When I was a budding astrologer, I would often hear horrible things about the transit known as Mercury retrograde.  Cars would be dying!  Computers blowing up!  Everything will go wrong! The sky would be falling!  (Insert screaming and hair-pulling here.)

I admit it – I used to buy into that fear.  And often, stuff would “happen to me” (notice my choice of wording there) that would validate all the bad things I was taught to believe.  I’d be crying the blues (still do on occasion) and cursing Mercury while lamenting over and over about my “bad luck”.

Because I’m highly influenced by Mercury (6 of my planets in my natal chart fall under Mercury’s rulership), I was very sensitive to this energy.  I’d feel it coming weeks before it actually hit.  My nerves would be frayed and I’d be freaking out as I expected the worst.  This left me feeling mighty powerless.

But that old scared me has changed.  Over the years, I have learned how to flow with that energy – and actually use it to my advantage.  Believe it or not, Mercury retrograde can be BENEFICIAL if you are aware of the positive uses for this transit.


What is Mercury retrograde?


For those who are not aware, Mercury retrograde happens three times a year.  The planet slows down its orbit and to the human eye, it almost appears to be going backward (don’t worry, it’s not).  Mercury is attributed to communication, travel, electronics, thinking and mechanical objects – so when this planet begins to stall, we may experience problems in those areas.

The transit lasts for approximately three weeks.  And those who are sensitive to this transit may actually begin to feel the energy early during the shadow period, which begins about three weeks before the actual retrograde.

Many astrologers stoke the fear by predicting the worst – from natural disasters to computer meltdowns.  But there are also many who prefer to take a proactive and productive approach and instead will educate people how to ride this wave and make the most out of it.  With that goal in mind, here are my tips for keeping your sanity and making your retrograde a smart and strategic one:

First of all, you want to think about adding “RE” to every action: rethink, redo, renovate, replenish, reflect, relax, recycle, repeat, etc.  This little tip alone sums up the entire mindset behind proactive astrology.

Let’s apply that:

Communication – During a Mercury retrograde, communication can go haywire.  Misunderstandings may happen and people might have trouble expressing themselves.  My advice: practice active listening now.  Pay attention to what others are saying.  Don’t rush to make your point, instead give the other person your full attention.  Also, choose your words carefully.  Before you shoot your mouth off or hit that send button, REFLECT on what message you are conveying.  Bring mindfulness to your words and infuse kindness and compassion into every message you put out there.

This applies not only to your personal relationships but also to your business ones.  This is not the time to run a negative ad campaign (I’m looking at you, politicians!).  Instead, focus on what you can do to solve problems.  Keep business conflicts out of the public eye and try to handle issues behind the scenes with diplomacy and tact.  And if you are stumbling with your public image, consider investing in a good PR manager.  Often they are able to find a more positive way to get your spin on.

Relationships – I have seen many people break up during a Mercury retrograde only to get back together again!  If you are having troubles with a loved one, this may be a good time to hold off on making any major decisions.  Instead, REFLECT (yup, that word again!) on how you feel.  Are you really happy?  Has the relationship been on a bad course for a long time?  Do you and your partner want the same things?  Are you willing to work on the problems – or it is it time to find closure and set yourself free?

Visiting a counselor for clarity may help you to make a wise decision or find the path to healing.  If you have been struggling with your relationship, let Mercury retrograde be a time of healing rather than drama.

Vehicles – I have had cars break down during a Mercury retrograde.  But guess what?  I’ve also had them die during periods that had nothing to do with this transit!  Do not assume that this retrograde has a stranglehold on car problems.  That being said, it is a good time to get necessary REPAIRS done.  Get your oil changed, new spark plugs and tires or whatever you feel is needed.

What about buying a vehicle?  This is not considered a good time to purchase one but what are you going to do if you need one now?  I’m not that superstitious about it – if I need a car, I simply go get one, Mercury retrograde be damned.  But – I RESEARCH carefully so that I ensure I get the very best car I can as well as the best deal.  Feel free to buy your car now – but walk in an informed consumer.

And as far as driving, don’t REACT.  Road rage is common during this period.  Stay aware, slow down and above all, do not drink and drive (although you should never do that anyhow).  And if some jerk cuts you off, RESIST the urge to do something crazy.  Instead, breathe deeply and count to ten.

Computers – Years ago, I watched a Sex and the City episode where Carrie loses everything on her computer because she didn’t back it up.  A week later, Mercury retrograde hits and guess what?  My computer crashed and my information was lost because I didn’t back up my stuff either (I was able to retrieve my information thanks to my very smart husband).  D’oh!  Lesson learned!  Back up your computer!  I now use Mozy to create an online backup weekly.  And for additional security, I also have an external hard drive as well as CD copies of the most important stuff.

