A Cynic’s Guide to Mercury Retrograde

mercury retrograde

I get it, I hate trends too.

And what a trend #mercuryretrograde has become!

From the millions of memes on Instagram to all the magazines pushing tag-lines about Mercury Retrograde, it could totally seem like a hoax.

I always love my first conversation with someone about Mercury Retrograde. It usually goes a little something like this:

Me: Heads up that Mercury is retrograde this week. Button up your lips and back up all your files!


Me: It’s this thing that happens a few times a year where the planet Mercury moves irregularly. It causes some friction on earth usually when it comes to communciation, technology, and travels.

Cynic: Psssh, how can a planet’s movements possibly have anything to do with things happening here on earth??

Me: You mean liiiike the moon and female menstruation cycle? Or #tides?

**defeaning awkward silence**



So, even if you don’t really believe in Mercury Retrograde (or tides for that matter), there a still few simple things that you can do to cover your bases now that we’re deep into the Mercury Retrograde shadow phase.

The best case scenario is that you prevent needless frustrating experiences from happening during a particularly prone period. The worst case is that you were cautious for nothing.

As the saying goes it’s better to be safe than… getting stuck troubleshooting in a sea of people at the Apple Store during the Black Friday rush.

So here we go, 5 tips to help you during Mercury Retrograde:

Tip 1: Back Up!

Illustration by Celine Rahman, buy her work here

Everything, always. And THEN back up your back up.

I know this is the kind of advice that people give and no one takes. It just takes one freak accident on a seemingly normal day for you to feel the wrath of the black screen of death. There is no moment more vulnerable than this if you have not backed up.

I speak from personal experience:

Two days ago my bf and I were planning to bingewatch Wanderlust on Netflix (I’m obsessed) just like any other regular night. I asked him to grab my Bose speaker (that surround sound y’all!) and he said, nah we don’t need it. And I, like the audio snob I am, insisted.

So when he brought the speaker over it somehow flew up from his hands into the air (he did not trip on anything) and then smashed down onto his laptop keyboard.

Cue black screen of death.

So we are now anticipating its return from the computer repair shop with bated breath because he *clap* did *clap* not* clap* back *clap* up. Mercury got us and it prompted me to make this point #1 so it doesn’t get you too.

Tip 2: Blame Mercury Retrograde


This is the part that can bring a smidgen of relief when things go South during Mercury Retrograde. For once, you have something to blame guilt-free! Now that it’s become a trendy phenomenon you will soon realize that you can blame Mercury Retrograde for almost anything and people will concede.

Were you late to work? It’s Mercury’s fault. Did you accidently e-mail your boss the menu for the Christmas dinner you are hosting (but incidently not inviting them to) instead of that report? Mercury did it. Were you an inconsolable jerk to the sandwich artist who forgot the jalapeños on your footlong?

It helps to acknowledge your outburst and to break the tension while creating a bit of levity.  It really works, try it!

Tip 3: Cancel all appointments

Were you planning to tint your eye brows? Get a root canal? A face tattoo?

via: Buzzfeed

You better wait.

Since Mercury Retrograde tends to muddle up communications and prevent even the most simplistic technology from performing as normal – it’s not worth risking permanent damage.

Tip 4: Breathe

Breathe in – hold for 5 seconds. Breathe in more, more, more. Now slowly let that air out of your nose.

Do this 3 times in a row before you are about to lose your shit all over someone during Mercury Retrograde.

I’m not saying that this person doesn’t deserve it, but chances are it is more likely a miscommunication that you will feel silly about after when it all comes to light. It’s better to hedge your bets and breathe first. Failing that…

Tip 5: Scream loudly in your car with windows up

If a meltdown is mandatory it can always be more practical to scream in a private space or in the company of someone who understands the Mercury effect and can scream with you in solidarity versus say, in the middle of the grocery store.

I happen to think that a car with the windows up works well, but this can also be the shower, a private washroom stall (if you’re stuck at work), or a yoga class (they’re always encouraging these types of visceral noises anyways)- feel out what works best for you and let ‘er rip!

If you have tips and/or stories of your own survival during this twisted time, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Remember: we’re in this together!


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