and innovation within our ideas. The Retrogrades fall on these particular dates:

Jan 30th-Feb 20th (Aquarius)

May 29th-June 22nd (Gemini)

Sept 26th-Oct 28th (Libra)

As I conclude this blog, I’d like to share 3 specific tips that can help you to navigate these astrological phenomena!

  1. Reflect before acting. A very common misconception with Mercury Retrograde is that you should avoid all decision making and contact that may bring up miscommunications. I’ve seen people literally procrastinate on completing tasks or avoid communicating with people due to the fact that Mercury was in Retrograde and that it was “a bad idea”. No it isn’t. There is no need to allow the fear of making the wrong choice to stop you from making moves. Life goes on, and we need to remember to keep living our lives as they’re meant to. However, the reframe here is that Retrograde’s force you to slow down and reflect on your choices before taking action. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend spontaneity or impulsivity in decision making; but to be more considerate of the actions that you wish to take. 
  1. Spend more time going within. Retrograde’s are a fabulous time to check in on your mindset and where it’s at. It isn’t uncommon for you to feel flustered because of the usual brain fog/monkey brain that may come up during these times (especially in air signs!!), so finding clarity & focus is absolutely key. If you have a meditation practice, this is a time to embrace it. Even though there may be more discomfort that comes up due to an unusual amount of noise coming up in your mind, don’t worry; that’s a part of the practice. Notice what may be coming up without judgement. If you journal or write, this is also a great time to embrace that practice. It may even compliment your meditation practice, if you have one. I would even recommend making lists during this time.
  1. Slow down. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it isn’t uncommon for folks from your past to randomly come back in your life, technology to falter, or miscommunications to happen. However, DON’T PANIC! The reason that this may be happening is because you simply need to slow down and reflect upon the bigger lesson being projected your way. Perhaps something is coming up that you haven’t thought about in a long time and suddenly you can’t stop thinking about it; maybe it’s because an old lesson from a previous cycle is coming up to be cleared and worked through. This is why slowing down before speeding up once Mercury goes direct is key. Perhaps speaking with a trusted peer and sharing what may be coming up is a healthy way to find support during these unusual times. 

All in all, every single planet goes Retrograde at a certain point; some less or more than others. Rather than letting the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game, allow yourself to slow down and embrace the gifts that these reflection periods bring us. After all, the universe has your back.

Amanda Rose Campanaro (She/Her)

The Mindful Magick MethodReiki Master Teacher, Intuitive Guide & Educator