What You're Supposed To Avoid Doing During Mercury Retrograde
teenager woman with the mug of coffee during the christmas holiday
franckreporter/E+/Getty Images

Perhaps you've heard: Mercury, I'm sorry to say, has turned retrograde, and is staying that way until May 3. In preparation, here are some things you're not supposed to do during Mercury retrograde. Just to be on the safe side.

The term "retrograde" can be a bit deceiving. None of the planets in our solar system actually spin backwards during their retrograde periods; they just seem to, from the perspective of the Earth's surface. But in keeping with Western Astrology's centuries-old mantra — "As above, so below" — the appearance of a shift is enough to manifest changes in our lives. Mostly really irritating changes.

Though all planets turn retrograde at some point, Mercury has a particularly bad rap. It also shifts relatively often, seemingly spinning backwards three to four times a year, for several weeks at a time. When any planet goes retrograde, its major characteristics tend to either become muted or invert themselves. Mercury, the planet of travel and communication, proves particularly problematic: Suddenly, travel delays happen, conversations become stilted and painful, and everything feels just a little "off."

This isn't a conversation about whether astrology is "legitimate" or not. Some folks believe in it, some folks don't. What many do, though, is use something like Mercury retrograde as an excuse to avoid making decisions, committing, moving forward, or actually addressing the issues in your life. If you needed someone to tell you that's a waste of time, here I am: Don't do that.

The following is a list of many things you're supposed to be wary of doing for the next month. Depending on which astrologist you speak with, I almost certainly missed a few. Here's a fun li'l challenge: Do as many as you can anyway.


Start Making Travel Plans

Especially spontaneous ones that lack planning or back-up planning or double back-up planning.


Finalize Travel Plans

This also falls under the "make big purchases" category. An email may be missed, a flight may be overbooked, or a car accident may stop traffic for miles.


Or Travel At All, For That Matter

Stay! Inside!


Sign Contracts

With the planet of communication off doing Goddess knows what, you're almost guaranteed to misunderstand an agreement.


Or Talk About Contracts More Generally

People often change their minds. You may not be able to sense a fickle soul while Mercury is retrograde.


Or Shake Hands Over A Contract

Don't even look at a piece of paper. Don't, OK?!


Have "That Big Talk"

Hello, planet of communication is out to lunch! This is not going to end well!


Make Life-Altering Decisions

Is there every a good time for that, though? At least one planet is almost always retrograde. Just sayin'.


Launch New Endeavors

So many unaccounted-for problems!


Essentially, Take A Chance On Anything

Cue Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway."

You get what I'm saying, right?