Your Ultimate Guide to Controversial Mercury Retrograde

There’s a good chance that you’ve heard the phrase, “Mercury is in retrograde.”

If you’re familiar with astrology, you may already know that when a planet is retrograde, it appears to be moving backward, and its energy shifts. When Mercury is in retrograde, many things feel more challenging than usual.

That’s why we often joke about Mercury being in retrograde. Car broke down? It’s not Jupiter’s luck. It’s probably just Mercury in retrograde again. Does communication feel impossible? It’s got to be Mercury in retrograde, right?

But what does “Mercury in retrograde really mean?

Does it affect certain signs more than others? Is it really all bad, or is there a chance that this transit is misunderstood? Today, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of Mercury retrograde to help you better understand what this transit means, how it affects us, and how you can make the most of it.

So, keep reading if you’re ready to learn more than ever about the dreaded Mercury retrograde, period!

What Does “Retrograde” Mean?

When a planet is about to move retrograde or is currently in a retrograde cycle, it means that the planet appears to be moving backward – which is an optical illusion.

What’s actually happening during this time is that the planet slows down so much that it seems to be moving backward when compared to the speed of our own planet’s movement. In astrology, this is called a “station.”

Think about being in the fast lane on the highway; as you move swiftly by cars that are going slower than your own, they appear to be moving backward. Those cars, however, are not stopped or going back, but rather, they’re simply moving more slowly than you are. This is what happens when any planet moves retrograde.

Mercury appears to move backward while it’s in retrograde – but in reality, it’s simply moving more slowly.

What is Mercury Retrograde?


Each planet rules over a different aspect of our lives, and when they go retrograde, they affect these areas. Mercury is the planet of communication, transportation, intellect, and short-distance travel. And when Mercury is in retrograde, these aspects of our lives may feel more challenging than usual.

Does Mercury retrograde ruin our lives? Not at all – it simply slows things down a bit.

When we experience this transit, communication, transportation, short-travel journeys, and mental matters may feel more challenging than usual.

So… Is Mercury Retrograde a Negative Transit?

This is a loaded question with a complicated answer. This transit is not inherently bad, but it can make life feel more difficult, which is why it’s often associated with negative experiences.

Many people feel a sense of dread when they learn that Mercury will be going retrograde as they begin to anticipate the canceled flights, issues with technology, lost emails, and poor communication that often accompanies this transit.

However, like any other potentially frustrating transit, learning more about this astrological period can help you face Mercury retrograde with grace and poise, allowing you to sail through this transit with ease.

Assuming that Mercury retrograde will be maddening results in a self-fulfilling prophecy that ensures that you’ll feel agitated during this time. The Law of Attraction is always working in our lives, so it’s vital that you attract positivity and growth during this transit.

General Themes of Mercury Retrograde

While many people talk about the negativity associated with this transit, it can actually help you learn and grow if you know how to work with this energy. A Mercury retrograde period can encourage reflection, allowing you to reevaluate certain circumstances in your life.

This is the time to reconsider the situations, relationships, and experiences in your life to determine what you want to attract more of. It’s the perfect time to rethink your priorities and discover if you’re on the right path.

Other themes associated with this transit include reorganizing your sacred space, resetting your intentions, redirecting your energy, and releasing relationships and circumstances that are no longer serving you.

Mercury is a profoundly personal planet, so we can expect our personal lives to be challenged or tested. However, these are often the experiences that bring us closer to our center and that place us on the right path towards our goals and dreams.

How Does Mercury Retrograde Affect the Signs?


You’re all about action, and when Mercury goes retrograde, you’re forced to slow down and embrace the pit stops. Try not to let your anger and impatience get the best of you during this time.


You’re usually calm and peaceful, but this transit can shake things up and cause frustration. Remember to engage with Mother Nature and focus on exercises like yoga and meditation to help you maintain your sense of harmony.


Mercury is your sign’s ruling planet, so this transit has a particularly strong effect on your communication skills. You may want to hold off on having any deep conversations until you’re feeling clearer and more aligned.


