5 Tips for Communicating Effectively When Mercury Is *Not* Retrograde

Photo by Getty Images/Thomas Barwick
In astrology, Mercury is the planet that rules communication. And when the planet is traveling retrograde, as it does several times per year, it appears to be moving backward because it's moving slower than its planetary counterparts. These retrograde cycles are infamous for being a time when communication snafus, technological issues, and travel problems ensue, and while there is plenty of guidance out there for what to avoid doing during these transits, it would also be helpful to know how to communicate when Mercury is not retrograde.

Since Mercury retrograde cycles bring a unique and pronounced brand of chaos, it makes sense that many folks focus on optimizing how they live life during those transits. But, since for the vast majority of time Mercury is stationed direct, it also makes sense to optimize how to communicate when Mercury is not retrograde. In 2021, for example, Mercury had three retrograde transits, the final instance of which stationed direct on October 17. It will stay direct until January 22, 2022, and knowing how to communicate and function during this window is in everyone's best interest.

“Mercury going direct is this opportunity and invitation to implement and truly embody all the things we've been simmering on." Haley Smith, astrologer

As a general rule, it’s important to be reflective during Mercury retrograde cycles, says astrologer Haley Smith. Since those transits bring delays and difficulties, taking the time to pause and introspect can be helpful for both avoiding potential issues and also resolving to step into action once Mercury stations direct. “Mercury going direct is this opportunity and invitation to implement—like really implement—and truly embody all the things we've been simmering on, reflecting on…[and] all the gifts of insight that we got to have during the retrograde cycle.” Ahead, find five tips for how to communicate when Mercury is not retrograde, straight from astrologers themselves.

5 tips for how to communicate when Mercury is not retrograde, according to astrologers

1. Know the element of Mercury in your birth chart.

Because Mercury rules over communication and our signs’ elements have a bearing on how we communicate, it should come as no surprise that knowing your Mercury sign’s element is a key part of understanding how you can best communicate with the people in your life, especially when Mercury is direct, says Smith. For example, someone whose Mercury is in water sign Pisces might communicate through “non-linear things, like art, music, [other] forms of beauty, [and] film,” Smith says, adding that they may also take longer to get to their point.

On the other hand, if your Mercury falls under a fire sign, like Leo, your style of communication might be more passionate. “These are the people who talk with their hands, the people who are more expressive and get deeply connected with the subject, and they want you to buy into their passion,” says astrologer and numerologist Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad, who also goes as Esoteric Esa.

“Once you understand the unique strengths and challenges of your Mercury placement, you will have more self-awareness about how you communicate,” —Stephanie Campos-Powell, astrologer

Astrologer Stephanie Campos-Powell of Leona Moon Astrology agrees: “Once you understand the unique strengths and challenges of your Mercury placement, you will have more self-awareness about how you communicate,” she says. For instance, let's say your Mercury sign placement is in an Earth sign, making you a direct communicator. But your friend's Mercury placement is in an air sign, which “absorb information and really enjoy engaging in debate and communicating,” says Campos-Powell. In this case, you can introspect about your message before sharing as a way to level with them and make sure both of your points are able to get across.

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2. Be honest with yourself and with others.

Smith says that being in intimate communication with oneself and “not being afraid to take the heat of what comes up...only improves [how] we communicate with the world around us and the people in our lives.” If you're comfortable navigating these conversations with yourself, you're that much better equipped to handle something less than ideal coming up in conversation by listening first rather than instinctively reacting or otherwise being defensive.

Astrologer Rachel Lang adds that she sees “Mercury retrograde cycles as times when the truth we have held back comes into the light,” so being honest and direct during the Mercury direct cycles can be a preventative measure and help avoid this situation as a whole.

3. Know your third house placement.

In astrology, the third house is the house of communication, ideas, and short-distance travel. It’s also ruled by Mercury. So, understanding the third house is key for understanding how we are communicating with those in close proximity to us, like friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.

4. Find out which sign Mercury is in at the moment.

To understand how to communicate when Mercury is not retrograde, it’s helpful to know Mercury's current placement in the sky.

“For example, right now Mercury is in Libra,” says Campos-Powell. “Where does [Libra] land in your birth chart? Is it in your 10th house of career? Are you focusing more of your mental energy on work or toward accomplishing a large goal?” she asks. If Libra rules your seventh house of partnerships in your natal chart, alternatively, Mercury's current stroll through Libra could have you thinking more about your relationships with others, adds Campos-Powell.

“Being able to track how Mercury is impacting your personal chart through a transit chart is incredibly helpful for understanding the different ebbs and flows of our mental focus and the seasonal shifts that occur,” Campos-Powell says.

5. Keep an open mind in conversations.

This means leading with curiosity, says Lang, and it’s something we all stand to benefit from doing regardless of our astrological sign.

“It’s easy to have expectations for how someone feels or what they think,” Lang says. “If we can adopt an attitude of openness, we can find common ground and communicate in a way that allows others to feel heard and seen.”

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