I’m an Astrologer, and Here Are 7 Things I Never Do When Mercury Is Retrograde

what not to do when mercury is retrograde

As astrology has become massively popular over the past few years, it seems that everyone starts to worry when they hear that Mercury is retrograde. I get DMs, FaceTimes and panicked emails from clients, friends and colleagues alike along the lines of “I’m nervous!! What’s going to break? Is everything going to be OK?”

Yes, Mercury retrograde causes delays and disruptions to our daily routine, but this is for a purpose. Things are slowing down so we can review what’s happened, revise our goals and rework our strategy. (It’s actually a great time to focus on literally anything that begins with re-.)

And though Mercury retrograde shouldn’t be feared, there are definitely some things that are better left for when the planet of communication isn’t moving backward. With that in mind, here are seven things I never do when Mercury is retrograde.

1. Purchase New Tech Items

Mercury is the planet of technology, so it governs all our gadgets that help us navigate our day-to-day. Don’t be surprised if tech purchases made during these times end up glitching. If I must get that new laptop (sometimes life happens and a new machine is needed), I keep the box and the receipts so it’s easier when I inevitably have to get it repaired or make a return.

2. Sign A Contract

Though this is sometimes unavoidable––a final interview has been scheduled or an offer has been made––it’s really best to wait until Mercury goes direct to sign a contract or seal a deal. Mercury is the planet of details, so agreements made during this time are always missing a few. If I must sign, I make sure to read everything extremely carefully and even send it over to a discerning friend. It’s likely that the terms of the agreement will change sooner than anticipated

3. Expect A Speedy Response

When I send important emails or messages during Mercury retrograde, I practice patience by not expecting a quick response. The person on the receiving end of my message is probably dealing with their own glitching tech, stalled subway or resurfaced ex. Even if I’m on a major deadline, I try not to take their lack of communication personally. Usually when the response finally does roll in, it’s at a particularly serendipitous––or hilarious––time. Mercury has a way of being in on the joke.

4. Make Travel Plans

If possible, I avoid making or booking travel plans during Mercury retrograde. Mercury rules transportation, and when retrograde, it halts our daily commute and turns the airport into a hellscape. Tickets purchased for future trips during Mercury retrograde often end up having to be reconfigured or canceled.

Personal anecdote: During the Mercury retrograde of July 2018, I impulsively booked a flight for a vacation in L.A., which I ended up having to call off because of work. Frustrated with losing money on the trip, I took an airline credit and ended up using it six months later to book a different flight to L.A. Remember: The idea is there, but the plan will change.

5. Begin A Project Or Collaboration

Anything launched during Mercury retrograde is subject to overhaul (see: the recent glitch-tastic launch of Disney+ in November 2019), so instead of starting something fresh, I like to complete long-forgotten tasks or ventures. It’s a great time to put the finishing touches on a painting or a piece of writing, clean out a closet or (most of all) respond to those backlogged emails. Just double check them before sending.

6. Get A Haircut Or Change My Appearance

As much as I want to get bangs, dye my hair a shade of purple (that all my friends say will look great) or debut a statement outfit, I know that during Mercury retrograde, I can’t. To avoid future mirror panic, I instead revisit classic wardrobe pieces or hairstyles I once rocked on the daily. If I’m going for a #look, it’s gotta be one from the archives. I can try bangs when the planets are on my side. 

7. Send Invitations

Mercury retrograde is really the worst time to initiate anything, so if I can avoid it, I try not to send invitations. Remember: plans will change, and no one is on top of their RSVPs anyway. I’ve accidentally locked myself into a birthday party at a bar I don’t even like when sending out invites during a retrograde! It’s always better to wait. 

Luckily, we are done with retrogrades for 2019, but next year’s three occurrences are right around the corner! Put these dates in your planner and keep these tips in mind.

Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2020:

February 16 to March 9

June 18 to July 11

October 14 to November 3

Jaime Wright is an astrologer based in New York. You can follow her on Instagram @jaimeallycewright or subscribe to her newsletter.



Jaime Wright is an astrologer and writer based in NYC. She has been writing PureWow’s weekly and monthly horoscope columns since 2019, and also authors the cult favorite...