How To Survive Mercury Retrograde, Based On Your Sign
Hands up if you’ve spotted the first round of Mercury retrograde memes in your newsfeed this month—you know, the ones that blame everything from stepping in a puddle to losing the lottery on this buzzy astrological event.
In the weeks that Mercury appears to be moving backward through space, it’s more than just the planet’s orbit that gets thrown out of whack. In astrology, Mercury rules communication, coordination, travel, and technology, making hiccups in these departments incredibly common. Whether it’s popped tires and tangled telephone wires, or petty jabs and unsettled bar tabs, there’s a good chance that Mercury retrograde (MRx) will keep you on your toes.
What does Mercury retrograde actually do?
I have a love-hate relationship with the Mercury retrograde conversation. On one hand, I appreciate how pop culture’s obsession with this transit has helped normalize astrology. But I also don't think the demonizing stereotype that’s cast over this period is totally fair. In reality, the retrograde has many redeeming traits.
As intuitive healer and tarot reader Lindsay Mack puts it, when we are moving out of alignment with our higher selves, the universe dishes up MRx hiccups to slow our pace and trigger reflection. It is when we choose to meditate on these cosmic messages that we can grow through Mercury retrograde. Instead of trying to brush past the rockiness of this retrograde at lightning speed, we need to sink into the cosmic confusion and get comfy—a task that’s much easier said than done.
So while we can't change the way the cosmos serves its lessons through the coming weeks, we can shift the way we choose to respond to them. In the spirit of this retrograde’s namesake, let's explore how our Mercury signs (which you can calculate using this table) can help us survive and thrive during this tricky transit. Since Mercury rules communication, determining where this planet falls in your birth chart will provide you with a deeper understanding of how you interact with the world—knowledge that is immeasurably useful when MRx comes to town.
Read on for the "do’s" and "don’ts" to adhere to in this transformative time.
Mercury in Aries
Do: Hold on tight to your enthusiasm.
One of the most alluring characteristics of Mercury in Aries individuals is their unwavering energy and enthusiasm, which they use to inspire others. I like to think of you as the startup CEOs, riding high on the excitement of your brand-new, million-dollar idea that will change the world. During a transit like MRx that is characterized by turbulence, grabbing your passion and positivity by the horns is crucial. As a natural leader, you’ll be ready and waiting to cheer up those of us who may have succumbed to the stress of the season.
Don't: Leap before you look.
While it’s true that no one likes a waffler, being quick to make decisions (and jumping to conclusions) can be the downfall of this Mercury position during MRx. While it’s in your nature to proceed at a lightning pace, making an effort to slow your roll during this retrograde is critical. Take a long, hard look at where the universe is dishing out difficulties, and work on being more reflective than reactionary. Trust me when I say that a little buffering can go a long way.
Mercury in Taurus
Do: Satiate the senses.
If your Mercury is in Taurus, you navigate the world through sensory experiences. Your saving grace during this period? Creating an environment that is strategically designed to soothe the five senses. Whether you choose to diffuse a palette of your favorite essential oils, savor a delicious meal, or listen to a playlist that mellows out your mood, harnessing sensory tools is an incredibly effective way to find your center. When the outside world starts to get a little crazy, your inner world will be doing just fine thanks to a safe, soothing, and probably lovely scented space.
Don't: Settle into stubbornness.
We all know the saying "stubborn as a bull," and for our Mercury in Taurus friends, this rings very true. I personally love the loyalty and determination shown by those of you with this Mercury position, but this charming inflexibility can make cruising through MRx all the more challenging. In a period rife with miscommunications, things like going with the flow and keeping an open mind are imperative. To a Mercury in Taurus individual, the thought of swallowing your pride and saying "I’m sorry" during an argument might feel like the end of the world, but these peace offerings will pay off tenfold in the weeks to come.
Mercury in Gemini
Do: Embrace your twin energy.
What’s the best thing about having your Mercury in Gemini? It’s like you get to be two thinkers, learners, and decision-makers for the price of one. Geminis are represented by the twins in the zodiac, giving them the unique ability to change course (or opinions) at a moment’s notice. As a Mercury in Gemini communicator, you are probably a smooth talker who can seamlessly insert yourself into any social situation. It’s this chameleon-like quality that will help you stay afloat during MRx, allowing you to roll with the punches and accommodate any inconvenience with ease.
Don't: Overlook the power of mantras.
Since Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini, you are particularly sensitive to this transit and all of its powerful medicine. Having your Mercury in Gemini means you are incredibly observant and impressionable—traits that can morph into a burden during the MRx period. Focusing on a mantra that calls you out of your external environment and back into yourself is an excellent practice, especially when you find yourself in frustrating situations or surrounded by frustrated people. Recite "I am the sky; everything else is the weather" on repeat when things get messy, and watch your life as an energy sponge begin to transform.
