When you hear about Mercury in retrograde most people often mention missed emails, jacked up commutes, flight delays, and text disagreements. Which makes perfect sense considering Mercury rules transportation, communication, and electronics. So imagine my delight and shock as a novice astrologer when I realized that mercury retrograde can also make you reconsider other areas in your life, including love! You see, when a planet goes retrograde, as it appears to go backwards in the sky, it also backtracks in your natal chart inevitably causing all the verbs that begin with re: Retracing, revisiting rehashing, reigniting, and redoing have very special meaning when a planet retrogrades. This can be a slightly annoying thing — but it can also be a good thing. Yes, that’s right; perhaps Mercury in retrograde can sometimes be helpful, especially in love. Here’s my story.
Well, I have Gemini on my 7th house, so mercury rules my long term relationship sector. For most of my life, I had the entertaining experience of exes that wouldn’t stay away. Without fail, every time Mercury would switch directions, which can be up to four times a year, one ex or another would reappear. Before I understood this, I didn’t get why old relationships would just keep reemerging. Honestly, it wasn’t until I met my current partner that I fully understood what Mercury was trying to teach me, and funny enough, the last of my Mercury retrograde visits happened shortly after I finally figured it out!
I have four significant exes, none of which I will name to protect their privacy. I didn’t start making the Mercury retrograde connection until #2 so I will leave #1 out and start there. I met #2 the old-fashioned IRL way: in the club. He was a model and I was enamored. We dated on and off for about two years. One day, he decided he never wanted to see me again and did what typical 23-year-olds do: He ghosted. A few weeks later, I saw he was in a relationship on Facebook and gave up on a reconciliation. I was heartbroken. This pain was my first real heartbreak and actually led to my first dip into spiritual waters. I started studying astrology and Kabbalah, seeking the answers to why heartbreaks were a thing. Like clockwork, every Mercury retrograde, I would find myself exchanging emails with him attempting to seek answers for the demise of our relationship. This continues for about a year until I was mended enough to finally move on.
Boy #3 was a good friend. Or at least I thought he was. Another activity I did when I wasn’t devouring every book on why we exist, was spending my time partying it up at every night club I could in New York City. Boy #3 was the promoter who made this experience free and fun. He introduced me to a lot of people I am still friends with to this day; he encouraged me to get out of the house and remember what fun looked like. I suppose I got lost in all the fun and didn’t realize we didn’t want the same things out of life. But, you know, YOLO! Our connection was intense; swinging from wildly passionate to emotionally draining in minutes. We were on-and-off, always somehow reconnecting under Mercury retrograde to quickly disconnect shortly after he gained speed again. We hung out like this for close to a year before I found out he had a new girlfriend and forgotten to tell me. That ended. Second heartbreak wasn’t as difficult as the first. I still went into self healing mode and moved deeper into astrology and other metaphysical topics.
At this point, I was absolutely going to make sure I asked all the right questions before. No more guys with girlfriends they “forgot” they had! I went into therapy; I aggressively tried every self healing activity I could; I read books on how to pick better guys. So when I met boy #4, I was feeling myself a bit. He was great! Checked all the boxes. Treated me nicely. No hidden girlfriends, and no reasons to be suspicious. We dated for a few months and things were going well. Every few months, when Mercury did its back swim, boy #3 would slide into my texts but because I was in a good place I would politely dismiss him. Then #4 started acting a little out of character. Nothing extreme, just not as available as before. After some time of disagreement about this, one New Year’s Eve I just called it quits. He took it like a champ. But, of course, Mercury needed to share some misinformation with me. During its next retrograde, homeboy reaches out and sends me a photo of a kid. Turns out, when we first started going out, he accidentally impregnated a woman from another country and didn’t mention this gigantic secret he’d been hiding. So this absolutely explained his odd behavior.
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I’ll be honest. This one really stung. All three guys hid something of significance from me and this one felt like the cherry on the cake. So, of course, because I’m a normal person with feelings, I was a bit devastated and totally slid into “woe is me” territory. Fortunately, I have kick ass friends, know of a candle magic shop, and live not far from an ashram. A few months later, I had healed quite a bit, set intentions for love, and had re-evaluated my passions in life. I started a business and was in a place where I felt truly connected with what I wanted to accomplish in life.
Then I met my current partner. A little while after I started seeing him, Mercury also went retrograde. I kid you not, not one, but all three exes not only made an appearance into my life, but also asked for a second chance! I couldn’t even make this up if I tried. Boy #2 apologized for ghosting on me 7 years prior. He declared his love for me which was not something he ever said while we were together. Boy #3 also apologized; musing about how he wishes we could start over. Then he borrowed $100 bucks that he still hasn’t returned. Surprise, surprise. Boy #3 told me if I wanted to get married, he would oblige even though he isn’t into marriage. All in a three week time period. I told them all to politely get lost. Then never heard from any of them again. That was three years ago.
This is when I fully understood and knew that I had moved on completely. Mercury retrograde wasn’t just using exes to haunt me with my perceived failures or tempt me into falling back into old habits. It was simple showing me what or in this case who I was holding on to that was no longer serving me. Once I had found a place where I felt so closely connected to my purpose not only had I found love (with no insane secrets), I had also no longer had any sort of anger, hurt, or resentment tied to those who hurt me. I was able to sit and chat with all of them one last time assured in my sense of peace that we shared remarkable moments together; ones that served as catalysts to deeper spiritual growth. Since I no longer was emotionally attached to any ill feelings towards any of them, circumstances involving them were no longer necessary. So now I’m on to new Mercury retrograde experiences, learning to let go of the things that no longer serve me.
Shereen Campbell is a 30-something New Yorker striving to create the life of her dreams. She’s an astrologer, ecommerce manager, and the founder of My Little Magic Shop. She loves sailing, southern Italian food, and all things magical.
Photo: @adamkuylenstierna via Twenty20