Mercury retrograde is an astrological phenomenon that happens several times a year when the planet Mercury appears to move backwards in its orbit from our perspective here on Earth. This optical illusion in the night sky is believed by astrologers and mystics to stir up miscommunication, travel delays, and technology glitches down here in the human realm.

If you’re short on time, here’s the essence of mercury retrograde’s spiritual meaning: It’s a cosmic nudge to slow down, turn inward, review the past, reconnect with old friends, and reconsider plans or ideas rather than charging full steam ahead.

In this approximately 3,000 word guide, we’ll explore the mystical significance behind mercury retrograde in further detail. We’ll look at how this thrice-annual period of inward reflection relates to themes of fate, personal transformation, healing the past, and understanding life’s greater mysteries.

When Does Mercury Go Retrograde?

The Retrograde Cycle

Mercury goes retrograde (appears to move backward in the sky) for about three weeks at a time, three or four times per year. This optical illusion happens when Mercury passes between Earth and the Sun, due to the differences in their orbits. The planet itself doesn’t actually move backward.

Each retrograde cycle lasts about three weeks. Here’s what happens during this time:

  • Mercury slows down, comes to a standstill, and appears to move backward (the “retrograde” motion)
  • Mercury then slows to another standstill as the backwards motion ends
  • Mercury resumes its normal forward motion

The retrograde period is considered more significant in astrology compared to when Mercury is moving direct. It’s viewed as an intense phase that’s ripe with delays, confusion, miscommunication, and misunderstandings.

2022-2023 Mercury Retrograde Dates

Retrograde Period Details
January 25 to February 18, 2022 In Aquarius and Capricorn
May 10 to June 3, 2022 In Gemini and Taurus
September 9 to October 2, 2022 In Libra
December 29, 2022 to January 18, 2023 In Capricorn

As you can see, Mercury went retrograde three times in 2022, and the next retrograde cycle begins on December 29. Astrologers analyze the zodiac sign Mercury is moving through during each retrograde period.

Some astrologers believe the spiritual meaning relates to cycles and patterns. When this fast-moving planet periodically slows down and reverses, it’s a chance to review plans and projects, tie up loose ends, and gain insight into problems. The retrograde can reveal hidden truths.

Others say the meaning relates to miscommunication and things going awry. Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, teaching, and technology. With Mercury retrograde, we misplace items, experience delays, and deal with mechanical glitches more frequently.

Great care should be taken during the retrograde period to avoid such problems.

Mercury Retrograde in Astrology: Misunderstandings and Mysticism

The Trickster Archetype

In astrology, Mercury is associated with communication, intellect, and travel. When Mercury goes retrograde, it can play tricks on us by causing misunderstandings, miscommunications, and delays. This ties into Mercury’s archetype in mythology as a cunning trickster God.

The Roman god Mercury was known for being nimble, quick-witted and mischievous. He delighted in playing pranks and practical jokes on both mortals and fellow gods. Similarly, when the planet Mercury goes retrograde, messages get crossed, plans are disrupted, and confusion prevails.

Yet just as the trickster archetype serves an important mythic function, so too does Mercury retrograde. This period encourages us to slow down, reflect, review, reassess and revise. We may uncover hidden information or gain new insight into people or projects.

Retrograde Shadow Periods

A planet’s retrograde period actually spans more time than when it appears to move backwards in the sky. The full cycle includes two “shadow” periods at the beginning and end.

For example, a typical Mercury retrograde shadow period lasts about three weeks before and after the actual retrograde motion. Communication glitches and travel delays often occur during these shadow phases.

So it’s wise not to schedule a pivotal interview, launch a website, sign a contract or fly off on vacation right when a Mercury retrograde shadow period begins or ends. Build in some buffer time.

Breakdowns & Breakthroughs

When Mercury goes retrograde, we can expect some breakdowns – missed meetings, jumbled finer points, spilled coffee on our laptops. Yet amidst the chaos and comedy of errors, breakthroughs can also bloom.

As Mercury appears to move backward through the zodiac, old friends, past ideas, and former collaborators may resurface. We get a second chance to revisit old concepts with fresh eyes.

