10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive) During Mercury Retrograde

published Jul 28, 2018
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Free your mind and the rest will follow. Forget what you thought you knew about email mix-ups, plane delays, and endless panic over signed contracts. This mid-2018 Mercury Retrograde season (from July 26 to August 19) is ripe for deep dives into our past narratives, revised relationships to our mission statements, and juicy convos about what we really want.

To get to the good stuff though, we’ve got to first be willing to engage in a little myth-busting and self-empowered action. In astrology, each planet slows down and stations retrograde at least once a year (Mercury does so up to three times), and this moment is a wet and wild one for harnessing that planet’s symbolic energy for inward exploration, rather than searching for answers in the external world.

Mercury is the zodiac’s planet of communication, perception, and sampling shifting perspectives. When this chatty Cathy enters its retrograde phase, it’s time for fireside midnight heart-to-hearts and pillow talk with our most tightly held stories about the way we think things are, or should be.

So cue up Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and get ready to dial straight into your own interior with these 10 tips for thriving during this sumptuous season of self-exploratory stillness.

1. Strut to your own soundtrack

Build an epic playlist of the greatest emotional hits of your life and take to the streets. Mercury Retro asks us to reconnect to the storylines that fuel us, and it’s a perfect moment for strutting it out on the sidewalk to a tune only you can hear.

2. Create a time-capsule altar

Gather objects that have symbolized your journey through 2017 — no matter how mundane or crazy you think they are — and place them in a position of prominence (on a vanity, by your front door, on your dashboard). Dress them up magically (go wild with sparkles, flower petals, candles), and as you pass by each day, think of how far you’ve journeyed, and how the pieces of this object story might shift in the coming year.

3. Practice radical listening

Set a timer and swap stories, stream-of-consciousness style, with a friend. The trick? While each of you is speaking, the other has to stay perfectly still — no nods, uh-huhs, or words of advice. See how it feels to simply let your truths flow without feedback or assessment in either direction.

4. Sport a “secret” scent

Experiment with a handcrafted fragrance that wears very close to the skin and revel in an olfactory story that only you and those closest to you can experience.

5. Prepare a recipe-less meal

Go off-script and experiment with combining unexpected flavors. Let this culinary shake-up help you trust in your ability to flexibly make use of the information on hand.

6. Break out the divination tools

Whether it’s Tarot, the I Ching, or your own handcrafted oracle deck, these mystical objects bring us into deep conversation with the voice of our inner, higher selves. During this slow down period, listen in to what you really want.

7. Learn a new language

Whether you’re ready to take a crash course in Icelandic, or to just settle in with a luscious French romance flick, open yourself to words you can’t quite understand and let the sweet sounds simply wash over you.

8. Picnic at a vista point

Mercury Retro is all about perspective, and in the fiery philosophical sign of Sagittarius, the energy asks you to helicopter above your usual viewpoint. Travel high up in your city and revel in the feeling of a radical departure from the everyday.

A \Muppets (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

9. Try mood ring inspired fashion

Get wondrously weird with your patterns and prints, and incorporate ombré, iridescence, and prismatic tones that catch the light from all angles. Bonus points if you can scare up some old school mood rings and oily stickers.

10. Throw a karaoke party

Whether it’s private booths, home machines, or a public sing-a-long, Mercury Retro asks us to redefine our mission statements, and try on different narratives for size. As the planet stations direct on the 22nd, get ready to sing all this internal exploration to the wide world without apology!