This transit may encourage you to retreat into your shell but try not to hide from this planetary influence. After all, it can bring clarity to certain areas of your life. Embrace the uncertainty to make the most of this transit.


Your connections with others are very important to you, and they may take a strange turn during this transit. Try to remember that this is temporary, and your friendships and romances will resume as usual once it’s over.


As a sign ruled by Mercury, this transit can have an unusually unpleasant effect on you. You feel out of control in the presence of the chaos created by Mercury retrograde. Organizing your immediate surroundings will give you a sense of control.



You deeply value your relationships, which feel less comforting than usual during this transit. Try not to put too much stock into strange or unpleasant conversations, as things will feel more peaceful and normal when Mercury begins to move direct once more.


Your patience helps you move gracefully through this transit, but you may feel chaotic or uncomfortable. Writing about your feelings and experiences will help you heal and get the most from this transit.


You’re always on the move, but your movement is halted by Mercury retrograde. Remind yourself that you’ll soon be able to resume your normal speed and try to embrace this sense of stillness.


Your big plans and hard work may take a hit during this time. It’s important to remind yourself that some things exist beyond your control. Try letting go of your need for control to sail through this transit with ease.


You have a strong connection with technology and gadgets, which may be difficult to work with during this transit. Try to focus on the simpler things in life, like spending time in nature, to move through this transit unfazed.


Your feelings and intuition may feel “off” right now, making it harder for you to trust yourself while Mercury is retrograde. Working with tools like astrology and tarot cards will help you bridge the gap between yourself and your intuition.

Mercury Retrograde Through the Zodiac Signs

Mercury Retrograde in Aries

When Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of Aries, we feel more impulsive than usual. However, it’s important to try to remain patient and hold off on making big decisions until this transit is over.

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

This transit heavily affects our finances, encouraging us to spend money and throw caution to the wind. Try to hold off on buying luxurious items until Mercury begins moving direct again, allowing you to think these things through.

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Communication is more difficult for all of us when Mercury goes retrograde in Gemini, a sign that this planet rules over. It would be difficult to reach an agreement during this time, so it’s best to save heavy conversations for later.

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

When Mercury goes retrograde in Cancer, we’re all more likely to want to spend time in the safety and comfort of our homes. This may be a good time to follow your intuition and allow yourself to retreat until Mercury moves direct once more.

Mercury Retrograde in Leo

We feel like expressing ourselves with passion while Mercury moves retrograde through Leo. However, difficulties with communication can cause conflicts. It’s best to wait to express these emotions after this transit is over.

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

When Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, we feel the need to help and service others. However, people may not be as receptive to help as usual. Try not to take offense if it seems that you can’t get through to those you care for.


Mercury Retrograde in Libra

This transit disturbs the harmony in our relationships, causing conflict and misunderstandings. Remember not to give up on connections during a retrograde period; revisit these relationships when the energy is more stable.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

This particular transit helps you focus on any problems or power struggles, but you may not get clarity until the transit is over. Try not to make any big decisions about relationships until you have a better idea of what’s going on.

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

When Mercury moves retrograde in Sagittarius, we feel more impulsive than usual – especially when it comes to expressing ourselves. But it’s important to try to maintain patience until Mercury begins to move direct again.

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

We don’t feel particularly inspired when Mercury goes retrograde in Capricorn in the areas of hopes and dreams. However, don’t give up on your goals because the inspiration will return once this transit ends.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

This transit can feel incredibly frustrating because technology takes a confusing turn. This is a great time to get back in touch with Mother Nature and avoid spending too much time or focusing on computers and smart devices.

Mercury Retrograde in Pisces

When Mercury moves retrograde in Pisces, it’s harder than ever for us to connect to our emotions. Furthermore, it’s more difficult to connect to logic and reason. Try to be gentle with yourself during this time.

