Get up close and personal with exclusive, inspiring interviews and taste profiles delivered with a cheeky twist to your inbox daily.

Success! You’re all signed up. 🎉
Please enter a valid email address.

By subscribing to our email newsletter, you agree to and acknowledge that you have read our Privacy Policy and Terms.

What You Need to Know About Mercury Retrograde

Susan Miller explains so we can deal.

What You Need to Know About Mercury Retrograde

Your computer crashes just as you’re about to hit save: Mercury retrograde! Your phone decides to call your boss instead of your friend with the same first name: Mercury retrograde! You’ve booked two impossible-to-reschedule meetings at the same time: Mercury fucking retrograde! They put real milk in your coffee when you asked for almond. You can thank MERCURY RETROGRADE! 

But what actually happens when the closest planet to the sun speeds past earth and causes a sh*t storm? Astrology Zone’s Susan Miller tells us everything so that we can deal with what’s coming next. 


Dates to Be Aware Of

AKA brace yourself


April 9—May 3, 2017 earth sign Taurus, ends in late degree fire Aries.

August 12—September 5, 2017 fire sign Leo—early earth Virgo, ends in late degree fire Leo.

December 3—December 22, 2017 in fire Sagittarius.


Does Mercury Really Move Backward?

“Mercury doesnt actually move backward. If you do a bit of stargazing, you will see that Mercury appears to move backward just as the ancient astrologers perceived thousands of years ago. After a while—in Mercurys case, a three-and-a-half-week period—the planet will reverse itself and move ‘forward’ again.

“Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earths. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. If you were in a car and another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then, when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of ‘wind’ in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.

“In astrology, we always believe the following rule is true: ‘As above, so too below.’ By that we mean there is a fractal relationship between the orbits in the heavens and human activity down here on Earth. This idea pervades all of astrology and is a very good concept to keep in mind.”



Areas of Life Mercury Rules

“Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth.

“Included under this planets domain are all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping, and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control.

“Why does this happen? When a planet retrogrades, astrologically it is in a resting or sleeping state. Therefore, while Mercury naps, the activities that it governs dont have the benefit of a well-functioning, wide-awake planet to supervise them. Expect a certain degree of pandemonium to ensue!”



What you shouldn’t do during mercury retrograde


Don’t set plans

“Don’t make any important moves when Mercury is retrograde. Nothing will be settled successfully for the future during these periods anyway—you will find it nearly impossible to nail down a plan. During a retrograde period, it is hard to get decisions from others. Even if a decision is made, it will be subject to change, either just after Mercury turns to direct motion or much later.”


Don’t launch anything new

Don’tdo anything involving communications, such as launch a magazine, website, or an advertising or publicity campaign. These phases are also considered poor times to launch any new endeavors, even if they are not related to the communications industries.”


Don’t sign contracts

“Similarly, a retrograde period is not a good time to sign any contracts or even to shake hands on any new agreements. Don’t close on a house during this time, nor sign a lease. Verbal agreements are considered the same as written ones. The environment will be quite fluid and changeable, no matter what you are told or what you think.”


Don’t have plastic surgery

“Of course, if you have an emergency, you must have surgery. At other times in life, we do have a choice about when to schedule an operation or procedure. In those cases, such as having plastic surgery, it is best to avoid Mercury retrograde periods. These are periods where mistakes are more prone to happen than at other times, or when judgment is off. Your surgeon is under the same conditions as you, so I would suggest waiting.

“I would also strongly suggest that you avoid plastic surgery when Venus retrogrades, because Venus rules beauty, and the whole purpose of the surgery is to improve your looks.”


Don’t buy anything big

“Mercury also rules trade and commerce, so don’t buy or sell anything expensive during its retrograde phases. Often you will find that the item you want is out of stock. If you do buy something expensive, such as a car, computer, or jewelry, for example, you may regret your purchase later. If you are buying or selling a house, expect problems, errors, delays, and setbacks to arise. The only times you can buy something expensive during a retrograde period are if you are returning something you already bought.”




Other Problems Mercury Retrograde Causes



“Since Mercury rules the mail and the conveyance of information, be extra careful when sending important documents. If you work in an office and have to photocopy an important document, be sure to retrieve the original. Be equally careful about whom you send email to—you don’t want to send a private email to the wrong person or have a sensitive email forwarded to others.”

