Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2021

What Is Mercury Retrograde and What Does It Mean for You?

July 28, 2021
Mercury Retrograde - OFA
Parts of this image sourced from NASA

Mercury’s last period of retrograde motion in 2021 lasts from September 27 to October 17! According to the age-old practice of astrology, we are all influenced by the effect of Mercury in retrograde. What exactly does it mean for each of us, though? Read on to find out.

What Is “Mercury Retrograde”?

Three times a year, the planet Mercury appears to travel backward across the sky. We refer to these periods as times when Mercury is in apparent retrograde motion, or simply ”Mercury retrograde.” To those who practice astrology, these times in particular were traditionally associated with confusion, delay, and frustration. Think undelivered love letters, email blunders, and frazzled travel plans! This is an excellent time to reflect on the past, however, and it’s said that intuition is high during these periods. Coincidences can be extraordinary.

What Is Retrograde Motion?

The astronomical explanation for retrograde motion starts with understanding that the planets in our solar system orbit the Sun at different distances and speeds. While we orbit the Sun ourselves, we can observe the other planets moving across our sky, following their own paths. 

Sometimes, it can appear (from our perspective) that a planet has abruptly switched directions and has started to move in reverse across the sky. This is, of course, an illusion caused by the position of Earth in relation to that of the planet, since a planet in orbit always travels in one set direction and can’t suddenly reverse course. This is why we call the phenomenon apparent retrograde motion, as it only looks like the planet is moving backward (“retrograde motion”)!

When Is Mercury in Retrograde in 2021?

In 2021, Mercury will be in apparent retrograde motion during the folowing ranges of dates: 

  • January 30 to February 20 
  • May 29 to June 22
  • September 27 to October 17

Please note that dates reflect Eastern Time U.S., not Universal Time.

What You Should Do When Mercury is Retrograde

The planet Mercury rules communication in all forms—listening, writing, reading, speaking, and so on—as well as activities closely related to communication, like negotiations and contracts. It also rules travel, automobiles, shipping, and mail.

So, when Mercury is retrograde, try to remain flexible, patient, and understanding, allow extra time for travel, and avoid signing onto any new contracts that you’re unsure of. Double check your email responses and check in with reservations before you take that trip. 

Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions. You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for people’s shorter fuses and miscommunication. 

Take a Moment to Reflect

Some blame Mercury retrograde for all chaos that happens in their lives. However, this is a good time to sit back and review what you put your energy toward.

For example, if family and faith are important to you, are you putting enough of your energy into them or have you become overextended in other areas such as your career or a hobby? Losing the balance between different parts of your life can cause all of them to suffer, so being aware of the connections between them—especially during Mercury retrograde—can help you to maintain or at least better understand how that balance works.

Take a moment to reflect. Mercury retrograde can be an excellent time to take a step back and reanalyze who you are and what you are doing—but do refrain from making any drastic changes until after retrograde has ended.

Mercury and the Zodiac

The type of influence you feel also depends on which of the 12 zodiac signs Earth is in when Mercury goes retrograde.

What’s your Zodiac Sign? See here: “Mercury Retrograde and Zodiac Signs.”

Learn more about zodiac sign profiles in general and check out our monthly horoscopes. Make sure that your gardening does not go awry when Mercury is in retrograde by reading your zodiac profile for gardening.


The Old Farmer's Almanac


Reader Comments

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It will get better

Great advice!! I'm going to do that myself. This is the second time I've heard about opening your windows, etc. within the last week. Thank you

I took it as what time of

I took it as what time of year Earth is in. Like if we're at May 8th, Earth is in Taurus at that time.

Earth sign

Technically, the Earth is always in the opposite sign of the Sun.



