You’ve probably seen memes about mercury being in the microwave or drinking Gatorade. Or maybe you’ve blamed the planet for everything from breaking your favorite mug to being ghosted by your crush. But what is mercury retrograde spiritual meaning? This phenomenon happens three or four times a year, so let’s find out how to harness these precious energies.
Understanding Mercury Retrograde in 2024
2024 is a leap year, which means February will have 29 days instead of the usual 28. That in itself is an excuse for a party! But 2024 will also have four mercury retrogrades instead of the usual three. But what exactly is mercury retrograde? In our solar system, Mercury is closest to the sun so it takes 88 days to go around the sun. For comparison, the earth takes 365 and ¼.
This is why Roman mythology named Mercury the messenger god with a winged helmet and sandals. These enabled him to move extremely fast. Because mercury moves three to four times faster than the earth, it sometimes seems to be moving backward when it overtakes us. This is the same effect as car wheels or carriage wheels in a movie or a parachute camera.
|First Mercury Retrograde
|Ended January 1st
|Second Mercury Retrograde
|Aries + Taurus
|1st to 24th
|Third Mercury Retrograde
|Leo + Virgo
|5th to 27th
|Fourth Mercury Retrograde
|1st to 15th
The second and third mercury retrogrades of 2024 will cut across two star signs a piece, so you can use these periods to your advantage. Also, if you want to get really specific, the last mercury retrograde of the year nestles Ophiuchus, the often-ignored 13th zodiac. Sometimes called the snake charmer or serpent bearer, Ophiuchus has some powerful healing energies.
What is Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury retrograde is when the planet Mercury is zooming past the earth. Since it’s moving much faster than we are, it seems like it’s going backward when we spot it in the night sky. As we explained above, Mercury was the messenger of the gods, though some call him the trickster god. Being the official spokesman of the deities, he’s in charge of communication.
Because he had he gift of the gab. Mercury was also the god of trade, travel, and translation. He can grant you eloquence or cause issues in interpretation. Some see him as the god of thieves since he drives such a hard bargain and uses pranks to get his way. These aspects of his personality matter because they’re the most affected when the planet is in retrograde.
This transition typically lasts three weeks. And since technology is how we stay in touch with each other, mercury retrograde makes machines, phones, computers, and all sorts of digital devices get wonky. You might notice websites, platforms, and transport systems are suddenly down. On a physical level, it may be harder to talk to people or share ideas in a cordial way.
What Does Mercury Retrograde Do?
Apart from messing with your toys and your cognitive skills, you may find yourself getting into lots of pointless fights. It can feel like people are deliberately trying to misunderstand you. Creative folk may find themselves getting mental blocks. Arguments are increased and exaggerated, both online and off. And these negative vibes are swift, strong, and contagious.
The spiritual meaning of Mercury retrograde is that you need to slow down. While the effect itself is an illusion, everything does appear to be moving backward for a while. During those three weeks, time seems to slow down and interactions are warped. The usual channels of communication and self-expression get clogged. Step back, breathe deep, and recalibrate.
The first mercury retrograde of 2024 ended on New Year’s Day, but three more are coming:
- 1st April 2024 to 24th April 2024
- 5th August 2024 to 27th August 2024
- 25th November 2024 to 15th December 2024
This year, you can lean into these mercury retrograde energies at least once in every season.
How to Harness Mercury Retrograde in 2024
Lots of people offer advice on mercury retrograde spiritual meaning and how to survive it. But in their eagerness to help, they forget that it can be an extremely useful period for your higher self to grow and develop. So we’re not just going to give you tips to get through it. We want to share our experiences on how to get the most from this quarterly ethereal blessing.
1. Remember, It’s All an Illusion
As we’ve explained, the whole mercury retrograde is a visual trick. The speed of the planets (Earth and Mercury) orbiting the sun create the false appearance of mercury moving back. And as a spiritual person, you know things aren’t what they seem and you shouldn’t always trust your senses. So when mercury seems to be messing with your lifestyle, pause for a beat.
The things that are happening seem painfully real, but they’re not. Step outside the trap and recognize that mercury, earth, and all related energies are functioning just like they always have. This takes a lot of the pressure off. Nothing is broken so you don’t have to fix it. You just have to wait for the illusion to lift so you can regain clarity and vision about your path.
2. Take the Time to Slow Down
Mercury retrograde is all about relativity. Yes, Mercury spins and revolves faster than the Earth. But at this particular moment, we can see it speeding by in real time so it seems to be reversing. This glitch in space-time causes all sorts of confusion as our words, thoughts, and gadgets get mangled. It’s like the entire universe is experiencing a sluggish stoner session.
Your reflex reaction is to go faster so you can keep up. Instead, slow your roll to match the seeming reversal of the planet. If your pace is in synch with mercury, you can understand it better. Make a conscious effort to think before you speak, knowing the person you’re talking to is primed to misinterpret you. And don’t push back so quickly – you can’t hear them either!
3. Watch Your Calendar Closely
Now that you know the mercury retrograde dates for 2024, keep an eye on them. You might find yourself getting suddenly testy and irritable, or picking fights over petty things. Maybe you don’t want to be around friends and loved ones because everyone seems so antagonistic. Or maybe you’re unwillingly cut off when your messaging apps and internet go on the fritz.
Prepare for these periods by backing up your data, just in case. Consider getting a flip phone and consciously plan for non-verbal interaction. Instead of your usual chats and phone calls, spend more time watching movies together, attending sports events, or sharing situations where you don’t have to talk. Wordless hangouts offer fewer opportunities for bickering.
4. Minimise Opportunities for Friction
The famous sex therapist Esther Perel offers an interesting tactic to instantly de-escalate an intimate argument. When you find yourself shouting at someone you love, immediately lie down on the ground. Your partner may be shocked into silence, giving the passions time to cool. And once they’re in it with you, they’ll lie down too. It’s hard to shout when you’re flat.
Put similar practices into play during mercury retrograde. One good technique is to be out in nature. For one thing, it takes you away from all those misbehaving devices and possessed technology. For another, so much of the outdoors is calming, from the sound of the breeze to the flutter of leaves and sunlight. And if you’re traveling, go to the airport, bus, or train early!
5. Show Additional Grace to Loved Ones
For a lot of us, mercury retrograde explains our weird moods and accidents with tech. So you expect to be in bad spirits during this period, and this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But you could look at it the other way as well. Yes, you’re giving yourself space to be surly and probably avoid social gatherings just so you won’t snap at anyone. Maybe take a sick day.
But everyone else is swirling in these negative vibes too, so extend your patience meter just a little. If someone is short with you, don’t take it personally. After all, the back-spinning bugs them as much as it bothers you. Instead, sneak in a few more meditation sessions and do a bit of reverse mirror work. Soften your voice when they yell, and pace yourself if they rush.
6. Consider Some Clarifying Crystals
During this period, focus more on yourself. Often, when things go wrong, we automatically blame others. The boss, traffic, hormones, politics, global warming. In mercury retrograde, pay more attention to your role in things. Did you misread their expression, tone, or email? Have you done the latest update on your device? Are you listening or planning your reply?
Crystals can be helpful for introspection since they sharpen images and energy. Get some aquamarine, amazonite, apophyllite, agate, or onyx. But don’t glue them to your steering wheel since they can be an explosive accident hazard if you sharply brake or get cut off. Have a little pouch instead so you can rub them for calm and grounding. They’ll keep you centered.