Mercury Retrograde Is Kind of a Gift

By Faran Krentcil, Fact checked by Jessica Ochoa

2 min read

Stars in the Sky

Don’t panic, but Mercury is now retrograde until October 2. That gives us two whole weeks to experience chaos, malfunction, and confusion—at least according to internet astrology junkies.

What really happens when Mercury goes retrograde? From a scientific standpoint, not much. Mercury Retrograde doesn’t affect the earth’s quality of light or its rotation, though during this celestial period, it appears to be spinning "backwards" in space. (Fun fact: It’s not actually going backwards, but it is spinning on the opposite side of our planet.)

Even so, the world seems to revel in Mercury Retrograde as a time of crossed wires and unclear signals in life and work—though even if you subscribe to mythology over cosmology, it's not all bad. In fact, famed astrologers like Susan Miller say Mercury Retrograde has some major benefits associated with its “backwards” energy, including...

  • The opportunity to revisit happy memories from the past
  • The chance to reconsider a movie or book you didn’t like the first time around
  • The urge to tackle an abandoned project you still secretly love
  • The mandate to forgive others and forgive yourself for past wrongdoings you’ve internalized a bit too long

Is any of this scientifically proven? Nope! But if you’d like to honor Mercury Retrograde by letting go of past mistakes or grievances, science does have your back. In fact, a 2016 study from Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University found that when adults are holding a grudge, they physically feel more pain when they’re injured or sick. Harvard and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai confirmed the research with their own study, which found that holding onto a past wrongdoing intensified the length and intensity of someone’s pain.  

Meanwhile, it’s important to note that nature doesn’t hold grudges! In fact, the earth’s many ecosystems are in a constant state of regeneration and repair, from poppy fields blooming after California floods to coral regrowth accelerating in the once-endangered Florida Keys reefs. Those are only two examples, but they tell us everything we need to know about Mercury Retrograde—namely, that looking back is important, but powering forward counts for even more. 

And if you want to blame Mercury Retrograde for your missing AirPods anyway? I mean, we did the same thing this morning...