What Does Mercury Retrograde Mean and How Does It Affect You?

If you’re into horoscope astrology, you know that it can be difficult to differentiate between the hopeful BS and authentic Zodiac readings.

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While it’s considered a pseudoscience to modern scientists, astrology commands a widespread attraction for those looking to know more about themselves and how the outside world– in this case, the alignment of the planets and other elements within the cosmos– can affect our internal one.

One event, in particular, that’s gained quite a bit of attention over the past decade is Mercury Retrograde.

What’s so special about Mercury Retrograde, aside from the fact that it sounds like a stellar 80’s sci-fi film?

Mercury Retrograde is one of several different planetary “events” (retrogrades) significant in astrology which are said to affect human behavior in some way.

Each planet has its own retrograde. However, Mercury’s has gained particular attention because it’s said to affect elements of human psychology related to communication, giving it the ability to make all kinds of things go haywire.

We’ll get to what exactly that means in a minute. But first, what actually causes Mercury Retrograde?

What causes Mercury Retrograde?

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At times, visible from Earth, the planets in our solar system appear to be moving backward.

That isn’t the case, they’re really just moving slower than they typically are which gives the illusion that they’re moving backward, but we can’t tell that just by looking out into the cosmos.

Mercury Retrograde occurs when the planet Mercury is orbiting at its furthest point away from the sun, when the planet’s orbit slows down and the Earth continues to move at the same speed. During this time, it appears that Mercury is moving back in the opposite direction it’s typically moving.

This happens relatively often, about four times a year, due to Mercury being closer to the sun than Earth, with Mercury’s year (and a full orbit around the sun) only lasting eighty-eight days as opposed to Earth’s three-hundred and sixty-five.

But why does that matter? Because Mercury Retrograde is said to be able to completely upend you mentally and emotionally — especially if you don’t see it coming.

How Mercury Retrograde affects you

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In astrology, Mercury represents the dominating presence over communication of all kinds. That includes everything from speech and the written word to cognitive thought.

And because we as humans depend on our ability to communicate so we can navigate daily life, both in our own head and about the outside world with our family, colleagues, friends, and family, Mercury Retrograde is said to have a profound effect on virtually every aspect of our life.


In essence, Mercury Retrograde is said to lead communication-related events and actions to become rather “unstable”, resulting in all kinds of consequences such as difficulty communicating with colleagues and loved ones as effectively, not being able to think straight or organize your thoughts, and a sudden loss of focus.

However, the events that occur with Mercury Retrograde can also offer a valuable learning experience, with the opportunity to experience ourselves in an unstable state internally and among others teaching us more about ourselves and our outside world.

During this time, astrology experts suggest giving yourself additional space (and patience) with loved ones and c-workers to deal with these communications-related challenges. By doing so, you’re able to reduce the chance of these quirky side effects resulting in any harm while still benefiting from the experience.


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