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What Is Mercury Retrograde and Why Does It Affect Me?

by Facetune Team / November 9, 2021

Have you ever felt like everything in your life was suddenly going wrong? Your boss skipped you over for a promotion, you ripped a hole in your favorite jeans — and oh, and your toxic ex slid into your DMs again. 

What’s going on??

Internet memes joke about “Mercury being in Gatorade,” but Mercury retrograde is a real phenomenon that can wreak havoc on your life. Since Mercury retrograde happens up to four times a year (yeah, four), it has a real impact on your job, relationships, and sanity in general. 

@virginradiotoronto

There’s a VERY REAL reason why you’re feeling off these days 🤬 – @_sameast #mercuryretrograde #toronto #astrology

♬ The X Files Theme – John Beal

We blame Mercury retrograde for everything from breakups to breakouts, but let’s be honest: Most of us don’t know what Mercury retrograde actually is. I’m putting on my astrologer hat today to give you the lowdown on all things Mercury retrograde, including what it is, how it affects your life, and what you can do about it.

So, what is mercury retrograde, anyway?

In astrology, every planet corresponds to an aspect of your personality. Mercury corresponds with everything related to communication. Since communication is a must for doing literally anything with other humans, Mercury has a big influence on your life. 

So, that’s the meaning of Mercury as a planet. But what about retrograde? 

First of all, it’s important to know what a retrograde is. Because the Earth is moving relative to all of the other planets in the solar system, there are certain times of the year when it looks like planets are moving backward, from west to east. They aren’t actually going backward; it’s an optical illusion. 

Second of all, every single planet goes retrograde at some point. Heck, some of them are in retrograde for as long as six months! But if every planet goes into retrograde, why do we make such a big deal about Mercury going into retrograde, then? 

via GIPHY

Well, it comes down to the nature of Mercury. It’s smaller than our moon and has the shortest orbit around the sun — which means it moves super-fast. Mercury retrograde gets most of our attention because, tbh, it’s the planet that retrogrades the most. We usually get a Mercury retrograde three times a year in: 

  • January
  • June
  • September

On average, each Mercury retrograde lasts about three weeks each. Does that mean you’re doomed to three weeks of hell every year? It depends on how you look at it. 

How Mercury retrograde affects you

Mercury is a planet that rules over communication, right? So that means it’s going to affect just about every interaction in your life, causing mayhem like: 

  • Delayed or canceled flights 
  • Dropping your phone and shattering the screen into a million pieces
  • Big websites or news sites going down
  • Studying really hard for an exam and failing anyway
  • Exes in your DMs (in college, I once had three exes DM me on the same night … retrograde energy doesn’t play)
@chaoticwitchaunt

DONT TEXT YA EX OR ILL FIND YOU AND ASTRALLY HUNT YOU D O W N. #mercuryretrograde #foryou #witchtok #witchcraft

♬ original sound – Frankie Anne

Mercury retrograde flips everything around and life becomes less clear during this time. That’s why astrologers say you shouldn’t make big decisions or purchases right now. 

With communication being so topsy-turvy, you could really shoot yourself in the foot with bad deals or misunderstandings. If a big decision can wait three weeks for retrograde to end, I’d say wait it out. 

If you don’t play your cards right, you’ll risk losing friendships, relationships, money, and your sanity during Mercury retrograde.

How to make Mercury retrograde work for you

Having said all of that, I don’t want you to think Mercury retrograde is out to get you — it’s not! Mercury retrograde sucks while you’re in it, but you’ll emerge from it a better person. 

The great thing about Mercury retrograde is that it invites us to look for areas in our lives that are messy or without resolution. It feels downright uncomfortable, but discomfort is what moves you forward in life. 

via GIPHY

Sure, chaos reigns during this time, but chaos has a purpose. So, be curious, look for new ideas, and work toward a deeper understanding of things. Slow down, focus on yourself, and find the healing you need. 

We look at Mercury retrograde as a bad thing. But retrograde is going to happen whether we like it or not — why not strap in and enjoy the ride? Learn the lessons you need to learn during retrograde so you can emerge a better person once Mercury goes direct again.

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