Mercury Retrograde – The Basics

What is Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury: the planet in charge of communications, travel, electronics, technology. In your birth chart, it’s all about your mind and how you communicate.

Retrograde: planets are referred to as being in direct motion when they are on their regular course. When a planet goes retrograde, it simply means it appears to be moving backwards in relation to the Sun when viewed from Earth.

When Mercury goes retrograde, its usual flow of energy is disrupted – the areas it’s in charge of slow down tremendously, get into a stop-start-stop-start rhythm, or even just feel broken, like nothing is going smoothly.

Key Points about Mercury Retrograde

Most of the time, the disruptions during Mercury Retrograde are a bunch of tiny, little annoyances, much like a few grains of sand in your shoe.

The thing is, in this day and age, Mercury’s domain is so integrated into our lives, and since everyone goes through it at the same time, it can all add up into one giant tangled ball of stress.

When Mercury goes retrograde, the following things happen more frequently than usual, or could be aggravated to a greater extent:

* people not getting back to you according to schedule, or in a timely manner
* people misunderstanding each other
* electronic gadgets/equipment/transportation breakdown/loss
* things not going according to plan due to unexpected delays/accidents, miscommunications, equipment breakdown, software issues etc. → resulting in a need for additional time/money/energy, or a re-do.

Simply know that it’s Mercury Retrograde, and choose to keep cool and calm about any hiccups.

Let go of the angst and go with the flow, even if it feels s.l.o.w. to you.

Don’t push it, and let things unravel at their own pace, until Mercury goes direct again.

Mercury Retrograde and Losing Things

Occasionally, it comes around to give you a big whack on the head. (Or maybe it’s just me??!)

I generally don’t lose things, and my tech stuff almost never gives me trouble. But every single time I’ve lost something containing important information – 3 phones (4 times), a passport (almost!), 4 years of digital photos and other information on my computer (~70% recovered, thank goodness!) – and have had to go through the hassle of fixing it, or buying something to replace it, was thanks to Mercury Retrograde.

During the last one, I had to deal with what apparently was a fried motherboard → unexpected purchase of new computer, but strangely the old one seems fine now. I also “blame” Mercury Retrograde for changing apartments five times in two years when I was living in Tokyo.

Consider yourself warned ;)

What to do during Mercury Retrograde

As with most things, there’s at least two sides to the story.

On the plus side, because the energy has slowed down, it’s a good time to:
* get epiphanies
* tune in to your intuition
* look inward, reflect, review, tweak plans
* get inspired
* re-connect with old friends
* do some information decluttering/organizing, e.g. get yourself to Zero Inbox

It’s kind of like how you only get a good view of race cars and admire the details when they drive by slowly.

And the more neutral, could-go-either-way stuff:
* running into people by chance or hearing from people you haven’t heard from for a long time
* forgotten interests/hobbies etc surface
* amazing/bizarre dreams

One thing I look forward to during Mercury Retrograde is getting my “bulk delivery” of dreams. I don’t usually remember my dreams, but during this period, I feel super hooked up and the dreams just keep coming every night.

Mostly it’s insightful and amusing. Sometimes totally bizarre.

One more thing, there’s no need to rearrange your life just because Mercury’s gone retrograde.

The Simplest Strategy

1. Be aware when Mercury Retrograde is.
2. Avoid making mid to long-term commitments (as in signing contracts, making things official, locking things down etc).
3. Avoid making big-ticket purchases, especially electronics, appliances etc.
4. If you have to do any of the above, or start something new, go over the details and make sure that there is Clarity.
5. Back up your computer(s), or at least your important information e.g. phone contacts.
6. Maintain your cool and think “This (whatever happened) gives me the opportunity to…” instead.
7. If travelling, double/triple confirm details, especially the transportation bits.

Download your free “2013 Mercury Retrograde Cheat Sheet” here


  1. Hey! I know this post is a little old, but it’s MR again for June 2014 and I was only just hipped to this yesterday, BUT last night I had a dream that left me in tears and it’s still affecting me in my waking hours the next morning. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this way, but now I’m totally convinced that since these dreams are few and far between that maybe they have been coinciding with MR and I just didn’t know it. What do you think? Is this emotional instability over a dream being caused by MR. It was just a full moon the other night too.

    • Hi Jessica, I’m so sorry I completely missed your comment! Somehow I didn’t get an alert.

      Anyway… :) it is possible that these extra intense dreams of yours are linked to Mercury retrograding, but there are also other things to look at, such as the lunar cycle as you mentioned. It’s also worth considering what Neptune is doing in your personal chart during those times. Keeping a dream diary can help you understand and process your dreams, you might like to give that a shot :)

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