When Does Mercury Retrograde Start and How Long Will it Last? Astrologist Mecca Woods Reveals How to Survive November Retrograde

'Tis the season for communication flubs and mistakes abound! Yes, people, Mercury retrograde is upon us as of Friday, and with the backward-spinning planet will come a bounty of problems—or at least that's what folks generally seem to assume about the season.

Granted Mercury retrograde is a season prone to communication errors since Mercury is the planet of communication, but the planetary phenomenon isn't all negative. Newsweek recently chatted with astrologist Mecca Woods, author of the interstellar guide Astrology For Happiness And Success, and she shared her insight on everything retrograde—what it means, what to avoid and what people should be doing more of during retrograde from November 16 through December 6.

Find out how to survive Mercury retrograde and check out Woods' interview below:

#MercuryRetrograde begins on Nov 16. Here's what it means for your sign: https://t.co/flPG1DxdbC

— Astrology by Mecca (@TheMeccanism) November 12, 2018

What is Mercury retrograde?

In astrology, Mercury symbolizes communication from verbal communication to written communication to the way that we process facts and data. It also has to do with short distance travel. Whenever a planet is retrograde, it's considered to be moving backward. So when Mercury is retrograde communication can be fuzzy around this time because things aren't what they appear to be or things aren't as clear as they should be. Usually when we talk about Mercury retrograde is coming, it's to let people know that this is a time where you want to double check information, check your facts, make sure that everyone is on the same page because communication gets extra tricky around those three weeks Mercury is retrograde.

Will the Scorpio and Sagittarius seasons make this Mercury retrograde more challenging?

Well, Mercury is going to be retrograde in the sign of Sagittarius first and then on December 1, it will go back into Scorpio. So between Sagittarius and Scorpio, I think it will be kind of challenging just because Sagittarius is not known for discretion or being the most tactful when it comes to information, but I'm telling people to use their best judgment when it comes to the information that they're sharing. Think before posting anything on social media. Just double checking the details, because Sagittarius is a sign that can be a very big picture and not very detail oriented. So I think it will be important for us to focus on the small minor details of things that way we don't have misunderstandings and miscommunication. The thing with Mercury being retrograde in Scorpio is that Scorpio is a sign that's connected to secrets and digging to the bottom of things. With Mercury being retrograde in Scorpio, we have to be mindful of not obsessing over the wrong things.

Are there things people should do more of during retrograde?

A lot of people think a lot of gloom and doom when it comes to Mercury retrograde, and I think retrograde can be great for reconnecting with old friends, reconnecting with family members. It can be great if you're working on a project, revising, editing, revisions. Those kinds of things Mercury can be really good for.

Is it best to avoid people you already have combative relationships with during this time?

Yes and no. I think sometimes Mercury retrograde can make communication a bit harder to do but sometimes it could be good for going back over a situation and making sure that everyone is on the same page. Revisiting an issue or a situation and working things out.

Are there any preconceived notions about Mercury retrograde that people should lose?

That idea they can't do anything during the retrograde. I see a lot of people being like, "Oh, I just wanna opt out of everything. Can I do this? can I make this decision?" My thing is yes, life doesn't stop. With retrogrades, it's all about slowing down, being deliberate and being intentional about how you move forward. That's all it really is.

What was your inspiration behind your book, Astrology For Happiness And Success?

It was something that I always wanted to do. It was kind of like a divine intervention because I always wanted to write a book but kind of shied away from it. Eventually, Adams Media, they approached me and was like, "Hey, we want you to do this book." So I was like, "Ok universe. I hear you. It's time for me to sit down." Basically what I wanted to do was create a guidebook for each of the 12 signs and talk about the strengths as well as the challenges people may face and how they can overcome or move past those challenges based on their signs. So I have stuff in there from rituals people can do to, the way signs can set up or organize their living space to how to get along better with family and friends, how to bounce back from heartbreak and disappointment. I tried to make it like a very comprehensive cosmic manual if you will.

Were you expecting such a strong reaction to the book from fans?

I don't think so. I have a lot of fire in my chart and fire signs for being very confident but I also have Mercury in Capricorn. I do the work and I feel good about the work, but I don't know that I expected it to have such a big impact. The feedback I've been getting from people has been really overwhelmingly positive. I've been humbled and really happy and conscious that people have received it and are receiving it so well.

What advice do you have for people who are interested in astrology but don't know where to start.

First and foremost, get a reading with an astrologer, because it can help to figure out birth charts and what a birth chart even is. In terms of any books or materials, there's one book that I love called Astrology for Yourself [by Demetra George and Douglas Bloch] and it's like a workbook. Basically, if you want to do self-study you can just grab your birth chart and it walks you through step-by-step of how to figure out your own chart.

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