What is Mercury retrograde?

Today we’re going to detour a little away from the tarot cards and talk about planets, astrology and the Mercury retrograde.

This is how I understand things:

All the planets in our solar system orbit the sun in one direction. But each planet orbits the sun at different distances and speeds.

Here on Earth we can observe the planets’ path in the sky.

At times, it might appear that one of those planets has switched direction, suddenly moving backwards.

The planets do not do this; the appearance of a planet moving in reverse is an illusion caused by the position of Earth in relation to that planet.

In other words, we are not observing the planets from the stationary position of the sun. We are on a planet too and continuing on our merry way orbiting the sun while the other planets are doing the same from different distances and at different speeds.

Farmers Almanac says it better:

Every planet in our Solar System travels in the same direction on its journey around the Sun, and none of them ever pause and turn back in the opposite direction. Yet, all of them appear to do just that from time to time. This is why we call the phenomenon *apparent retrograde motion*, as it only looks like the planet is moving backward.


Anyway, we’re in a Mercury Retrograde as of today (May 10, 2022), the second one this year. 😱

Eastern Standard time will reflect this current retrograde until June 2.

Farmer’s Almanac detailed explanation

source: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/mercury-retrograde

As you can see, only Mercury and Venus are closer to the sun than Earth. All the other planets are on the other side of Earth, further away (and hence traveling greater distances to orbit around the sun).

Have you ever looked at the wheels of a car driving on a highway next to your own car? Sometimes, the wheels look like they’re turning the wrong way… it’s an illusion, similar to what happens in the sky during retrogrades.

Because the Earth’s daily rotation, the objects in the night sky appear to “move” from east to west through the sky. While the location of the stars relative to the Earth is fixed, at least from our vantage point, the other planets in our solar system all orbit the sun at varying speeds.

The outer planets — Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — all take longer to orbit the Sun than the Earth does, because their orbits are larger. Because of this, the Earth often laps these planets in its journey around the Sun.

When the Earth overtakes an outer planet, that planet appears to travel backward, as compared to the stars, for a time.

Picture two cars on the highway going in the same direction in different lanes.

If one car is driving faster than the other, the slower car will appear to go backward from the perspective of a person in the faster car, even though the slower car is still going pretty fast in the same direction.



There is a lot of advice on the internet regarding what you should, or shouldn’t do during a retrograde, and especially during the Mercury retrograde. Many people simply dismiss this as lore, superstitions or silliness, but others will keep accurate notes and refer back to their own historical retrograde events so they can blame the planet for their chaos and disruptions. 😉

For instance, if you google about the May 2022 Mercury retrograde (the second one this year) you will be warned of all sorts of mishaps about to occur, from technological breakdowns to travel chaos to communication disconnects. For some people, these things happen more pronounced than for others. I’ve heard of a couple of strange events as explained by someone who was unable to get her cash register at her place of work to function properly during the last retrograde – and the others all broke down too when she touched them. 😀

Mercury retrogrades and your zodiac sun sign

A fun thing to do is to check out how the Mercury retrograde affects your zodiac (sun) sign.

I copied portions down for three signs here: Libra ♎, Taurus ♉ and Pisces ♓. Check for your sign here:


Libra (me and many others in my personal orbit)

While dramatic events do happen, they often happen in the midst of the mundane. Life, we know, is not a game show that presents you with a door to walk through with a whole new path on the other side. Still, if you are observant, if you allow each moment its due, small portals will become apparent: like catching yourself about to behave in a way you no longer wish to and switching gears, like choosing yourself even when you’re afraid it might mean losing someone else.

Libra during Mercury Retrograde May 2022

Taurus (my mom, a friend)

It’s within your right to resist the swell of energy, to redirect your attention to yourself as you see fit. There’s no use feeling guilty about prioritizing your energy, even if it means abstaining from efforts and actions that some past self wants to want to be a part of. Guilt is a wasted emotion, it limits your imagination and stunts your growth. Don’t waste your time taking small sips from cups you’ve never asked to drink from. Look for the libations that do more than quench your thirst.

Taurus during Mercury Retrograde May 2022

Pisces (a family member, a couple of friends)

If you find yourself uneasy, dogged by uncertainty, or anxious that you’ve forgotten something important, you’re not alone. For one thing, it’s near impossible to achieve peace of mind in a world that feels anything but peaceful. In such a world, unplugging is sometimes the only remedy to a bad day and unplugging means letting things lapse. The truth is, while you may very well have let something notable slip your mind, what’s important will always return with a bid for your attention. Jupiter’s departure from your stars on May 10th refocuses your energy, it gives you permission to (unapologetically) mind your own business, no matter how many people expect you to mind theirs.

Pisces during Mercury Retrograde May 2022

So there you have it. We are in a Mercury retrograde until early June, I will be traveling before the retrograde is over (GASP!) and, so far, my computer is still functioning.


Tell us some of your retrograde experiences.

Thank you for reading my post. See you in the comments!

12 thoughts on “What is Mercury retrograde?

  1. Great post! Now the next few weeks whenever I have to ask IT for help, I can just tell them to blame Mercury Retrograde 🤣🤣🤣.

    Still not sure if I completely believe in it, but thank you for explaining it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Natal Mercury is retro, so I’ve found that I actually function better during a retrograde.😂😂
    Yesterday was horrible, today I napped, made calls about yesterday’s drama, and everything was easy peasy🤷🏼‍♀️

    I don’t believe in coincidence 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always just thought “Mercury’s in retrograde” was an excuse to blame away anything out of the ordinary. Never really understood it more than that, so thank you for the explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

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