What we choose to focus on during these cosmic backward turns – the breakdowns or breakthroughs – is up to us. With patient persistence, Mercury retrograde can inspire mystical insights.

The Cosmic Call to Renew, Review, & Rewind

When Mercury goes retrograde, it’s a powerful time for spiritual renewal, review, and reflection. This cosmic backspin asks us to slow down, turn inward, and align with higher guidance. It’s the universe’s way of hitting the “redo” button, giving us a chance to revisit unfinished projects, review past decisions, tie up loose ends, and gain clarity.

On a soul level, Mercury retrograde reconnects us to inner wisdom and intuition. As the planet governing communication, travel, and technology appears to move backward through the zodiac, breakdowns and delays often arise.

This cosmic curveball encourages us to pause, breathe, and tap into our hearts. We may receive profound downloads, called to upgrade outdated beliefs, perceptions, habits, relationships, goals, or timelines not serving our highest good.

As we align with this fluid, reflective energy, the retrograde guides us to release, renew, and rebirth. We empty out inner and outer clutter to make space for new inspiration and direction aligned with soul purpose.

The retrograde strips away superficialities, bringing our attention to foundation-level issues needing resolution. It’s a renovation and reboot of body, mind, and spirit.

On a collective level, Mercury retrograde awakens our social consciousness, tuning us into humanity’s pressing need for systemic change. As we individually question outdated structures in our lives, we realize how mass consciousness urgently requires an overhaul as well.

The retrograde sparks a “Great Remembering,” whereby we recall and reclaim ancient wisdom and traditional ways of being that honor all people, creatures, and our Earth Mother.

Working with Mercury retrograde’s winding currents by turning within, we realign with our integrity, wisdom, and wholeness. We shed outdated identities, beliefs, and timelines grafted onto us by society, family lineage, or past trauma.

Breaking free from limiting thought patterns and external projections, we reclaim personal authority and sovereignty.

As we review recent decisions through the retrograde’s reflective lens, we may realize that seemingly unfortunate twists of fate were actually divine intervention and blessing in disguise. With Mercury’s illuminating retrograde reflexivity, we penetrate surface-level assumptions to identify root causes needing transformation within and around us.

Through stillness, mindfulness, and conscious communication, Mercury retrograde helps us resolve inner and relational conflict. By compassionately expressing our authentic truth while listening openly to others’ perspectives, we find unity consciousness.

As we lead from the heart, we inspire those around us to move in a spirited direction as well.

Though infamous for turmoil and friction, Mercury retrograde meaningfully reconnects us with inner peace, harmony, and flow when we align with its soulful pulses. By using the retrograde as a time to slow down, turn within, review, renew, and raise our vibration, we emerge with sacred wisdom to chart an inspired course ahead.

Mercury Retrograde Rituals and Relief Strategies

Reflect on the Past

When Mercury goes retrograde, it’s viewed as a time for reflection and reviewing the past. Here are some ideas for rituals and activities that can provide relief by taking advantage of this reflective energy:

  • Journal about past decisions, relationships, and events – look for insights into patterns or things you’d like to change moving forward.
  • Have conversations with friends about the past and learn from each other’s experiences.
  • Look through old photos and reminisce on meaningful memories.

As the goddess Iris in Greek mythology served as the messenger and bridge between heaven and earth, use this retrograde period to bridge your past and your future. 😊 Reflection can bring awareness and closure.

Reconnect with Old Friends

With Mercury retrograde causing communication mishaps with current friends, why not reconnect with old pals? πŸ‘₯

  • Search for forgotten friends on social media or through a Google search.
  • Reach out to childhood friends who you haven’t spoken to in ages – you’ll be surprised how easily you pick up where you left off!
  • Plan a reunion get-together with college or old work friends. Reminisce over fun memories from the past.

Reconnecting with old friends during a Mercury retrograde can reignite that old spark and lead to laughters over the silliest past stories. 🀣 It reminds you of who you were and reestablishes support systems from your past.

