Here it is — the final Mercury retrograde of 2021. So far this year, we've made it through a mentally exhausting retrograde in Aquarius and a chaotic, gossip-loving retrograde in Gemini. But this time, we might be catching a bit of a break. From September 27 to October 18, the speedy planet will be doing its backwards dance in Libra, a sign known for being peaceful and harmonious — and relationship-oriented.
Libra is ruled by Venus, the Planet of Love and Affection, and as a result our social lives will be the star of this retrograde. This transit "will deepen the need to recalibrate our most important relationships, a theme that was started by the sun's entrance into Libra," according to Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com. Retrogrades tend to be opportunities to reflect on certain areas of our life. "Since Libra is the sign of one-on-one partnerships, Mercury retrograde will have us revise, review, and rethink how we are relating to one another as a way to find more balance and fairness within our most important bonds," Montúfar says. During this transit, we'll be asked to consider how we relate to all of the people in our lives, including romantic partners, friends, family, and even our coworkers, and how we can make our communication more harmonious.
Right when Mercury enters its retrograde, it will be locked in a square with transformative Pluto. "This will expose a lot of existing relationship patterns that are up for renewal," says Montúfar. "Suddenly, we will feel the need to reshape the way we interpret and communicate information, and therefore, transform how we express our needs with our partners, our bosses, and other important people in our lives."
For the next month, really take the time to think about how you've been communicating with the people in your life. Is it productive? Respectful? Efficient? Also think about how you want to be communicated with. Do you want your boss to give you straight-to-the-point constructive criticism, or would you rather receive feedback packaged in a compliment sandwich? Think on it, and then let them know — but maybe after Mercury stations direct, so your words won't be misconstrued.
There's extra incentive to take advantage of this period of reflection, says Lisa Stardust, the author of Saturn Return Survival Guide and The Astrology Deck: Due to this aspect with Pluto and another with the centaur Chiron, "we can expect to experience a lot of healing and transformation around these matters — particularly about exes and frenemies of the past who are resurfacing."
Of course, this is still a Mercury retrograde, and as such, we should still expect some communication mishaps. From October 5 to October 10, Mercury is going to meet with Mars, which could trigger intense exchanges with our nearest and dearest, according to Montúfar. "We must be careful with what we say, and most importantly, how we say it," she warns. "When Mars and Mercury meet, words can feel like weapons, and around this time, we could really say something that we, later on, could regret." Word of advice? Zip it — or, at least, think before you speak. Retrograde or not, that's always a good idea when communicating with others.
So, how do we prepare for it all? It's pretty simple and gentle: Take it easy. "Retrograde Mercury is part of the natural cycle of life and it is not anything out of the ordinary as it occurs so often," says Leslie Hale, psychic astrologer at Keen.com. "Everything serves a purpose and the purpose of a retrograde Mercury is to slow down a bit."
Madi Murphy, co-founder of The Cosmic RX and The Cosmic Revolution, agrees. "Seriously, slowing down helps avoid so many of the Mercury Retrograde pitfalls. Reading and rereading travel itineraries, leaving extra time for transit, proofreading that proposal and double- or triple-checking all recipients on NSFW Snaps will all majorly pay off," she says. Murphy also says that this is the time to focus on our "re" words: revisit, redo, reassess, revise, retry, reclaim, re-envision, and retreat.
So, take a breath. We've been through, and survived, chaotic, questionable retrogrades before, and this one is no different. We know the basics of what Mercury retrograde does to us — technological mishaps, chaotic travel, brain fog, and misunderstandings. But if we prepare, this transit could just be another bump in the road of a rocky 2021.
"This Mercury retrograde is going to go in like a Real Housewives Reunion show and go out like the end of a SoulCycle class," says Murphy. "It’s going to start out dramatic, uncomfy, and maybe even a touch snarky in the way it calls you out." But once we're on the other side, it's all going to be worth it. Murphy says we'll get the clarity we need — even if we have to sweat a little to get there.