''The elf-queene, with hir joly compaignie, Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede.” Geoffrey Chaucer "The Wife of Bath’s Tale"


Although Mercury retrogrades happen with clockwork regularity, they can still feel like a punch in the gut when they arrive. Every 88 days, communication is off, thoughts are clunkier, and our internal navigation system seems to have its head in the clouds. Such is the case starting Tuesday, March 5, as we enter the first Mercury retrograde of 2019, which also coincides with a new moon in Pisces. Together, these astrological events make this particular retrograde a bit of a doozy.
"Mercury rules words and communication, and is a kind of precision energy," says Michael Lennox, PhD, an astrologer and author in Southern California. But Pisces, whose archetype is a fish in the ocean, tends to have a more nebulous vibe, he says. "There's nothing precise about Pisces, so energetically from that perspective: Mercury wants to be clear and direct, Pisces is the opposite of that." With the new moon in Pisces beginning March 6, this retrograde just so happens to be at a time when effective communication is difficult anyways.

Another reason why the 23-day period might seem more befuddling than usual? Mercury connects with Neptune during this retrograde, bringing in its "foggy, cloudy, blind-spotted rose coloured glasses into the experience," Dr. Lennox says. "The fact that Neptune is part of this retrograde means that wherever you are, this retrograde is going to meet you," he says. Now, that doesn't mean you have to retreat until the deeply spiritual period is over, it just means you have to be prepared and cautious until March 28, when it ends.
Here, Dr. Lennox shares his tips for surviving this Mercury retrograde, and the next one — because there will inevitably be a next one.

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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Be patient.

"Patience is first and foremost," Dr. Lennox says. Nobody can foresee exactly what this Mercury retrograde will bring, but we can expect some challenges or bumps in the road to arise. "One of the things we can do in a retrograde is have a reminder that communication is, in fact, compromised, so when it occurs it's not a surprise," he says. "That way, there's already a built-in response mechanism that says, I will let this unfold in layers, as opposed to demanding clarity now." If it takes a calendar reminder or a sticky note on your computer screen to remind you that we're in a Mercury retrograde, it's worth it to try to be more patient.

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