Mercury in retrograde is here—here’s what to expect during the astrological shake-up

Here is everything you need to know about Mercury in retrograde

Mercury in retrograde
(Image credit: Anastasiia Zvonary / Getty Images)

Mercury retrograde is finally upon us—so if you've been feeling a little chaotic lately, you might want to blame the planets. 

Last month brought many major astrological events for zodiac fans, including the blood moon in May 2021 and the lunar eclipse that is being called the flower moon. We've now entered a period of Mercury retrograde, a so-called cosmic shift that can wreak havoc on our daily lives. 

Many spiritual individuals credit it for creating turbulence in their jobs and friendships, as well as their romantic and social lives (which—let's be real—have been disrupted enough in the lockdown). 

So here is everything that you may need to know about this astrological event so you can keep up to date with your weekly horoscope and ensure that you don't face any unnecessary strife before Mercury in retrograde ends this month. 

When is Mercury in retrograde?

Soon, Mercury is in retrograde again. This began on Saturday 29th May and will finish the day after the summer solstice on Tuesday 22nd June. 

Previously in 2021, Mercury was in retrograde between January 30th to February 21st. This was the first time of the year that the astrological event took place, but Mercury is expected to be in retrograde two more times before 2021 is over.

Later in the autumn, Mercury will be in retrograde again for the last time in 2021. This will take place from September 27th to October 23nd. 

What does it mean that Mercury is in retrograde? 

Retrograde comes from the Latin word retrogradus, which means “backward step”. This is used to describe this astrological phenomenon as the planets appear to change course and move backward in the sky.

Scientifically, this takes place because of an optical illusion and usually, it happens three or four times within a year. 

Astrology expert and host of Saturn Returns Caggie Dunlop explains to woman&home, "Mercury in retrograde means Mercury is moving in the opposite direction to planet Earth, or so it appears. Planets move from east to west around the sun, and when Mercury turns to move from west to east it slows down, and as the Earth passes it creates an optical illusion that it's moving backward."

She further explains that the optical illusion is, "much like when you pass a car when you are on a train that's going faster".

Does Mercury in retrograde affect everyone?

While there are different theories about who can be affected by mercury in retrograde, some astrologists think that depending on the time of year, certain star signs can be affected by the planetary alignments. 

Astrologist & Psychic, Inbaal argues, "Mercury retrograde would affect anyone and everyone who relies on communication, and especially those who need multiple communication channels for work or study. If you have a job that doesn't require too much communication, such as long-distance driving or zoo keeping, you might emerge from this period practically unscathed. If you are a university lecturer, remote teaching, or are a web designer, you'll feel the full impact of the retrograde."

Other astrology experts believe that your birthday will also have an impact on how you are affected by Mercury in retrograde.

Caggie Dunlop says, "It will affect different signs in different ways, as it is currently moving through the sign of Gemini, those with strong Gemini placement will be affected more. So check out your birth chart if you want to delve deeper into how it will influence and affect you."

What should we do when Mercury is in retrograde?

Caggie advises, "Those with strong Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius placements will be most affected. But everyone should take precautions, backup files, and triple-check before pressing send, read the fine print and slow down. Avoid starting new projects, or diving into anything new."

This retrograde follows the super flower blood moon that occurs on 26th May, which will mean heightened emotions all around and a lot of intensity that everyone is feeling."

Caggie also suggests that now is not the best time to begin new projects. She states, "Mercury in retrograde can also affect relationships, creating resentment in partnerships, a lot of people are anticipating break-ups during this time because of the planetary activity going on. 

"And often things starting during this time will quickly fizzle out. Mercury is about trips, travel, intellect, and reason. But during retrograde, it's not time to dive into new ideas. Sit on them till it's over and reassess before making moves."

Inbaal advises that there are also quick ways that you can help yourself during this frustrating time."In the most basic aspect of human interaction, you might hear someone say something to you, and take it the wrong way, because they communicated it inaccurately or insensitively—so remember that it's the Mercury retrograde period, and give people some allowances," she advises.

She continues to say, "In the more complicated lives of the technologically immersed, you'll find that your apps freeze, your emails don't reach their destination, and your returns slip goes missing—so take screenshots of everything, and confirm with the recipient if you've sent a very important message."

Inbaal then advises not to worry too much as this event is only temporary. "Reassure yourself that it doesn't last forever, and for every missing online payment, you will discover it once the retrograde has ended," she says.

How often does mercury go into retrograde?

In 2021, Mercury will be in retrograde on three different occasions, but typically, Mercury is in retrograde around three or four times a year. 

Inball tells woman&home, "People who know about it, just inhale deeply and wait for it to be over. Those who do not... just think that everything's gone crazy. Some years will see Mercury go backward four times, and honestly, it always feels like too often, for too long—but really it's only every three or four months, for three or four weeks."

This is because Mercury travels around the sun at a greater speed than the Earth and therefore appears to change course and move backward from our perspective here on Earth.