Welcome to another Mercury retrograde, the famous astrological time that people dread, even when they don’t know why they’re supposed to dread it. So many things get blamed on Mercury retrograde, memes come flying out the woodwork and every inconvenience is pinned on it, but do you actually know what Mercury retrograde means?

There are always a lot of questions when it comes to this astrological phenomena, so I wanted to put together an in-depth guide to help you better understand the legendary Mercury retrograde.

What is a retrograde?

Let’s start with the basics, what even is a retrograde? Well, if you’re not familiar with astrology, you may not be aware that it’s not just Mercury that enters into retrograde, the other planets in our solar system have their own retrogrades too. Some last for months on end!

The word retrograde means the following:


  1. Directed or moving backwards

Now, planets don’t ACTUALLY move backwards in the sky, so when a planet is in retrograde, it means it just appears to be moving backwards. This is caused by the relative positions of the planet in question and the earth, and how they are making their way around the sun.

What mercury retrograde means

In astrology, each of the planets in our solar system have their own properties. They control a certain type of energy down here on Earth. These are as follows:

  • Mercury – Communication, intellect, reason, language and intelligence

  • Venus – Attraction, love, beauty, art and harmony

  • Mars – Action, sex, courage, passion and competition

  • Jupiter – Understanding, growth, optimism, abundance, expansion and luck

  • Saturn – Structure, law, discipline, responsibility, structure and obligation

  • Uranus – Eccentricity, rebellion, reformation and unpredictable changes

  • Neptune – Dreams, intuition, mysticism, delusions and imagination

  • Pluto – Transformation, power, death, rebirth and evolution

When a retrograde happens, these properties become problematic and can cause issues down here on Earth. For example, if Venus is in retrograde, then we may notice issues in our love lives, or we may have trouble seeing our own beauty and worth.

When Mercury is in retrograde, all of Mercury’s properties become heightened, muddled and overpowering. This is why we often experience issues with communication or intelligence during Mercury retrograde. Things like forgetting where we put things, getting confused easily or being unable to articulate what you need to say concisely.

In modern times, we have an endless amount of communication devices, so Mercury retrograde is also often blamed for problems with technology, such as email, social media, phones or WiFi. Plus, things may be more prone to getting lost, due to poor communication or a lapse in judgement.

Why is mercury retrograde a big deal?

So why do we make a big deal out of Mercury retrograde, more than we do with the other planetary retrogrades? Well, the majority of the hype has just been a snowball effect on a trend. It’s now ‘trendy’ to blame everything on Mercury retrograde and its infamy has just grown and grown over time.

Another reason is that it is the retrograde we notice the most, because it affects our conscious and rational mind. The properties of Mercury focus on areas that affect our daily lives, so we pay more attention when our email is not working, then a subconscious desire to find love for example.

How Mercury retrograde affects us

With all this confusion and muddled interactions, we can often feel frustrated, disheartened and fed up. Failed communication can cause stress, mistakes and anger, so this is a time where you may feel more on edge than usual.

Mercury retrograde is an emotional time and if you let these emotions take the driver’s seat, you may have a bumpier ride through the it all. Some of the signs to look out for during this time are:

  • Feeling fed up with others

  • Increased anger and frustration

  • Feeling like nothing is going your way

  • Feeling confused or muddled

  • Being unable to communicate your thoughts and feelings effectively

Ways to shield against Mercury retrograde

There are a few superstitions to watch out for when it comes to Mercury retrograde, some of these vary from not signing contracts during this time to staying away from big financial investments. However, Mercury retrograde doesn’t have to be a time where you put your life on hold.

A lot of the discomfort and negativity during Mercury retrograde comes from our own reactions to the world around us. Things may test us more than usual and if you allow it to get on top of you, that’s when the problems start.

To have an easier time of things, here are a few suggestions for navigating the worst that Mercury retrograde has to offer:

  • Technology not doing what you need it to? Try taking a step back and if you can use a manual alternative, do so. If you can’t, take a deep breath and seek help, advice or if someone is relying on you, explain what is happening in an open and honest way.

  • Feel like you’re getting your wires crossed? Whether you’re face to face or over email/messenger, slow things down, think before you speak and try and simplify what you want to say. We can often panic when our words aren’t coming out right, so stay calm and take your time.

  • Intelligence seems to have disappeared from others or yourself? Be patient, whether it’s with them or with yourself. Take comfort in the fact that this is only temporary and things may take a little more time and explanation than usual.

  • Need to make an important decision or sign important documents? Make sure you get all the facts, leave no stone unturned, ask every question that pops into your head. Be as thorough as you possibly can and put things in place to provide a safety net should things go sideways.

Remember, the planets don’t rule us, we have free will and can make our own decisions. Take control of things and ride out the storm. Be flexible, be patient and most importantly of all, don’t take it out on yourself!

If you want some support with your energy during this time, try picking up the following crystals: