Brace yourself for breakdowns: Communication planet Mercury turns retrograde January 30 to February 20. Truth bombs, travel snags and technology hiccups are on the horizon.
Ever have a moment when everything seems to go wrong? Your data disappears, people argue over nonsense, traffic is hellish, and your computer crashes as you’re putting the final touches on an important document. Plans change without warning and your friends stand you up. There’s drama, sure…but this is just BEYOND.
Chances are, you’re smack in the middle of Mercury Retrograde.
2021 Mercury Retrograde Dates
Mercury Retrogrades typically happen three or four times a year. Here are the dates and the zodiac signs Mercury backspins in this year:
January 30 to February 20 in Aquarius
May 29 to June 22 in Gemini
September 27 to October 18 in Libra
Were you born during a Mercury Retrograde?
Enter your birthday into our handy calculator to find out!
What to expect during a Mercury Retrograde
During each of these Mercury Retrogrades, the cosmic trickster will certain have some surprises up his sleeve. The truth inevitably comes boiling to the surface during this phase, as mysteries reveal and skeletons tumble out of the closets.
Mental Mercury also rules the transfer of information, and during this signal-jamming cycle, it’s wise to password-protect all sensitive data and back it up to the cloud. Since Mercury Retrograde can disrupt technology, take special precautions with your digital data. Back up all your important files and photos to the cloud. Mercury rules contracts, so think before you ink any deals. Either wrap up important negotiations before the cycle starts, or wait to sign documents until after Mercury goes direct.
Pro tip: To play it extra safe during Mercury’s backspin, keep beverages far away from your computer; this is the time when you could knock over a cup of coffee onto your keyboard or laptop. These are mistakes that can be avoided with a little extra caution until Mercury stations direct.
So what IS Mercury Retrograde, really?
Three or four times a year, Mercury passes the earth in its orbit. As it rounds the bend, Mercury slows down and appears to stop (station) and spin backward (retrograde). Of course, it really ISN’T moving backward, but much like two trains or cars passing each other, this creates the optical illusion that one (Mercury, in this case) is going backward.
In astrology, Mercury rules communication, travel, and technology—so all of these areas can go haywire for about three weeks. To top it off, Mercury retrograde also has what’s called a “shadow period” (which we explain in this post), so you may feel the #retroshade a couple of weeks before and after the official Mercury Retrograde dates. Great, right?
Try not to start anything new. Focus on activities that start with the prefix “re-,” which means to go back. Review all your contracts before you sign. Renew your commitments, rather than making new ones. Prepare to repeat yourself often. Reunite with old friends. Redecorate a room. Rekindle a romance.
That last one should be taken with caution. Mercury Retrograde CAN bring back an old flame, but often it’s for the purpose of closure, not necessarily because this is the “one that got away.” Don’t be surprised if you get a Facebook friend request from someone you dated ages ago or a forgotten childhood friend. We’ve bumped into long-lost friends (and loves) on the street during Mercury Retrograde. Strange times!
Mercury Retrograde in your birth chart
If you were born during a Mercury retrograde (which we were), you may actually become sharper, clearer or more productive during this time. But you won’t be immune to Mercury’s impact. We once had a hard drive erase itself right before our eyes during Mercury retrograde! But you could also thrive in areas where others are failing. Almost every big writing contract and book deal we’ve gotten was offered during Mercury retrograde. You might even become more psychic or dialed-in during Mercury’s backspin.
Find out if you were born during Mercury retrograde by doing a free chart.
Mercury Retrograde do’s and try-not-to do’s.
1. Review all contracts and legal documents before signing.
2. Pause and breathe before speaking. (Repeat yourself if necessary!)
3. Read all emails and documents before you send.
4. Insure/track important mail and packages (Mercury rules the postal system).
5. Get your vehicles (or bikes) tuned up, pack an emergency roadside kit.
6. Leave early for any travel and appointments, since Mercury Rx can delay flights.
7. Renew your commitments instead of making new ones.
8. Focus on the prefix re-, which means to go backward (renew, review, revamp, redecorate, et al.)
9. Plan reunions with old friends & loved ones (but prepare for possible mishaps!)
10. Expect to hear from/run into people from your past at the weirdest moments.
11. Get sentimental. Reconnect with your roots, walk down memory lane.
12. Practice forgiveness. Finish processing what’s unresolved so you can let it go.
13. Confirm all dates, plans, meetings, appointments.
14. Think of the retrograde as a quarterly review period, a chance to pause and finish what you’ve started.
15. Back up your digital data (photos, contact lists, files) before the retrograde or ASAP if it’s started.
Try not to…
1. Buy new vehicles, electronic equipment or gadgets (unless they come with a good return/repair policy).
2. Sign contracts without a thorough review (delay until Mercury turns direct if you can).
3. Fly off the handle or jump to conclusions if someone misunderstands you.
4. Run into the arms/bed of an ex without careful screening (Mercury reunions aren’t always meant to last).
5. Shoot the messenger if someone from your past comes around.
6. Put anything sketchy into an email or text (you could hit “Reply All” or send to the wrong person!).
7. Leave late for travel or appointments.
8. Start anything new on top before finishing what’s ahead on the to-do list.
9. Lead people on, give mixed messages or believe everything you hear (actions speak louder than words).
10. Spread rumors, rant on social media or share unconfirmed information.
11. Turn in sloppy or unchecked work, cut corners, dash off hasty communications. Inspect to protect!
The silver lining
Mercury retrograde is a great opportunity to handle unfinished business. Most of us start a million things that we don’t complete, never realizing how much psychic clutter this creates. The retrograde is like a quarterly review. It’s a chance to tie up those loose ends and create a clear vision for the future.
Take advantage of it, and you’ll emerge fresh and ready when Mercury goes direct. As the cliche goes, what you resist persists. So the more you can embrace chaos or a lack of control (and isn’t control an illusion, anyhow?), the better you’ll survive a Mercury Retrograde cycle!
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