wtf is the deal with mercury retrograde?

Earlier, we posted about what to expect during the upcoming, final Mercury Retrograde of 2017 and the messages immediately started pouring in. What does it mean? Does it affect me? What is retrograde? Yes. It affects everyone. It means everything. It's so much.

So we decided to write a lil baby basic intro to Mercury Retrograde. Like Mercury Retrograde 101.

Mercury | NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington

Mercury | NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington

Mercury 101

Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini, and controls communication and messages. Mercury is a fast-moving, sorta fickle planet, hence the term, "mercurial." How you perceive the way information is relayed to you depends upon where Mercury is in your birth chart. I've posted mine here. I have Mercury in Aquarius, in my 4th house. I am v mercurial, but that's another story for another time.

Ancient Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Chinese, Isreali, and more touted Mercury as the planet of information, a swift messenger. Since Mercury orbits faster than the Earth, Mayans even believed that Mercury carried messages to and from the underworld. This quick orbit is also why Mercury goes into retrograde three to four times a year. It kind of laps the Earth, and then when we catch up to it, it looks like it's going backwards.

kelli and mercury

From Earth, to the human eye, Mercury looks dull and grey, like a boring ass rocky terrain... but just LOOK at that pic from NASA's Messenger and tell me Mercury is dull. Please. Mercury is full of valleys, mountains, and plains, so like, let's move there, but it's also home to like a zillion volcanoes and scorching air... so, let's also not move there. 

Mercury Retrograde 101

So, what happens when Mercury retrogrades? Retrograde simply means that a planet seems to be traveling in the opposite direction of other planets. Here is the greatest example I can think of EVER: 

As I was writing this post, I decided to give it a dang rest and go to bed. I'll come back to it later, I thought. I came back to it "later," aka like 5 minutes later, and it was GONE. I've rewritten this post twice now. THIS is what Mercury Retrograde does. It screws up communication and fucks with electronics, for real. 

Because we are in constant motion, other planets sometimes seem to switch direction from Earth as they cross the sky. From here, stars and planets sometimes appear to travel from west to east as they move across the sky, in response to the rotation of Earth. This is true for direct motion, too; that’s what we mean when we say a planet is going direct... it seems to be going the “right” way after we are all caught up to each other again. Orbiting makes both retrograde and direct motion normal, but during retrograde, the aspect of personalities that is controlled by that planet gets mixed up and wonky... in Mercury’s case: communication.

Mercury doesn't actually move backward when it's retrograding. It appears to move backward because it's orbit is shorter than the Earth's. Three to four times a year, Mercury "laps" the Earth, and when we catch up to it is when we experience retrograde. It's easy to visualize if you think of 2 cars driving next to each other: when the car driving beside you slows down, it seems like it's going in reverse, but you know it's really not-- you're just moving past it.


This afternoon, my mom asked me, "So, is this in my chart?" Yes. Mercury Retrograde is one of the only astrological phenomenons that makes itself apparent to everyone, affecting us all universally in the same ways. When Mercury, the king of communication, retrogrades, it sort of scrambles information. There are a lot of what-not-to-do's when Mercury is in retrograde, but the fact is, your efforts to nail down a plan during these times will be futile anyway.

Think of it this way: information is scrambled, you're continually misunderstood, deals get mixed up, shit falls apart, blog posts disappear, your thesis burns in a fire, you get in a fight with your bff because y’all cant get on the same page, you're living your life in complete fucking disarray, and then, BOOM, Mercury goes direct and... damn, if it doesn't all make sense again.


xoxo kelli