February 27, 2013

10 Tips for Getting through “Mercury Retrograde.” ~ Tracy Johnson

Mercury Retrograde used to be a term only known in the realm of astrology.

Now it’s become mainstream enough to have earned its place in popular culture. According to Urban Dictionary it is defined as:

“A three week period in which the planet Mercury to appears to be in backwards motion. During this time human beings experience many adverse effects, such as memory loss, loss of time, loss of items, loss of virginity, loss of common sense. As for technology many unexpected glitches occur during this time, such as software crashes and emails getting lost.”

I can personally attest to the validity of some of these claims—I myself have experienced the general chaos and breakdown of communications, especially electronic communications, during retrograde periods. As a matter of fact, I am writing and submitting this article to elephant journal on the first day of a retrograde. I’m thinking maybe I should have planned better and done this a few weeks ago?

The other adverse effects can include:

  • Memory loss: possibly… I don’t remember.
  • Loss of time, items, common sense: yes!
  • Loss of virginity: um, that was a looooong time ago. I don’t remember (see above).

Sounds horrible and terrifying, right? It’s a wonder any of us make it through these occurrences. Often, we come out the other side with a few figurative bumps and bruises.  It may be tempting to go into hibernation during these times, hide under a rock, in a cave or maybe just to suspend our Facebook accounts, but fortunately there are a few steps we can take to help us wade through the rough waters of Mercury Retrograde with grace and peace.

1. Slow down.

During Mercury retrograde it appears as if Mercury slows down and reverses its course. In comparison, we appear to be moving forward faster. This is caused by a change in our perspective related to the alignment of Earth, Mercury and the Sun. We may feel like things are moving too quickly, out of control. The remedy is to slow down. Take a deep breath. Repeat as needed.

2. Change your perspective.

As stated above, Mercury Retrograde is more of a shift in perspective than an actual change in movement. This demonstrates that things are not always as they seem. When posed with a challenging situation or a decision, make sure you see all sides of the issue before taking action. Take the time to investigate and be informed. Be wary of jumping to conclusions or of being reactive, and especially over reactive.

3. Be aware.

When you were a kid you probably learned early on to spot your big sister’s (or your mom’s, dad’s, teacher’s, etc.) bad mood a mile away. You learned that you could avoid a lot of problems just by recognizing the situation and modifying your own actions and responses to them. Know that Mercury Retrograde can bring similar challenges and interactions with others may require extra attention and patience.

4. Look back.

As Mercury appears to move back we may also need to pause and take a look behind us. Take a second glance, double check, make sure you didn’t miss anything.

5. Be mindful, present and clear in your communications.

One of the hallmark occurrences of a Mercury retrograde is a breakdown in communication. Be crystal clear in all your interactions. Choose your words carefully. Be aware of how your listener is poised to receive your words. Confirm that important emails and voicemails are received and be calm and focused when receiving communications from others. Read, reread, clarify.

6. Exercise additional caution and discretion.

In general it is advisable to avoid signing important contracts or making major decisions during a Mercury retrograde, but this may not be practical. If you need to move forward with big decisions, know that this is not the time to trust that things will work out, go with the flow or roll the dice. Apply steps one through five to all decisions of importance.

7. Let go.

Lastly, as I so often gently counsel my dear son or any many beloved yoga students in times of turmoil: suck it up and move on. There will always be external forces at play in our lives, moving and changing our situation in ways we cannot control. Our choice is in how we respond to these situations. The energy and intention we apply to any given situation can shift the energy of that situation moving forward. So, the planets have aligned to throw your world into chaos? So what? It’s your world, it’s your chaos. Embrace it. Explore it. Shape it. As Michael Franti says, “never doubt the power of just one mind.”

…the title says 10 tips? Something must have happened to the last three when I converted the original file. I wish I could remember what they were. Oh well, that’s Mercury Retrograde for you—it has begun!


Tracy Johnson has been exploring movement in its many forms since she began dancing at age 15. Her career as a dancer and choreographer led her to the study of Martial Arts, Massage Therapy and finally Yoga. As a Yoga Instructor she combines an understanding of anatomy and kinesiology with creative Vinyasa sequences rooted in the Ashtanga style and influenced by her many wonderful teachers. Tracy teaches yoga to kids and grown-ups in Western WI. She is the creator of Little Lotus Kids Yoga Cards and teacher training program www.littlelotuskidsyoga.com. She blogs about yoga, life and love at www.yogainthevalley.blogspot.com..



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Assistant Ed. Caroline Scherer/Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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