It comes thrice a year to pummel your aura into cosmic shards. Horoscope lovers are fiends for it, knowing that soon they’ll have a whole month of stellar excuses for their abominable behaviour. Oh yeah, Mercury’s in retrograde, baby! But what does that mean?
I almost had a breakdown writing this article. I want to cry all the time. My mind is on the verge of total black hole collapse. I’ve been sending risky texts. I can’t sleep. Many of the symptoms I’m exhibiting could be called depression, but in three-week bursts, this is better known as “Mercury retrograde”.
If you’re new to astrology, or just read a Refinery29 article and got confused, you might be wondering what in the cosmos is going on. Your friends aren’t texting you back, your flatmates are leaving passive-aggressive notes all over everything, and now the internet is yelling at you about a planet moving backwards.
To help you understand exactly why your problems aren’t your fault, we’ve provided a cheat sheet to Mercury in retrograde.
What does it mean when a planet is in retrograde?
When a planet is in “retrograde,” that means it looks like it’s moving backwards from where we are on Earth. This happens because every planet’s orbit around the sun is a little different, so sometimes we get lapped.
Mercury goes into retrograde roughly every four months. At the moment, we’re deep in it. In New Zealand, Mercury retrograde will be effective from July 8th through to August 1st.
Astrologically, a planet in retrograde is a planet going through a rebellious phase. What it normally does becomes broken, munted, absolutely cooked. If Venus represents love and attraction, then Venus in retrograde means you’re going to break up. If Mars in full bloom means peak skuxxing, then Mars in retrograde means you’ll get beat up by some four-eyed wimp.
How does Mercury in retrograde manifest?
Have you been missing the bus more than usual? Are you squabbling with your partner over teeny-tiny issues? Did you accidentally send an email to the wrong person? Do you feel like a big dumb stupid-brain all the time? Don’t worry, you’re not the problem; Mercury is!
Normally, a sparkly, strong Mercury shines above us bestowing good chat, bright ideas, and accurate watches.
In retrograde, stellar chaos fills your mouth with nonsense and your head with rabid dust bunnies.
In astrology, Mercury represents intelligence, timing, and communication. The signs with Mercury as their ruler — Gemini and Virgo — are known for constantly flapping their gobs. If you’ve been personally affected by a Gemini or a Virgo, then I’m sorry. I’m doubly sorry, because Mercury retrograde is the cosmic equivalent of these, the two most annoying signs, running you over with a bus and ribbing you to shit whilst doing it.
I’m a Gemini/Virgo. Am I safe from Mercury retrograde?
Ha ha ha, no. Virgos will struggle with this astrological event more than anyone. Virgos are beacons of timeliness and efficiency, so having those core personality traits ripped into celestial shreds can be deeply upsetting. You are suffering now, but I promise it will end.
Geminis are the most likely sign to lean into a Mercury retrograde. You’ll send that risky text, blurt out that problematic joke, and be three hours late for work. You think this is chill, that you’re just easy going. The truth is: you’re embarrassing yourself. You’re going to end up stranded in the middle of Leo season with the worst reputation you’ve had all year.
How will Cancer/Leo season affect Mercury retrograde?
We have a cross-sign retrograde, guys; this hellstorm is firing on all cylinders. The retrograde kicked off during Cancer season and is ending in Leo season. These are two of the most virulently emotional signs, so when you throw communication breakdown into the mix you’re basically asking for families to tear themselves apart.
The sun is currently in Cancer (ie if you’re born now, you’re a Cancer). However, Mercury is currently in Leo. Usually, Mercury entering Leo means everyone’s ready to show off. You’re winning friends and influencing people, and looking great doing it. In retrograde, you’re being set up for failure. It’s the opposite of imposter syndrome. Make a grand gesture and you will be rejected.
On July 19th, Mercury will enter Cancer. Cancer is a sentimental sign, one that holds grudges but also a lot of love. Basically, when Mercury is in Cancer and in retrograde, you’re going to get a text from your ex. How you respond to this situation will show how much of a grip Mercury retrograde has on you.
What can I blame on mercury retrograde?
Any communication failure, timing mismatch, or shithouse presentation can be blamed on the retrograde. For some insight, it’s Mercury’s fault that:
- The NZ Police posted that grossly misjudged photo
- I was late to work
- The cricket final was so riveting (but ultimately crushing)
- I got stood up
- Barry Soper is mad about not being told things
- Alex Carey probably got his jaw broken in the AUS-ENG semi-final
Other things you can blame on Mercury in retrograde include: texting your ex, forgetting a birthday, missing the bus, being rejected (professionally or personally), not landing a joke, and the 2000 Bush-Gore electoral recount.