What the heck is it? We dive in with astrologer, Florence Devereux
With Mercury in retrograde once again, and being brought up in conversation more often than ever, I was eager to deepen my understanding and really come to terms with what Mercury retrograde actually entails. To do this I reached out to Florence Devereux, an astrologer with a keen interest in esoteric teaching from around the world. Our conversation was truly riveting and I wanted to share with you guys everything I took from it.
First things first... What is it?
Mercury retrograde is essentially when Mercury appears to orbit backwards. Every planet in our solar system always travels in the same direction, however as Mercury is closer to the Sun than Earth is, it orbits faster and occasionally overtakes us. This causes an optical illusion, during which Mercury temporarily appears to travel backwards compared to the stars.
From an astrological perspective, each planet carries a different archetype. Mercury is the God of messaging and communication; governing the small details of our lives and weaving them together to create the bigger picture. So, when Mercury retrogrades, our thinking, our ways of communicating and the detailed systems that run our lives can become disjointed.
How often does it happen and for how long?
This varies from year to year, but retrograde generally happens two or three times over a 12 month period, for around a month each time.
Why is it such a big deal?
Our culture is very progress-driven and as a result, any delays we encounter can lead to us freaking out. Many of us also crave an explanation or excuse, which is partly why Mercury retrograde has garnered such a negative reputation!
In actual fact, retrograde affects us all differently, based on our birth charts. For example, retrograde can actually be a positive time for those of us born with Mercury in our birth charts, as it’s the time we slow down and feel most at ease.
How can we get through it smoothly?
It’s no secret that things are more likely to go "wrong" during Mercury retrograde; whether it’s missing flights, or technical issues, it’s best to be more vigilant in all areas of your life. Flo recommends looking at where Mercury is retrograding in your own chart by speaking to an astrologer or looking online, as this can help give you a more specific insight.
Treating retrograde as an opportunity to slow down, reflect and let go of any internal or external noise can also be hugely beneficial for us. So, even if yoga, meditation or journaling aren’t usually part of your routine, they’re great ways to take the mind inward during these periods.
Is it true that we shouldn’t make any big decisions during retrograde?
As an astrologer, Flo encourages us to take responsibility for our own lives and make decisions as and when they feel right. Having said that, she does recommend seeking cosmic support by researching dates in advance. Ultimately, we shouldn’t freak out, but it's good to be mindful of how it could affect us.