Born Under a Bad Sign: 3 Tips If You Were Born During Mercury Retrograde

Everyone jokes about Mercury Retrograde, but what can you do if you were born during one of these frantic time periods?

The technical term for this is natal mercury retrograde and it’s not that uncommon. Mercury “retrogrades” about 3 times per year for a couple weeks each time so chances aren’t that slim that this could be a placement you have. Does it mean you’re doomed?

Nope. Nothing in the stars does. It simply shows you where you have a bit of work to do.

I have this occurrence in my own chart so I’m going to go through what it means and some of the ways I’ve coped in my 30-some years. Keep in mind that everyone has a different chart with different placements as well as a different set of circumstances growing up. Take the advice that resonates with you and leave the rest!

When a planet is retrograde, it simply means it appears to be traveling backwards in the sky. In astrology that might mean that planet’s influence is muted or changed in some way. If your interest in astrology is budding, you might look at someone’s chart with mercury retrograde and say they’re bad at communicating. While this could be true, it isn’t always.

For example, I have Mercury retrograde in Pisces (arguably Mercury’s least favorite place to be). I’m much more eloquent when I write than when I speak. The more important my words are, the more I like to edit them in my brain first. I’ll practice an important conversation in my head over and over until I’m confident enough to spit it out of my mouth. And usually, it doesn’t go as planned. If at all possible I’ll choose text form, but sometimes that’s not appropriate. Eventually I figured out (and admitted) that, even though I’m super laid back, I wasn’t as great of a communicator as I thought. It takes practice and effort to improve but it’s not impossible. It’s just an aspect of my life (and my chart) where I have to work harder.

Having Mercury retrograde in your chart often means that communication doesn’t come naturally or you have a very specific way of communicating that works for you. To break out of that box, you have to push yourself.

Research How Your Specific Mercury Placement Plays Out

You can google “birth chart” and if you have the time, date, and location of your birth you can get a lot of astrological details about yourself. I prefer astro.com, but use whatever works for you. Now, even if astrology is total bullshit, you can still glean useful prompts for self-evaluating.

Some factors that will effect your Mercury are:

Sign (which of the 12 signs it’s in)

House Placement (which of the 12 sections of your chart it’s in)

Aspects to Other Planets (which mathematical angles it’s making to other planets in your chart)

Review my article on How to Look at a Birth Chart if you need to..

There are so many combinations that it takes years of study to go into great detail, but let me give you a starting point.

If your Mercury is retrograde in a Fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) you may lash out with too harsh of a reply when you aren’t given enough time to sort out your thoughts.

If your Mercury is retrograde in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) you could possibly refrain from saying too much for fear of your words not being quite right yet.

If your Mercury is retrograde in an Air sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) you might end up frantically talking too much when you don’t know what to say.

If your Mercury is retrograde in a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) the more emotionally charged the topic, the more trouble you might have expressing it.

Challenge Yourself to Communicate in Different Ways

Public speaking always freaked me out. I falter once enough eyes start to fix their gaze on me. A few years ago I was asked to teach at a local arts center (I’m a silversmith by trade). I decided to give it a try despite feeling paralyzed by fear as soon as all of my students sat down on the first day. Eventually it got way easier.

Pick a few small ways that you can push your own boundaries without making it too daunting. Change usually happens on a micro-level, while you’re too busy plugging along to notice.

For example, If you’re bad at starting conversations with someone you’re attracted to, practice by starting conversations with random strangers.

Surround Yourself with Others Who Are Where You Want to Be

I mean this in a very simple way. If one of your friends is, say, great at starting conversations, watch their formula and apply it in your own unique way.

Looking at it astrologically, you could hang around folks who have an element in their chart that you lack. You don’t have to know their birthday to do this, just use the archetypes and keep an open mind! If you have a chart full of fire signs, it might benefit you to hang out with someone with the chill, grounding energy of an earth sign. Maybe you won’t agree on everything, but that’s ok!

As I got older and surrounded myself with more extroverts and socially functioning introverts, the confidence behind my words grew. While I’m not ready for (or interested in) giving a TedTalk anytime soon, having people I can be myself around really helped make me much more outspoken and articulate.

Almost 1/4 of people, including wildly successful folks, have Mercury retrograde in their birth chart. It’s certainly not an indicator of any type of bad luck. In fact, to have this little hurdle to overcome might bring you closer to understanding and explaining the human experience.

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