9 Common Mercury Retrograde Myths That Simply Aren’t True, According To Astrologists

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At this point, you've almost definitely heard someone in your life complain about Mercury retrograde. The astrological phenomenon happens about three times every year, and it's about to begin for the second time in 2018 on Thursday, July 26. As we move into another retrograde period, you're going to hear people people complain about it even more — but do you know what's actually going on? A lot of people don't know all of the facts, leading to common Mercury retrograde myths that can give us the wrong idea of what to expect.

During retrograde, the planet Mercury slows down, and Earth begins to move faster. This makes it look like Mercury is moving backwards - and it seems like it is, too, because everything goes haywire. Mercury rules communication, travel, and truth. When it's in retrograde, it throws these things for a loop. Mercury retrograde is known to make communication more difficult, mess with your travel plans, and generally make things feel a little off-balance.

That's the basic definition of Mercury retrograde. But as it's become more well-known, that definition has also been dramatized a lot. If you search for information about Mercury retrograde, you might come to the conclusion that it's the absolute worst time of the year, when you can expect everything to go wrong. Don't believe everything you hear about this retrograde period! Bustle spoke with some experts to get the truth. Below, a few astrologists debunk some of the most common Mercury retrograde myths - and you might find that their answers will help you better prepare for this time.

1Myth: Mercury Is Moving Backwards

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One of the biggest myths about Mercury retrograde is that the planet is actually spinning backwards. It would make sense, since the word "retrograde" literally means moving backwards. But this definitely isn't true. Astrologist Lisa Stardust says, "It's actually not! It's an optical illusion created in the sky. Mercury is actually just moving slower than the Earth around the Sun."

2Myth: Mercury Retrograde Will Prevent You From Accomplishing Anything

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Mercury retrograde has a bad reputation for being an incredibly negative period in time where you literally can't get anything done. Linda Joyce, international astrologer and life coach, tells Bustle, "Mercury retrograde is like anything else in life: we must know how to use it wisely and understand why it exists. Then, suddenly, it's not negative, it's helpful."

Mercury retrograde should encourage you to reflect and make necessary changes, which isn't negative at all. Joyce says, "It pushes us to clean out our desk, complete what we have started, and it makes sure we do this because new ideas and projects run into trouble." Basically, you're better off focusing on the things that need to get done instead of starting something new. Joyce adds, "When Mercury goes retrograde, I have a list of 'to do things' waiting to get done. As I clean out my closet, throw papers away, organize my schedule, and just look at where I am and what needs to be done, I feel wonderful and more capable of moving forward once the energy is back on track."

3Myth: Current Relationships Will Fall Apart

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It's easy to believe that any relationship you're in will fall apart the minute Mercury goes retrograde, but astrologist Jaye at GiftedAstrology.com tells Bustle, "Meet your retrograde experience with a mindset that it's purpose is to deepen your life and love. During Mercury Retrograde, people can take what's happening to them very personally (like anyone would), but when you're aware, you can use it to your advantage. Relationships improve by practicing compassion, and maybe you can give your partner a pass if things go awry in their life and they're not acting like themselves. Everyone processes difficulties differently. Keep a supportive, open dialogue about the fact that it’s just three weeks in your long, beautiful journey together."

4Myth: Breakups That Happen During Mercury Retrograde Last Forever

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Because Mercury retrograde can mess with communication, it can make relationships a little strained. You might find that the increase in tensions and misunderstandings leads to a breakup. But it might not be a permanent one, as many believe. Stardust tells Bustle, "Often times, couples and friends make up soon after Mercury goes direct. While couples and friends may not get back together, they have a chance to mend fences and work on things later on."

5Myth: It's The Worst Time Of The Year

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When you think "Mercury retrograde," you might also assume it's going to be one of the worst few weeks of the year. That's not true! Astrologist Valerie Mesa tells Bustle, "Mercury retrograde is annoying, yes, but it's certainly not negative. Believe it or not, when the messenger planet does on its backwards journey, we actually have more chances of getting things done. By that, I mean retrograde periods are a time to reflect, reassess, and reevaluate the situation. Okay, so your cell phone might suddenly freeze, and you could miss an appointment or two, but there's more to Mercury retrograde than stifled communication."

Mesa continues, "it's about really taking the time to look around and analyze what needs work, in terms of communication. The theme depends on the sign its transiting. For instance, with Mercury in Leo Rx, which starts tomorrow, we should pay close attention to ego trips and temper tantrums."

6Myth: All Of Your Electronics Will Stop Working

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One common belief about Mercury retrograde is that it messes with every electronic device out there. Is your cell phone going to break? Will your laptop crash? Probably not. Jaye tells Bustle, "It’s true that MR will have people dealing with computer mishaps, delays, mistakes, and challenges. But ask yourself, how many retrogrades have you been through with a functioning laptop? Most of them! But laptops die all the time, so if yours goes to laptop heaven, lovingly remind yourself that you are clearing away the old to make room for the new."

7Myth: Anyone Born Under Mercury Won't Feel The Negative Effects Of Retrograde

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If you've heard that being born with Mercury retrograde in your natal chart (the snapshot of the sky at the time you were born) makes you immune to its effects, you were misled. Astrologist Cindy Mckean tells Bustle, "When one is born with Mercury retrograde in their chart, they generally process thoughts, ideas, and information differently. Instead of thinking and make a decision, they might ruminate on it a couple of times before taking action.

"So when Mercury in the current sky is retrograding, it's often more in line with the way they think; however, for some people born with Mercury retrograde, the transiting Mercury moving backwards amplifies that effect even more. Instead of ruminating on something a couple of times, they might triple and quadruple check, setting them back even more than on their normal days when Mercury is direct (moving forward)."

8Myth: If You Meet Someone During Mercury Retrograde, It Won't Last

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One common myth about Mercury retrograde is that you can't meet anyone new... and if you do, it will fall apart. Joyce tells Bustle, "What you need to remember is that things can work during a retrograde, even if it's new, but any changes that occur, any evolution in the job or relationship, will probably happen during a retrograde. If it’s your dream partner that you meet, then this person has been someone you’ve longed for, and if he or she is still there when Mercury goes direct, then yes, it could be forever. It’s cursed or doomed to die. The most crucial time is when Mercury changes directions, either going retrograde or direct."

9Myth: It Causes Havoc With Everything

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The one thing everyone believes about Mercury retrograde is that it destroys everything. Mckean tells Bustle, "Truth: Mercury retrograde is a reminder to be on top of things. Many of us get complacent with our passwords, how we manage our data, the routes we commute on. When we have a routine set in place what could go wrong, right? Wrong. Anything could go wrong on any day. A power outage might require that you do some paperwork by hand. A road getting reconstructed might require that you take a detour. The anti-virus protecting the information you saved might have expired without you noticing.

"The pre-Mercury retrograde periods are there as a simple nudge to incorporate alternatives into your routine. When things finally come crashing down, or inevitable delays happen in traffic, if you routinely practiced alternatives in your daily habits, you'd know the best decisions to make without any delay at all."