How To Have a Happy and Productive Mercury Retrograde

by Theresa Reed on March 14, 2012


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 3 times a year.  The planet slows down its orbit and to the human eye, it almost appears to be going backwards (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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Bonnie March 22, 2012 at 7:37 am

Sounds like Mercury retrograde is the perfect time to move, actually! I am not moving but feel like I am with all the cleaning out of closets, moving furniture and reorganizing that I am doing…

Theresa Reed March 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Bonnie, Mercury retrograde is the perfect time to declutter, move, clean and clear! I’ve been doing a ton of reorganizing – it’s the best thing to do with this energy!

Jenny Hazard March 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I love this article and I’m going to pass it on to friends. I learned a few years back, and partly with the help of your class, to take this attitude toward retrogrades. And any other period of time in life (cause they do happen out of the blue sometimes) where everything suddenly feels like an uphill battle. These are times that we can choose mindfulness over panic and stand to learn some important lessons about ourselves!
Thanks again for your always proactive approach!

Theresa Reed March 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Hello Jenny

Thanks for dropping by. Ah yes, retrogrades are notoriously challenging but all that ultimately matters is our reaction to it.



Melanie November 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Funny; I just sat down to my laptop after spending the entire day rearranging my boys’ room. This morning I was compelled to remove their beds so I could fully access all the dust, legos, snakes, snails & puppy dog tails that I sensed had accumulated below. In the process, I had to dismantle and move their dresser, bookcase, and beds not once, but twice, because the room didn’t look right the first time.
My sons ended up loving the new look of their room. So I’m glad I did it. And it’s amusing to read your article because all day I thought, ‘Why am I moving this furniture by myself, like a lunatic? Why not wait a day or two until a friend can help me?’ I suppose when I get these bursts of energy, I like to make the most of them. I just never knew they might be Mercury Retrograde-inspired. Interesting to know. 🙂

Leah Shapiro- Life Activator November 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

I love how you break this down and it’s not all hysterical like most talk of Mercury Retrograde is.
In my mind- MR is-what-it-is….it’s just an energetic pattern- it’s not victimizing us like many like to believe. You have shared some very helpful information for dealing with the energy that it brings.
Thank YOU!!!

Joanne November 7, 2012 at 11:44 am

Ooh, goody! Just when I finally get a weekend off, I can use it to continue my reorganization and stuff-purging project. Looks like mindfulness is key to the Mercury retrograde, just like most other things. Thanks, Theresa!

karen February 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

That was an excellent explanation. I will now look at this energy as a good time to RE everything and take time for myself. perhaps take care of those details i’v been avoiding.

sean February 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Lol – got my oil changed (quick service) but lo and behold only to discove from the mechanic that there are some significant additional problems (repair work) to be done on car. but its an old car – so now i am faced with the dillemma of ..whether or not it is worth to fix or not – then i went looking for a new one – and spotted something nice – YET still i find it very hard to feel that i can allow myself the go-ahead to go and buy this new one – in spite of go-ahead being provided here in this article – that in fact it is actually ok after all to perhaps buy a new car during the retro. period.

oh boy – it can be a tough one..the old merc. retro! :/

debra July 6, 2013 at 1:51 am

In the SAME BOAT ! only guy who’s selling car is gonna list on craigslist tomorrow if I don’t buy it ! I wanted the car before Retrograde but couldn’t contact him ! Now I find him and it’s mid-way till 20th ! damn. Real Dilemma .

Aradia February 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

Theresa, loved this post! I know in the past and even now I have looked on this transit with distaste, but really every planet does it among other transits and it comes down to a matter of sitting down with the energy rather than wailing against it. Everything is harder when you struggle & thrash about!

Mary Ellen Pride February 24, 2013 at 2:08 am

Whether a Mercury retro period is easy or difficult often depends on how it aspects one’s chart. The current retrograde is in Pisces. Pisces, Virgo, Sagittarius and Gemini Sun or Ascendant people might find this one more trying. I have traveled during retrograde periods with minor mess ups. However, booking a trip during the retrograde, even if travel is afterwards, has resulted in some major problems. Renting or buying a residence during a retrograde is not something I’d recommend. Too often there are undisclosed or unknown circumstances which lead to regret. People from the past often reappear during a retrograde as they remember and want to reconnect

Flora June 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Thank you very much for this. I am in the middle/end of restructuring my business (remember your reading about my butterflies and metamorphosis? there we go!) and today was the big day to meet the people I have been working with and show them all the new and explain my new rules. The whole day felt like navigating on a crazy stormy sea with a few people bringing so much bad energy, but I was happy I read your advice and listened A LOT, tried to be as clear as I could on everything to make sure I was not taken for someone I am not, and the day finally ended well considering what I felt during most of it. Phew! Thanks again 🙂

Theresa Reed July 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Flora, I can relate to that vibe – the last few days I felt like I was moving through quicksand!

Claire July 2, 2013 at 3:22 am

Great post and really helpful, thanks Theresa.

Theresa Reed July 2, 2013 at 7:39 am

Thank you, Claire!

WaterTiger July 2, 2013 at 9:33 am

I know this post was a while ago now, but here we are again in Mercury Rx… So: a question. Is it a time when doing tarot readings should be avoided, or – in the spirit that you advise of reflection and working with it – is it actually a beneficial time?

Jacqueline Fairbrass July 2, 2013 at 9:49 am

Brilliant advice. I love this!

I realize that I’m very in tune with this energy. I’m tuning up websites, taking time to relax and really re-connecting with my spiritual aspect. Thanks for helping me recognize the intuitive part of myself is kicking in!

Great post!

Linda Smith October 22, 2013 at 12:42 am

Thanks so much for the sane and common sense article about Mercury retrograde. I have a relative who looks forward to this transit, as it always brings REfreshing and REquired changes to her work! Attitude does make a big difference!

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