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It’s that time of year again, one that has traditionally been associated with confusion and chaos. Mercury Retrograde doesn’t have the best reputation, that’s for sure, and the fact that this one is going to fall just in time for the insanity that is the holiday season isn’t going to help matters! What does this mean for your life?

Mercury, otherwise known as the ‘Planet of Communication’ is well known for its ability to impact our relationships, logic, reasoning and, obviously, our ability to communicate with those around us. When this planet moves into retrograde, it’s influence on our lives is suddenly turned completely upside down. Areas where we once flourished are now struck with confusion and unseen challenges. For example, the electronics that we rely on most for our communication, including our cell phones and computers, may fail us, travel plans are misconstrued or mistaken, and relationships are tested due to miscommunication.

This phenomenon isn’t one that we aren’t all too familiar with. In fact, Mercury shifts into retrograde motion 3-4 times every year. Our familiarity with the experience, however, doesn’t make it any easier. The influence of Mercury Retrograde will leave us questioning every conversation and interaction with those around us, and even unable to trust our own thoughts. However, by tracking when this will occur, we can take steps to manage our experience and minimize its negative impact on our lives.

The November 16th Mercury Retrograde will occur in Sagittarius, a wild and adventurous sign. This is a time of truth, optimism, and excitement. However, as we continue to move through this time, it will then slide from Sagittarius back into the dark and mysterious side of Scorpio. This introduces a unique energy into the mix, as we experience the incredible duality of both light and dark. This is going to force us to address a new balance in our lives. Sagittarius will focus its energy on the lighter side of life, our outward view and the way we communicate with others, while Scorpio will starkly contrast that, focusing on the darker side of life, our ability to look inward and the internal conversations that occur within our minds.

The holiday season is often seen as a high stress and difficult time in our lives, as we face the financial stresses that the season puts upon us and the challenges of holiday shopping combined with the pressure to interact with family members and coworkers that we may otherwise avoid. Some of us will have to work our way through family tension and drama, while others will feel completely isolated at a time that reminds us constantly of the ‘importance of the people in our lives’. When you add the confusion of Mercury Retrograde into this mix it will only become more difficult. Consider your usual holiday family tension coupled with miscommunication!

While there is no way to completely avoid this struggle, there are steps that you can take to minimize its long-term influence on your life. Avoid any serious conversations, if possible, until Mercury returns to direct movement. The communication challenges during this time will likely lead to misunderstandings and confusion, which can ultimately come back to bite you later. Also, do you currently have your Christmas shopping list saved on your computer? Back up all electronics to avoid unnecessary stress should Mercury Retrograde cause these items to malfunction or break down entirely. Remember, this is a limited period of time, with Mercury shifting back to direct movement on December 6th. You can do this!