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Unplug | September 9 2022


Retrogrades: Reversing Our Perceptions

By Araxe Hajian

Illusions and Perception

Hold onto your hats, Miraval Family: If your week got off to a wobbly start, it’s not just because Monday was April Fool’s Day. It also marked 2024’s first Mercury retrograde. This one arrived in fiery Aries season and will last until April 25.

What does this mean for us? Let’s start with the word retrograde (from the Latin retrogradus, meaning “going backward”).

If a planet is in retrograde, that means it appears (from our view as Earthlings) to be moving in the wrong direction. It isn’t actually reversing, but creating a visual illusion that confuses our senses.

Like all misperceptions, it teaches us that our experience of reality is not precise or perfect.

Think of it like the sensation you experience when you ride a train, and another train zooms by in the opposite direction. If you look out the window, it seems like the other train is moving backward.

It’s a matter of perception.

And during retrogrades, we perceive our ability to communicate as “moving backward.” Our brains do their best to generate a story that matches the real, physical world, but sometimes we unconsciously bend our perception of reality to meet our desires or expectations.

Visual illusions and planets in retrograde present clear challenges for how we live, perceive, and communicate. They ask us to reinterpret our senses and sense of being in the world. When Mercury—the planet that rules communication—goes retrograde, it is time to seek out your inner sage to guide you through.

Get your ducks in a row, and know that you will go into a period of tech and comms disruption. Don’t rely on any of it to work perfectly, and carry that extra charger in your backpack. It’s a good time to back up your files and invest in a surge protector for your soul.

“When planets are retrograde,” says Miraval Austin Astrologer Lynn Carroll Rivera, “the energy turns inward deeply. Everything focuses on looking at things as they are—not just how we wish them to be. It’s a departure from our fancy dreams.”

Review, but retreat from what others urge you to give a thumbs-up or down to on social media. Your analysis needs no interference. You can take a time-out from TikTok or whatever app dominates your screen, and it will still be there when you come back.

Try following the retro vibe to unplug and go analog: write a letter, read a novel, knit something fluffy.

Retrogrades can test our relationships, trip us up, and make us feel all the layers of our feelings. If you show up to dinner late or accidentally send that text to the wrong person, acknowledge it, take note, and take heart. Retrogrades are all the RE words, including nicer ones like recover, restore, and revive.

Sometimes, people or stories from your past come back into your life to remind you of something, return you to a significant moment, or retrieve a memory. Time might feel like it’s looping back on itself. It can serve as research: we can remember and review the information that comes to us.

“It is also,” Lynn reveals, “a time of reprieve and release.”

Give yourself a break, let go of the things jamming your metaphorical wheels, and rotate your spiritual tires. When Mercury stations direct, you’ll be a little more even, realigned, and ready to roll.

Tips for staying balanced during retrogrades:

Keep it real

Call on your realistic self to rise above your idealistic self. Think about what you have time and money for and what you don’t. Keep your feet in solid boots—save stilettos and stargazing for another time.

One step at a time

Stick to practical goals. Do your best to respond mindfully instead of reacting impulsively. Read a book, connect with nature, or reach inward before sharing every thought.

Clear lens, clear sight

Other people will inflame or influence you more than usual. Don’t let the mouth-breathers fog up your lens. Firm boundaries can free you up to engage with your goals.


This apple cart is easy to upset, so drive with determination and definition. A sober start to the season wins out over the spectacles and blow-out parties of the past. Stoke your inner fire instead of setting off explosives.

Hold off on that haircut

Wait before you make any significant changes to your appearance. Trims and toners are fine but postpone the urge to hasten bangs or Botox. Subtle self-care reigns supreme.

Slow & Steady

Set aside the trendy shoes, big purchases, commitments, or contracts. You might leave this retrograde period with a different opinion than the one you brought into it. Give yourself enough wiggle room, and you’ll wind up with fewer regrets and glass slippers.

Source material provided by Lynn Carroll-Rivera, Astrologer at Miraval Austin

Learn more about astrological significance and guidance

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