Blame It On The Retrograde

Have you heard Mercury is in retrograde? Yes, we are living in a time where everything seems to be going sort of...heinously terrible. Like, angry bees on fire in an inescapable cave of doom terrible. We’ve been deep in this mess since the 22nd of March, so if you didn’t know already, there is a reason why your Uber Eats order was delivered to the wrong address; it’s all in the stars.

When a planet is in retrograde it gives the impression that it is moving in the opposite direction. Planets cannot actually move backwards, but they can look like they are based on our position on earth and their positions in the sky. Psychic and casual astrologer Chala Tyson Tshitundu - Writing, Literature, and Publishing ‘18 - explains, “Since all of the planets orbit around the Sun at different speeds, there are points where it appears that other planets are moving backwards. This planetary movement is known as a retrograde transit, as opposed to a direct transit [when a planet appears to be moving in it’s normal direction]. It's like when two cars are traveling at different speeds, and the slower one appears to move backwards in relation to the faster one.”

The planet Mercury, rules communication and commitment. This is why its retrograde seems to affect everyone so severely—when Mercury is in retrograde, it’s coming for your life. It can spur miscommunications within your personal relationships, ruin a job interview, and be the difference between that midterm paper turned in late because your computer decided to have a meltdown at 11:59 p.m. It’s a treacherous time, but if you’re prepared for it, you can successfully navigate your way to the proverbial dry land unscathed.

There’s something special about this retrograde. It is happening during Aries season. This is the time from March 21st until April 20th. This means that along with everyone else, those born under the sign of Aries will be affected the most, along with people whose Mercury is in Aries. If you have ever had the pleasure to encounter an Aries before, you’ll know the general gist of their traits: they are impulsive, hot-headed, and ambitious. Of course, there is so much more to our fiery friends than that, but that lies within their complete natal charts and not just their sun sign. When it comes down to it, fire signs are a bit chaotic. That mixed with a planet in retrograde can lead to some volatile effects. That miscommunication with your friend might lead up to a nice old case of the silent treatment.

But fear not, here are a few tips and tricks to figure out this confusing time. Try not to schedule any important appointments, interviews, or decisions during this time. There is a high chance that anything put into place during Mercury will unravel in the future. So postpone that zine launch for a few weeks and get started on your projects a few days in advance. You’ll thank me later. A mantra that I repeat to myself over and over during Mercury in retrograde is, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Double check everything, it’s worth it.

So, try not to make any major life changes right now. Apartment hunting? Make sure your realtor is reputable and read that lease in full. Twice. I’m not playing around, it will save so many future headaches. Right now is the time to channel an earthy Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn, and be as attentive and organized as you can.

Tyson-Tshitundu also has some helpful retrograde advice, “For everyone, retrograde signals a time to think more deeply about how we communicated with others in the past, and to strengthen our relationships with ourselves. Different signs are impacted differently, but that's mainly because different signs bring different qualities to a person's personality.” they explain; continuing, “Some people, like myself, were born under a Mercury retrograde, and so for us it's actually a more relaxed time than others. We're used to being more introspective communicators, so it's nice for everyone else to bring their energy down to our level.”

Mercury is set to move into retrograde twice this year, the next one in Leo season and the one after that starts at the tail-end of Scorpio season, moving into Sagittarius season (So! Much! Fire!). But hey, you can use this time to learn about yourself. Look inwardly to find what you really want to say and do. Although this time can be stressful, remember that just thinking for a minute to process everything isn’t the worst thing. Take a deep breath—retrograde ends! Until it starts all over again.


Illustration by: Olivia Kelliher