The Solful Guide to Surviving Mercury Retrograde


Mercury in retrograde: three words so many of us have come to dread. Has your phone been acting weird? Maybe it fell in the toilet. Computer crashed? Emails not being delivered? Totally out-of-sync with your partner right now? Car just got totaled? It's not you. It's Mercury in retrograde.

For those of you not yet in the know, this is a quarterly period during which the planet Mercury passes Earth in its orbit, and then appears to stop and start spinning backwards (called a retrograde). The planet Mercury oversees the realms of technology, travel, communication, and perception, so when Mercury is direct, we can (mostly) expect these areas of our lives to run smoothly. But when Mercury goes retrograde, shit can really hit the fan. Even if you aren't into the planets and cosmos and astrology (as I once wasn't), it's hard to deny the shift that we all experience during these periods. It's a little eerie. 

Because we are right in the middle of Mercury retrograde (it goes direct again on September 5th, but you could keep feeling the effects until September 19th) and I know I'm not the only one feeling it right now, I've compiled my personal tips for navigating this time with grace, ease, and lightness. 

REPEAT, REVIEW, RENEW | This is not a time to start new projects, but instead a time to review what we've already got going on. I love the idea of Mercury retrograde as a quarterly review period, during which we handle unfinished business, complete what is already underway, and reevaluate our current commitments, contracts and projects. It's always advised that, if possible, no new contracts are signed during this period, and that we instead direct our energy towards renewing commitments rather than making new ones. Allow yourself to slow down and check in with your priorities and the direction you are moving. 

TURN INWARD | Part of what makes mercury retrograde so uncomfortable is it's tendency to shed light on the unconscious thoughts, emotions, grievances, resentments, patterns, and bullshit that we unknowingly hold on to. Coming face-to-face with all of this can naturally feel like extremely uncomfortable work. But as the saying goes, what we resist persists and the only way to heal is to feel. So allow yourself the time and space to turn inward and explore what comes up. Prioritize alone time and dapple in more self care - journaling, warm baths, sun bathing, meditation + breath work, whatever. Trust that whatever arises during this time is meant to be felt, acknowledged, honored, and released. 

HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR | When things inevitably get a little weird and turned around, throw your hands in the air, have a laugh, and just blame it on Mercury retrograde. Having a sense of humor really does help to lighten + lift your mood, even if your phone is underwater.

PLAN ACCORDINGLY | While you shouldn't wake up each morning expecting everything to go wrong, it will serve you to stay mindful about the current state of the Universe and to proceed with caution. Because technology and communication are ruled by Mercury, be diligent about following up with others during this time. Some calls, texts, and emails are bound to not arrive, and a lot may get lost in translation during conversations with others. Know this is the case, that something much larger than you is at play, and just have patience as you continue to follow up, check in, repeat, and reexplain. Travel is another realm that is largely governed by Mercury, so leave yourself lots of extra time when setting out for a meeting, appointment, or trip. 

STAY OPEN + POSITIVE | Contrary to popular belief, Mercury in retrograde can be an especially abundant, magnetic, and magical time for many of us. Really! Particularly if you were born during a Mercury retrograde period, which you can determine here. So stay open to it all, and know that even among the annoyances, delays, and setbacks, good things are on the way.

SLOW WAY DOWN | My biggest takeaway from Mercury retrograde is always to slow down and cultivate more mindfulness in all that I do. This is always a more restful, slow-moving, and introspective period for me, and you will probably find those are the qualities you are craving right now as well. When things go awry and you start to feel overwhelmed, take that as a sign to draw back a bit. Simplify your schedule and to-do lists to only the really necessary stuff for the next few weeks, and invite yourself to move at a slower pace, knowing this is but another season of life to be enjoyed.