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Wait, What Does Mercury Is in Retrograde Actually Mean?!

From now until January 25, the cosmically suspicious will be talking nonstop about Mercury’s retrograde. And while it’s sort of fun to blame your mild to moderate daily inconveniences on an esoteric planetary force, what does it really mean? Don’t worry, we broke down everyone’s favorite havoc-wreaking planet for you.

Is “Mercury retrograde” even a real thing? Yes. Astronomically speaking, every few months the planet Mercury slows down its orbit and appears to move backward (an optical illusion), which we call “turning retrograde.”

Cool, but why is that considered bad luck? Astrology suggests that Mercury is the ruling planet of all communication, clarity in thinking, honesty and even travel and technology. When it’s retrograding, it’s going against its natural forward movement. Therefore: Mess and chaos ensue, in the form of broken iPhones and cancelled flights that leave you stuck in the Newark airport.

What other bad things await me? Oof. If you believe it, communication tends to go nuts, and you might needlessly argue with your beloveds and/or boss. Documents and contracts that you sign at this time might be tenuous, your technology might go haywire and unwelcome people from your past might pop back into your scene. Fun times.

OK, cool. So how do I survive? You could pull a Yoko Ono and put off all of your travel plans and important decision making until the end of the month. Or you could roll your eyes and simply curse the planets the next time you wipe out on the ice-skating rink.

Also: Be nice, as we’re all fighting a Mercury-sized battle, folks.

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