Don’t panic! It’s just Mercury Retrograde!

It’s that glorious time of year again when you open your feed on Bloglovin and find everyone suddenly posting about Mercury Retrograde. Ten things to avoid during Mercury Rx! How to get through Mercury Rx! What to Expect when Mercury is Rx!

And now that it’s entered the internet zeitgeist (check out all the Mercury Rx articles up on HuffPost right now, ye nonbelievers!), I’m sure you know the basics. Don’t make plans. Don’t travel. Don’t sign contracts. Don’t expect your computer to work. Don’t send emails. Don’t text.

I get it. I do. But the straw that broke the sibyl’s back was when I clicked over to a popular astrology site this morning. A commenter wrote how she had been hoping to make an offer on her dream house. Given this new information about Mercury, should she hold off and wait it out.


Are you ready for this? Ok, here we go…

It just so happens, because of the way we’re standing on a big round ball in space that’s spinning and rotating around a giant star that has other big round balls also spinning and rotating around it, sometimes it appears as though a planet has slowed and reversed direction completely[1. It’s science!]. This is nothing to panic about because it happens all the time.

Mercury goes retrograde a few times every year. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’ll happen three times in 2014. Feb. 6-28, June 7-July 2, and Oct. 4-25. Is it really practical to avoid planning, travel, commerce, communications and electronics three months out of the year? Gods, I wish it was!

There are two camps of astrologers out there (and this sort of applies to divination in general): those who think that the swirling planets and stars are causing crazy shit to happen here on earth, and those who think the swirling plants and stars give us cause for understanding the crazy shit down here. I guess I’m in the latter, but I also don’t think any card I might pull for you is carved into the rock balls of fate either. In other words, there’s a whole spectrum between fatalist and humanistic astrology.

Let’s take a long, hard look at what we’re freaking out about here. Doesn’t it just always make sense to give yourself some extra time when you’re scurrying around from here to there? Make sure the oil is changed? Save your Word documents and back up to Dropbox regularly? Double check your contacts list before you send that naughty selfie to Grandma instead of your boyfriend?

The 21st Century might as well be Retrograde.


I don’t think it’s helpful to consider the doom and gloom of any particular planet, sign, card or energy present. It doesn’t help anyone actualize to avoid bidding on their dream home, after all. Instead we might consider that a Mercury Rx period is a good time to get some cozy self-reflection done and  have long, delicious conversations with ourselves. It’s a good time to reevaluate the role that electronics play in our lives, how we use social media and text messaging for communication, and decide whether that’s in line with the sorts of relationships we want to maintain. And yes, slow down, double check, save and back-up.

But do that stuff the other nine months of the year also.

  • Should always double check your contact before sending the dirty selfy. Which is why I’m currently known as “facebook penis”.

  • Most planets appear retrograde (because we all know it’s not REALLY going backwards, right…?) at some point, and each can impact us in various ways if we choose to move into those energies. Mercury Rx is NOT an excuse for bad “virtual” behavior or nasty communication. Just remindin’. Thanks for the reality check, Sassy!

    • Absolutely! I was so fascinated to read that if you were standing on the surface of Mercury, even the sun would appear to go retrograde from time to time!

      I totally understand the compulsion to blame planetary alignment for crappy luck, but I think we’ve reached the point where our dependence on the realm that Mercury rules requires a more everyday diligence anyway. 😉

  • Dear Sass-a-frass–

    Does the fact that the random Lennie that appeared as I prepared to respond is THE SCYTHE mean that I’m going to get sliced by a tall man with a sharp blade if I leave a note here?

    Just wondering.

  • Funny thing is that you never hear Western astrologers waling and keening when any other planet goes retrograde. Only poor little Mercury gets all the attention. Curious isn’t it. And as we know, planets never go backwards, but the apparent retrograde motion is caused by a planet moving closer to the earth. This is why Hindu Astrologers consider a planet to be STRONGER when it is retrograde. Yes, they consider it to be stronger, because it energetically affects Earth more strongly as it moves closer.

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