Wellbeing 101: Mercury Retrograde

For this Wellbeing 101, we thought we would cover something quite close to home for us, seeing as plans have gone awry, technology has let us down. It’s taken us three attempts to send the attachment that we ‘referred to in the email’ (never has 🤪 been more appropriate for us!).

We’ve all seen the memes and know that even if you don’t think you’ve been affected by the planet of communications backwards spin, take it from us, you have! Mercury has a tendency to hit us where it hurts, at precisely the wrong moment.

Mercury Retrograde

Whilst it may feel like everything is falling to pieces, this transit is actually a way of forcing us to make sure that our i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, a time to maybe not start something new, but to slow down and take stock of what is happening with you right now, around you.

If you’re not sure whether we are in a retrograde, find out here!

Let’s start with the big question, what is Mercury Retrograde?!

We’ve all heard of this term (maybe even blamed it when the parcel you’ve been waiting for has been returned to the depo for the 2nd time) but what does it really mean?

Mercury Retrograde refers to the planet appearing to stop and travel backwards from its orbit in a nutshell.

However, this celestial phenomenon is not physically reversing. It’s just an optical illusion when the planet is viewed from Earth, just as a stationary train appears to move forwards or back.

Mercury Retrogrades happen a couple of times a year and usually last for a few weeks, but you will start to feel its effect a few days before and after the transit. Although all our planets retrograde at some point, none are seen as having quite the same intensity as Mercury.

Where does it come from?

Named after the swift Roman messenger, Mercury is the plant that represents communication and the passing of information, of travel and commerce. Whilst astrologers viewed the phenomena centuries ago, the first mention of Mercury Retrograde came to light in the mid 18th century. It was noted in British farmers’ almanacs (that’s yearly calendars to us) which were referred to when planning the planting and harvesting of crops to line with the stars’ positions.

During the Victorian era, there was a boom in everything to do with the occult and astrology. Many believed the stars affected everything that we did here on Earth (often negatively). The Mercury Retrograde began to be connected to bad weather and was viewed as a ‘bad omen’.

Mercury Retrograde

As time went on and decades passed, the planet began to represent these bad omens as foretellers of mishaps in the areas that it governed – especially in communication and, in this modern world, technology.

Although no physical manifestation of change in the Earth’s atmospherics has been found to coincide with Mercury’s Retrograde, anecdotal evidence shows something is happening! Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and the fastest in our system, so think of it as a train flying through a station, leaving you spinning in its wake.

Okay, so what should you be doing, or moreover, not doing?

Astrologer extraordinaire Susan Miller recommends that no significant moves are made when we are in a retrograde, as this is an insufficient time to launch endeavours. It is also seen as best to avoid making plans or commitments (or to have plastic surgery apparently!).

This is, however, the best time to indulge in some self-reflection. To ensure that you go through areas in your life that are leaving you dissatisfied with a fine-tooth comb and think about how you can change them (but make sure not to act on these until Mercury stations direct).

Some can find this time particularly intense, journaling is an excellent activity to take up during these weeks, as feelings, triggers and doubt can come to the surface, ready to be cleared. The Columbian Sierra’s Mamos use a stagnant pond analogy; to clear the waters, you must first stir up the bottom and bring the dirt to the surface, so it can then be removed.

Columbian Sierra Mamos

What can guide me during this time, and what can I use to support me?

Whilst this planet’s reverse is not something to go into meltdown about, there are some crutches you can lean on. The Hood Witch recommends the following to support you during this time:

  • Essential oils: Vetiver, Patchouli, Lavender and Chamomile.
  • Crystals to ground and offer mental clarity: Smokey and Clear Quartz, Black Tourmaline.
  • Candle colours: Blue, Black and White.

She also offers guidance for your meditation focuses during this time:

“The information shown during this retrograde will show me the way to break free from comfort zones and routines.
This change of pace offers me a new opportunity to change my life direction appropriately.
I am being shown ways to broaden my perspective by using my intuition.”

As your meditation leads you into deeper levels, let this be a ritual of self-reflection. Sit with yourself every day, at the same time. Take the time to breathe deeply to take things slow and to trust your inner voice.


Alex Holbrook

Alex created Otherness in 2018.

Coming from a background working in communications and events, she wants to build a community of trust, a place where everyone, now matter their backgrounds or how they identify, can explore alternative wellbeing.

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