Exactly How Scared Should We Be About Mercury Going Retrograde *on* Halloween?

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I'm going to cut straight to the chase here: Nothing has made me gasp louder as of late than learning that the Mercury retrograde in Scorpio starts on Halloween. It's spooky news, and makes me wonder how worried should we all be that the two events are happening simultaneously—so I asked Rachel Lang, intuitive astrologer and healer, to explain.

If you've ever seen Hocus Pocus (and, honestly, of course you have), you know that Halloween's origins come from the pagan festival of Samhain, originally a Gaelic harvest celebration of the end of summer and beginning of winter. "They lit bonfires, wore costumes, and attempted to scare off ghosts. They also believed they had greater access to divination abilities during this time," Lang says. "Halloween is considered a day when the veil between worlds is thinnest." Lang says.

But, even with this mystical connection, Lang doesn't believe the mash-up of Halloween and Mercury retrograde, which lasts through November 20, will make the cosmic event more severe in effect. "In fact, I think it’s an elegant synchronicity in that Mercury retrograde is often a time when we turn inward in reflection," she says, adding that the Samhain connection adds the suggestion for the Mercury retrograde to be both about self-reflection and also collective, societal reflection. "We can look at the past, at our history, and thank our ancestors for how they’ve shaped the world in which we live. We have a chance, as a collective, to review past decisions and create real and lasting change."

"It’s no accident Mercury, which rules our thoughts and thinking patterns, stations retrograde in Scorpio on a day that highlights Scorpio’s themes." —Rachel Lang, astrologer

There are some other spooky connections to this specific Mercury retrograde in Scorpio: The sign is already "associated with divination, occult matters, and death and rebirth," Lang says. "It’s no accident Mercury, which rules our thoughts and thinking patterns, stations retrograde in Scorpio on a day that highlights Scorpio’s themes. It indicates what we, too, may be considering and thinking about during this retrograde cycle."

Lang suggests resigning yourself to simply expect to be affected by this retrograde (specifically because "the nature of Scorpio is to reveal what’s been hidden, and none of us are immune to this influence). But, she clarifies that Scorpio, Taurus, Aquarius, and Leo sun and rising signs in particular should prepare themselves. If you were born near the end of these signs, you'll probably experience the most change in this retrograde.

Oh, and PS: The retrograde is likely to be an emotional one that brings past feels to the surface. "It’s a deep time, and you will want to leave shallow, surface conversations for another time," Lang says, suggesting meditation, journaling, or some other reflective practice may be helpful for soothing related stress or anxiety. "The sign of Scorpio is probing, and it seeks to get to the heart of things. It craves seeing beneath the surface, and it wants to grasp meaning. It’s good for researching and completing projects that require your complete attention."

During this retrograde, be especially wary of "hey, stranger" texts from you ex, since characters from your past may seek re-entry into your life, regardless of whether or not you have unfinished business with them. "Just because you encounter your ex or they text from out of the blue doesn’t mean you should get back together with them. Ask yourself, 'What aspect of myself does this person represent?' Perhaps that individual represents a time when you felt your best, when you were confident and sure. Maybe they represent someone passionate. Maybe they were stable when you were a little wild. Often, exes come back into our lives during Mercury retrograde because there is some aspect of ourselves we need to integrate and heal," Lang says, adding that these encounters are a learning experience, and can be "rich with meaning" even if you don't pursue the connection again.

Otherwise, Halloween or not, the same best practices for surviving and thriving during Mercury retrograde still apply. "Back up your computer, keep your phone protected from cracks and falls, be careful when driving (no texting!), communicate honestly with others, and double-check all details—especially when making travel plans," Lang says.

ICYWW: There's an astrological reason all your friends have birthdays in the same month. And here's how to use your zodiac sign to create the most effective nighttime routine

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