Mercury Retrograde Through the Houses

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 1st House

The 1st house relates to the self and our self-image. You may feel like switching up your image, but you must try to find happiness in the mirror. Make a list of everything you love about yourself during this transit to encourage self-acceptance.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 2nd House

The 2nd house connects to finances, asking you to question your spending habits and financial decisions. Are you happy with how you make money? Take a look at your finances and make decisions that will bring you closer to your goals.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 3rd House

Your mind feels busier when Mercury goes retrograde in the 3rd house. You may experience racing thoughts during this transit, so try to focus on physical exercise that will allow you to release negative thoughts during this transit.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 4th House

The 4th house represents home and family – two areas that may feel more tension than usual while Mercury goes retrograde in this house. Remind yourself that these feelings are temporary and that your family loves and adores you.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 5th House

The 5th house is the house of pleasure, and you may feel less than pleased while Mercury retrogrades in this house. Creativity is stalled during this time, so try not to force yourself to create things or follow your artistic instincts.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 6th House

This position encourages you to focus on your home and your manner of organization. When Mercury is retrograde in the 6th house, it’s an excellent time to focus on reorganizing your home and clearing space for new energy.


Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 7th House

The 7th house focuses on relationships, making this a difficult time for getting along with others. Try to maintain harmony and concentrate on patience; waiting to bring certain frustrations up until the energy clears will make your conversations run more smoothly.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 8th House

The 8th house rules over money, death, and investments, forcing you to focus on these areas of your life. When Mercury goes retrograde in the 8th house, it’s time to look at the areas of your life that you’ve given the most energy to and decide whether this energy still suits you.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 9th House

When Mercury moves retrograde in the 9th house, you may feel like spending more time and energy on education and learning new things. Let this transit wash over you and point you in the right direction.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 10th House

The 10th house revolves around your public persona, and when Mercury goes retrograde in this house, you may be more focused on your reputation. Just try to remember that you view yourself more harshly than nearly anyone around you; remind yourself that you’re beautiful and capable.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 11th House

The 11th house is the traditional house of friends and friendships, which may feel some tension when Mercury goes retrograde in this house. Try to remind yourself of the things you love most about your friends to maintain momentum and peace until Mercury moves direct once more.

Mercury Retrograde Transitioning in the 12th House

The 12th house is known as the house of endings, and you may feel like retreating into your own safe space while Mercury transits a retrograde period through this house. Your unconscious mind and your dream states are particularly affected during this time. Remind yourself that you are the only person you need to rely on right now.

Read this next: The Pre-Shadow & Post-Shadow Periods of Mercury Retrograde

How to Survive Mercury Retrograde

Roll with the Punches

It’s hard to feel like you’re in control when Mercury goes retrograde – we often feel frazzled and undone. However, there will always be situations you cannot control in life, and this transit gives you the opportunity to address these areas of insecurity.

There is little you can do when technology becomes frustrating or stops working correctly, just as there is little to do when traffic becomes unbearable. This is a transit that helps you work through your issues and focus on patience. So, try to embrace the punches you know are coming your way and allow yourself to find different ways to cope.

Be patient, be mindful of your words, and remember that you are compassionate, loving, and giving!

Work with Mercury, Not Against it

Mercury is quite the trickster – and if you’ve ever had a trickster personality in your life, you know that it gathers energy by making you uncomfortable. And while, yes, Mercury will make you feel uncomfortable, it will also help you move forward to a different position in life that suits you more harmoniously.

One of the best ways to focus on and make the most of this energy is to think of the word “retrograde,” which starts with the prefix re.

Mercury retrograde asks you to focus on reorganizing, relearning, releasing, and reconnecting. Incorporating these concepts and values into your life while Mercury is in retrograde is one of the best ways to learn and grow from this energy.

A 6-Point Checklist for Mercury Retrograde


1. Try Not to Take Things Personally

We all feel a bit more sensitive and tender when Mercury is retrograde. So, while your friend or partner may have made a remark that seemed to cut you to the core, it’s important that you remember that they’re struggling too.

Try not to take things personally at this time, especially from those who you know love and adore you. Communication is naturally jumbled right now, so let the little things go.

2. Back Up Your Data

It’s well-known that Mercury retrograde periods cause some trouble with technology, which can lead to unfortunate losses of data. When Mercury is retrograde, it’s always a good idea to back up your data and create a sense of security with your information.

Get yourself an external drive and copy the work you want to have on hand for later.