Mercury in Cancer
Do: Carve out time to be creative.
Cancer is arguably the most artistic sign of the zodiac, so it’s so important for individuals with this Mercury placement to never stop creating. Sensitive and soulful, you are prone to retreating, requiring ample alone time to make sense of your inner and outer worlds. To truly thrive during Mercury retrograde and reap all of its transformative benefits, these periods of deep reflection are key. Finding time to write, paint, sing, or simply meditate on the roadblocks you’ve experienced during MRx will help you discern their higher meaning, turning this otherwise moody period into something magical.
Don't: Entertain arguments.
If you’ve ever been in an argument and someone uttered the sentence "You can dish it out, but you can’t take it," then your Mercury might just be in Cancer. You are deeply emotional in nature, meaning that all of the crossed communication wires in MRx can really throw you for a loop. If you feel a conversation moving in a negative direction, it’s advisable to jump ship ASAP and use your little crab legs to swim straight back to shore. Cancers have an outstanding emotional memory, meaning that cosmically fueled confrontations stick with them long after MRx ends. This can cause unnecessary anguish that this potentially broody sign doesn’t need any more of.
Mercury in Leo
Do: Give your two cents.
Are you the friend that everyone calls when their lives fall to pieces? If your Mercury is in Leo, you get a buzz out of helping your nearest and dearest succeed (hello, Dance Moms of the zodiac), making you the hero of the MRx period. Hotel lost your partner’s booking? You’d like to speak to the manager, please. Your sister’s in the heat of a texting battle with her boyfriend? Take a look at those screenshots and help her craft a productive reply. As a persuasive and powerful communicator, it’s your civic duty to step in and clean up the mess MRx leaves in its wake—a job I'm confident you won’t mind doing.
Don't: Stand in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Leo is known as the celebrity of the zodiac, so this Mercury position reflects a charismatic and performative communication style. As talented storytellers and natural leaders, Mercury in Leos are primed to be the center of attention. However, life in the spotlight can quickly turn sour during a retrograde, when people tend to fly off the handles due to mix-ups and missteps. Leo, it’s your job to bring that boil down to a simmer, using tools like breathwork and meditation to make this transit significantly smoother for everyone involved.
Mercury in Virgo
Do: Utilize your utilitarian nature.
To put it bluntly, Virgos are excellent at sorting sh*t out, which means they were basically designed for MRx. Having your Mercury in Virgo means that you are an astronomically practical person with a set of wicked street smarts, allowing you to defuse any crisis or confusion with ease. While you can sometimes catch some slack for your rather unemotional exchanges, this sort of cool, stabilizing energy is the antidote to those wild, MRx showdowns. Your challenge for this transit will be to step into your unique, utilitarian power and put all of that earthy, real-world energy to good use.
Don't: Accept anxiety.
Like Gemini, Virgo’s ruling planet is Mercury, meaning that this retrograde period will be particularly potent. You are someone who feels safe and secure when things go to plan, but of course, this is not the nature of this transit. To avoid slipping into a tizzy when your schedule gets flipped on its head, use anxiety-calming techniques to regain control of your thought patterns. The positive impact of an extra-sweaty workout or blaring a sing-your-heart-out playlist are understated, so I suggest making these emotional outlets a staple in your daily routine.
Mercury in Libra
Do: Find the beauty in everything.
Libras, by nature, prefer turning a blind eye to the shadows of the human condition. And while hiding from darkness isn’t what life’s all about, basking in the light can be an effective strategy for helping you make sense of the MRx period. Surrounding yourself with pretty, pleasant things—either by creating art or curating it—is an effective way for you to maintain a clear head during this transit. This way, when the universe serves you a challenge, you’ll have the space to interpret the deeper meaning behind these telling spiritual signals. Appreciating a little beauty can go a long way.
Don't: Lose your sense of self.
In the zodiac, Libra is represented by the scales, making you a slave to balance and equality. Having your Mercury in Libra means that you’re likely the queen of playing devil’s advocate, able to understand all sides of a situation at a moment’s notice. This skill obviously comes with its perks, but it can also lead to bouts of indecisiveness that won’t do you any favors during the quick-to-change MRx. By trusting your gut and placing more value on your opinion than everyone else’s, you’ll be able to ride the waves of this transit with style and grace—a Libra’s ultimate goal.
Mercury in Scorpio
Do: Channel Sherlock Holmes.
