9.8 Editor's Pick
July 22, 2019

Is Mercury Retrograde the New Bullsh*t? A Crash Course for Non-Believers.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Elephant Academy (@elephant.academy) on

*Whether astrology is science or magic, we’re open to most things, if they may be of benefit. ~ Ed.

Warning: naughty language ahead!


Have you ever had one of those periods where nothing goes right, and everything seems to be a struggle?

I have. It was last August. I struggled with everything.

My motivation and energy were down, making my self-care routine a challenge. I wasn’t communicating well with others, leading to numerous misunderstandings and conflicts. I felt like being alone. My car, phone, and appliances broke. I wasn’t sleeping well and often woke up feeling incredibly anxious. It was an awful month.

I was telling this to a friend, when she informed me that this was not surprising, because Mercury was in retrograde. Apparently, I only needed to ride it out, and not get too broken in the process.

I laughed a bit, but she wasn’t laughing. Apparently, it was a thing. “Come on, you’re joking,” I said.


I was incredulous. Is Mercury retrograde the new bullshit?

Admittedly, I’ve never been into astrology, so I had no idea what the fuck she was talking about. Retrograde movement? I failed to understand how a planet could move backward, and even if it did, I didn’t see how it was responsible for my challenging month.

Still, I couldn’t escape the fact that my difficult time coincided with the retrograde. Unfortunately, I’m not a big believer in coincidences, so I couldn’t hang it on that. I was forced to consider if it could possibly be true. And as fast as retrograde arrived, it ended, and so did my Month of Mayhem. I half-jokingly posted a meme about surviving retrograde and then didn’t give it another thought.

Until this month.

Feeling like déjà vu, I began to struggle again, and suffer random, unfortunate incidents. I was having a here-we-go-again moment when I learned through social media that Mercury was retrograde. But this year, instead of laughing, I was strategizing how to survive the month.

And it also stoked my curiosity. What exactly is Mercury retrograde anyway?

Well, as it turns out, Mercury doesn’t actually reverse its orbit and move backward. It’s an illusion. As Mercury is closer to the sun than Earth, it moves faster around the sun than we do. A few times a year, it “laps” the Earth, and appears to be moving backward to those viewing from Earth.

Okay, so Mercury appears to be in retrograde. What does that have to do with my takeout order being mixed up?

In mythology, Mercury is the messenger of the gods, noted for his speed and swiftness. In astrology, it follows that Mercury is the “messenger planet,” responsible for travel and communication in all forms—verbal, written, and technological. Mercury, while being the smallest planet in our solar system, exerts a large influence over these areas. Size doesn’t matter, right?

In this age of communication via social media, it makes sense that Mercury retrograde has also gone viral. More people than ever are either believers or, like myself, have reconsidered the possibilities. As for why Mercury retrograde is also responsible for my grill knobs falling off and my propensity for knocking things over, more research is apparently needed.

Mercury retrograde happens three to four times a year and remains in retrograde for almost a month. Once we survive that, we’ll need to get ready for the next Month of Mayhem as Mercury again enters retrograde in three more months.

Do we believe that the movement of planets can affect our daily lives?

Many people fall solidly in one camp or another. But I think that like myself, there are a growing number of people in the grey area, once non-believers who are now taking serious notice.

For those of us new to retrograde, there are steps we can take to make it through as safely as possible:

Don’t leave your house.

Seriously, if we just stay home, we’ll minimize travel problems as much as possible. If it’s summer, staying at home might be a challenge for many of us. Perhaps we’ll just leave extra time for unforeseen delays.

Do not under any circumstances attempt to communicate with anyone.

This can only lead to misunderstandings and arguments, as Mercury snickers from above. But if a month of solitude is too much to ask, perhaps we can try to be extra clear in our communications with others. We can ask ourselves if we really need to hit the send button on that email, or if we really need to have that uncomfortable conversation.

Start a Mercury retrograde savings fund.

Shit’s going to break, so you better plan on having spare funds to replace it all. If you don’t have the money to start a savings fund, try to be extra careful handling fragile objects. Even if you do, they’re gonna break, but at least you’ll feel better for trying.

Fuck retrograde, I’m out.

If you’re feeling particularly daring, turn retrograde on its ass and go for it. As long as things aren’t going to work out anyway, we have a free pass to just blame retrograde. (Use with caution: four out of five astrologists surveyed do not endorse this plan.)

With any luck, we’ll come through retrograde relatively unscathed. Some of us might even learn to use it to our advantage. Maybe we’ll slow down and think about how we communicate a little more, or limit our actions to things that really serve us.

But most of all, we’ll sure as hell be ready the next time Mercury is retrograde!

“My hope is that tomorrow will be fine, but, if tomorrow doesn’t go well I shall still hope to be fine tomorrow!” ~ Ernest Agyemang Yeboah


Read 38 Comments and Reply

Read 38 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

David Baumrind  |  Contribution: 144,475

author: David Baumrind

Image: Cdd20/Pixabay

Image: @Elephant.Academy

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Relephant Reads:

See relevant Elephant Video