3. Look at the Fine Print

Because a Mercury retrograde period makes it harder to concentrate, there’s a good chance that we will overlook specific pieces of information that may feel crucial later. If you must sign a contract or start a new project, make sure you take the time to read the fine print so that you don’t miss anything.

4. Finish Something You Started

While you may feel less-than-motivated during a Mercury Rx period, this is the perfect time to finish a project that you’ve already started. Getting it over and done with will not only help you relax it will also encourage feelings of self-assurance and pride for your hard work.

5. Double-Check Your Travel Plans

It’s clear that a Mercury retrograde period makes travel more complex, so it’s important that you look over your itinerary more than once if you have travel plans during this transit. Make sure you get to the airport or train station early and prepare for unexpected delays.

6. Look for New Opportunities

While Mercury Rx can create conflict and difficulties in relationships, it can also help you see new opportunities forming on the horizon. Even if you feel frustrated, keep your eyes, heart, and mind open for new opportunities that the Universe may be bringing into your life.

Things to do During Mercury Retrograde

  • Focus on nostalgia
  • Reconnect with old friends
  • Be gentle with yourself and others
  • Reorganize your home
  • Reevaluate your goals
  • Look for objects you’ve lost

Things to Avoid Doing During Mercury Retrograde

  • Starting new projects
  • Signing contracts
  • Big purchases
  • Focusing on relationship imbalances
  • Ignoring your instincts
  • Buying electronics
  • Planning big trips

7 Crystals for Mercury Retrograde

Many crystals can make this difficult transit feel more peaceful and harmonious!

1. Black Tourmaline

Black tourmaline is known as a protective stone that rids bad energy from those who work with it. It encourages grounding, centering, and shielding the user from negative external energies. Carry a piece of black tourmaline with you throughout this transit to provide peace and harmony.

2. Chrysocolla

Mercury retrograde may bring some challenging energies and emotions your way, which is what makes chrysocolla such a perfect stone to work with during this time. It helps to open your Heart chakra without allowing yourself to be too vulnerable.


3. Citrine

Citrine is a stone of opportunity that helps you see the brighter side of any situation. Keep a piece of citrine in your left pocket to open the doors of opportunity and help you find new ways to express yourself. Citrine also makes it easier than ever to attract the things you want from life.

4. Clear Quartz

Known as a master healer, clear quartz is a crystal that encourages emotional and physical cleansing. Working with this stone will help you go with the flow of Mercury’s retrograde energy, helping you make the most of it.

This is a versatile stone that can be used to clear your spirit of negativity while infusing your body with positive energy.

5. Fluorite

Fluorite is a beautiful stone that clears the mind of negative or distracting thoughts. Working with this stone during a Mercury retrograde transit will allow you to see any situation for what it actually is, rather than allowing you to create the truth for yourself.

6. Hematite

A shiny, protective stone, hematite brings feelings of grounding and harmony to those who work with it. Keep a piece of hematite in your left pocket or your left hand while meditating to encourage understanding and balance.

7. Rose Quartz

This is a stone that helps you love and accept yourself more than ever. While Mercury is retrograde, keep a piece of rose quartz in your left pocket or purse to encourage loving, compassionate energy. Working with rose quartz makes it easier to get along with others.

Mercury Retrograde 2023

Mercury is going retrograde in Capricorn on December 13th, 2023.

While we may collectively consider Mercury retrograde to be an inherently negative transit, there is much we can learn from these moments. Keep your heart and mind open to allow yourself to sink into and make the most of these feelings brought on by a Mercury retrograde period.

Remind yourself that you are loved, loving, curious, and smart. Telling yourself positive facts will help you flow through a Mercury retrograde transit with poise and grace.

Related article: The Ultimate Guide to Retrogrades

About The Author

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle is a nomadic Sagittarius with a passion for writing and trying to help others grow. She’s studied astrology for about 10 years, and has been writing about metaphysical, spiritual, and esoteric subjects for 3 years. Rhiannon lives in the mountains of Colorado, and loves drinking coffee and spending time with her coloring books.
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