Understanding & Managing Mercury in Retrograde
This piece is a republished article from our archives, cover and article images by Almila Kakinc-Dodd
In 2019, Mercury is in retrograde March 5 through 28, July 7 to August 2 and October 31 to November 20, purportedly affecting our lines of communication, decision, memory, and travel. I'm already feeling its glitches. On its very first day, our analytic programs at work were slow, I had to restart my new yet frozen laptop twice, and my train heading home was delayed by half an hour. These may be coincides but when Mercury is in retrograde, we tend to blame such occurrences on the retrograde’s haywire system.
Yet this planetary pullback is an optical illusion of sorts. As one astrologer compares, Mercury in retrograde is similar to when we're slowly driving on the road and the next car over consequently appears to be moving backwards. We know this isn't actually the case and this applies to planetary movements—the retrograde occurs according to the perspective from the Earth.
Accordingly, I take this time to shift my own view. Rather than being aggravated, paranoid, or tugged by the effects of Mercury in Retrograde, I surrender to the shifts to allow myself to swim through the resulting emotions. I re-consider, re-ground, and re-balance to realise my full potential. I view this time as a potent reminder to slow down and savour all that flows through my life—from delights to possible dismays—for a heightened presence post-retrograde. This period bears medicine for our hearts as a cosmic gas pedal to awaken our senses—stopping the rush to shake us into our true reality. A reminder to reflect or pause before before hitting the send button on an e-mail rather than assuming that it’ll be miscommunicated with Mercury in Retrograde, for instance.
Here is a guide to listen to these shifting Universal nudges
There is a multitude of crystals that can carry you more seamlessly through the flow of Mercury Retrograde and against habitual tendencies of fast-paced upstream struggle in life. The crystals with the most potent energies for this time are Black Tourmaline, which assists in letting go of the sense of fear and paranoia that can arise; Tree Agate, which re-roots our energies to sync up with that of Mama Earth + the flow of the Universe; and Amazonite, which instills grace + clear communication.
grounding grids & wheels
You can reap the support of the crystals above by simply keeping them in close quarters or during meditation. You can learn more about crystal grids and the differences in crystal shapes in The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, & Soul. Alternatively, you can also create grounding grids and medicine wheels. Grounding grids can be very extensive through sacred geometry, but this site gives a more clear + concise explanation.
Being aware and within the space of our breath is the most medicinal element we can incorporate during this planetary period. Simple breathing techniques are a gentle start—try a four-count inhale, four-count hold, followed by a four-count exhale through the nose. Another practise I also like to incorporate is the Eight Stroke Breath for Energy & Stress Release. This involves sitting with your eyes closed with hands in Gyan Mudra, inhaling through the nose in eight counts then exhaling through the nose in one powerful stroke. Begin doing this for three minutes but ideally practise for 11 minutes. There are additional practises and tips for breathwork in the book as well.
As a true high-strung Virgo, I keep myself organised with a huge agenda where I outline my life down to lunar and planetary cycles. Writing down shifts such as Mercury in Retrograde allows me to be more careful when approaching projects and not initiating them unless necessary; adding extra reminders to not forget things; and being kinder to myself when errors do occur. I often think affirmations can induce an eye-roll in their cheesiness but, like most things in life, they can work at the right time and place. I scribble down soothing affirmations to allow myself to surrender to any perceived step backwards—some words you can include as "I am renewed and revived through all" or "shifting through the shit" for a dash of humour.
About the Author
Almila Kakinc-Dodd is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Thirlby. She is also the author of the book The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, & Soul. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Nursing as a Dean’s Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. Her background is in Anthropology & Literature, which she has further enriched through her Integrative Health Practitioner training at Duke University. She lives in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, where she regularly contributes to various publications. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and urges others to join the movement.