Mercury Retrograde—A Time to Turn Inward

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Inner Guidance

Today Daniel Giamario, founder of the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School, was a guest on my Hay House radio show Flourish! Because the planet Mercury has just gone into retrograde, people are concerned about what to do.

First a little background. Planets can and do affect human behavior. That’s the basis for the science of astrology. The moon rules the flow of fluid in our bodies and also the tides. This has been well established. It’s foolish to think that the other planets have no effect. They do. That’s the basis for astrology as a tool for self-realization. Astrology helps us work with the seasons of our lives over the years. And that’s what my show with Daniel was about.

But back to Mercury. The planet Mercury affects communication (you know Mercury—he’s the guy with the wings on his feet). Anyway, Daniel had received a letter just before our show from a guy who said, “It’s so exhausting to hear about Mercury going retrograde. What am I supposed to do?” This guy was operating under the common impression (and experience) that when mercury goes retrograde, communications are bound to be screwed up, emails won’t get there, contracts shouldn’t be signed, and travel will be a nightmare. Since mercury goes into retrograde about four times a year, it’s certainly not helpful to dread these times.

So Daniel set us all straight on what Mercury retrograde really is and how to make this time work for you. He said that when Mercury goes retrograde, communication works in the opposite way than we expect. Let me explain.

In our culture, we assume that the logical, left-brained approach to things rules and is “correct.” But the truth is, we live in a quantum universe in which our own energy fields affect everything we do. And, in fact, our energy fields even affect the function of inanimate objects. (This is known as resistentialism—the tendency of inanimate objects to act in hostile ways toward humans. Believe it or not, this has been studied. It explains why falling toast lands jam side down only on really expensive carpets. But that’s another story.)

Anyway, during Mercury retrograde periods, communication becomes more right brained. Flow reverses.

During our radio show, we experienced a classic mercury retrograde moment. I had connected with a caller from Washington, D.C., who wanted to know if an astrologic chart can predict the time of one’s death. And Daniel and I were about to answer her question. Suddenly, another woman entirely, whose call wasn’t even on the boards, began talking to us about an entirely different subject. How this happened was a mystery to the engineers at Hay House. But to Daniel and me, who were both born when mercury was retrograde, this wasn’t at all surprising. We laughed because we were given a very direct mercury retrograde event as part of our teaching.

Okay—so what do you do when mercury goes retrograde?

You do inner work. You give up your expectations of how things will go. You prepare to be surprised. And you leave more time in your schedule for when things don’t go according to plan. And you also don’t sign any major contracts that don’t include escape clauses. This is a time to kick back, do journaling, get an astrologic update, and simply go with the flow. Difficult for left-brained types, I know. But trust me, mercury retrograde is not trying to mess with you. It’s playfully trying to get you to lighten up!

Last Updated: April 22, 2010

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. Allison
    9 years ago

    re-connect, re-boot, re-birth. What a special time!

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