Feb 6, 2018

You probably have a handful of friends who blame virtually every problem on this astrological phenomenon called Mercury retrograde. If you’re not familiar with astrology, you probably wonder if you, too, should start freaking out. It’s one of those events that they say affects everyone, regardless of their sign.

Mercury is the planet that rules over communication. When it goes into retrograde, it appears to spin backwards. In truth, the planet is actually orbiting faster than the earth. It only looks like it’s moving in the opposite direction from Earth.

The sheer speed of Mercury zooming through the stars causes turbulence and, for some, chaos. The planet seems to be asleep, so the areas it governs won’t quite function the way we want them to.

But what does Mercury retrograde even mean?

You’ll find that aspects of communication—particularly relationships, documents, and sometimes finances—are in a state of flux. It seems to translate into every other aspect of our lives from health to business to creativity.

It’s difficult to avoid frustrations and dilemmas during this period. Instead, take time to reflect before making major decisions.

Be careful of what you say and how you come across to other people. Save that paycheck bonus for a rainy day. Plan that passion project, but don’t carry it out just yet. Take things slow. Better yet, don’t launch any new endeavors, and avoid signing contracts.

What do I watch out for?

If you’re a Virgo or a Gemini, chances are you’ll feel Mercury’s movement the most intensely. Your ruling planet is asleep instead of cheering you on. Avoid getting into heated conversations. If you really need to fight someone, be patient and more sensitive to how the other party feels.

Every retrograde period in 2018 falls under a fire sign. The best way to make it through is to match your attitude and disposition to the element of the sign Mercury retrogrades in.

When you hit obstacles, be creative. Where people seem passive-aggressive or uninvolved, be more assertive. But always temper your words to avoid miscommunication.

Fire signs are known for being unpredictable and emotionally volatile. So these retrograde periods will affect projects and conversations we’re passionate about. These periods will mimic the temperaments, strengths, and weaknesses of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius signs.

Mar. 22 to Apr. 15, in fire sign Aries

Aries personalities are fierce and can be known for their impatience. It’s either their way or the highway. As the first retrograde of the year, this period signals new beginnings and blooming energies. On the downside, when plans fall through or expectations aren’t met, tempers may flare and fights can ensue.

What to do: Don’t rush into new challenges, no matter how exciting. Take things slow. Have a plan B. Maybe even Z. Count to 10. Or 100. Choose your battles. Be patient.

Jul. 26 to Aug. 18, in fire sign Leo

Leo season is all about confidence. This sign was made for strong leaders. Not everything is about you, though, so maybe tone down on the self-praise. There’ll be a lot of creative surges, but also drama. Passion, ego, and expressiveness will be at an all time high. However, you may be thrown off by sudden changes.

What to do: Sit down. Be humble. Be sensitive toward others. Accept change. Be realistic about your self-image. Watch your words and body language. Flirt wisely.

Nov. 16 to Dec. 6, in fire sign Sagittarius

The freedom-hungry Sagittarius is always looking for constant change. Nearing the end of the year, endings and beginnings are intertwining. It’s a time for optimism and curiosity but also caution. You can be too idealistic that you become impractical. It’ll be difficult to make concrete plans. There may be spells of bad luck due to miscommunication.

What to do: Avoid making major decisions. Reflect on the pros and cons. Plan extensively. Wait for the retrograde to end. Beware of sales and contracts. Keep calm.

Photos courtesy of NASA.gov, Astrologyzone.com, and Unsplash.

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