How To Find Mercury Retrograde & What That Means For Your Communication Skills

If you know anything about astrology (other than your sun sign), it's the term Mercury retrograde. As astrology has become more mainstream, there has been a lot of talk about Mercury retrograde. During these events, your social feeds are probably inundated with posts claiming to guide you through the hectic transit.

Simply put, a retrograde is when the planet goes "in reverse" in the sky for a few weeks (or months) before becoming direct again. Mercury — the planet of communication — goes retrograde roughly three times a year. This is caused by the different orbits of the Earth and Mercury; the latter isn't actually moving backward but appears to do so because of the Earth's relative position. 

"When Mercury is moving forward, in its natural motion, communications go generally easily," astrologer Rebecca Gordon explained to CBS. "Though when Mercury goes out of its natural orbit, say in retrograde, there tend to be all sorts of wires crossed and miscommunications." Mercury retrogrades are infamous for causing electronic failures, conflict arising from communication issues, and the dreaded return of your ex, who astrologers say tends to pop up during a retrograde. For most, a retrograde is a time of doom and gloom, but what about those born under a retrograde?

Inevitably hundreds of thousands of babies are born during Mercury retrograde, and for those kids, the thrice-yearly venture into astrology's most dreaded transit takes on a much great significance.

Mercury retrograde is a blessing in disguise

If Mercury retrograde has such a bad reputation, what does it mean to a mercury retrograde native? While it might sound intimidating, those born under a retrograde are actually blessed with unique minds and special communicative gifts. According to the Astrotwins, resident astrologers at Mind Body Green, if you're born under a Mercury retrograde, you need to give yourself a little extra time to process things because you might find yourself a little more sensitive than your "Mercury direct" friends. 

"It's important that you give yourself time to think before you make decisions, and you may find that you get overstimulated in crowded or noisy environments," they explained. Not only will you communicate differently than most (about 20% of people are born under a retrograde), you will process information differently.

"You can find unconventional ways of taking in information that might seem weird at first glance but can have a hint of pure brilliance in them," astrologer Nic Goudette, a writer for Dark Pixie, explained. As a child, this can feel alienating as it might be hard for your peers to relate to you. However, while you might be reactive with your words, you'll likely find that after time to process, you're a master of the written word (with a wicked sense of humor). Most importantly, though, you have nothing to fear about annual Mercury retrogrades. For you, it's a time of energy and progress rather than regret and distraction.

Mercury direct has its benefits too

So, what if you were born under direct Mercury rather than a retrograde? While the uniqueness of a retrograde might sound appealing, there are plenty of benefits to being one of the roughly 80% born under direct Mercury.

Most importantly, things like communication and social interactions easily come to you. You may be a natural-born public speaker or successfully climb the corporate ladder and easily make friends. Those born under Mercury direct understand social nuances that might not come as naturally to those born under a retrograde. "You may be curious, but you also know when to let things be — unlike retrograde-born friends who can be like dogs on a bone when they want answers," the Astrotwins noted when speaking to Mind Body Green. This placement fosters a sense of confidence and grace not typical for those born under a retrograde. "Socially, this is an easier placement since you're less likely to second-guess yourself or worry about whether or not you fit in."

If you're worried that being born during the times of year when Mercury is direct means you won't have much luck as a writer or inventive thinker, don't be. Ultimately gifts like writing and creativity come down to the houses and signs in your chart (Mercury in the third tend to be exceptional writers). You only need to look out for those pesky Mercury retrogrades, which will be much more cumbersome for you than they are for your retrograde friends.