Search icon


01st Oct 2021

Mercury retrograde is here again – but what does that even mean?

Katy Brennan

Everyone’s heard of Mercury and its mayhem, even if you’re not that into astrology.

Ever feel like your life is descending into chaos? Like drama won’t leave your doorstep and everything is going wrong? Well, it could be down to an astrological phenomenon known as Mercury retrograde.

The phrase has entered the mainstream as a way of explaining why things in our lives go a little haywire. The current Mercury retrograde began on 27 September for the third and final time this year and will end on 18 October – and people are freaking out.

But what the hell does it even mean? And should we be panicking when it happens?

Margaret Gray, a psychological astrologer, chatted to Her about the dreaded event.

“From our position here on Earth it feels like the planet Mercury is going backwards, rather than forwards in the sky,” she says. “It’s an illusion – like sitting on a train that’s moving faster than the one on the track beside us. It feels like the other train is going backwards. Mercury Retrograde happens for three weeks, about three times a year. When any planet goes symbolically retrograde, the energy from that planet goes internal instead of external.”

In astrology, Mercury rules communication – it’s all about things like friendships, relationships, travel, business deals, and technology. These are the aspects of our lives that can be affected.

“There can easily be misunderstandings and confusion during Mercury retrograde times,” Margaret explains.

“If you are signing a contract during this time, it’s best to read the fine print in detail. It’s also the perfect time to connect with old friends and with Mercury currently retrograde in Libra, don’t be surprised if you get a call or text from an ex. A surprising amount of healing of old misunderstandings and hurts can happen during this time.

“Sometimes there can be delays with Mercury retrograde, so if you are planning a trip, best to allow additional time for your journey. Mail may get lost in the post, so again – allow more time. It’s also well worth making sure all your electronic backups are up to date.”

The level to which Mercury retrograde affects us depends on our zodiac sign. As Mercury is currently going retrograde in Libra, the air sign will have to watch out for mayhem.

“Planets in the sign that Mercury is going retrograde in, will resonate the most with the above themes – currently Libra. Planets in Aries will also feel it as it’s opposite Libra, as well as Cancer and Capricorn, which square Libra.”

So while the next few weeks might throw a little bit of chaos our way, don’t panic, there are ways to avoid things going too wrong.

“Paying attention to detail really helps,” Margaret says. “Being conscious of our thoughts and words and it’s well worth avoiding communicating something important via text.”

Mercury retrograde doesn’t have to be all bad, however, there are some upsides to the occurrence. Margaret says it’s best to focus on the positives the retrograde period can bring instead of the negatives.

“It’s a great time to review, revisit, rethink and reconsider things in our lives, rather than starting anything new. If you are thinking of editing an article or book, or work of art, this is an excellent time to do it.

“All in all – it’s a great time to do some internal housekeeping and filing of memories and thoughts, as well as finishing off ongoing projects so that when the retrograde is over, you are ready to launch yourself into something new.”