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If the sh*t really started hitting the fan for you right around July 7, you wouldn’t be the only one. Mercury is in retrograde until July 31, which explains why your mood might be all over the place and why you and your S.O. got in those epically dumb fights last week. It also explains why, as I was writing this piece, I found myself running to catch a flight at the changed (unannounced) gate, laptop open, coffee spilling down my shirt, only to end up having my seat moved to an aisle with the world’s unhappiest children.
But let’s back up for a second: Several times a year, planet Mercury is said to go retrograde—meaning it moves in an opposite direction to Earth. (“This backward movement is actually an illusion, similar to the one you experience when you’re in a car on the highway moving faster than a train alongside you,” according to Mother Nature Network.) Regardless, astrologers believe that this brief planetary upheaval also throws chaos into life down here on our planet.
While there’s no need to stock up on your favorite instant mac and cheese and prepare for the apocalypse, you might want to be a little extra cautious during this time, says astrologer and psychic Suzie Kerr Wright—especially if you find yourself about to make a particularly huge and consequential decision, like, say, buying or selling a house.
“Mercury rules our communication and thinking, so all of that can become murky,” Wright explains. “The period messes with our minds so we may misplace or lose things, we might feel a little off, or, if we’re rushing to send an email, we may reply to all instead of one person. We may find we’re a bit clumsier too.”
So how does Mercury play into buying and selling?
“Some people out there are more sensitive to Mercury retrograde than others,” explains Mary Dunne, real estate broker at Warburg Realty in New York. “In many instances, I believe a Mercury retrograde can add some complications or delay some aspects of the process, and generally highlight the need to read the fine print.”
With all of the craziness happening, you might start thinking a moving Mercury might wind up derailing the close on your new house. But both Dunne and Wright insist this isn’t the case.
“I don’t highlight the timing to clients unless it’s brought up,” Dunne says. “I just play more cautious around the time.”
And despite all of the spilled coffee and drama-filled days, Wright actually insists that Mercury in retrograde can be a positive thing.
“The real purpose of a retrograde period is to get us to slow down, rethink what we’ve been doing, revisit old ideas, and reconnect with ourselves and others,” she says. “It’s a break, not a curse.”
How to get through a retrograde sale
The key to getting through a big decision while Mercury does its business isn’t to hole up and hide away. Get out there and keep on keepin’ on—just do it thoughtfully.
“Make decisions from the perspective you had prior to the retrograde,” Wright says. “In other words, if you want a Craftsman home and that’s what you’ve always wanted, but you find a ranch during a retrograde you feel you can’t live without, step back. Think, think, and then think again. Is this really what you would want long-term and why did you want a Craftsman for all this time?”
Some fine print details to get you through the crazy
- Check contract numbers twice, and double-check everything before signing anything.
- Overcommunicate your expectations to everyone involved in the deal. That means your real estate agent, and possibly even your buyer or your seller. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and avoid any miscommunications.
- Avoid last-minute changes. “Buying and selling during retrograde is fine,” Wright says, “so long as contracts have been drawn up before.” If any major last-minute changes take place, consider waiting until after retrograde to sign the paperwork.
- Don’t be swayed by your own change of heart. Lots of folks are changing their minds right now, so don’t let your new inkling for a ranch make you throw out weeks of negotiating on your former Craftsman dream home.
The bottom line
Sure, weird stuff might happen during this period. But ultimately, everything is going to be OK.
“Starting something new in a retrograde period is not advised, but life goes on and you won’t die if you do,” Wright says. “Just double-check everything, and stay out of the panic mode.”