Review Plans and Ideas

Mercury retrograde periods encourage delaying big decisions and rethinking plans. Use this time wisely:

  • Review and make backups of important documents and data
  • Reassess business plans and strategies – are there improvements to be made before moving forward?
  • Consider how current ideas and dreams are aligned with your authentic self – make changes if needed

Allow this moment to provide further clarification so you can pursue new plans and ideas rooted in your truth. As in the Tarot card of Temperance featuring the archangel Michael balancing two cups and mixing water, integrate this period of review and assessment to find the perfect equilibrium moving ahead.

Past Mercury Retrogrades Date Range
Previous 2022 Fall Mercury Retrograde September 9 – October 2
2022 Spring Mercury Retrograde May 10 – June 3

For more details on 2023 Mercury retrogrades, check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Understanding the dates of these periods can help you plan appropriately.

When Fate Comes Knocking: Retrogrades and Destiny

Many spiritual teachers believe that the seeming coincidences and unexpected events that occur during Mercury retrograde periods are fate’s way of redirecting our life’s path onto a trajectory more aligned with our soul’s purpose.

Rather than viewing retrogrades as nuisances or disturbances, we can see them as opportunities infused with a deeper meaning about who we are and why we are here. 😊

Fated Encounters and Reunions

It is striking how often surprise reunions, serendipitous meetings, and pivotal new connections occur under Mercury retrograde. It seems more than mere chance when an old friend we haven’t spoken to in years suddenly calls during one of these periods.

Perhaps their reappearance in our lives means they still have a valuable role to play. πŸ€” Or maybe fate uses them to unlock important memories, offer forgiveness, or provide closure on the past.

Likewise, new people brought to us by retrograde may become instrumental guides or teachers. Their influence can set our lives on an entirely new trajectory aligned with soul growth. Even encounters that at first seem inconvenient, like a chatty airplane passenger that delays our work, can shift our perspective or brighten our mood in unsuspected ways.


Career Changes and Course Corrections

Major career switches, job losses or layoffs often sneak up under Mercury retrograde. But rather than seeing such work-related shakeups as punishments or accidents, we might view them as destiny’s compassionate corrections.

Perhaps that longed-for promotion we didn’t get would have led us farther astray from fulfillment? Or maybe that dream job dispatched us from during Mercury retrograde had to self-destruct first so we could build something better from its ashes? πŸ€”

Even aside from extreme job changes, retrogrades can spur more modest but meaningful course corrections at work. New inspiration that strikes about upgrading skills, adjusting daily schedules to allow more passion projects, or speaking up for overlooked colleagues can put us back on track joy and purpose.

And improved focus on serving others and sharing gifts emerge as central themes. It seems fate uses Mercury retrograde’s career surprises to question how aligned our work truly is with the soul’s higher calling. πŸ’‘

The Blessing of Forgotten Dreams

Under Mercury retrograde, we often experience strange spells of forgetfulness, especially around routine tasks related to communication, travel, appointments, and technology. Yet at the same time, lucid memories and visions unexpectedly return pertaining to dormant longings, abandoned ideas, creative projects stuck on the back-burner, or repressed aspects of identity waiting to resurface.

It’s as if the mix-ups that Mercury retrograde introduces in our outer world, open up portals to forgotten truths within our inner being – reactivating dreams both lived and unlived. πŸŽ†

The resurgence of shelved passions, staying up all night plotting clever schemes, and blissful recollections of childhood creation during Mercury retrograde could seem insignificant against pressing career concerns or relationship issues also amplified during such periods.

But often it is these joyful expressions of soul that we have lost touch with that hold the key to unlocking our life’s true purpose. As fateful forgotten pieces from the depths of psyche reawaken under Mercury retrograde, they ask us: Are you ready to remember who you really are and what you came here to do?



While mercury retrograde gets a bad rap for mishaps and delays, the period has an equally mystical side. As the cosmic prankster planet appears to backslide across the sky, we’re cosmically nudged to slow down and turn inward.

Seen as an opportunity rather than an obstacle, mercury retrograde is a time to review plans, rethink ideas, reflect on the past, reconnect with old friends, and renew our perspective. By going with the retrograde flow, we realign with our fated path and discover mystical meaning in life’s seeming mishaps.

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