Blessed with a high emotional intelligence and psychic abilities, this Mercury position is the detective of the zodiac. Having your Mercury in Scorpio means that you love to figure what makes people tick, using your truth-spotting tendencies to see through any facades they may hide behind. When lines of communication get crossed during MRx, you will be needed more than ever to cut through the confusion and make sense of a situation. It’s up to you to figure out where people are coming from and act accordingly.
Don't: Spit fire.
Scorpios are a passionate breed, known for saying what’s on their mind with the utmost intensity. And while some people find this lack of censorship refreshing, it’s this no-holds-barred approach to communication that often rubs others the wrong way. When Mercury goes retrograde, it’s particularly important for you to watch your tongue, pay extra close attention to your audience, and feel into the energy of a room. In a transit that is colored by convoluted conversations, taking a moment to think before you speak can save you from having to make a lot of unnecessary apologies down the road.
Mercury in Sagittarius
Do: Go with the flow.
I like to compare my Mercury in Sagittarius friends to seasoned backpackers—people who fly by the seat of their pants and thrive on perpetual mingling and momentum. Instead of feeling the hardships of life on the road, these natural-born travelers know how to roll with the punches. By clinging onto your lovingly lackadaisical nature, you’ll be able to glide through this MRx with ease, viewing train delays and computer crashes as no more than a tiny blip on your radar.
Don't: Stir the pot.
I know you love a good debate, but the judge is cutting you off on this one. Having your Mercury in Sagittarius likely means you are passionate about stimulating conversation and will go to great lengths to make it happen. On your never-ending quest to be challenged intellectually, you are prone to pushing people’s buttons in hopes of provoking a friendly argument. But does this sound like a productive practice when Mercury is retrograde? Chances are you’ll have plenty of communication crises to handle during this three-week transit, so do yourself a favor and ditch those heated dialogues at the door.
Mercury in Capricorn
Do: Rev up the resourcefulness.
Thinking resourcefully and communicating clearly is in your DNA, so you're needed now more than ever before. As someone who is planning-obsessed and practical, you’ll never forget to look before you leap, but MRx is calling you to throw this hesitant attitude to the wayside and step into your power. When travel plans start to crumble, there’s truly no one more suited to pick up the pieces than a Capricorn. Worrying less about what people think of you and more about your skills as a leader is your lesson for this transit.
Don't: Forget to come home to yourself.
Let’s be real: Mercury retrograde is your worst nightmare. As a communicator who thrives on structure and steadiness, this tumultuous transit is the antithesis of what you need to feel comfortable. But instead of throwing your hands up in defeat and becoming moody or depressed, give chakra work a go. Opening your root chakra can help establish a sense of safety and security in the body—a grounding energy that will make MRx a lot more bearable. Using visualization techniques, practicing yoga, or meditating with crystals is a great way to start.
Mercury in Aquarius
Do: Kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
If your Mercury falls in Aquarius, you’re in luck! This retrograde period is what you live for. As someone who is always on the hunt for the next intellectual stimulus that breaks the status quo, you feel right at home in this chaotic transit. Your quick thinking and delightfully detached nature will serve you well during MRx, allowing you to clear any hurdles in the coming weeks. Bear in mind that this go-with-the-flow attitude is contagious, so wholeheartedly expressing your flexible nature can do wonders for the world at large.
Don't: Go to war.
Have you ever found yourself sharing an opinion that you don’t really believe in, just to spark a debate? This Mercury position loves a good thought-provoking conversation—and a controversial one even more. It’s important to remember that MRx is a period laden with communicative challenges, so you can rest assured that a few heated exchanges will naturally head your way. Avoid pushing buttons for entertainment’s sake and try using your interested, intuitive nature for good. This retrograde calls for less conflicts and more fast-thinking problem solvers, like you.
Mercury in Pisces
Do: Give thanks for your special gifts.
The best thing about having your Mercury in Pisces? You’re basically psychic. Pisces is the zodiac’s most spiritually connected sign, so your communication style is colored with a layer of knowing that others may struggle to access. Mercury retrograde is a particularly good time to honor your intuition and "go with your gut," as you’ll be faced with plenty of sticky situations that involve decision making. By slowing down and diving into regular ritual work, you’ll be able to make this potent period of reflection feel like home.
Don't: Forget to protect your energy.
Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt bogged down by its negative energy? If your Mercury is in Pisces, of course you have. Compared to all of the other Mercury signs, your compassion is unmatched, but being an empath comes with its challenges. When wires get crossed and people start to come unhinged during MRx, you’re likely to feel their frustrations on a personal level. As someone who has a proclivity for letting others dictate their mood, carrying an energy-protecting stone like black tourmaline or cleansing your space with palo santo is highly advisable.
Check out your December 2017 horoscope for more insight into what is brewing in the stars this month.