- January 30 to February 21
- May 29 to June 22
- September 27 to October 23
Now, the keen-eyed astrology enthusiast (or anyone who paid attention to the headline of this article) might notice that all three of these retrogrades are happening in air signs: Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra. Air energy is intelligent and witty; air signs are master wordsmiths who are known to have a refreshing breeziness about them—but that doesn’t mean they’re not hard-thinkers. With that in mind, expect each Mercury retrograde cycle in 2021 to have you boldly re-conceiving who you want to be in this new era, because air signs (unlike, say, an Earth sign) can have a particular fascination with newness.
Before we get into new territory, though, let’s do a quick recap on the general nature of Mercury retrograde periods, and how to handle them. Because if this is the first time you’re hearing of Mercury retrograde, you have a lot to catch up on.
What you should and shouldn’t do during Mercury retrograde
Do not: Plan a big launch, make important travel arrangements, enter a long-standing contract, or buy electronics
Why is that? Mercury is the fastest-moving planet in our solar system; it illuminates how we think, how we process information, and, as previously mentioned, how we communicate. As Alex Caiola, psychic, astrologer, and founder of spiritual-wellness platform High Priestess of Brooklyn points out, this property of the planet and its retrograde cycle can affect our written and spoken words. The effects also extend to methods of transition, like transit and tech.
“It’s best to wait until Mercury goes direct to make decisions that will impact you long-term.” —Alex Caiola, astrologer
“As a result of the retrograde, your words may be stalled or misunderstood, you may not receive all the information necessary to make a decision, technology will be fritzy, and your travel delays will be real as they all rely on communication signals and systems,” Caiola says. “This is why it’s best to wait until Mercury goes direct to make decisions that will impact you long-term.”
And while you can’t necessarily avoid all major choices during Mercury retrograde, there might be a big upside to taking your time or delaying best you can. “I advised a friend to slow-roll a [job] offer she received during Mercury retrograde,” says Caiola. “She pushed forward anyways and was only at that job for six months.”
Do: revisit, review, resume, and resolve
Anything with a “re,” really. While moving forward during these transits can be difficult and murky, Mercury retrograde is the perfect time to look back and see the past with increased clarity. So if Mercury is retracing its steps in its orbit, we want to do the same.
“This would be an ideal time to re-evaluate anything from the recent or distant past to understand it better,” says Caiola. “It may even be a time to pick up a project from the back burner and re-work it to better success. And yes, maybe even a past relationship.”
5 tips to survive all Mercury retrograde periods (and even make the most of them)
1. Double-check that you have everything before you leave the house
This is a very literal form of looking back, and a tip that star astrologer Susan Miller of AstrologyZone advises. Mercury retrograde can make us super careless and forgetful, so make sure during theses transits that you have your phone, wallet, keys, and so on before you exit a car or dash out the door.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
It’s not unusual for people to be in a grumpier mood than usual during Mercury retrograde periods, especially if their laptop is crashing or their subway was 20 minutes late. To counteract those low vibes, try to book some time with your more sunshine-y friends.
“The more you spend time with positive people who energize you, the less time you’ll have for those who are energy vampires or those who drag you down,” intuitive astrologer and healer Rachel Lang previously told Well+Good. “Your whole social circle will shift once you prioritize the positive people in your life.”
3. Revisit the comfort foods of your past
Another underplayed “re” word comes to mind during retrograde: recipes! According to Miller, it can be downright healing to resurrect some beloved treats from when you were younger. If the retrograde has you blue, remake your grandmother’s favorite soup or pick up some other nostalgic treats. Mercury’s mysticism will put you in a joyous, nostalgic state.
4. Think twice before you say anything
As Lang points out, you can’t take back anything you said during retrograde, so fact-check if what you’re saying is A. true and B. kind. And if it’s true but unkind, journal about it, sit on it, wait it out. Basically, double-check that risky text to your ex before you send it.
4. Mind Mercury’s shadow
Each retrograde transit tends to last about three weeks or so, and you still can’t breathe a sigh of relief after that. After the retrograde is the two-week long retroshade period. While not as diabolical as retrograde itself, it’s a time for (slow moving) action. According to Lang, this time helps you become clearer about what you revisited during the retrograde, and what it means for your life moving forward. And it’s the best time to resolve any lingering retrograde problems.
What each of the 3 Mercury retrograde 2021 cycles means for you
Okay, so now let’s focus on these three air-sign retrogrades. Below, transformational astrologer Corina Crysler shares exactly what to expect from each Mercury retrograde 2021 transit, and the personal questions to consider during each.
Mercury retrograde in Aquarius: January 30 to February 21
“As we move forward in the Age of Aquarius, this retrograde has the potential to create restructuring of our consciousness, the way we channel information, and the vision we have for our future,” says Crysler. “This retrograde will dance with the moon in Scorpio and Mars in Taurus. Be open to new ways of thinking. Try to break free from the constructs of your mind to allow the awakening or opening of a new paradigm to happen.”
Crysler advises allowing Mercury to talk to the Scorpio moon, which will shine a light on what you really want from life, particularly the dreams that have been hidden or that you may have previously considered taboo in some way.
Ask yourself: What latent desires are being awakened for me? How do I honor this?
Mercury retrograde in Gemini: May 29 to June 22
Here’s something fun: During the second Mercury retrograde of 2021, the planet will be retrograde in its ruling sign, Gemini. Gemini is super-brainy and wants the freedom to really explore the world around them.
“This will be a time of discernment,” says Crysler. “As communications break down and show you different perspectives, try to take the opportunity to say what you believe to be true in regards to your desires and dreams. Take a moment to re-evaluate what is fundamentally right for you, and where others might have influenced you by projecting opinions that are not right for you.”
Ask yourself: Where have the lines between my desires and my dreams been crossed? What are the things that I want, versus the things that other people want for me?
Mercury retrograde in Libra: September 27 to October 23
The Mercury retrograde transit in Libra begins with a trine between Jupiter and the moon and ends in an opposition to Chiron, the wounded healer, and a grand trine with Lilith and Saturn. Which is…a lot of information to digest. But going along with themes of Jupiter and Saturn, Crysler says this time will mark a cosmic clash over growth, and what (or who) inhibits it.
“We’ll be challenged to expand our mindset and dive deep in our pain points that have restricted our expansion,” says Crysler. “We are the creators of our reality; [so note] what you are breaking free from that has kept you small. There will be an emphasis on relationships during this cycle, so take inventory in what relationships support your life and what ones drain your energy.”
Ask yourself: “Who in my life is contributing to my burnout, and how do I express healthy boundaries with them?”
It’s lot to take in, we know, but it can’t hurt to be over-prepared. So remember, mark your calendars for January 30 to February 21, May 29 to June 22, and September 27 to October 23. And come back here if you feel you’ve forgotten some crucial Mercury survival tip along the way.
Originally published January 2, 2021.
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