If you're into astrology, you know that Mercury is currently in retrograde. Talking to most people, you'd assume this means that everything is terrible and we should all hide out until it's over...right?
Mercury retrograde is a time when communication can get jumbled. It's the time when things you forget to say end up coming back to bite you, when that one crucial piece of information doesn't get included in the email you send to a coworker. It's when you desperately need to get some work done, but your computer suddenly decides to stop working. It's when that project you finally worked up the nerve to start fails miserably, and that new lease you sign ends up having some pretty sketchy terms you didn't notice before.
We're told that this is a time to avoid making any big changes or signing important papers. That we should play it cool and wait until the retrograde has ended to start anything new. That if we absolutely must make some kind of change in our lives, during this time, we need to check, double-check, and triple-check every little detail. This time has gained a pretty scary reputation, to the point that the mention of it strikes fear in the hearts of even the most casual followers of astrology.
Unpopular opinion: Mercury retrograde is actually kind of great.
Think about it this way. When else is there so much importance placed on effective communication? Let's say you know Mercury's in retrograde, you need to send a very important work email, and you're terrified of something going wrong So you research the issue exhaustively and include every detail, however small, so that nothing is left out. Every person you CC has all the information they need. And things run...really smoothly. Like smoother than normal.
Or, say your partner does something that really angers you. You could just bow up and use harsh words to knock your partner down, you're already thinking of the consequences that kind of reaction may have...because Mercury retrograde. So you let them know that you're hurt using words that are softer and more loving, because you realize that the method of communication can be just as impactful as the content. And because you tempered your reaction, the two of you are able to work through it, let go of bitterness, and move past it.
Isn't this the way it should be all the time? Maybe what we're missing in our daily lives is the hyper-awareness that kicks in the minute you see that first #mercuryrx hashtag. We should always be thinking about improving our communication, because life is a little easier when we can say what needs to be said. Miscommunication happens year round, not just for three weeks at a time every few months. So why aren't we always paying close attention to the effects our words have on our lives? We're told during this time to read closely and scrutinize legal documents, leases, and contracts...but shouldn't we be doing that anyway?
Now, take this with a grain of salt: I'm a Virgo, Virgo rising with Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo, so good communication is front and center for me. I tend to over-communicate (read: word vomit) because it's always given me the best results in all facets of my life. But, regardless of whether or not you're a stereotypical Virgo, it's important to listen to what (and how) you're saying all the time. Not just during a retrograde.
There's also a big emphasis on introspection during this time, and it's important during an event like this to listen to the inner conversation...which, when you think about it, is a form of communication. (Just saying.) Listen to the way you're talking to yourself. Are your words kind and supportive, or hard and hurtful? Are you being overly critical, or are you cutting yourself too much slack? The awareness you gain from listening to your self-talk benefits you long beyond the end of the retrograde.
I'll be the first to like every Mercury retrograde meme on Instagram. But I'm coming around to the idea that, barring any major technological mishaps, maybe this isn't such a bad time. After all, how can anything that encourages you to take more control of your life be a negative thing?