Today Is Mercury Retrograde: What That Means and What You Should Avoid

If you're not into astrology, you've still no doubt heard someone use the words "mercury retrograde" in relation to something getting messed up. This can include an email sent to the wrong person, a lost bill, or even an ill-conceived Amazon purchase. In other words, Mercury Retrograde has a bad rep. But why?

First, if you're a complete novice, you may wonder what the term even means. The Old Farmer's Almanac explains that in the centuries-old practice of astrology, we are influenced by the orbits of other planets, particularly Mercury.

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Mercury enters in retrograde today. According to astrology, expect some complications. NASA

If you've ever spent much time stargazing with a telescope, you may have noticed the illusion that Mercury is traveling backwards, which is the "retrograde." Because Mercury is closest to the Sun, its shorter orbit means that three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth. A simple way to understand this illusion is to imagine you're in a car moving faster than a train alongside you. The train appears to be moving backward, but it's just moving more slowly than you are for the moment.

All planets go into retrograde at some point, but the others don't get the attention that Mercury does. That's because of the role attribute to Mercury, going back to its actual name. If you remember Roman mythology, you will recall Mercury is depicted as a male figure having winged sandals and a winged hat. This was due to his position as the official messenger of the ancient gods and goddesses.

Today, that meaning carries over into finances, commerce, travel, and communication. Hence, the consensus among astrologers that when Mercury is traveling backwards, it creates confusion and delay in these areas. Astrologers will advise you to stay flexible, allowing extra time for things like travel (maybe even have back-up plans), and avoid signing contracts. Also, double-check anything you do electronically, from emails to online purchases to making Seamless orders.

The Mercury Retrograde that begins today is connected to the planet Uranus, a planet that represents things that are sudden. This may cause you to have sudden insight about something, which could be either positive or negative.

Another consideration is the given astrological signs of when Mercury is in retrograde. Since it begins October 13, that means it enters during Libra, which represents beauty, grace, and diplomacy. It lasts until November 3—Yes, Election Day—in the middle of Scorpio. Scorpios represents secrecy, so astrology experts caution about secrets that may spill out and emotions running high.

Astrologers also warn that people tend to react with more frustration than usual during Mercury Retrograde. But remember not to place too much of a bad connotation to this time. It's also seen by astrologers, and astrology adherents, as a good time for reflection, refocusing, and a chance to remember practicing caution and restraint. If nothing else, it's also the last Mercury Retrograde of 2020.