The First Mercury Retrograde of 2021 Is Here. How to Cope by Zodiac Sign.

Fog alert! The first Mercury retrograde of 2021 is here. This signal-jamming transit toys with our daily routines and affairs. Learn out how to keep steady while Mercury is in reverse!

by The AstroTwins

Mercury is retrograde from January 30 to February 20. This is the first Mercury retrograde of 2021 (there are three!). This backstroke occurs in intellectual Aquarius.

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What is Mercury retrograde?

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.

Mercury rules technology, travel and communication, so during Mercury retrograde, all of these things can go haywire. Any time the messenger planet shifts into reverse, our thinking can get muddled, communication can go sideways, and scheduling will require extreme flexibility—and patience! (See also Mercury Retrograde: How to Survive A Three-Week Communication Crisis)

This is the first Mercury retrograde of 2021, the others will be May 29 to June 22 in Gemini and September 27 to October 18 in Libra.

What you can expect during the first Mercury retrograde of 2021

In Aquarius, this retrograde could be a bit of a double-whammy for our technology. Take extra care with your digital devices, online communications and electronic equipment. Be crystal clear in group threads and make sure your team is aligned. Staying organized and holding each other accountable will spare you many breakdowns.

Here’s how your zodiac sign can cope in the potential crosshairs of the first Mercury retrograde of 2021:


Friends, frenemies, or a new title altogether? Mercury’s first retrograde of 2021 begins January 30, which could reshuffle the inner and outer rings of your social circle. Until February 20, the messenger planet backs up through Aquarius and your community zone. During this time, you may glimpse the unevolved side of a friend’s personality or discover sketchy group dynamics within an organization. This doesn’t necessarily mean the game is over. After all, true friends reveal themselves by how they handle the bumps in the road. Can you work through this directly… and lovingly? It’s worth a try. But if that means compromising your values, jump ship before they pull you down with them.


Game face: on! And make sure it’s locked and loaded January 30 as messenger Mercury flips into retrograde in Aquarius and your tenth house of career. Until February 20, signals could get scrambled at the office, and professional plans could stall temporarily. But this forced timeout has a silver lining. Use it for “re” activities like reviewing and revising. Even if you go back to the drawing board, you won’t stay there for long. Just make it your mission to fortify your structure. Conflict with a colleague could also throw you for a loop. Disengage your feelings (as much as is humanly possible) and focus on the big-picture goals you want to crush.


If you’ve made a list, check it twice, Gemini! On January 30, when messenger Mercury (your ruler) flips retrograde in Aquarius and your expansive ninth house, make sure that any trips, adventures or even Zoom appointments are locked in. If you have a project to promote, think “soft launch” for the coming week. Tease the news and drop some preview posts, then unleash the full-on campaign AFTER Mercury turns direct on February 20.


Rewind! Did you recently brush off something “small and inconsequential”? Deal with it fast, Cancer, or that molehill could swell into a mountain before February 20. On January 30, as messenger Mercury flips into a signal-jamming retrograde in Aquarius, you don’t want to leave anything in the nebulous zone. Get full confirmation of status and, where appropriate, start drafting a contract that you can sign when Mercury corrects course. Romantically, this retrograde could arouse intense emotions and even herald the return of an ex. Exhilarating, sure, but don’t go courting drama just to keep life “interesting.” 


 *Cupped hand to ear* Pardon? On January 30, you might feel as if everything you’re saying is somehow being misinterpreted. Fuzzy communication will not be out of the ordinary for the next few weeks as messenger Mercury shifts into its first signal-scrambling retrograde of the year, this time in quirky Aquarius. But hey, this shake-up can be positive. For one thing, you can finally tackle those important convos that you’ve set as “last” on your to-do list. Tighten up the structure in a partnership by redefining roles or rebalancing the power dynamics. Since retrogrades tend to bring back the past, you might have to rehash old drama before moving forward. Simultaneously, be prepared for an old flame to reignite before February 20! 


Give everything—from your closet to your inbox—a hardcore review starting January 30 as quicksilver Mercury pivots retrograde in Aquarius and your productivity zone until February 20. Still have that old pair of jeans you haven’t worn since 2018? Is it time to ditch those boots that even the best cobbler in town can’t fix? Get the status of your material goods sorted out, but be mindful when doing so. Save some shelf space for important documents and family mementos; you’ll want to hold onto those! When it comes to chitchat, reconsider divulging any not-so-nice comments, especially in writing. 


Oh, the temptation! Starting January 30, mixed romantic messages abound as Mercury turns retrograde in Aquarius and your fifth house of amour. Flying solo? Between now and February 20, a surge of attraction could arise that’s both exciting and misleading. Amp up your willpower: Don’t give in to the trap of falling for an ex who broke your heart (twice). Regardless of your relationship status, a little self-discipline will go a long way. Coupled Libras: Don’t start arguments to arouse passion! In your quest for harmony, have you been ignoring a percolating conflict? 


Drama heating up at home? Mercury turns retrograde in Aquarius on January 30, creating friction in your domestic sector until February 20. Problems could flare up out of the blue with relatives or roomies. But don’t call the movers just yet! Setting up fair house rules and tacking a chore schedule on the fridge can be a stunningly simple solution.There’s also a silver lining to the situation: Mercury’s timeout brings a window for some bonding with the fam, particularly an adored woman like your mom, sister or favorite aunt. 


Come again? On January 30, messenger Mercury spins retrograde in your third house of communication, which could send out mixed messages left and right. Choose every word with care between now and February 20 to avoid meltdowns and misconceptions. If you’re going to share anything publicly, make sure you’ve banished every glimmer of doubt surrounding the news. Alternatively, take advantage of brainy Mercury’s backspin and do a deep dive into your hobbies: Take that online course or set up a daily schedule to finish that project you’ve been working on forever! 


Let’s talk money, Capricorn. With Mercury turning retrograde in your finance house on January 30, you want to avoid any surprises with your cash flow. Log into accounts: Are bills set up to be paid on time? Do you have enough in the bank to avoid overdraft charges? Maybe it’s time you started to set aside a portion of every paycheck for emergency funds—and how about saving for a vacation while you’re at it? By the time Mercury turns direct on February 20, you might just have a new plan in place. Need to increase your earnings? The key could lie in the hands of a former colleague. Link back to those old connections, and new moneymaking opportunities could soon be coming your way. 


Surprise, Aquarius! As Mercury spins retrograde in your sign starting January 30, you may be stunned to find yourself in situations where your straightforwardness is completely misunderstood. Even if you outlined it all as clearly as possible, there will still be some mixed signals. Instead of plowing ahead only to wind up frustrated, hit pause. Use this time to tighten up your plans, tweak your messaging and prepare to turn things up again when Mercury corrects course on February 20. 


Does it feel like you’re forcing things? As mindful Mercury turns retrograde in Aquarius and your hazy twelfth house on January 30, don’t push it. Progress may be limited during this backspin, which lasts until February 20. Use the next few weeks to tie up any loose ends and let go of anything that no longer serves “2021 Pisces.” Don’t worry: You aren’t giving up or betraying the fish who weighs their options so intentionally before making a final decision. Letting go means making room for a better option (and maybe a miracle) to flow it. 

Were you born during Mercury retrograde? Find out!

Use our handy calculator to discover if Mercury is retrograde or direct in your birth chart.

To learn more about how to handle the first Mercury retrograde of 2021, see Mercury Retrograde’s Shadow Phase: Decode the ‘Retroshade’

Photo credit: Kike Arnaiz via Stocksy


The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.