May 19, 2015

Mercury Retrograde: Just Another Excuse?

solar system mercury

Warning: naughty language ahead! 

“Yeah, well, isn’t Mercury in retrograde?” I said to my boyfriend in a snotty, frustrated tone on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

“Yep, I think it is!” he said, somehow sarcastically and enthusiastically at the same time.


So, for the next three minutes, we proceeded to blame our problems on Mercury’s backwards dance, a period of about three weeks infamous for scrambling communication, messing with technology and slicing apart perfectly planned plans.

It felt good to point our fingers upward at the sky instead of inward, toward our own chests. It felt really good. After all, our afternoon had been a grand series of mix-ups, failed plans and catastrophic communication disasters. I sure as hell didn’t want to take responsibility. He sure as hell didn’t want to take responsibility.

So, we cast ourselves brilliantly as victims of Mercury’s tricky ways.

As those precious minutes of fantastic blaming drew to a close, it was just us, sitting there in a pool of slimy complaints and whiny wails. It started to feel more than a little pathetic.

We weren’t victims and we knew it.

So, we decided to shut up about Mercury’s troublemaking and meet our troubles head-on: by talking. By being vulnerable. By revealing things we were afraid to reveal. We took deep breaths, ripped off our soul’s shirts and started being honest. Really honest.

It was scary. It wasn’t fun. I came face-to-face with the icy brick wall of my unrelenting stubbornness. I saw how being quiet about my needs was equivalent to suffocating myself with my own two hands. I saw more than I ever wanted to see.

Then, I started to wonder: were the Mercurial communication disasters that led to the day’s downfall actually helping us both see more about ourselves—and communicate better than ever?

Yes, it seemed so.

It was like Mercury unplugged us, short-circuited our hearts, then helped us find a new way to connect. As annoying as it was, I felt grateful. My man and I began to fumble toward compromise and dance toward real intimacy. It felt so juicy, like we were creating state-of-the-art channels of rock-solid understanding between us.

By the end of our conversation, we both felt brand-new and slightly bad-ass.

Believe it or not, Mercury doesn’t go into retrograde so we have something to blame our problems on.


Mercury retrogrades because we need plans to get fucked up. We need to get caught in our own unclear words and shaky, weak-ass truths. We need days to get derailed and conversations to crumble into piles of swirling dust.

We need all of it.

Because it’s actually a golden-winged blessing; a gorgeous opportunity in disguise.

Is it inconvenient? Yes.

Does it suck? Sure.

But, when plans, conversations, cell phones, contracts and car engines go completely wonky and awry, it creates a moment of opening where we can see something:


Yes, we see more about our imperfect, ever-so-succulent selves.

We see how we deal with irritating errors, infuriating mistakes and catastrophic mix-ups.

We see how we feel when plans fall flat on the floor and land with a huge thud.

We see how we struggle to carry on when life isn’t so convenient.

Because these moments—the annoying ones that rub us the wrong way—that’s where the real juiciness lives. It’s always lived there, but we often turn away from the discomfort of it all.

Enter Mercury.

In all of his tricky retrograding glory, he offers us a handful of chaotic, uncomfortable moments.

These moments can be awe-inspiring and transformational.

In them, we can cultivate real strength, real fortitude and fierce, unyielding determination.

We can cultivate ourselves.

But, at the end of the day, it’s up to us. We can’t control Mercury’s backwards spinning, but we can support ourselves through this often-rocky, topsy-turvy period. We can summon our mountain-like strength, fire up our feathery, phoenix resilience and get through it brilliantly, with much less complaining and little to no blaming.

So, what will we choose?

Will we come through for ourselves?

Or, will we sit on the sidelines, moaning and groaning, pretending we’re powerless?

Hopefully we will choose the former, because we have all chosen the ladder far too many times.

Come one, come all, let’s dive on in.

Mercury sure is having a good laugh at our expense.

Let’s have a laugh, too; it doesn’t have to be so serious.

Because in the midst of plans gone awry and conversations slayed, we can stop, take a breath and see something profound in the ever-so-subtle subtext of our supremely delicious souls.


Relephant read:

5 Dos & Don’ts for your Love Life during Mercury Retrograde


For all the non-believers out there:


Author: Sarah Harvey

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Dmitry Boyarin/Flickr

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