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The Most Feared Astrological Event and Why You Should Start Embracing it Right Now

Ah, the sweet smell of Mercury in Retrograde. Smells like delayed trains, broken phones, lost personal items, and texts to your exes. But what is it, really?

Mercury In Retrograde is an astrological event which occurs several times a year when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards (east to west rather than west to east). In reality, it’s an illusion like gender or racism against white people!

Many people believe that when Mercury is in retrograde, communication, travel, and technology go haywire. In my experience, when Mercury is in retrograde, secrets also come to the surface. Since some of this retrograde fell during secretive and investigative Scorpio season, the tea should be flowing heavily. Drink up!

So far, this retrograde seems to be a rough one. There’s an electric buzz in the air and in our bones and a looming feeling of “something’s out of place.” Texts are being misinterpreted, relationship tension is high, breakups are abundant, and all of your favorite sweaters are being misplaced.

According to Bustle, “Mercury retrograde November 2018 is square Neptune which adds confusion and deception to the usual Mercury retrograde problems like communication and technology breakdowns, nervous anxiety, travel delays, and lost items.” Fun!
Below is an example of one Chicago Gemini’s struggles just 2 days into retrograde.

So, yeah. Mercury in retrograde can be a tough time. But over the years I’ve learned to shift my perspective and allow myself to see the good in the so, so bad. If I lose an important personal item (this year it was my engagement ring), I take it as a reminder to slow the fuck down. Walk slower, breathe slower, release the tension in my shoulders and make sure I’m as present as possible.

Or let’s say I go off on someone close to me and say something I don’t mean. That, my friends, is an opportunity to unpack my personal communication habits, my trauma, my shadow self. Next time I will behave better. And without fail Mercury in retrograde always gives me a harsh reminder that leaving the house at the very last minute is always a bad idea. Public transportation isn’t on your side. I’m still working on that, but the reminders sure do help.

I’m a generous, people pleasing Libra so I’ve compiled a short list of practical advice for this retrograde season.

  • Double check everything. Phone, keys, wallet…or in Mollie Gloss’s case…computer, camo jacket, and gold hoops.
  • Leave 15 minutes early. Expect delays when traveling!
  • Take a social media break, or at the very least cut down on your screen time.
  • Keep a journal specifically for Mercury in retrograde. Write down what feels out of place, what goes wrong, where your head is, and what patterns you notice. Take it one step further by listing out positive actions you can take towards improving your behaviors. You can’t control what gets thrown at you but you can control how you react.
  • Re-organize. Everything.
  • Listen. Intentionally. If communication is rough during this time, use it as an exercise in whole-hearted listening. Talk less.
  • Pay attention to your urges and decide whether or not they serve you. You will feel a pull towards old relationships and semi-closed wounds. Please allow those things to heal. Don’t send that “u up?” text, don’t stalk your ex’s annoyingly well-curated Instagram, and if you must rehash old traumas consider doing it safely with a therapist.

If the universe is going to throw a bunch of shit at you for 3-4 weeks, why not use it as an exercise in patience, flexibility, and self-care? As country superstar John Michael Montgomery once said: “Life’s a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.”

I get a lot of questions during Mercury Rx. Does everybody take my advice? They should, but I digress. Here are the most common Mercury in retrograde questions I receive:

Q: When is Retrograde:

A: November 16-December 4th, 2018 will be the last Mercury Rx of 2018! Not even 4 full weeks! Also, no shade but you can fully google this on your own. Put that shit in your Google calendars a year ahead of time.

Q: What should I expect during Mercury Rx?

A: So much! You’ll notice that technology is failing you slightly more than usual. Texts will be missed, phones will act strangely, public transportation will make you want to flip tables. Delays will be frequent, which will teach you patience. In addition, communication gets super cloudy. It’s important to be extra clear when talking with others, especially over text. This is a pro tip for Mercury in Rx and life in general: do not assume you know a person’s tone from a text message. If you’re unsure, just ask. “I’m reading this in a harsh tone. Is that how you meant it?” You can avoid arguments, tension, and misunderstandings this way.

Q: Am I allowed to blame my shitty behavior on Mercury Rx?

A: There is no excuse for shitty behavior. Listen to some Brené Brown
and do better.

Q: My ex texted me/I just texted my ex – is this common during Mercury Rx?

A: Personally, I’d recommend never texting your ex unless it’s for the good of both of you (i.e. either you’re soul mates or the sex is exceptionally fire) but during Retrograde I’m going to, in all caps, tell you DO NOT TEXT YOUR EX. The reason so many of us feel the impulse to open up old relationships is because the universe is giving us the opportunity to learn a lesson about personal growth. When you get that “u up?” text, please just block the number. Your ex is your ex for a reason and you’re being a god damn masochist. Try masturbating!

Q: Why does everything suck and why do I want to smash things?

A: Because Mercury Rx illuminates the patterns in our life that we would be better off discarding. It asks us to get honest with ourselves, and often getting honest can be painful. Where do you turn for comfort? Does it really serve you? What and who are you putting your energy into? How much of your energy do you put into being kind to yourself? Why the fuck do you wait until the last minute to leave the house, causing you to consistently miss the 72 bus, show up late to work, get written up and then cry in the bathroom? You can either ignore these questions or use this time to answer them with the intention of becoming a better, more whole and healthy version of yourself.

Q: I’m a(n) [insert astrological sign].” Will Mercury Rx effect me in any specific ways?

A: Yes, great question! Each sign will be effected in slightly different ways. Each human will be effected in slightly different ways because we all have different lessons to learn. Some signs won’t feel much a shift at all. But according to astrologers, this Rx will be pretty harsh on Gemini, Virgo, Scorpio, and Sagittarius folks.

Q: Do you really believe this shit?

A: Clearly. I’m spending my day off writing a blog post about it. You’re welcome.

Here’s the thing: It’s never been scientifically proven that Mercury in retrograde has any of the effects I’ve described. Whether or not you believe in the power of Mercury in retrograde, you can still benefit from the opportunity to expand, improve, and change your negative habits. Look inward, unpack your shit, and practice your communication skills. And all together now: DO NOT TEXT YOUR EX.

Emilie Modaff (they/them/theirs) is a Chicago-based actor, writer, musician, storyteller, cat co-parent, podcaster, tarot reader, reiki practitioner, performance artist, producer & casting director. They write for several publications, covering the Chicago theater scene, pop culture, and topics surrounding sobriety and recovery from addiction. Learn more about their work at their website, or keep up with them on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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