You can curse it. You can complain about it. Or you can make it into magic.
“[Y]ou can work consciously with Mercury’s energies when it’s retrograde and use them to your advantage.”
~ Yasmin Boland and Kim Farnell in The Mercury Retrograde Book
It’s that time again! On Monday, September 27th, Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of Libra.
It will go direct on Monday, October 18th.
Instead of worrying, complaining, and expecting the worst, why not consciously work with this uniquely powerful time? That’s precisely the vision behind this Mercury retrograde challenge: being proactive in positively revising, reframing, and reimagining your life and life conditions.
This is the second time I’ve offered a Mercury retrograde challenge. The first one was in June, and it was so fun and so well received, I wanted to do it again. If you decide to join in, you’ll find Mercury retrograde not only to be much less irritating, but to actually be an enjoyable, exhilarating, and transformational ride.
It seems there’s something protective and preventative about making a conscious, daily effort to heal, inspire, and uplift yourself during Mercury Retrograde. It’s like a little offering of energy and attention that helps shield you from Mercury Retrograde’s usual frustrations. (Maybe it appeases the Mercury Retrograde gods? Honestly, I don’t know how it works. But it does. At least it did for me and many others last time.)
Libra is an air sign, so be aware that this Mercury retrograde will be even more about thoughts, words, and communication than it normally is. As usual during Mercury retrograde, make sure to double and triple check your emails, texts, posts, forms, and other types of communication. Before you go ahead and click “post” or “send” or “tweet” or “submit,” ask yourself: does this communicate what I want to say? Did I overlook anything? Could this possibly be misread or misconstrued? And what about typos?
(Example: during the launch of the last Mercury Retrograde Challenge, I added an extra ‘g’ to “Retrograde” in the image for the post and posted it across all my social media accounts. Some of you, understandably, thought I was trying to be funny, but I wasn’t. It was a legitimate typo. Who remembers this?)
This is also – even more than usual – an appropriate Mercury retrograde to have those potentially touchy or tough conversations that you’ve been avoiding or postponing. Libra values harmony, so remember that true relationship harmony (as opposed to false or superficial relationship harmony) requires deep, honest, and authentic connection.
In the same vein, Libra is the sign of balance, beauty, and love. So this Mercury retrograde challenge will pay special attention to establishing (or re-establishing) these qualities in all your environments and relationships.
All of that being said, let’s get to the challenge!
Do your best to show up for all these suggestions. But if you happen to miss a day or two, all is not lost. Just show up again the next day, or the day after that. And if you’re extra busy on certain days, you can always double up or do an abbreviated version of a task. Just follow your intuition and do what you can.
Oh, and tell your friends! It would be fun if you feel like posting about it too. On Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, I’ll be using the hashtag #22DayMercuryRetrogradeChallenge. I’d love to see your photos, realizations, questions, and anything else you feel like sharing.
Day 1: Monday, September 27 – Enlist the Air Spirits
Here we go! Today, the moon is in an air sign (Gemini), the sun is in an air sign (Libra), and the star of this show, Mercury, is in an air sign too (Libra). Today, invoke the air element and enlist the air elementals by making an offering to the spirits of air. You can do this in any of the following ways:
Once you make this offering to the spirits of air, stand outside near your offering. If there’s any wind, notice the way it feels on your skin. Take a few deep breaths. Look at the clouds, gaze toward the sky, or notice the breeze in the trees. Say, silently or aloud: “Spirits of air, I offer you this gift with love. Thank you for helping me move through this Mercury Retrograde period with harmony and ease.” Take another moment to feel gratitude, and to set any specific intentions you may have for this Mercury Retrograde cycle related to anything you would like to rethink, reimagine, or revise.
Day 2: Tuesday, September 28 – Inventory Your Emotions
In a notebook or journal, assess and inventory your emotions. Set a timer for five minutes and write without stopping. Ask yourself: how do I feel right now? What feelings are underneath those feelings? Are there any feelings I am still processing from past events? Are there any feelings I haven’t been admitting to myself? Breathe as you write. Relax as best you can. And let all of your feelings be exactly as they are without judging them or trying to cover them up or explain them away. Anger, sadness, frustration, joy, hope, and excitement are all equally acceptable. When the timer dings, you can keep writing, or you can stop. Whenever you choose to stop, place your hands on your heart, take a few more deep breaths, and send yourself love. Ask yourself if there’s anything else you can do to help those feelings move through. (Punch a pillow, cry, dance, etc.)
Day 3: Wednesday, September 29 – Get Yourself a Coffee
It’s National Coffee Day! Get or make yourself a delicious – possibly autumn-themed – coffee drink. If you don’t drink coffee, or if you’d rather, get yourself another coffee house treat, like a muffin, chai, or matcha latte. Enjoy it mindfully. Turn off your phone and sit outside (if weather permits). Watch the birds, the wind in the trees, and/or the clouds. Align, once again, with the light, inspiration-filled element of air.
