For whatever reason, Mercury retrograde has become the second-most common piece of astrological knowledge to enter the psyche of pop culture in the twenty-first century, next to the ever-present – and much stereotyped – Sun signs.
This is funny and exasperating. Just like with Sun signs, the general knowledge about Mercury retrograde is sketchy at best and wrong at worst. It has become fashionable on social media to blame Mercury retrograde for literally anything and everything – from missed appointments (which could actually be MercRx) to accidentally burning your hand while cooking dinner (probably not MercRx’s fault – look at Mars for that one).
I’ve seen some arguments that it’s actually good to get more astrological knowledge into the mainstream, because it helps other people find astrology and generally advances astrology as a trade. Maybe. I have concerns about astrology going too mainstream – that hasn’t turned out well during other periods in history – but that’s a discussion for another day.
Today I want to talk about Mercury retrogrades, specifically what you can do to work with them and hopefully mitigate their most annoying aspects.
As I type this, we are entering our first Mercury retrograde cycle of 2022. The messenger planet stations retrograde on January 14, 2022 at 10 Aquarius.
Side note: I went into great detail about Mercury’s 2022 retrograde cycles in my annual forecast post on Mercury, so go check that out if you haven’t already.
At the time of his retrograde station, Mercury is conjunct Saturn at 13 Aquarius and exactly square Uranus at 10 Taurus. So, this MercRx promises to deliver some news – which is likely to be confusing, misleading, or generally garbled – about the Saturn-Uranus themes that we’ve been experiencing all of 2021 and will continue to experience to the end of 2022.
Leaving aside the way this may play out in the mundane realm, look at where this Mercury retrograde lands in your chart – do you have any planets in Aquarius or Capricorn? (Mercury retrogrades back into Capricorn on January 25.) Also look at where Saturn is in your chart. (Aquarius and Capricorn are ruled by Saturn.) The prominence of this Mercury retrograde cycle in your own life will depend on whether your Aquarius/Capricorn houses have planets in them, and how big a role Saturn plays in your chart.
In general, Mercury retrogrades tend to be periods where all the Mercury-signified things go a bit awry, are delayed, or are otherwise complicated. This includes things like communications, travel, electronics, financial matters, and anything where you need to be systematic or strategizing.
In my experience, the significance of MercRx issues depend heavily on your own personal chart as well as the aspects that Mercury is making to other planets during that retrograde cycle. Sometimes I don’t even notice them. Other times, the number of things that go off the rails is almost comical.
Learning how to deal with Mercury retrogrades is invaluable because they happen several times a year – usually three; four in 2022. Here’s a list of what I do immediately before/during Mercury retrogrades:
1. Clean up my computer files/inbox
- Clear the downloads folder and browser cache, tidy the files scattered across my desktop, clear my inbox as best I can – basically, clean up my virtual office.
- Bonus points if you tidy up your physical office.
2. Back-up my files to an external hard drive.
- I try to do this at least a day or two before Mercury stations retrograde, or as soon as I remember if I miss that deadline.
3. Back-up my files every single day during the retrograde
- Usually I focus on the files that are really important, like any writing projects I’m working on, and not the stuff I use for my day job. (Priorities, amirite? But also, my day job has professional tech support to help if something gets lost; my personal work has me.)
- Sometimes I get lazy and just email things to myself, but at least then I have a back-up floating around somewhere.
4. Save all necessary files locally before big meetings.
- The shared drive or VPN is absolutely going to fail at some point.
5. Proofread/edit all emails three times before sending, including opening all attachments to verify they are correct.
- Yes, this is overkill.
- Yes, I catch myself about to send typos, poorly-worded or straight-up wrong information multiple times throughout the retrograde period. And that email I didn’t triple-check? That’s the one that’s going to cause a chain reaction of confusion.
6. Read all emails three times and wait at least an hour before replying, especially if it’s an annoying email and I am about to send a kneejerk emotional reaction.
- See #5 – same thing, only in reverse.
7. Stop ranting.
- When the Mercury hijinks inevitably get really annoying, it’s so temping to call or message co-workers and friends to vent about bullshit.
- I try to avoid this because it can lead to more MercRx hijinks – like when your partner just cannot understand what the issue is, probably because you’re describing it poorly, they lack context and they don’t really care about your annoying coworker antics anyway (fair), so then you start getting mad at them too.
8. Build buffer time into my schedule.
- There will be travel delays, electronic snafus, or other unexpected things during this period – count on it. So, I avoid back-to-back meetings and try to leave the house a little earlier when going somewhere (which is not very often these days, but still).
9. Get a tune-up/change the oil in the car.
- Only if it was already due anyway. Car stuff is expensive.
10. Chill out.
- It’s just a Mercury retrograde. Life goes on.
You’ll see I didn’t include anything in there about not signing any contracts. Yes, it’s common wisdom to not sign any contracts during a Mercury retrograde period. But sometimes this is unavoidable. I don’t put as much stock in that as some people, though I also try to avoid signing anything super important (like a mortgage or job application) during this time.
If things go really haywire during a Mercury retrograde, you can usually make good progress in sorting them out after Mercury stations direct and moves back over the degrees that he crossed during the retrograde. However, sometimes things aren’t really concluded until Mercury is completely out of the shadow period, or until he changes signs and is no longer in the sign of his retrograde.
Ultimately, don’t panic about Mercury retrogrades. They are a regular part of every year’s ebb and flow.
And try not to blame them for everything that goes wrong in your life. And I’ll try to remember this advice in two weeks, when we’re in the thick of it.