Greg Tufaro is a second-generation astrologer and segment producer for "Good Morning America."
Mamma Mia. Mercury is in retrograde from July 26 until Aug. 19. Cue the apocalyptic dread and prepare for something horrific to happen.
I’m being facetious. However, in all likelihood, if you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you already have a bit of an interest in astrology and have been told something horrible about what it means for Mercury to be in retrograde motion. While that can be true, when it comes to astrology, things are never really so black and white.
As an astrologer, I interpret the placement of the planets and their relation to one another to assess what may be going on in a person's life in a particular moment. Through thousands of years of study, astrologers have come to conclude that certain planetary patterns correlate with certain life patterns for each of us individually and collectively.
One of these patterns focuses on the planet Mercury and how it appears to change direction in the sky several times a year for three weeks at a time.
The reality is, Mercury isn’t really changing its direction at all -- rather, because it orbits the sun and does so quickly from our vantage point, it appears to be traveling backward in our sky as it completes its solar revolution. From this point on, so much of what Mercury in retrograde will signify in your own life is all about perception.
In astrology, Mercury is the planet that represents the concept of communication. When it appears to be moving forward in the sky, astrologers will say communication is likely to progress in a forward fashion. In other words, things may appear to go more smoothly -- people say what they mean and mean what they say. When Mercury is in retrograde motion and it appears to be moving backward, things may get more cloudy.
Communication breaks down
It's a three-week period of time when communication, for some, seems to break down more than usual. What do I mean by "communication"? It could mean that you click send on an email only to realize several hours later that it has never left your inbox. It could mean that you're driving in your car when you realize you forgot to get gas and now the tank is on empty and you’re about to be late for an all-too-important appointment. You could get into an argument with a friend over a silly misunderstanding and leave feeling extremely hurt. Your computer could suddenly break down, out of the blue, and you lose the paper you’ve just spent hours writing.
Here’s the thing though. Just because we say something is backward doesn't make it all bad. Occasionally in life, it’s good to look back on things in order to move forward better. So, the significance of Mercury being in retrograde can have other, more positive meanings and representations in your life. Conversations from the past that never reached their ultimate conclusion may be revisited. A friend you haven't spoken to may suddenly reappear in your life allowing you to reconnect.
As you go through the next several weeks, meditate on this concept of "communication." Buckle up for the good and bad of Mercury in retrograde and what’s to come!
Here's what it could mean for your sign in particular:
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Have you been thinking about a past love? Don’t be surprised if they suddenly reappear out of the blue to settle unfinished business. Things left unspoken between the two of you may suddenly resurface. There's also the possibility that you may return to a place you remember fondly from your past in an effort to relive those days gone by. The real lesson to be learned from this journey back in time? To see how far you have come and recognize how much has changed.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Your home may be the focus of your thoughts during this retrograde period. Are you contemplating a move? If so and if possible, wait for Mercury to go out of retrograde before making the change. There's the likelihood that not everything is as it seems when it comes to your living situation. There’s also the possibility that a problem with your parents may come to light. Any underlying issues you may have with mom and dad (or they may be having themselves) may come to the forefront. If things get particularly intense during your conversations with one another during this time, chalk it up to simple misunderstandings or miscommunications rather than inherent character flaws.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You may be traveling more frequently over the next couple of weeks, but be prepared for delays in getting wherever you're going. Add an extra half-hour to your travel time just in case. There’s the potential your car may unexpectedly break down or your train gets delayed. You may also hear some unexpected news from one of your siblings. My best advice for dealing with whatever situation they may present to you? Be a sounding board for them. The less you speak, the more likely you are to truly hear what they are saying.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Money matters come into focus now. You may be thinking about asking for a raise or jockeying for a position in your company that has suddenly become available due to another’s departure. Whatever the case may be, be prepared to not like the news that comes your way. If you’re content where you are and have been placing your career on the back burner, it’s possible that an unexpected payment that you hadn’t been anticipating or potentially even forgot about may suddenly crop up. Don’t freak out. This moment in time is merely about paying the piper whatever may be due. Once s/he collects, you’ll be in the clear and have one less thing to worry about.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
Who do you think you are? Who do you want to be? These next few retrograde weeks may have you thinking more about those larger pictures in life, but don't make any sudden decision or moves. You're not thinking entirely clearly about yourself and everything that goes into making you who you are. This should be more a time of reassessing what you want out of life in order to make whatever course correction you need to be making. And, don’t worry if others get upset with you for appearing more self-centered than usual. You need to take this time and focus on yourself. If you’re not happy with yourself, you won’t be making anyone else happy.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Unsettling secrets and surprises are bound to be uncovered in the coming days. You may feel as if you've no control over things that are happening around you and that very well may be the case right now, but the good news is it’s all happening for a reason. Yes, there IS a grander plan to things as much as you may continue to question them. Because your thoughts are more likely to be all over the place during this retrograde period, meditation is key. The better you can focus any unconscious negative thoughts or desires onto something positive, the better off you will be.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
You may be reaching out to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while or find yourself "getting the gang back together!" Perfect. A trip down memory lane reminiscing with friends is exactly what you need right now. Or, if no friend reappears from the past, a long lost dream could also suddenly resurface. Why did you let it go in the first place? Is it something you have the potential of reaching for one more time? Do your best to examine it objectively right now and don’t make any hasty moves or decisions. In a few weeks you’ll have more clarity on the situation in its entirety. You very well may be able to grasp that golden ring in the coming months. There really is no rush.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
You may be rethinking your career in the moment and feel like you’re suddenly having to take a step back unnecessarily. That may be the case, but are you doing everything you need to be doing to get where you want to go? If not, now is the time to speak up and do something about it. Often, you like to keep things close the vest but now is your opportunity to try a different tactic. But remember, not everything you need, request or express to others will be understood, but at least you're putting it out there. You typically behave in one of two extremes: either muting your voice or imposing your ideas. Whichever you know to be the most typical “you,” try the other personality for a change. Keep people guessing. That’s how you like it.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Planning a trip overseas? Don’t be surprised if everything doesn’t go as planned and you don’t end up where you want to be. Make sure your passport is up to date because you don’t want to be at the airport check-in counter and suddenly come to that realization. If no trip is on the horizon, perhaps you’re contemplating furthering your education right now. What are you interested in learning that you’ve never had time for before? It certainly couldn’t hurt to investigate over the next couple of weeks. If there’s a real chance of increasing your expertise in that field, now is the perfect time to find out!
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
The tax man may come calling over the next couple of weeks or an inheritance you’d been waiting for may suddenly get delayed. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, you weren’t anticipating this news. That’s life. As much as you like to be in control of your own destiny, how you handle the unexpected events in life is what truly defines who you are. You already know that because that’s who you typically personify. Try not to get bent out of shape. This, too, shall pass.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
Partnerships may go a little haywire over the next couple of weeks. The two of you, either personal or professional, may not appear to be on the same page or even speaking the same language. If that’s the case, take a beat. Take a breath. Miscommunications happen in even the best of relationships, there’s no need to blow things out of proportion -- in particular when Mercury is retrograde and sensitivities are heightened.
If you’re single and thinking about a former flame, why not reach out? What’s the worst that can happen? If you discover your relationship is truly not meant to be, what’s wrong with that?
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
A health matter that you thought you had under control may rear its ugly head once again. Or you may be going in for your annual check-up and get an unsettling result. Before you panic, ask for a second opinion. Doctors are not infallible. Now is a good time to get all health matters under control.
Consider starting that fitness routine you’ve already been contemplating or making that dietary change. It may not stick, but getting started is always the hardest part and you have a good opportunity to do that right now. If you can push through and keep at it, once Mercury goes direct, you may be able to debut your new healthier you!