4 Ways to Handle the Holiday Retrograde

Because everything that exists is essentially energy that is interwoven and connected, we and our bodies–physical and subtle–are influenced by the movement of planetary bodies. And one particular planetary movement that seems to be especially influential (and frustrating) is Mercury Retrograde (MR).

3-4 times every calendar year, Mercury appears to move backward in the sky. Susan Miller explains how this works at Astrology Zone:

“Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. If you were in a car and another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.”

Mercury rules communication, travel, and contracts, and these areas of life can be heavily affected during MR periods. Also, each MR is influenced by the sign it occurs in, as well as the situation of the moon.

By nature, MR shifts energy. Forward momentum is not supported at this time. However, intuition is strengthened for those who do not let themselves be frustrated by the backspin. What MR has to teach us will be understood–and helpful–when Mercury goes direct again.

MR stirs things up, especially unresolved relationship and communication issues. Add to this the coinciding Gemini full moon and the holiday season (Gemini and Sagittarius are also communication rulers), and there’s potential for things to get extremely interesting.

While it may be tempting to hole up in a cave by ourselves during this time, we are not meant to avoid our lives during MR. We’re still going to travel to be with our loved ones. We’re still going to spend lots of time in close quarters with our families. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. When we’re aware of what’s going on in the big picture, it’s easier not to get in our heads about things.

Here are a few recommendations for handling the holiday retrograde:

Find your zen while traveling Travel–especially air travel–can bring out the worst in people. It is going to be stressful, if not for you then for a lot of other people. If you’re driving, you could be facing traffic or a myriad other annoyances. If things don’t go 100% smoothly, you need to be able to stay calm. Bring some essential oils with you. Download a meditation app. Pick out a good book. Plan extra time into your travel itinerary and give yourself a backup option if possible. Whatever it takes for you to maintain your center, do that.

Postpone the tricky convos

With everyone under pressure, the holidays can be a volatile time. Those grievances between siblings or child and parent are likely to rise to the surface. But now is not the time. If you feel a conflict brewing, delay it until after December 22. Even if you have to say, “Because astrology says so” and make them roll their eyes or think you’re crazy, it’s better than what could happen if you feel the MR monster. Just save it until Mercury goes direct and all the stirred up emotions have settled into clarity.

Reflect on the past

Take advantage of the lack of momentum by revisiting memories that make themselves known to you. Perhaps they have a gift for you. If there are things you brushed past or shoved into a locked box in your mind, there may be valuable lessons for you in them now. Maybe you’ve dissociated from some memories because you were ready to handle the emotional burden. If it’s still not the right time to go there, you’ll know. But if you feel the past calling to you, then you are ready to handle whatever life has for you now. Think about how you’ve grown over the last year. Give yourself credit, appreciate your lessons, and know that you got this.

Tap into your intuition

If things appear to be going wonky in the external world, tune in to your inner world and see what’s going on there. This may not be a time for communicating and doing, but MR is a good time for knowing and being. Be on the lookout for signals from your body and for synchronicities. Meditate. Don’t worry about figuring out or sharing the messages you receive. There will be plenty of time for that after Mercury goes direct. Just enjoy what you know.

As in all things, how MR will affect you will depend on your attitude toward it. Really it’s just like the holidays. If you stay connected to your center, you can ride the waves. And you may not really want to receive some of the gifts you’ll get, but you might just find that you didn’t know you needed them.

Blessed be.


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