If you are buying a computer or gadget, once again, Mercury retrograde is not considered an ideal time.  Because I like to tempt fate, I will often purchase stuff regardless. In fact, I got my snazzy laptop during a retrograde – but I RESEARCHED the heck out of it before I plunked down those dollah bills.  And for good measure, I also purchased insurance just to be extra safe.  (Oh, and that computer has been serving me well for years.)

Travel – You might hear that the majority of travel snafus happen during this transit.  This is not entirely true because travel drama can happen any time of the year due to many unforseen events such as weather trouble.  (I had one year where every single plane I took was delayed – and the majority of those trips were not during a Mercury retrograde!).

Because of my work, I sometimes travel during this transit and here’s what I have learned to do: RELAX.  I try to plan an extra day into my trip if possible (especially for business travel) so that I am not frazzled should my plane be delayed.  I keep my gadgets fully charged up so that I may contact people if I need to.  I grab a book and hit the food court in the airport and search for a decent restaurant. And then I get some wine and chill until things work out.

I also keep a toothbrush, toiletries, water and snacks as well as a change of clothes in my carryon – just in case.  If my luggage is lost or I’m stuck on a tarmac, I can hunker down stress free.

If you are the extra nervous type, get some travel insurance as that will cover you nicely should you lose your luggage or end up getting a canceled flight.

Business – Mercury retrograde is a perfect time to REDO your business plans and goals.  The first day of this retrograde, I sat down with my business coach (the amazing Erika Lyremark) to go over my business with a fine tooth comb and get clear on what is working and what is not.  Armed with a new, improved agenda, I can now spend the rest of this retrograde organizing, clearing clutter, preparing and making plans for future goals.  This is the wisest way to use this energy for your business!

I also recommend REORGANIZING your office now.  Get rid of old pens, file your papers, straighten out your contact file and clean up your computer.  If you have been ignoring your taxes, take care of them now.  Balance your books and get all your paperwork up to date.  A visit with your accountant or financial advisor would also be a smart move.

This period is also useful for updating your web presence.  If your information or picture is outdated, invest in a good head shot and REDO your web copy. Even better, hire a whip smart copywriter like my hero with a pen, Alex Franzen, to polish your words and craft a smarter online you.  Your clients will thank you for it.

Speaking of websites, this may not be the best transit to launch a site (or a business for that matter) but it’s a great time to fix problems.  Whether you do your site yourself or have a designer (like my gal, Amanda Krill), start playing around with new themes and widgets.  Edit your pages and clean up any spelling errors or broken links.  Tidy up anything that is cluttery or confusing (potential clients prefer an easy to use site).

Contracts can be tricky during a Mercury retrograde but if you are mindful and pay attention to the fine print, you should be fine.  Look over everything carefully or have your attorney do it for you before you sign the dotted line.

Networking and finding new clients is another great use of this transit BUT you must bring great awareness now to your communication (see above).  Don’t be that pushy salesperson that creeps people out – instead listen- and I mean REALLY listen – to your potential and current clients.  If you practice deep listening and show that you really care about solving their issues, this could be a rewarding time for your business.

If you struggle with networking and sales, consider investing in a class to learn how to amp up your hustle.  A retrograde is a great time to RELEARN and REFINE your business skills.

If you are looking for a new job now, this transit can be challenging.  REDO your resume and polish it up!  Get all your information as current as possible (even your Linked In account).  And most of all, be patient.  Often things happen slowly now as potential employers may be feeling uber cautious about making decisions to hire.  Do not give up or sit on your hands if nothing seems to be happening.  Keep going, champ.  Eventually someone will realize how awesome you are!

Surgery – Mercury retrograde is not considered an advantageous time to have a surgery but if your appendix bursts, you are not going to have a choice in the matter.  My advice: take plenty of time to heal.  RENEW yourself with plenty of down time if you can manage it.  And above all, listen to your physician – especially if they advise REST.

Spiritual – One of the things that I probably practice the most during this transit is REFLECTION.  I like to slow down, meditate, do plenty of yoga and check in with myself.  A Mercury retrograde can be a wonderful time to come back to your spiritual practice – especially if you have been “too busy”.

It’s also the perfect time to consult with your astrologer or tarot reader to examine the current path you are traveling.  In fact, many of my smartest clients like to get a reading now so that they can learn how to best work with this energy.  Having a clear road map will give you insight and the ability to make mindful choices.

So what are you going to do now?  Sit around and trip out as you wait for the sky to fall and be held hostage by some random astrological transit?  Or are you going to own it, claim at, and work this Mercury madness like the badass astrobabe that you know you are?

Remember this – your life is always up to you.  No planet is the sole determining factor in your fate – ever.

Have A Happy Mercury Retrograde,


© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2012


More Mercury retrograde advice from yours truly: Whoop That Trickster – 3 smart business moves to make (and 3 to avoid) during a Mercury Retrograde


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