Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


         There is a term in astrology that many people dread; mercury retrograde. It is that time when the planet Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky due to the alignment of the planets as we go our merry way around the Sun. Anecdotally, it is a time when communications, electronics, plans, health, jobs and clarity simply breaks down. People experience noticeable miscalculations, misunderstandings, mistakes, disruptions, confusion, breakdowns, and sometimes chaos! Emails quit working, computers start doing weird stuff. Astrologers recommend that we not enter into any contracts or commitments during this time. The current mercury retrograde started four days ago and will last approximately two and a half more weeks. Personally I am having problems with my printer. It just won’t work when I want it to. I downloaded new drivers, rebooted, cursed and pulled my hair and nothing. Just when I was calling tech support everything in the queue started printing. Egad!

Astrologers tell me that mercury retrograde is a very important time in the year when we are supposed to rethink, redo, recalibrate, reconnect and simply rest. Part of the problem of today’s society is that we don’t pace ourselves, we don’t take time to rest properly. We get sore, stiff, frustrated, stressed and ill because we don’t take time to contemplate our lives and simply relax. In many ways, mercury retrograde forces us to put the telephone down and go run in the grass.

This time of the astrological calendar is also the perfect time to practice patience and non-reaction. When we have a feeling that something may not go the way we want, we can prepare ourselves to be patient and kind. Just because something isn’t happening the way we want right now, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen later. All things come to those who don’t react. I have always said that the universe has a really crappy way of teaching patience. It usually means wading knee deep in a swamp of alligators. When alligators surround us, sometimes it is difficult to remember that our initial objective was to drain the swamp. So mercury retrograde is a time to remember what our original intentions were and how we may have lost the path to the life we want. Although it is best to put our past behind us, and to keep the future in front of us, sometimes it is good to contemplate and meditate on how we can improve our thoughts and behavior.

Mercury retrograde also affects how we communicate with our self, how we talk to our self and how we think about our self. For the next two and one half weeks, we can be more aware of how we do all of those things and what we can do to be more positive, grateful and joyful. When we are marching full speed ahead, sometimes that is not possible. So when your laptop is doing amazingly stupid things or your printer isn’t working (really bad for a writer), it is a great time to look around and see how good we have it.

It is a great time to get organized and clean up the clutter, not only in our minds but also in our closets, drawers and other storage areas. If you haven’t used it in a year, give it away. Clothing, computers, electronics and other possessions will block the flow of energy and abundance if you don’t keep things flowing. Go for a walk, take off your shoes, treat yourself to something fun and silly. Go outside your comfort zone. Mercury retrograde is a time of unexpected results and can be down right silly. So have fun! Laugh at your experiences and keep a journal. See how playful and joyful you can make this period. If you can find fun in mercury retrograde, you will find it everywhere. While everything is falling apart, contemplate how you can do and think in new ways with new results. If you have been doing something the same way forever, change it! If you haven’t heard from a friend, call them (if your telephone is working).

Most importantly, don’t take anything personally for the next two and a half weeks (or the next two and one half lifetimes either). Many people will be having the same communications problems that you may be experiencing. You may find yourself asking yourself:  “did I say that out loud?” Well other people may be saying the same thing.  So if someone says something that may irritate or confuse, give them a break, it is mercury retrograde! Have fun, relax, and enjoy the new you!