Mercury Retrograde

 Mercury Retrograde: Hell on Earth, or Time for Reflection?

You are having a day. Maybe you walked out of your house, already late to work, and one of your tires was flat. Or you forgot you needed gas, and the only gas station is in the opposite direction of work. Maybe you dropped your phone while reaching for your keys and it shattered. You can’t get anyone to respond to an email and your work is starting to pile up. You call your mom to talk things through and end up in a huge fight.

Your coworker tells you it’s “Mercury Retrograde,” and you think what in world does some planet have to do with my shattered phone? Is Mercury going to call my mother back and smooth things over?

What is Mercury’s influence on our lives?

In astrology, the planet Mercury rules communications, travel, and clear thinking and learning. Consequently, when Mercury goes into retrograde things like our cars, travel plans, communication technology such as cell phones, and interpersonal communications go a little haywire. Even our minds feel foggy, as both our capacity for communicating and our capacity for learning slow way down.

Mercury in Retrograde 2016 to 2020 Calendar Periods


  • January 5 – January 25, 2016 in Aquarius, ends in Capricorn
  • April 28 – May 22, 2016 in Taurus
  • August 30 – September 22, 2016 in Virgo
  • Dec 19 2016 – Jan 8, 2017 in Capricorn, ends in Sagittarius


  • Dec 19, 2016 to Jan 8, 2017 Capricorn, to Sagittarius
  • April 9 – May 3, 2017 Taurus, to Aries
  • August 12 – Sept 5, 2017 in Virgo, ends in Leo
  • December 3 – December 22, 2017 in Sagittarius


  • March 22 – April 15, 2018 in Aries
  • July 26 – August 18, 2018 in Leo water-sign Cancer
  • November 16 – December 6 in Sagittarius, ends  Scorpio


  • March 5 – 28, 2019 in Pisces
  • July 7 – 31, 2019 starts in Leo, ends in Cancer
  • October 31 – November 20, 2019 in Scorpio


  • February 18 – March 9, 2020 in Pisces, ends in Aquarius
  • June 17 – July 12, 2020 in Cancer
  • October 13 – November 3, 2020 in Scorpio, ends in Libra


  • January 30 – February 20 in Aquarius
  • May 29 – June 22 in Gemini
  • September 27 – October 18 in Libra


  • January 14 – February 3 starts in Aquarius(Air sign), ends in Capricorn(Earth sign)
  • May 10 – June 2 starts in Gemini, ends in Taurus
  • September 9 – October 2 starts in Libra, ends in Virgo
  • December 29 – January 18 in Capricorn


  • See above, Dec 29, 2022 – Jan 18, 2023- goes direct in Capricorn
  • April 21 – May 14 in Taurus
  • August 23 – September 15 in  Virgo
  • December 13, 2023 – January 1, 2024 in Sagittarius


  • See above, January 1, 2024 goes direct in Sagittarius
  • April 1- April 25 in Aries
  • August 4 – August 28 in and ends in Leo
  • November 25 – December 15 in Sagittarius

Source – Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone

What is Mercury Retrograde?

But what does retrograde even mean?Mercury orbits the sun in an elliptical pattern. Thus, the closer it gets to the sun, the faster it seems to be moving, and the farther away, the slower it seems. Every so often, the orbit of Mercury catches up with Earth’s orbit. When this happens, Mercury appears to be moving backwards from the perspective of Earth, though its actual orbit does no such thing. It’s a trick having to do with the difference in speed of motion between Mercury and Earth. Therefore, the energy of the perceived backwards motion causes us to have trouble doing anything pertaining to Mercury ruled activities.

So what does this actually mean?

Many people take this time to blame Mercury for absolutely everything, and it causes a lot of people to panic about moving through their everyday lives. And it does cause us a lot of inconvenience, especially considering how rushed we are these days.

In reality, Mercury is asking us to take a step back and examine what’s going on in our lives. Any planet in retrograde gives us a chance to dig a little deeper, tie up loose ends, and engage in what many of us sorely lack, self care. Because things don’t run smoothly, Mercury retrograde forces us to look a little deeper into someone’s hurtful comment, to back up our precious data, to stop drinking coffee precariously over our new computer because we are in too much of a hurry to get to work (or to our social media.)

Mercury gives us the chance to learn flexibility, patience, and compassion. It’s the perfect time to examine what might not be working in our lives anymore and begin to let go of those things. Often when we’re attached to systems, dreams, or people that just aren’t in our highest and best interest, it takes a little prodding in the form of a breakdown to make us face what we need to take care of.

Although terrible for for signing contracts or buying new technology, Mercury Retrograde is the perfect time to do research and planning, or behind the scenes work. The retrograde invites us to put our affairs in order and look around to see if any lingering issues from the past are still causing problems. If so, it’s time to begin letting them go. Follow this path: retrace steps and reexamine beliefs.

The takeaway?

Use the time during this (Mercury) Retrograde as a period of reflection and self care. It’s time to slow down, to triple check any plans, data, and communications you might send. Most importantly, breathe and listen to what your heart is telling you about any unfinished business or loose ends you might need to face. Do the prep work now, and be ready to take action when Mercury goes direct.