IT’S that period again when miscommunication seems to be the word of the day, important documents can be misplaced, computers can go on the blink, cars and equipment can break down, traffic is more terrible than usual, appointments can be missed, travel plans can go awry, and misunderstandings are more common.

This is because Mercury is in retrograde. The planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards in the sky, and when this happens, communication and travel, which the planet governs, can go awry.

Generally, it is not a good idea to start a new project, get married, have surgery, sign contracts, and buy computers, cars, or major equipment during the period.

Mercury retrogrades last for about three weeks, so wait until it is over before making a major move. If it is absolutely unavoidable to make a major decision, or in emergency situations, keep your cool, be more meticulous, tick all the boxes and wear the crystal that will bring you success in spite of obstacles.

Mercury is in retrograde from August 31 to September 22. The next retrograde period is December 19 to 31.

This retrograde is in Virgo, so expect co-workers and the people around you to be more touchy than usual. Don’t take it personally if people snap at you out of the blue or are more sensitive. Cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s in contracts. Check and review before submitting documents. Take it in stride when computers, cars and equipment break down.

So how do you survive Mercury retrograde whichever zodiac sign it is in?

1. This is the period to think before you speak. Misunderstandings occur frequently during Mercury retrogrades, so choose your words with care. Be clear with what you mean to say, and as much as possible, do not get into arguments and say things in anger-- you’d regret them later.

2. Expect computer glitches—go back up your files ASAP. At the same time, if you can avoid it, don’t buy computers or electronic gadgets during this period. Be patient with your net connection. It is common for net to be slow or at times absent during Mercury retrograde.

3. If you’re booking for flights or hotels, double check the names, dates, locations twice or even thrice before you make the final click. If you’re travelling to the airport, be there hours ahead of time. Expect delays, you can get stuck in traffic, so head out a lot earlier than usual and bring provisions with you.

4. Maintain your car and equipment regularly. It is a good idea to schedule a check-up before Mercury retrograde. For those who like to peek at their cell phones while driving, this is a definite no-no.

5. Awareness is the key to keeping track of your documents and other important papers.

6. Keep your cool and be more patient. Take a deep breath and count to 10 when people don’t get your instructions or misunderstand what you say. It’s part of the retrograde.

Mercury retrogrades are not all that bad. These periods are good for reflecting, reviewing and renovating.

You’ll do fine now that you’re armed with what you need to know about these periods.

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