how to turn mercury in retrograde into a positive

4 mins
18 Apr 2023
Image of planet Mercury with the zodiac chart

As Mercury heads into retrograde on 21 April, a psychic tells us how to harness its energy for healing, not harming

image Team Woo

words Lucy O'Brien

Troubles in your love life? Friendships feeling flaky? Your boss on your case more than usual at work? Ah, Mercury is in retrograde again – that explains it. Or at least this is what we tell ourselves when the recurring astrological phenomenon happens to fall at the same time that things suddenly seem to take an unlucky turn in our lives.

This celestial phenomenon has long been held responsible for our existential woes. But what would happen were we to view these fated planetary movements differently, and embrace the change they bring?

Mercury in retrograde, which happens about three or four times per calendar year, describes an approximately three-week period during which Mercury laps Earth. When observed from down here, the planet appears to be orbiting us in a backwards direction, west to east.

In astrological terms, this period is associated with a time of unexpected change, unluckiness and a breakdown in communication. How fun! But instead of using this time to merely accept or even validate the things in our lives that are making us stressed or unhappy, it’s time we start using it as a way to highlight the things that are not serving us and make changes to protect our peace.

So as Mercury in retrograde looms (21 April to 14 May is the next occurence), we sat down with a psychic and psychologist to get our heads around this infamously dreaded phenomenon, and how instead of accepting fated misfortune, we can use the occasion for healing and growth.

What is Mercury in retrograde and what does it mean?

Inbaal Honigman, psychic and astrologist, tells woo that “Mercury is the planet of communication, named after the Roman messenger God. It rules anything and everything to do with communication, such as conversations, e-mails, commerce, social media, etc.

“When Mercury goes retrograde, social media glitches, credit cards malfunction, and words are taken out of context. The time of the Mercury retrograde is a harsh one for all things communication, causing random moments of unexpected chaos,” she goes on.

Due to its association with communication, it can also mean a time of change or disconnection with your partner(s), or even a lack of clear communication with yourself and your emotional needs.

How can we harness Mercury in retrograde for healing?

Sure, these three weeks can be rough. But instead of accepting a gruelling elongated period of misfortune, it’s time we use it as a tool to recognise the things that are not serving us in our lives, and change them for the better. And while you can’t be blamed for turning to the planetary movements for finding explanations and reasoning behind your own existential path, it’s important that you do not rely on it wholeheartedly, and allow it to stop you from taking control of your space.

“Thinking there is a problem with Mercury or how the planets are lining up at the moment means you are able to absolve yourself from any responsibility,” says psychologist Wendy Dignan. “If you’re not responsible for it, you can't take any positive aversive action – it's out of your control and you just have to let it happen.” This can be damaging, as it forces us to validate the bad environments, people and exchanges in our lives instead of distancing ourselves from them. “Relying on the planets to change can leave you repeating the same old patterns.”

“So, during the period of retrograde, you should spend some time reflecting about the different areas of life and your roles within them. It's useful to write down a list of all the roles that we perform in our world, be it as an employee, partner, sibling, friend, and then score each of these roles out of 10. Anything scoring less than five or six? You have to ask yourself the question why it's not higher. This can help you acknowledge that you are in control,” Dignan adds.

Honigman agrees. Yes, some things might go wrong during retrograde, but is it just unluckiness, or a recurring pattern? A one-off, or a reminder that something, or someone, is not right for you? “Retrogrades call on us to inspect our own shadow sides, and accept that we are imperfect. So the best guidance for the retrograde is to just go with the flow. This isn't meant to disrupt, it's meant to educate and enlighten.”

“It's the perfect time to be alone, get reacquainted with yourself, and make sure there are books at home, in case your streaming service malfunctions during your 'me-time' evening,” Honigman advises. You don’t have to tell us twice!

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