Tech problems

“Mercury retrograde periods are notorious for causing computers to crash and for machines, appliances, and other electronic devices to show signs of wear, requiring urgent repair. Back-up your computer in advance of any Mercury retrograde period. If you had planned to install new software on your personal computer, wait until the retrograde period is over to do so.”

Travel mishaps

“If you are driving any significant distance during a period where Mercury is retrograde, bring extra maps (or make sure your GPS is up to date), make sure you have enough gas, and verify that you have the correct address and clear driving instructions. If your car is making strange sounds, have it inspected before you leave; you don’t want a problem to emerge when you are on the road. If you are flying, check with your airline to make sure your flight is going to take off on time. Have your luggage well marked so that it won’t get lost or sent to the wrong airport, and bring your iPod and a good book to the airport, as there could be lots of delays.

“Some people do not travel when Mercury is retrograde, and perhaps that might be wise if your trip is business-oriented. However, if you are returning to see a former client you’ve worked with in the past, traveling during the retrograde is fine. Salespeople know that business is always most likely from former clients. If you are in sales, earmark all your former clients for special attention during these phases.

“You can take a trip for pleasure during these periods. Actually, this could be a perfect time to go, for you get away from it all, and everyone back at the office will “feel” the retrograde—they will miss your quick problem-solving ability and advice while you are away! During a retrograde phase, you might want to travel to a place from your childhood that you loved but haven’t seen in a long time. It could be lots of fun because going back to places you knew is favored.”

Love life

“Romance tends to go haywire, too, during Mercury retrograde periods. Couples tend to create miscommunications that in turn can cause a domino effect of errors. Try not to jump to conclusions, and keep striving for clarity. Your sweetheart or spouse could also have a sudden change of mind. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend says, ‘I want to break up,’ he or she could say later, ;No, let’s not! I didn’t really mean it!’ That’s because people aren’t always thinking straight during these phases. Mercury retrograde is notorious for creating confusion.

“Keep in mind that Mercury retrogrades in three different signs of the zodiac during the year. If it retrogrades in your sign, delays and frustrations will become even more pronounced than usual. In this case, try to be even more vigilant and double-check proposals, ideas, creative efforts, and other plans to root out flaws or incorrect assumptions. Always go the extra mile to find errors during a retrograde. These periods demand a slow and deliberate approach.”


Is Mercury Retrograde All Bad? Not at All!

“Although these Mercury retrograde periods can be frustrating, they are often useful too, for they allow us to reassess, revisit, readdress, redo, and redesign our plans. Sometimes we rush along in life without fully considering our basic assumptions or actions. Mercury retrograde allows us to stop, look, listen, and redirect our energies more productively. Mercury also helps us find closure in certain situations.

“Reconnecting with old pals and relatives is very common during retrograde periods, and that can be one of the most positive and fun sides of this planets retrograde orbit. If you hear from an old friend or colleague during Mercury retrograde, I feel there is a potent reason for it. It seems to me that there is something that the two of you are meant to do or plan together.

“We can all benefit from taking a closer look at situations with greater depth, which happens when Mercury retrogrades. Mercury retrograde periods are like walking through glue, so they do tend to make us slow down, which at times can be a blessing.

“Here are some examples of ways Mercury retrograde can help you:

“1. Perhaps you have been working on a project that seems to have gone down the wrong path. When Mercury retrogrades, it could become evident that the project needs to be altered slightly or redirected. Even if you did not get your way originally, if you argue your case persuasively, things might go your way now.

“2. You stall on accepting a job offer, and lo and behold, a better one comes your way in the meantime.

“3. You refrain from buying a certain big-ticket item, and within a few weeks, the coveted item goes on sale and you will be glad you waited.

“4. If a meeting is postponed or canceled, you have more time to gather additional information that probably will come in quite handy.

“5. If you are in sales, go back to old customers and clients. You may do better by asking for more business from people who have always trusted you than by trying to extend your reach into new sales territory. Former customers like being contacted, and under Mercury retrograde, you will have the time to do so.

“6. Missing objects are likely to be found. That beautiful bracelet wasnt lost after all—it was on your bookshelf, behind your favorite book!”


Plan your entire year with Susan Millers handy-dandy astro calendar.

You May Also Like