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Although planetary retrogrades are a common occurrence in our cosmos, there’s no planet with a bigger retrograde reputation than Mercury. The hand-wringing around Mercury retrograde has loudened in recent years and created associations with mishaps, havoc, confusion, delays, and fear with this transit. But what if we approached this planetary movement from another perspective? What if, as a cosmic teacher, Mercury retrograde has an intention that is actually far different than the narrative that’s been created? What if it simply asks that we sink in a little deeper to access the wisdom it offers?
What is Mercury retrograde, exactly?
Contrary to our ancestors’ beliefs, when a planet is in retrograde, it isn’t actually moving backward, although it appears as if it is from our perspective. Mercury is closer to the Sun than Earth, which means its orbit is shorter and quicker. It circles the Sun in just 88 days compared to our 365, which means it overtakes us three to four times each year. Each time Mercury laps the Earth in our orbits, it creates the illusion of a backward motion, and thus retrograde begins.
This movement in our cosmos, like all astrological events, is filled with invitations and opportunities, wisdom and insights, if we only choose to see and listen to them.
In astrology, Mercury is our quick, sharp, clever archetype. It rules all things related to communication, thinking, transportation, schedules, logistics, and learning. It shows up in many of the aspects of our everyday life, which is perhaps why it has earned such a dismal reputation for itself: Its influence is obvious, clear, and integrated with the way we have learned to move through the world. And, at times, it is deeply disruptive to this everyday life.
Just as the Earth is taking a moment to catch up with this speedy planet, perhaps there is a part of ourselves or our lives that requires some catching up, too. These retrogrades are opportunities to pause—or, in true Mercury style, we are made to pause by external delays. These pauses allow us time to review the alignment of our outer life and the inner truth of who we now are.
The seemingly backward motion of Mercury retrograde is echoed in our experience. Just as the Earth and Mercury are continuously moving around the Sun, we are always moving, too. We are evolving, changing, shifting, growing, and transforming. When a planet is in retrograde, instead of its energy expressing outwardly into the world, it is turned inward. The same effect takes place within us and we are guided to reflect, review, revise, and renew.
Whereas this intellectual planet is generally a linear and logical archetype, when in retrograde its energy is more cyclic, intuitive, and internal. This is why we often find ourselves revisiting old projects, relationships, or ways of being. We are guided to explore what we have left unfinished, where we are still holding on to something or someone, or where wisdom is waiting and available to be integrated.
What this Mercury retrograde means
This year holds four Mercury retrogrades, with September 9, 2022, marking the beginning of our third. Mercury starts its retrograde in the sign of Libra, then moves into Virgo on September 23rd, 2022, and remains there until it finishes its retrograde on October 1.
Libra is a peaceful sign of balance, harmony, beauty, partnership, and relationships. It signifies collaboration, of coming together with another, and bears the gift of creating a harmonious, fair, balanced, and equal dynamic within each interaction..
Libra is an air sign, like Mercury, and also relates to the mental realms. It takes in information, shares, communicates, and orients from the mind. Like all air signs, it has the gift of stepping back and looking at something objectively.
When Mercury, Libra, and this beautiful retrograde energy come together on September 9, 2022, we are given a two-week opportunity to review the dynamics in our relationships—, whether romantic, friendship, business, family, or whoever we come together alongside. We are collaborating with each person we interact with, creating together, mirroring one another, growing together. There is an energetic flow moving between each of us, and this is an opportunity to review the spoken or unspoken agreements and dynamics we have with the people in our lives in a harmonious way.
You are invited to bring the experience of each of your partnerships inward, so that you may review it, run it through your awareness, witness how it makes you feel, and contemplate if it is aligned with your values and perspectives. Balance and harmony are key words here. It is an opportunity to come to fair agreements, arrangements, communication, and paths. Libra wants each person involved to benefit equally.
An Earth sign, Virgo brings a groundedness to our approach to life, a practicality, logic even. In astrology, Virgo is ruled by Mercury, and so this collaboration of zodiac and planet is comfortable and supportive. They work well together.
Virgo speaks to the small steps that comprise our lives. Our habits, routines, patterns, thinking, cycles. It is a healing sign by nature, aware of the greatest potential in all things, and holds a high standard when it comes to achieving that potential.
When Mercury retrogrades into Virgo on September 23, the week-long invitation is to become our greatest healers with each small step we take and decision we make. Our every action holds the potential to be of service to our potential—or not. We know how to be our own greatest healer, and we know what actions support us in becoming our best self, including our food and our thoughts, our movement and our manner of organizing our days.
The third, but not final, Mercury retrograde of 2022 wants you to move with intention, think with intention, and communicate with intention. It asks you to be present and an active participant in creating the path upon which you walk, and invites you to create habits, routines, patterns, and systems that hold and support you as you walk this path.
It is an invitation to slow down enough to observe the thoughts you think and the words you speak and to bring awareness to how they are shaping your life.
It is an invitation to review and update the dynamics within your relationships, the way you collaborate with one another, and the way you speak to others as well as the ways we are spoken to.
It is an invitation to pause and examine the habits, routines, and cycles that you are living within and creating from.
It is an opportunity to bring your unconscious patterning into the conscious so that you may make decisions, on purpose, if we desire to keep living in a certain way and walking on a certain path.
With this re-visiting of older cycles, people, events, and projects, there is an opportunity to make a decision. Am I still in alignment with this chapter of my life, can I bring it up to date to reflect who I now am, or am I ready to say goodbye to it?
As the Earth begins to catch up with Mercury and its retrograde comes to an end in 2022, there exists the opportunity to bring all of our energy into the now, to update our lives and ourselves, and to begin to formulate a clear path forward, one that is created on purpose and aligned with our purpose.
Learn more about the influence of astrology in your life, including astrological events, the Moon cycles, your Sun and Moon and rising signs, how journaling can help you connect with the current influences, and more with Jordane Maree at Girl and her Moon.
About our contributor
Jordane Maree is the founder of Girl and Her Moon, a platform and community exploring Soul through the lens of astrology, tarot, and energy healing. She is a writer, intuitive astrologer, energy and soul guide, and many other labels that could never fully grasp the magic, passion, and desire she has to serve. She is inspired, every single day, to be the mirror for you to see all that you truly are, you in all your infinite abilities, in total expansion, in infinite opportunity and power.