The quick answer: Mercury Retrograde is when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards in its orbit. It is a kind of optical illusion when Mercury passes by Earth during its orbit. The next Mercury Retrograde period kicks off August 13, 2017, wrapping up September 3, 2017.
If it’s that simple, why do people make a big deal about it?
Another quick answer: things get weird.
Traditionally, Mercury is linked to traveling, electronics, and communication. When Mercury is chugging along it’s path, it is generally smooth sailing in these areas. It’s when Mercury starts moving backwards that we feel the energy shift and begin to pull us backwards along with it. Mercury Retrograde is often associated with all kinds of delays, hiccups in travel, electronics not cooperating, and just general frustration.
You may have also heard about the Shadow Period just before Mercury Retrograde officially begins. Think of this week or two before hand as the ramping up of funky energy and everything giving a hint that it might go sideways. If you’re not tapped into astrology on a regular basis, the Shadow Period might be a heads-up that something is about to go down.
How to prepare for Mercury Retrograde:
- Back up your important files: whether it is making electronic back ups or photocopying hard copies, it’s best to have 2 of something now versus no copies when you need it.
- Finish what you’re working on: even if you still have a week until your deadline, it is much better to be prepared than to have to deal with hold-ups and surprise hurdles.
- Make sure your team, colleagues, family are all on the same page: clear the air of any tension and put any hostility or anger to rest.
- Make repairs: patch the roof, address the noise your car is making, replace the burned out lightbulb; doing these things now ensures a “meh” situation won’t turn into an “oh, crap” situation.
- Acknowledge that things might get wonky: talk to a friend, chat about it at the lunch table, or discuss it with your partner; better to know now that you could encounter some friction and that it will pass.
What to avoid during Mercury Retrograde:
- Impulsive travel: maybe a spur of the moment getaway isn’t the best idea; you will likely encounter misprinted tickets, lost luggage, or car troubles.
- Instead, start doing a little research about your next vacation. Gather some ideas and daydream a bit about where you’d like to kick up your feet.
- Signing or starting new contracts or projects: re-read everything twice and give yourself time to sleep on any new opportunities or course corrections that come up.
- Instead, reaffirm your commitment to what is already on your plate.
- Mailing or emailing time-sensitive or confidential documents: communication and electronics could be a little wonky and there is a chance your message could never arrive.
- Instead, focus on in-person communication as to avoid any uncertainty.
- Making assumptions: for better or worse, don’t assume you know how someone feels or what their intentions are/were; engage with them in a calm one-on-one conversation.
- Instead, ask questions to clarify. Just be sure you are coming from a place of curiosity rather than aggravation or urgency.
- Avoid big decisions: whether it something life changing or more benign, jumping into any changes will likely cause more of a headache than if you waited for a while.
- Instead, gather information and give yourself time to digest. Better to wait than find yourself in a situation that could have been avoided.
There are benefits and opportunities to be had when Mercury goes Retrograde!
- Slow down: double and triple check all your plans, avoid anything last minute, and be mindful and deliberate in all your actions. This can be a perfect time to create a little distance and personal space for yourself, especially if you’ve been running at an unsustainable pace.
- Practice patience: take deep breaths and repeat yourself without frustration. It’s so easy for us to bark at people we love (especially kids and spouses) when all we really need is to hit pause. If you find yourself on the other end of a temper tantrum, know that person is going through all the same mixed-up energy you are right now and use this as a chance to practice compassion.
- Reconnect: carve out some one-on-one time with someone you have not been able to connect with. Work to strengthen your relationships and promote communication. Do keep an eye out for someone from your past making a return, even if just to say hello.
- Embrace punctuality: give yourself extra time to get where you need to be. When you get caught up in traffic, the extra time you gave yourself will ensure you still arrive on time.
- Tie up loose ends: avoid leaving anything to chance and make sure you have finalized what you’ve been working on. Leaving open tasks could lead to someone else making a mess or complicating your vision.
If all else fails, grab some incense and smudge it out! We’ve got our Smudging Incense and Palo Santo Bundles in stock and ready to ship to help you get through Mercury Retrograde. Plan ahead for Mercury’s next backspin and order your custom made Everyday Smudge Spray. Visit the shop and order yours now!