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July 17, 2019 4 min read

Mercury retrograde has happened several times a year to every human being since the dawn of time. So why do we get so upset about it?

According to astrologer and Full Circle Yoga School Alumna Stella Nagel (RYT 200), Mercury retrograde is responsible for minor annoyances (think an email malfunction or an unexpected phone call).

What has a bigger impact on personal growth and development, Stella warns, is the positioning of planets like Jupiter and Saturn — both of which are in retrograde. These heavy hitter planets have a major impact on how we feel about ourselves and our place in the world.

Here’s what you should know about retrogrades Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn — and how you can tune into these critical messages to nurture yourself and your future.

When we talk about a planet being in retrograde, it helps to understand what the term means.

“A retrograde doesn’t actually mean the planet moves backwards in the sky. By the way that the planets move, it appears to move backwards in the sky,” Stella says.

Planets never actually stop moving — just as we can’t press pause in any given moment of our lives. And despite the fact that many people view Mercury retrograde as a negative, it’s actually an amazing opportunity to stop, retreat inwards, and engage in self-reflection.

“The nature of a retrograde is just to pull back for a second, to check in and make sure your actions are aligned with your higher good.”

Retrogrades affect people in different ways depending on their natal chart. However, taking a look at the energetic themes spanning these planets — and combining them with your personal information — can give you a better understanding of what current planetary retrogrades mean for you.

Mercury Retrograde

While many people tend to blame Mercury for major upsets in life, this pesky retrograde is only responsible for minor technology and communication irritations, like printer troubles or a wifi outage.

Plus, Mercury retrograde doesn’t last nearly as long as its counterparts, with the average Mercury retrograde spanning only about six weeks. If you’re experiencing major life crises, dramas and questions — Mercury may not be to blame.

So what’s really preventing you from leading the life you want?

Jupiter Retrograde

Enter: Jupiter retrograde. Jupiter rules Sagittarius — the planet in charge of things like freedom, spontaneity, luck, wilderness, travel and education. As Stella puts it, Sagittarius is like the boho festival child of the zodiac.

When Jupiter is moving forward, it’s responsible for helping you create the life that you want. When it’s in retrograde, you might experience disruptions in travel, education and pursuing your goals.

“If you are someone who hates to travel but you’re traveling a lot — or if you’re someone who loves to travel and you can’t get off the ground — that’s Jupiter retrograde.”

Saturn Retrograde
Now let’s talk about Saturn. “Saturn is like the big mean dad of the zodiac,” Stella explains. This means that Saturn forces us to do deep work on heavy issues.

Do you really like your life? Who are you? Are you where you want to be?

These are the kinds of questions and setbacks Saturn asks us to face. As the ruler of Capricorn, Saturn wants us to focus on building stability, creating autonomy and creating our own space in the world.

Even if you don’t have any Capricorn in your chart, Stella points out that these energies still affect us all.

“Capricorn still falls in a house somewhere, so you’re still going to be assessing places that you’re not stable, places where you need to become financially independent, and places where you need to be less self serving.”

Similarly, you might also be forced to reckon with areas where you may have been too self serving or financially irresponsible. In other words: it’s time to grow up.

Every planet and every sign is going to affect every person differently. Still, retrograding planets always send a similar message: stop looking outward and start looking inward.

Saturn and Jupiter retrogrades don’t just suggest that we step back, they warn us of moving too quickly by putting roadblocks in our way. This means that if you’re working towards a specific goal or venture, you may be experiencing a number of obstacles and setbacks that prevent it from manifesting.

Being faced with such hiccups don’t mean you’re not meant to pursue the project. Rather, it means the universe is giving you more time to prepare for this change before moving into it. This message is amplified by the fact that the sun and Venus are both in Cancer, the sign responsible for sensitive, nurturing and self-protective energy.

“As the sun and Venus lend their energies in Cancer, it’s time to take care of yourself and make sure that those decisions you’ve made over the last two years are actually aligned with your higher good.”

If reflecting upon these issues makes you feel uncomfortable, it might be a sign that you need to pivot your goals and work towards something more reflective of your soul’s desires.

Turning inward may not be what you had planned for this summer, but the season of self-reflection won’t last forever.

When exactly will it be time to jump back on the go-getter bandwagon?

Both Mercury and Jupiter will begin loosening their grip in the beginning of August, with Mercury returning to normal on the 2nd and Jupiter leaving its shadow phase on August 11th. Saturn, the heaviest hitter of all, will finally station direct on September 6th.

“By mid September, people should be feeling pretty good and finally have a sense of forward momentum in their lives – provided they do what’s being asked of them.”

If you’re being called to do deep work on yourself and your life path, don’t ignore the warning signs asking you to retreat inwards. Taking a moment to pause and reflect ensures that you’re prepared for whatever is yet to come.

“You can’t get somewhere before you’re ready to get there,” Stella explains.

No matter how determined you may be to get where you’re going, you most certainly can’t outsmart the cosmos.

Stella is an astrologer and yoga teacher at Leela Yoga. You can follow her on Instagram @leelayogabystella or visit her Facebook page.

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