What does it mean when Mercury goes retrograde?

Mercury rules communication, so you can expect some communication breakdown whenever it stations retrograde.

Sound the alarm because this month, Mercury stations retrograde on June 18.

Mercury retrograde is a phrase that can send most of us into panic and fear, even if you’re not all that into astrology. And to be honest, while Mercury retrograde can be a tough time period, it doesn’t have to be as scary as everyone makes it out to be. So let’s break down what it means and assess how you might be able to move through it with a little bit more ease. After all, knowledge is power, right?

When a planet is retrograde, it appears to be moving backward in the sky, traveling back into the sign it was previously transiting. Any retrograde is always a period of review and reassessment. So when Mercury goes retrograde, you can expect misunderstandings, technology failures and in general, some roadblocks in life. This is why it has become the astrological scapegoat of modern times.

Mercury is one of the faster moving planets in our solar system, and about once a month, it changes signs in the zodiac. Mercury rules communication and can affect our technology, our conversations, the words we use and the big contracts we enter into. Mercury not only affects the way we speak to others, but also how we speak to ourselves and the way we think.

"Anytime a planet goes retrograde, it's an invitation to slow down. In that stillness, we can be taken back to where we skipped a step or missed seeing a vital piece of information," astrologers Brandon Alter and Angel Lopez of The Spiritual Gayz told us. "Because Mercury rules communication with ourselves and others, it immediately invites us to slow down our response time. This isn't the time to rush into decisions."

"It's also a time to be gentle with yourself. Things may take longer than you want, and that's OK. If you're feeling like you made a mistake, now is a great time to forgive yourself. And know that if you're feeling frustrated, everyone is experiencing this on some level, so remember that you're not alone."

Astrologers also warn that Mercury retrograde is not the best time to make a big purchase or sign major contracts. And while you can definitely do these things during a phase when Mercury goes retrograde, know that it might be a little frustrating or maybe take a little longer than you expected.

And the best advice is to proceed with caution: Back up your work, read the fine print and know that while misunderstandings are bound to occur, they can also be easily cleared up with a little patience, not only with others, but also with yourself.

Oh and word to the wise, "Mercury isn't ever IN retrograde, Mercury GOES retrograde. Retrograde is a direction, not a realm. It's like saying 'Mercury is in backwards' as opposed to 'Mercury goes backwards.'"

The more you know.