The Pagan Things The Witchy Things

Don’t Fear the Retrograde

I see so many posts around the time that Mercury starts its retrograde, and everyone seems to just freak out about it, honestly. Your computer is on the fritz? Mercury’s in retrograde! Your tarot deck exploded while shuffling? Mercury’s in retrograde! Your toddler wouldn’t listen to you and threw another tantrum? Mercury’s in retrograde!

But what exactly does it mean, when a planet is in retrograde? How does it affect us spiritually and energetically? And can we really blame pretty much everything going wrong on it?

Let’s start with the basics. The word “retrograde” means “going backward.” When a planet is “in retrograde,” it means that the planet appears to be, but is not, moving backward. It is, in all actuality, an optical illusion caused by the position of both the planet in question and the Earth relative to the sun. The planets go retrograde at different times throughout the year, sometimes multiple times a year, depending on how long their revolution around the sun is. Mercury’s revolution around the sun takes approximately 88 days, so it seems to go into retrograde more often than most of the other planets. Mercury is set to retrograde four times this year.

Found here, the dates for Mercury’s first retrograde are 01/13/2022 – 02/03/2022.

Now that we’ve got the scientific stuff out of the way, what does this mean for us on Earth, spiritually and energetically?

In mythology, Mercury is the name of the Roman god who presided over areas of travel, communication, wealth and good fortune, and thievery, to name a few. His equivalent was the Greek god Hermes. Like Hermes, Mercury was also seen as the messenger of the gods, and the most clever of them.

In astrology, Mercury is the ruler of the signs Virgo and Gemini. Mercury rules over communication and coordination, according to CafeAstrology, much like its Roman god counterpart, and, according to an article found here, Mercury rules over both the Third and Sixth Houses.

The Third House rules — you guessed it — all forms of communication, including talking, thinking, and devices. The Sixth House is the ruler of health, service, rules, schedules, organization, and routines.

As with many other things in astrology, we should also take a look at what Zodiac sign/House Mercury is having its retrograde cycle in, because these areas may be slightly more affected by it. According to an article on Today, found here, this first Mercury retrograde will be happening in the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. Capricorn rules the Tenth House of tradition and public image, and Aquarius rules the Eleventh House of groups, tech, networking, and social justice.

The belief is that while Mercury is “in retrograde,” the things that it rules over, i.e. communication, take a backward turn with it. So, things that you are trying to communicate may not come out correctly, certain things may fall through, or your electronics may not function properly. As I stated above, many take this cosmic event as a sign that nothing is ever going to go right, ever, while the retrograde is happening, and will blame anything (and everything) that goes wrong on the retrograde. While the examples in the first paragraph are meant to be silly and fun, they are all possible examples of what can go wrong during Mercury’s retrograde. During the retrograde, many believe that it’s not a good time to sign important documents, or to undertake legal proceedings, or to schedule meetings, because the retrograde has the potential to upset all of these plans.

But is this what we should be focusing on and pouring our energy into during Mercury’s retrograde?

According to many astrologers, these are, indeed, things we should be aware of, but we should not wholly focus on what goes wrong. Instead, they believe that there may be lessons that these instances can teach us. I’ve looked at many “retrograde survival guides,” and found that they all offer pretty similar advice on staying calm and centered through the chaos that is Mercury Retrograde. If you need to sign something, absolutely do so. But make sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, and proofread it to make sure you don’t miss anything. If what you’re trying to communicate doesn’t come across in the right way, take a quick breath and try a different approach. Essentially, the main theme of Mercury Retrograde is to triple-check everything…twice.

One of my favorite “survival guides” that I found comes from Cosmopolitan. The tips are excellent, but boil down to taking a deep breath and rolling with the punches.

I believe that Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to reassess how we handle everything when something goes wrong. Are you prone to pessimistic episodes, and feeling like nothing is ever going to go right again? Do you curse the wind and the stars and anything else you can think of? I believe that Mercury Retrograde is the heavens, deity, the Universe, whatever you believe in trying to teach us patience and grace with not only ourselves, but with those around us, and with those frustrating situations and mishaps. I think the phrase “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans” is a very fitting description of Mercury Retrograde.

Some recommend taking some time to meditate or to do some self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed during the Retrograde. Some will recommend you carry some crystals are believed to counteract or lessen the effects and stresses of the Retrograde. The crystals that are recommended can vary, but the go-to crystals seem to be things like Selenite (believed to be a very powerful cleanser of energy and auras), aquamarine (believed to enhance or encourage clear communication), fluorite and black tourmaline (both are believed to relieve stress and anxiety), and hematite (thought to draw negative energy out of the carrier).

The best thing I can tell you for the Retrograde is to double check your work and triple check that you’ve saved it, reconfirm your plans, and stay calm. It might feel like it’s all going to hell, but I am a firm believer that the Universe absolutely has our best interests at heart, whether it feels like it at the time or not.

Let’s discuss this below! Is Mercury Retrograde typically a time of disaster for you? How do you go about “surviving” the Retrograde?

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