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What is Mercury Retrograde?

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Ending and starting the year, also next year by the way, with a Mercury Retrograde, had me thinking that this is a much needed pause. To pause conversations. And give ourselves the rest we deserve. Having the year end and start off with a retrograde says a lot about how next year will be.


mercury the god messenger



Mercury, the messenger

Mercury is the second-smallest planet in our solar system and the closest planet to the Sun, making it a fast orbiter.


In mythology, Mercury is connected to the messenger of the Gods, who had wings on his feet. He ruled over communication, commerce, and had a trickster streak.


In astrology, it governs our day-to-day activities, short distance traveling, transportation and mental activities. It is what explains in our chart how we conceptualize information. The perception we hold, our memory, and the way we speak and write.


When your Mercury differs from your core identity of our Sun placement, this can say a lot about you, and the diverse being you are.


Having a prominent Mercury placement in your chart can say a lot about you as a person, if you were meant to be a public speaker, singer, writer, or have a quick-wit personality.


Where Mercury is orbiting in the sky can say a lot about how we are currently communicating as a collective and how conversations might go in current times. Mercury takes about 14 days to travel through one astrological sign and 88 days to make a full spin around the sun.


But what happens when this fast-paced planet goes retrograde?



Mercury Retrograde is a time:

  • to slow things down

  • to finish what you started

  • to be with the lessons that arise

  • to observe yourself when you feel triggered

  • to breathe in deeply when things are momentarily interrupted

  • to trust the reroute.



Mercury Retrograde


Mercury goes retrograde 3-4 times a year. It actually does not go backwards, but slower, making it appear to be moving back instead of ahead.


Mercury Retrograde is known as a phase where technological hiccups, miscommunication and overall plan changes can happen. During this time be mindful where your energy is going. Mercury, which normally has a fast pace to things, when in retrograde, making things unfold slower than usual. It is therefore a time to wind down in all regards. Where are you being resistant to how things are unfolding for you? Where is your patience being tested?


It is on one side, possibly a technological challenging time. The unexpected is to be expected. Yet on the other side, it is a time of deep introspection of allowing things to come to completion.


During this time, it is important to know that things might get interrupted momentarily. The thing is that Mercury can have a bit of a trickster energy. But it does not have to be so daunting.


Finish what you started is my mantra during Mercury Retrograde. Take things step by step, slowly, and allow it to unfold naturally in divine timing and not take things too seriously when things don’t flow.


The next retrograde will begin on 29 December 2022 - 18 January 2023. Remember there is always a pre- and post-shadow energy of every retrograde. An easing into and out of the energy. Meaning about two weeks before and after.




My survival tips during Mercury retrograde

  • Ground your energy, i.e. walks in nature, move your body, meditation

  • Breathe deeply when things get canceled, delayed or don’t flow

  • Slow things down as much as possible

  • Finish things you started that have been on your mind for a while

  • Don’t engage with exes and blasts from the past when they slide into your DM’s

  • Postpone important talks, meetings, launches, presentations until after the retrograde

  • Read all the fine print before any big purchase or contract signing

  • Postpone purchasing any electronic devices until after the retrograde, if possible

  • Observe yourself when you are feeling triggered by any delays or plan changes

  • Embrace the pause and reroute

  • Trust the redirection and be open for a different route than expected.



Setting Intentions on a New Moon during Mercury Retrograde


It is recommended to not start anything new during this time due to Mercury’s trickster tendencies of causing mischief.

The Mantra during Mercury Retrograde: Finish what you started. What project have you started, yet left unfinished?



Releasing on the Full Moon during Mercury Retrograde

Become aware of the way you communicate with the people around you. Especially around a Full Moon, emotions might escalate quickly. Words might be more rash. Be mindful with your words. Reflect before speaking. Observe what has been coming to the surface for you lately. What triggers, wounds or lessons? Reading more on how to stay grounded during a Full Moon.



Thank you for reading. May you find peace even in the moments of Mercury Retrograde.



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astrologer zurich human design
About the writer

Inés Kelly, lover of all things cycles: lunar, menstrual, astrological, ceremonial. Anything cyclical that allows ourselves to flow at our own pace and time is medicine to me.


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