Day 4: Thursday, September 30 – Clear Clutter from Your Door
The front door of your home is magically significant. It’s where blessings and abundance flow into your life, both symbolically and literally. Today, clear clutter from your front door area, both indoors and out (as applicable) to remove blocks to wealth and make room for positive energy to flow in. In other words, clear any clutter that may be hanging out on the doorstep or front porch as well as the foyer or entry area. If your doormat is old and worn, get rid of it and get a new one. If any plants are chronically suffering, give them to a plant whisperer friend or give them back to the earth. If too many shoes and jackets have been piling up in the entry, return some of them to their respective clothes closet(s). If anything is obstructing the front door’s full range of motion, move it. Also give the outside and inside of your door a good sweep. Oh, and if your outdoor light needs a new lightbulb, now is the time.
Day 5: Friday, October 1 – Clear the Energy in Your Home
Happy October! Today, clear the energy in your home with smoke or sound. First, open all the windows (and doors if you don’t have any pets or small children who will run out). Then, move around each room and area your home in a roughly counterclockwise direction with one of the following:
As you waft smoke or sound around your home, feel that you are raising and purifying the vibrations in your space, unsticking stagnant energy, and establishing greater harmony and clarity in your home and your life. When you’re finished, if you’re using smoke, be sure to extinguish the sage or palo santo completely by sealing it in a jar or running it under water until you’re positive it’s out.
Day 6: Saturday, October 2 – Name Your Car
So apparently “Name Your Car Day” is really a thing, and that day is today? Such mechanical/transportation-related affection is actually perfect for Mercury Retrograde. If you have a car, and it doesn’t have a name yet, give it a name today. If you don’t have a car, give your bike – or even the bus or subway you take to work – a name. (It can be a secret name. You don’t have to go around using it all the time.) Also feel gratitude for your transportation and say a few heartfelt words of thanks to it. Now would also be a good time to take care of – or make plans to take care of – any vehicle-related stuff you need to do, like get a car wash, oil change, or smog check. Or just to clear clutter out of your glove compartment.
Day 7: Sunday, October 3 – Assess Your Personal Style
Write at least one full journal page, or write for five minutes without stopping, about your personal style: what is it now, and what would you like it to be? What new colors, patterns, textures, scents, hairstyles, or trends would you like to try? Which ones are you tired of? What would you wear, or how would you style your hair, if you weren’t worried about what other people would think? Then pull everything out of your closet, dresser, and jewelry box and only put it back in if you love wearing it and it supports your highest vision of your personal style. Also make a list of new (or new-to-you) accessories and clothing items you’d like to obtain.
Day 8: Monday, October 4: Plan to Heal Your Body
Make a list of any health challenges you’d like to heal, major or minor. Then take a moment with each one and ask yourself what you could do to support yourself in healing each issue. Are you drinking enough water? Getting enough protein? Exercising in a way you enjoy? Taking probiotics or other helpful supplements? Making plenty of delicious vegetable dishes? Are you laughing enough and taking other steps to relieve stress? Are you speaking kindly to and about your body? Make a plan for being proactive about your physical health.
Day 9: Tuesday, October 5: Rest
It’s the dark moon today. If you can manage it, don’t go the extra mile. Instead, rest. Turn off your phone when you’re finished with work. Make yourself some herbal tea. Put on some cozy clothes. Whatever you do, make it relaxing: take a bath, read a book, or watch a comforting movie.
Day 10: Wednesday, October 6 – New Moon Ritual
Today is the Libra new moon, which means the sun, moon, and Mercury are all in Libra, the sign of balance. For this new moon ritual, light a white candle. If you like incense or essential oil, also light a stick of incense or diffuse some essential oil. Sit comfortably and take some deep breaths. Then tune into the air element and the quality of balance. Invoke the Divine in a way that feels powerful for you. Ask: how can I come into even greater balance? Listen deeply, both to yourself and to the Divine. Write down any answers you receive. Finally, place both hands on your heart. Breathe, relax, and conjure up a feeling of balance. Call it in. Imagine it. Let it blossom within and around you. Then feel gratitude.
Day 11: Thursday, October 7 – Uncover Your Secrets
Answer this journal prompt: what is the thing that I know but I don’t know? If you need extra prompting, ask yourself, what do I avoid letting myself know? What do I pretend isn’t happening? What do I try not to feel? What conversations am I hoping not to have? Write at least one full page without stopping.
Note: you probably want to skip this one. Don’t!
P.S. Congratulations! You’re halfway through.
Day 12: Friday, October 8 – Mine Your Jealousy
Are you jealous of anyone? Or envious? Of people you know or people you don’t know? Who? Make a list. Jealousy and envy are useful because they show you qualities you possess that you are not allowing yourself to admit, embody, or claim.
Look at your list and ask yourself: do these people have anything in common? You may have heard me tell this story before, but I once did this exercise and I was shocked to realize that everyone on my list was a video blogger. I promptly started making Youtube videos, and my jealousy faded. Even if your answer isn’t that uniformly obvious, you will still be able to identify important clues. As you contemplate the qualities of the people on your list, be genuinely curious. Look for ways you can let yourself have fun, be brave, and become even more of who you are.
