When we hear about Mercury retrograde in astrology, it is usually described as, at best, an annoyance, and at worst, a reason to stop in your tracks and pull the covers over your head for three weeks. While the latter is simply bad astrology, the first description is undoubtedly true. With the lights blinking off an on, wind and weather kicking up, technology glitches, misunderstandings, wrong turns and traffic jams, we have reason to be annoyed and reason to be extra cautious during Mercury retro. But there is a method to the madness, and I want to help you understand and take advantage of it.

When we set our goals and intentions for the hour, the day, the week, most of us bring our agenda to the table. We want to be “on” all the time, and we expect the world around us to cooperate. When Mercury rx comes around, our reaction is to resist it. Oh bleeping bleep, look at all these bleeping obstacles. But working with the planetary energy always turns out better than resisting it or complaining about it does. If we can find space to slow down, let go of a few of our expectations, and go with the flow, we can get some very important work done. Then we can come out on the other side well fortified and ready to rock and roll.

Retrogrades draw the energy inward and to the past.

A retrograde planet retraces its steps, revisiting territory it covered before. Retrogrades draw our energy to the past. In the case of Mercury retrograde, it’s our thinking, communications, day to day activities. It’s a great time for reconnecting with your goals and brainstorming to develop your ideas and think of new ways of putting your resources to work. You can use it to find lost items, get back in touch with old friends and contacts, to follow up and reconnect old threads.

You can use Mercury retro to pick up a project you left unfinished in the past, or review notes from old classes, meetings, or brainstorming sessions. Fill in the frameworks you created in the past, when things were moving along at a faster rate. Develop and grow those ideas. This isn’t the time to write the new chapter. It’s time for a round of edits on the ones you have.

Retrogrades draw our energy inward. So it’s a good time to pay attention to the more subjective information around you. Let your dreams and meditations inform you. Look at the deeper issues. Ask the “why” questions: why people think what they think or do what they do. Pay attention to what’s going on in your mind and in your body, and see if you can figure out where it comes from, what’s at the root of it.

In sports, Mercury retrograde favors the underdog. I think the same principle must apply in other matters too. It’s Rocky Balboa time.

backwards man

Walking backwards is more difficult than walking forwards. We are not used to it, and we may not like it as much. We have to pay closer attention to what we are doing and where we are going. But it gives us a new perspective. It uses different muscles, and different neural pathways. It is much easier to see where we have been, and what we might have missed or overlooked along the way, when we were moving faster in the other direction, with a different part of our mind switched on. So take your time, as much as you can. Don’t rush to decisions or bang the puzzle piece to make it fit. If you try to barrel ahead at the same rate of speed that you normally do, you may fall on your butt! But if you respect and work with the energy, you can get a lot of good out of this time.

Is it good for getting an astrology reading?

My schedule tends to empty out during Mercury retrograde periods. Although I understand why you would think you should avoid having a reading (it’s communication, an area that’s not functioning too well at the moment), I think it’s a shame that most folks do. I do some of my best work during Merc rx! The more inward, subjective information, the subtle energetic context that draws more of our awareness during Mercury retrograde: that’s my specialty! So the readings that I do have tend to go well during Mercury retrograde (as long as the phone lines are cooperating).

In a typical reading, we review the past, review what has worked and what hasn’t. We look at where you are now and place it in context. From there, we look at where the energy is going next and what opportunities and challenges are coming up in the future. It’s a review and planning session, perfect for Mercury retro!

Maybe it works for me because I was born during Mercury retrograde. Some astrologers say that would exempt me from Mercury retro’s snafus. I can say unequivocally, that is not true. I am subject to the same traffic jams, technology glitches, misunderstandings, and mishaps that everyone else is. The “static on the lines” affects me, too. But I can also say that I am able to work well in the midst of it. I am naturally tuned in to this more subtle energy context, and comfortable working with it. It’s just how my brain works, all the time. Having Mercury retrograde in my natal chart makes me the astrologer that I am. I wouldn’t trade it.