Updated: September 14, 2023
Next Mercury Retrograde: December 13, 2023 to January 1, 2024
What is Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury Retrograde occurs when the planet Mercury appears to move backward in the sky. At a basic level, this is an optical illusion caused by the orbit of Earth as it moves past Mercury in the sky. With Earth moving faster than Mercury, it looks like Mercury is moving backward. This astronomical event happens roughly three times a year for about three weeks, and every time it happens, the entire world seems to know about it.
On a more magical level, Mercury Retrograde is an opportunity for reflection, resets, and evaluating our communication styles. It gives us an opportunity to work backward, allowing problems to be solved if we’re careful enough. It’s also a time of mayhem and chaos, especially when it comes to technology and interacting with others!
The Magic of Mercury Retrograde
Astrologically, Mercury rules over communication, travel, and technology. When Mercury is direct, these aspects of life tend to be smooth-going. However, when Mercury goes retrograde, our communication and technology can be thrown for a loop! During Mercury Retrograde, it is said that the energy of Mercury turns inward and gives us space to reflect and review how Mercury shows up in our lives.
When we take take a step back and slow down, just as Mercury appears to, we have protentional for spiritual growth and exploration. Not to mention a lot of reflection of how technology rules (or doesn’t rule) our lives.
Working with the Retrograde
In my experience, there are two types of magical people – those that take Mercury Retrograde seriously, and those that don’t really care. No matter which side you’re on, I highly encourage working with the retrograde instead of against it.
Introspection and Shadow Work
The retrograde period is a time for us to turn inward and look at ourselves rather than those around us. Since Mercury deals with communication and technology, introspection that deals with how we communicate and use technology is ideal.
The retrograde may also comes some shadows to rear their heads, especially if you have trouble with being misunderstood. It’s important to face these shadows and learn from them rather than dismissing them or shutting them out.
Revisit Old Practices
Many people believe that Mercury Retrograde is about taking steps backward, retracing the steps we’ve already taken. As a witch and pagan, this can look like flipping through old grimoires or a Book of Shadows, meditating on our past practices, and reconnecting with divination practices we may have set aside.
Keeping a journal during this process is a fantastic way to track your progress. Write down the way certain practices make you feel, any thoughts you have, and anything you’d like to change.
Spellwork for Cleansing and Communication
For me, Mercury Retrograde is a great time to focus on cleansing, as well as effective communication. I struggle with the communication part in general, so Mercury Retrograde makes it even worse. However, a few quick spells for cleansing and communication are great additions to help any witch cope with the retrograde.
Perform a simple shower cleanse to wash away negativity, fears, or blockages. Set the water as warm as you’d like, grab your favorite salt scrub or body wash, and focus on letting the water wash everything away.
For communication, I prefer to use sigils, especially during the retrograde. These can be created easily and charged as often as is needed. Create a sigil for communication, anoint it with an oil of your choice (if you want), and carry it with you in your pocket or wallet!
Stay Calm and Centered
While Mercury Retrograde presents magical opportunities, it’s important to navigate its energies wisely. Be mindful of miscommunication during this time, as communication-related mishaps are common. Pause and think before speaking, and be patient with others if misunderstandings arise.
Remember, you’re not the only one being affected by the retrograde. Have patience with everyone you encounter and interact with, including yourself!