Mercury Retrograde: A Survival Guide

Feeling a bit uneasy or off your game? Trust us, you’re not the only one. Turns out you can blame (or thank) the planet Mercury. As the closest planet to the sun, Mercury completes three revolutions or years within the span of one Earth “year.” Three times a year when Mercury surpasses Earth’s orbit, it appears to go “retrograde” in the sky which means backward momentum.


In the astrological community, that’s a big thing—as many astrologers believe when Mercury goes retrograde it has a personal effect on us. “Mercury rules the mind, communications, the written word, computers and electronics, and small moving parts,” says astrology wonk Mark Allen. “During a retrograde period, the energy of Mercury is going ‘backwards’ which I liken to a train that is moving forward then suddenly stations to a halt and begins to move in the opposite direction. It can be quite an intense shift especially for those who are unprepared.”

Brace yourself, people. Retrograde is about to hit with a vengeance on Halloween and wraps up on November 20. “When Mercury—which rules the mind and communications—goes retrograde in Scorpio, several influences can occur,” warns Allen, who says anything from interpersonal relationship struggles to abuses of power could occur. “On a personal level, this is a good time to let go of the past, bury the hatchet, and let new growth take over,” he says.

Here are Allen’s five handy tips to survive the pending Mercurian blitzkrieg and simple ways to use this energy for your benefit:

1. Reconnecting: Reach out to old friends, mentors, or business partners you haven’t spoken to in a while. “Mercury retrograde has a habit of bringing critical people from our past back into our life,” says Allen. If you are looking for advice, wanting closure, or wanting to reconnect, be sure to follow your intuition or guidance if someone pops up on Facebook or Instagram or in a dream and be sure to reach out.” (Keep those healthy boundaries established though, people!)

2. Revisit: Finish an old project you’ve been putting off. “This is a great time to edit, whether that be writing, music, art, dance, whatever your creative passion is,” says Allen. “It’s a great time to dust off that old journal and begin writing again. Or if there is a project you’ve been holding off on—now is a great time to start tweaking it and getting it ready for a new lease on life.”

3. Relaxing: Mercury retrograde is a good time to relax and heal. “With all the crazy going on around us, this is a prime time to take a spa day to yourself or connect with nature,” he says. “Taking time for yourself is critical—it’s a healing time for the mind. Anxieties can run high, so we are tasked with developing new ways of managing stress and relaxing into our Zen.”

4. Revise: Be sure to look every email over closely before hitting send. Watch out for miscommunication. “People can read things differently than how you mean, so be sure to leave the snarky comments to yourself,” says Allen.

5. Reinvent: Now is your chance to become the new Jan Brady.This is a great time to look back at the past year and see how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown, and how much you have learned,” he says. “Don’t be ashamed. Search deep inside yourself to find your core personal truth and share that unique perspective you have. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just making subtle changes into our daily routine and personal habits can create large shifts over time.”