…And if you actually want to do even more shadow work, check out this post.
Day 13: Saturday, October 9 – Refresh Your Decor
Take a good look at your home decor today and see if there’s a simple, powerful way you can make it feel even more like you. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to live with plenty of orchids or succulents. Or maybe you’ve always wished your space could be a little more hippie or artsy or elegant. You don’t have to go all out. Just one or two simple changes or additions can make a big difference.
Once you determine what those desired changes are, make them! Shop online or in person for what you need, or just rearrange what you already have.
Day 14: Sunday, October 10 – Go Somewhere / See Someone
Go somewhere fun or visit a friend today. Or, if you can’t do either of those things, call a friend to catch up and reconnect. If you choose the first option (going somewhere fun), you might take a day trip, go on a hike or walk, or just visit one of your favorite metaphysical shops or bookstores. The moon is in Sagittarius today. Sagittarius likes to explore and switch things up. This is helpful for Mercury Retrograde because getting out of your usual environments helps spark new ideas and fresh perspectives.
Day 15: Monday, October 11 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day
It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and the perfect time to respectfully learn about the people who are indigenous to your area. If you don’t already know who they are, check out this map. You can enter your address to see the indigenous group(s) who have historically lived in your current locale. Even if you are already familiar with these groups, take a moment to look at the natural settings around you and to contemplate the millennia of intricate human history that took place before you were here. Then check out this article, 5 Ways to Support Indigenous Communities On Indigenous Peoples’ Day (And Every Other Day).
Day 16: Tuesday, October 12 – Revise Your Goals
Make a list of your goals. Then take a good look at them and revise them as needed. As yourself if you still really want all of these things. Or have you stopped caring about some of them? And are there any new things you care about and would like to achieve? With Mercury retrograde and the waxing moon in Capricorn, this is the perfect time for this type of inner work.
Day 17: Wednesday, October 13 – Clear the Air
Is there someone you need to have a heart-to-heart with? Or maybe there’s something important you know you need to say to someone, and you’ve been putting it off because it feels like it would make you feel awkward or vulnerable. Today’s the day. Say the thing. Say it with love, and remember to honor yourself and your truth. With the sun and Mercury both in Libra, a part of you might be tempted to value harmony over truth. But Libra also values true connection, so tap into that deeper aspect and override the temptation to keep things light. Do your best to release attachment to the other person’s reaction. That’s not under your control. Positive boundaries require you to say what you need to say in an authentic way, instead of trying to control the way other people react.
Day 18: Thursday, October 14 – Revisit Unfinished Projects
As we near the end of this Mercury Retrograde period, consider whether there are any projects that you started but never finished. Did you buy all the fabric for a quilt months ago, but never started cutting it into squares? Did you start writing a novel last year and then sort of lose interest in after chapter 3? Or maybe there’s firewood you’ve been meaning to cut for longer than you’d like to admit. Unfinished projects hold more and more stagnant energy in place over time, which contributes to stuck-ness in other areas of life. So today, get those projects finished. Or at least get back to them. But if you really don’t feel like it, getting rid of them altogether might be even better. One way or another, it’s important to clear the decks for positive energy to flow.
Day 19: Friday, October 15 – Reexamine Your Birth Chart
Since you’re reading my blog, chances are good you know a thing or two about your birth chart. At minimum, you know your sun sign. It’s also possible you know your moon and rising signs. But astrology is one of those things you can learn and learn throughout your lifetime and still not see it from every possible angle. Today, take a deeper look at your birth chart. (Chani Nicholas has a great free online tool for looking at your chart – you can check it out here.) Learn your Chinese sign and element if you don’t already know them. See if you can uncover even more insight into yourself – and in turn have more compassion with yourself – than ever before.
Day 20: Saturday, October 16 – World Food Day
It’s World Food Day, making it an appropriate time for what I find to be one of the most gratifying of Mercury Retrograde activities: clearing out your cupboards. Pull out all your pantry items, and only put them back in if you actually foresee eating them. If they’re expired, throw them out and recycle containers when possible. If they’re not expired, pack the up and take them to a food bank. (If you’re not sure where there’s a food bank in your area, check out this search tool.)
…And if you have a little more time and energy, clear out your fridge too.
Day 21: Sunday, October 17 – Take a Bath
We’re so close to the end of this Mercury Retrograde period! And the moon is in dreamy, watery Pisces today. So it’s a good time to reward yourself for all your hard work by taking a bath. Light a candle, add some Epsom salt, and soak. Breathe deeply. Relax, recharge, and purify.
Day 22: Monday, October 18 – Dance
Last day! We made it! Mercury goes direct today. Light a candle, put on some happy music and dance. Dance is healing and transformational. So as you dance, set the intention to integrate all that you’ve learned and completed during this Mercury Retrograde period, and to shake off any lingering energy you want to release.
… Well? How did it go? Did Mercury Retrograde treat you better this time? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
For further reading: