On Thursday, March 22, Mercury moves through its first retrograde of 2018.
Mercury, the planet closest to the sun is associated with the thinking mind, learning, commerce, technology, travel and communication. Every few months we’re likely to hear a bit about “mercury retrograde,” calling attention to the notorious astrological phenomenon where mercury appears to be moving backwards from our perspective on Earth. While its not actually moving backwards, the period of retrograde is a potent time to slow down, look back and reflect so that you can consciously align yourself and your actions with what’s alive within you.
We actually spend about half the year with mercury retrograde, so learning its influence upon us – beyond missed communications and faulty technology – can give insight into how we can find that alignment and evolve for our own good, and of course, everyone else’s, too.
A retrograde period tends to bring things from the past back around, particularly the issues represented by the sign that it occupies. This retrograde falls within the sign of Aries and lasts until April 15. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the spark of initiation and creativity. If used consciously, this period can set us up to re-wire a lifestyle that reflects the learnings, changes and evolution that has already occurred for us this year — the time to take care, review, and harness the inner fire to direct real transformation (when its time) is now!
As you ignite the life you want to create, you may find yourself veering off the path you’ve been following. So prepare yourself – fiery completions and introspection are upon us. The timing, of course, is perfect: aligned with the first buds of spring, this period is one to clear the field, release the seeds that aren’t bursting with life and tend to those that light us up. Consider it an initiation to understand what fears live within so that you can step through the other side clear and ready to turn your creative spark into a fire that shines bright.
Below are 5 steps you can take to stay calm as Mercury moves retrograde this month
Unplug and turn inwards.
The time to look at the places you resist and clean out the dusty closet is now. Use this Mercury Retrograde period to get quiet, dive in and ask yourself the harder questions. What needs your attention at the moment? How are you caring for yourself? Notice what feels alive within you right now and what may need to be nurtured in the months to come. As you observe what’s lighting you up, be open to seeing what doesn’t, too. This is a time for you to connect with the soul that lives within you – the One only you can nurture.
We ushered in 2018 with a Full Moon in cancer, a zodiac archetype symbolized by the qualities that make us feel nurtured and cared for, the aspects of our being that make us feel home. This is an essential time to explore your “home” frequency, best understood through breath. What does a discharged nervous system feel like within your body? How do you breathe when the temperature increases and things get fiery? Conscious breathing is a power tool in life and contains our ability to consciously shift from stress to rest and from reaction to response. Observe how your breath presents itself throughout this month and harness the full capacity of your diaphragm by breathing into your belly – the energetic home of creation – to take your projects to the next level.
Reflect on your needs, values and visions — and your relationship to anger.
This period is filled with energy, particularly of the fiery variety. If you notice yourself feeling reactive or fired up, refer to the suggestion above and explore your relationship to how you’re feeling and the energies and emotions you associate with fire: anger and rage, drive and impulse. Don’t be afraid to step into your shadow-side this month, curiously exploring your triggers and how you are currently responding to your life can give you the insights you need to transform the areas of your life you may feel stuck in. Reflect on what plans, visions and projects you began at the beginning of the year and re-evaluate what still lights you up. What do you deeply want to start or get off the ground?
Get Organized and Let Go.
This is an invitation to get to work. Taking into consideration the inner-reflections you’ve done, how can you orient your life in the direction that brings these visions to life? What might you have to let go of to get there? This is spring cleaning at its best, you will find clarity in clearance, whether that means cleaning your house or clearing out the limiting beliefs within your mind. What we release makes room for something new and the infinite potential for creation that exists.
Take action — with care!
This is a time to be deliberate in your actions and decisions. As you do the inner-work to observe your reactivity, be conscious with the actions you’re called to take. Try to listen first, choose your words wisely and wake up to the parts of yourself that may want to fight. What ignites a fire within you is worth exploring here. Kindness is your ally – remember that we’re all in it together!
Mercury retrograde doesn’t have to be a bad experience for anyone. In fact, this is the perfect time to pull yourself inwards for reflection on what’s truly important for you at this time. The choice, ultimately, is up to us: we can use this period for transformation, or we can risk getting burned.
What aspects of yourself do you love? What relationships and experiences have grown your soul so far this year? Are there any unexplored visions or projects left to complete? Harness this retrograde to unravel what feels tangled from the first cycle of this year and weave together a vision that feels complete.
You’re a different person today than you were yesterday, last week or on January 1. Remember that it’s OK to change your mind, walk away from projects and relationships that aren’t working for you anymore and start something new. You have the support of the universe behind you cheering you on to live in your highest. Above anything, be gentle with yourself. As you explore your feelings and experiences and unravel the situations that feel sticky or incomplete, kindness is essential. It’s spring, after all — a time for growth and trust that the light is there, even when we don’t see it and warmth is coming, even if we don’t feel it.