Your Guide to Surviving Mercury Retrograde This Month

Suffering from a bad case of saying the wrong thing at the worst time? There's an explanation in the stars. On Thursday, July 26, Mercury (the planet of communication) goes reverse in fiery Leo, entering its retrograde 2018 cycle. When the swift-moving planet cruises backward, we can expect frustrating miscommunications, technology meltdowns, and travel mishaps. From now until Sunday, August 19, Mercury moonwalks through Leo, traversing the dramatic astrological sign associated with passionate theatricality. Leo loves to bask in the spotlight, but during Mercury's backward spin, take extra precautions to make sure your stage is sturdy to support your endeavors: After all, public meltdowns are rarely well-received.

So what’s the deal with Mercury retrograde anyway, and what are the best ways to combat (or at least survive) it? Read on for what you need to know to sail out of this cosmic facepalm intact.

OK, so what exactly is Mercury retrograde?

Mercury — named after the Roman deity who served as a messenger to the gods — is the quick-moving planet that governs communication, travel, and technology. Mercury helps us transmit messages, controlling expression's input (what we say) and output (how we process). Three or four times per year, Mercury appears to go backward in the sky. This retrograde has the potential to screw up all things related to communication and transmission.

This retrograde has the potential to screw up all things related to
communication and transmission.

During Mercury retrograde, we need to be extremely careful with our language. Triple-check every text, email, and DM, and take the time to carefully explain your intentions. Mercury retrogrades also muddle our decision-making, so avoid signing any major contracts during this period (although, if you must, be sure to thoroughly read the fine print). When it comes to technology, Mercury retrograde is to blame for massive electronic meltdowns, so it's advisable to not buy any new gadgets for the next three weeks, and if you do, make sure they come with a warranty. Travel can be extra frustrating during Mercury retrograde, too, so prepare for delays, cancellations, and lots of headaches.

Last, but certainly not least, we can always expect people from the past — including old flames — to reemerge during Mercury retrograde. In many cases, it's best to kindly decline unexpected coffee invites and "innocent" proposals to grab drinks. When in doubt, you can always use my favorite retrograde expression: "It's not you, it's Mercury."

Is there anything different about the Mercury retrograde from July 26 to August 19?

Since June 29, Mercury has been cruising across the Leo sky. The messenger planet is quick to adopt the characteristics of whichever sign it tours, so for the past four weeks, Mercury has been in a particularly exuberant mood. Leo is a fire sign known for its bombastic spirit and signature flamboyance. Likewise, Mercury in Leo is energetic, courageous, and extremely performative — but when the planet goes reverse, that vibrancy begins to fall a bit flat. The central theme surrounding this season's Mercury retrograde is miscommunication. Fueled by Leo's dynamic presence, we must make sure we're not overindulging our egos. There's nothing wrong with being the center of attention, cosmic warrior, but make sure you're not hogging the mic.

The central theme surrounding this season's Mercury retrograde is

This season's Mercury retrograde will affect travel as well, adding some unnecessary stress to your vacation plans. Be sure to pad your itineraries — including your daily commute — with lots of extra time for delays, cancellations, or other mishaps. (Think car breakdowns, lost luggage, and overbooked flights.) From now until August 19, don't expect anything to be on schedule. When you find yourself rerouted several times or stuck at an airport in some unfamiliar city, just be grateful that Mercury isn't always in retrograde. This too shall pass.

How can I survive Mercury retrograde? Is there anything good about it?

Surviving Mercury retrograde is pretty simple: Remember to proofread everything, choose your words carefully, avoid signing contracts (or review them extra carefully), back up your data, and plan for travel mishaps. The truth, cosmic warrior, is that Mercury retrograde isn't all bad; in fact, it can serve as your quarterly self-assessment. How prepared are you for inconveniences? How zen are you feeling these days? Although Mercury retrograde isn't a great time to make huge changes, it is ideal for reflection.

When Mercury spins backward, we may become nostalgic and sentimental. From now until August 19, allow yourself to revisit old journals, yearbooks, and photo albums. How has your life changed over the years, cosmic warrior? Are you happy with your current direction, or do you need to switch gears? Find inspiration from past lessons and experiences and use this time to strategize about how to best achieve your goals moving forward. Self-awareness will help you turn this period into a fruitful moment of reflection that precedes renewal.

Find inspiration from past lessons and experiences.

Communication is a huge part of our daily lives, so when the messenger planet goes reverse, major issues are to be expected. But it's important to remember that while retrogrades are extremely annoying, they're not the end of the world. Swift-moving Mercury goes retrograde three or four times per year: You've been through it before, and you can get through this retrograde, too. Relax, take deep breaths, and remember that if shit does hit the fan over the next few weeks, you can always blame Mercury.

*Find Aliza on Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

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