While this astrological phase may not seem like a big deal to some, many others notice that pretty much everything goes wrong
during Mercury retrograde. There are communication issues, problems at work, tech woes, and a general sense of "weirdness" in the air that's almost impossible to ignore — among many other things. It's a lot to blame on one tiny planet. But the changes are there for all to see. Mercury goes retrograde for three weeks at a time, four times a year, during which it appears to be moving backward in the sky. While the reversed movement is just an optical illusion, it still has an impact. "With anything astrological, planetary cycles offer us symbolic meaning for concurrent events on earth," professional astrologer Rachel Lang tells Bustle. "During Mercury retrograde, the planet is closer to the earth, and everything with which Mercury is symbolically associated with becomes bigger for us, more in our conscious awareness."
communication, transportation, communication devices, thoughts, details, and anything associated with travel — all governed by Mercury. "It rules matters that [affect] us in our everyday lives," Lang says, which is why we notice it so intensely. "Plus, all planets move retrograde at some point, but Mercury does this more frequently than others." Here are all the things that can go wrong during Mercury retrograde, according to experts.
During Mercury retrograde, you might notice that people seem a little more forgetful than usual — including yourself. "This happens because Mercury is the planet that governs our intellectual and logical mind,"
Vedic astrologer Griffin Damron tells Bustle. "As this planet moves backwards, this aspect of our lives gets stuck [and the] detail-oriented mind [moves] in the wrong direction." Cut to you losing your keys and phone every five seconds.
It's also not uncommon for people to forget about or arrive late to important appointments. But did you know this may be what's
supposed to happen during Mercury retrograde?
"With a missed appointment we are forced to slow down and pay more attention to our schedule,"
Tanya Carroll Richardson, an author and intuitive, tells Bustle. "Mercury retrograde is a time to slow down and look more closely at your life. The astrological weather helps us do that by placing some speed bumps in the road." So go ahead and embrace them.
Miscommunications At Work
During Mercury retrograde, it might be difficult to get (or stay) on the same page at work. "Since Mercury governs communication, it is the main planetary indicator of business," Damron says. "When Mercury is retrograde, our communication is obscured. We say things we don’t mean, or quickly change the directions in thought, just as Mercury is changing directions in the sky." And this can lead to all
sorts of misunderstandings.
Mercury retrograde can mess with your daily interactions, but it can also affect what's going on inside your head. "Our own thinking can get a bit jumbled and our intuition can feel slightly off-kilter during Mercury retrograde," LA-based
astrologer and modern mystic Natalia Benson tells Bustle. So if you don't feel sure about a job offer, or a new dating prospect, it may be a good idea to wait to move forward until Mercury is direct.
Any technology that's designed to streamline your life might glitch or fail during this time. "When Mercury moves backwards, it is hard for communication to move forwards," Damron says. "So expect all kinds of crashes in email, unseen texts, and buggy computers."
It's a good idea to avoid any big purchases during this time, since the sales process can go awry. "Sometimes you will buy the wrong thing due to a miscommunication in advertising," Damron says. "Or the seller may give [you] the wrong idea about what they are selling. Additionally, [you] may change [your] mind and return the object." So again, do yourself a favor and hold off.
Similarly, many people find that Mercury retrograde makes signing contracts tricky. "If you don't want to renegotiate or modify it, it's best not to sign ... it while Mercury is retrograde,"
Julie Bradshaw, a professional psychic, tells Bustle. "This is a time that there may be information missing or communication is not clear. Errors are more likely to be made during this time."
Delayed flights, late busses, train strikes — this is the name of the game during Mercury retrograde. "More than once I have traveled by air during Mercury retrograde ... and I’ve waited in airports for hours because many flights have been delayed or canceled, my seat has been changed, or the trip has been canceled or rescheduled,"
astrology expert Diane Dobry at Hungarian Aquarian tells Bustle. If you must travel during this time, plan way ahead, or simply hold off until Mercury is direct.
Breakups & Relationship Issues
retrograde can cause couples to argue; some more than usual, and others more intensely. "If a couple has always had problems communicating, this energy will make it even more difficult for them," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "One or both of them may [even] decide to split up at this time."
While it's fine to cut ties, many experts advise waiting until things cool off. "Take time to think things through," Rappaport says. "Avoid reacting or responding emotionally as you may damage your relationship."
Rumors Spread Like Wildfire
Think twice about what you hear during this time, since "rumors have a higher probability of spreading during Mercury retrogrades,"
consulting astrologer Elisabeth Grace tells Bustle. "Don’t believe everything you hear or read."
It Can Be Difficult To Sleep
As if Mercury retrograde needed to be
more annoying, you may even struggle to sleep. "Many people believe that you're more likely to have strange dreams and sleepwalk when Mercury is in retrograde," Chris Brantner, sleep expert and founder of SleepZoo, tells Bustle. "Not only that, it's also thought to heighten sleep deprivation, which makes sense as intense dreams can sometimes lead to sleep disturbance."
That's why Brantner recommends focusing on
your sleep hygiene during this time — possibly by consuming less coffee, or going to bed at the same time each night — to get the jump on any impending disruptions.
Due to everyone's weird mood, it's not uncommon for bosses to go a bit overboard when it comes to layoffs and firings.
"If you are having problems at work, they [might] become magnified and more intense than they are under normal circumstances," Rappaport says. "If you were put on probation or you know that your supervisor has been going out of their way to find fault with you, you may find yourself terminated ... during Mercury retrograde."
Exes Might Come Back Into Your Life
Even if you thought you were good and
done with your ex, there's a good chance they'll text you out of a blue during Mercury retrograde.
"People come back into your life from the past .... especially if there has been unfinished business or you seek clarity about the past," Lang says. "These are usually healing opportunities, and they can be tricky. You might want to go fully back into a relationship, but I recommend waiting until the retrograde cycle is over before making that decision. You may change your mind once Mercury stations direct."
Arguments can also crop up out of nowhere, and that can be hurtful and annoying. But keep in mind they may serve a purpose.
"If you’ve been holding anything back, it will likely come up because it needs to be out in the open," Lang says. "During Mercury retrograde, you might find you want to be more honest with others, more authentic. Sometimes, this means breaking unhealthy patterns in relationships."
If you've made a mistake recently, don't be surprised if it comes back to haunt you. "If this is the case, just do what you need to do and let the chips fall where they may," Rappaport says. After all, most people have a tough time during Mercury retrograde.
We can, however, flip the script and try to enjoy it. "Mercury retrograde gets a bad rap because we are geared, in this crazy modern age, to always be thinking, doing, moving
forward," Grace says. "We need our down times, and Mercury retrograde is a perfect time to give our minds a rest." So if your computer fries, you lose your phone, or your flight gets delayed, simply kick back and accept it.