Is Mercury in Retrograde? Here's What it Means and How Long It Will Last

For those who follow astrology, the phrase can spark some concern -- and right now, mercury is in fact in retrograde

Illustrated image of Mercury in space.
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Chances are, you've probably heard someone say "Mercury is in retrograde."

For those who follow astrology, the phrase can spark some concern -- and right now, mercury is in fact in retrograde.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the planet enters a retrograde three times a year, meaning it "appears to travel backward across the sky."

"To those who practice astrology, these times in particular were traditionally associated with confusion, delay, and frustration," the Almanac reports. "Think undelivered love letters, email blunders, and frazzled travel plans! This is an excellent time to reflect on the past, however, and it’s said that intuition is high during these periods. Coincidences can be extraordinary."

There's just one important caveat -- the planet isn't actually change directions and move in reverse.

The Almanac reports that "an illusion caused by the position of Earth in relation to that of the planet, since a planet in orbit always travels in one set direction and can’t suddenly reverse course."

"This is why we call the phenomenon apparent retrograde motion, as it only looks like the planet is moving backward," the website states.

Mercury will be in "retrograde" until May 14, with additional retrogrades happening in August and December.

"Anytime a planet goes retrograde, it's an invitation to slow down. In that stillness, we can be taken back to where we skipped a step or missed seeing a vital piece of information," astrologers Brandon Alter and Angel Lopez of The Spiritual Gayz told TMRW. "Because Mercury rules communication with ourselves and others, it immediately invites us to slow down our response time. This isn't the time to rush into decisions.

"It's also a time to be gentle with yourself. Things may take longer than you want, and that's OK," they continued. "If you're feeling like you made a mistake, now is a great time to forgive yourself. And know that if you're feeling frustrated, everyone is experiencing this on some level, so remember that you're not alone."

Astrologers suggest that a Mercury retrograde is not the best time to make big purchases or sign major contracts, or for those who do, they should carefully review them.

"You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for people’s shorter fuses and miscommunication," the Almanac states.

If you're looking to see the planet sparking all the hype, don't expect to see much.

The Adler Planetarium in Chicago reports that Mercury will "appear too faint and too close to the sun to be readily visible" in May.

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