How To Work with Mercury Retrograde

Astro 101

A Rhythm to be Rocked

Mercury retrograde is not to be feared. It’s a rhythm to be rocked. It’s a song to be sung. It’s an excuse to get your introspective groove on.

It happens 3-4 times a year. (In 2022: 4 times.) If one considers the shadow phases of Mercury as well as the retrograde itself (the time when the planet will occupy the degrees of its retrograde motion), we are looking at two entire months for each retrograde. That’s 6-8 months total. That’s over half a year. That’s over half our life.

Instead of viewing this time as one of communicative curses and technological condemnation from the gods on high, we can view it as essential to our growth and evolution. 

Yes, things get tricky, testy, and tedious. Yes, Zoom calls get dropped, emails get lost, and texts go awry. No, it’s not a good time to make major plans, sign big contracts, or buy electronic devices. Big deal. These things are easy enough to avoid or easy enough to deal with if we put life into perspective. 

The real work is much more involved.

What it means for Mercury to be Retrograde

When retrograde, Mercury, like any planet, only appears to be going backward from our perspective on this little rock from which we stand. In actual fact, the planet does more of a loop-de-loop move in the sky.

This gives us a good indication of what we end up mirroring.

Retrogrades tend to bring certain issues, people, and opportunities back around — especially if they’re of a Mercurial nature, or related to the sign it takes place in. What is a “Mercurial” nature? Anything to do with communications, learning, thinking, reasoning, and moving about. 

Elemental Meaning

Mercury retrogrades always occur in the same element or element combo every year. Last year, in 2021, every Mercury retrograde unfolded in the air signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. 

2022 marks the progression to earth signs, with the retrogrades sprawling between Aquarius and Capricorn (January 14, 2022 - February 3, 2022), Gemini and Taurus (May 10, 2022 - June 3, 2022), Libra and Virgo (September 9, 2022 - October 2, 2022), then back to Aquarius and Capricorn at the end of this year (December 29, 2022 - January 18, 2023). 

This dance from air to earth (and eventually back to air) reflects our own processes of manifesting ideas. When the first call or seed presents itself, what are the steps you take to crystallize those ideas into something lasting or permanent? How do you catch the tendrils of dreams or lightbulb flashes before they evanesce? 

The Rewind

Boomerang-like in nature, retrogrades have a way of bringing us back to the scene of the crime. Back to review what we most likely had to skip over. Back to what we could not see, understand or digest the first time round. Or the 61st.

In our forward-moving culture, a retrograde motion can be a difficult migration to value. Egos tend to love moving fast, forward, and fiercely, which is a wonderful way to build a business, but not the best way to build spiritual, emotional, or intellectual wisdom. If we are afraid to trace back over old hurts, if we are afraid to look our secrets in the eye, and if we are afraid to deconstruct a memory to gain a deeper awareness of our lived reality, then we are afraid to truly live.

For the first Mercury retrograde of 2022, here are the dates to be aware of:

Mercury enters its shadow on December 29th, 2021
Mercury stations retrograde on January 14th, 2022 at 10° Aquarius
Mercury is cazimi on January 23rd, 2022 at 3° Aquarius
Mercury stations direct on February 3rd, 2022 at 24° Capricorn
Mercury leaves its shadow on February 24th, 2022

Tips and tricks to survive this Mercury retrograde:

  1. Tune inward. Practice being still and contemplative. 
  2. Proofread your emails, texts, and tweets.
  3. Spend time editing any writing, sound, or video projects.
  4. Read the orphic hymn to Mercury and ask the trickster to be gentle with its jokes
  5. If/when technology hits the fan, embrace your sense of humor
  6. Backup your devices
  7. Avoid hand-talking with cups of liquid near your computer or keyboard
  8. Expect public transport to be late and plan accordingly
  9. Re-read the description of your Mercury on the CHANI app and listen to your reading for the week of January 10th.


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