Writing In Retrograde

I have been writing a novel for the past year, and in July I was doing a writing challenge where I had to write 10,000 words by the end of the month. Things were going fine, until the last week, my momentum slowed down, and I resorted to just adding in dialogue I had already written! I couldn't focus, couldn't find the right words to convey the messages I wanted to. Then, I get feedback from my editor for a previous chapter, and there were a lot of problems with it! I felt discouraged, but I knew I couldn't let that stop me from continuing. However, I just felt so drained and out of focus, and I didn't understand why.

I kept hearing about Mercury in retrograde, and I remember that mercury deals with communication (and writing is a form of that!) And so it is a relief to know that this time will have an end. I have been using this time to reflect on my story, to relax and take my time figuring things out before making any final decisions. It has actually been helping me out so far, and I look forward to getting back into actually writing the words once retrograde ends!

Also, there has been drama at work (someone got fired) and drama in the family, too. Yikes! Luckily, my issues were mostly confined within myself and my own ego.

6 Planets in Retrograde

One of my astrologer friends says 6 planets are currently in retrograde! Trying time for the planet and mankind in particular.

Correction to the above article

You mean, "allow extra time for travel," not, "allow time for extra travel." What an excellent place for this slight miscommunication to serve as an example. However, I don't mind allowing time for extra travel, either, retrograde or no retrograde. ;-)


The Editors's picture

You’re right! Thanks for catching that.

Yep for sure!

I booked a trip to Italy/Croatia 18 months earlier and didn’t realize it was during the RG PERIOD! Had a great time in Italy but the day we took a ferry to Croatia (26th)all hell broke lose. My GPS wouldn’t work, we couldn’t find our hotel, nobody had a clue where it was, the hotel owner( who also owns the restaurant below) wasn’t answering his phone because he was waiting on diners. So we were sitting in a square, in a foreign country with no clue where to go. It was a nightmare! We finally got in touch with some friends who were staying on an island off shore and got the last ferry to it and slept on a fold out couch in their room. Then the inn keeper started calling 3 hours later hassling is in Croat. But my wife made the res and forwarded her cell to her boss for work calls and the guy was calling her in Florida, Never take it lightly Mercury in RG. SUCKS!!!&


My sons, 13 and 16, were bickering all day and it was driving me crazy. We're having some work done on the house and everything is everywhere. I have two dogs that otherwise are each other's best friends, tearing each other apart in two fights where I had to beat them with a stick to separate them, one was going to kill the other. I get on the phone with my truck driver husband and all I'm asking this otherwise mild-mannered, soft spoken man if he wanted me to take the books off a bookshelf he wanted to have replaced soon. It escalated to an argument that ending in "...I gotta go!! *click*" I jumped on my laptop and typed, as I always do on days like this: "Is it Mercury Retrograde" and, sure enough,
That may account for the weirdness ...
Mercury turns direct at 12:25 AM EDT (North America) on August 19, 2018"

It's real.


this is goonie and could be pointed out during any three weeks during the year. life isnt perfect at all

Mercury Retrograde

I work on a psych unit. I can definitely tell when the unit gets very unmanageable, whether it be the patients or the staff. The last time mercury was retrograde, we had two very sick patients come onto our unit at the same time and we were running back and forth between the two of them and they were both trying to escape it was a mad house. As soon as it was over, it calmed way down! You may think it's goonie, but it us very real.

Thank you

Thank you for bringing a dose of sanity into the discussion.

Mercury retrograde

There is a greater power than the influence of Mercury, or any other earthly power.. Yeshua/Jesus son of God "YeHoVaH" who created them all. His influence over my day & life sets me free from the lesser negative powers, of sin & death, as I choose His TRUTH & walk under His influence.

Mercury retro

These are not powers. They are reflections, and observations of the heavens remind us of how beautiful and unified is our Unuverse. You should not use G-d to discourage or berate awakening souls. Your comment was combative and ego driven. Definitely mercury & mars retrograde!

You're both wrong

You are both deluding yourselves. Believing that a god controls what happens on Earth is just as silly as the belief that the movements of celestial bodies can somehow influence our lives. Open an astronomy book.

Reply to “You’re both wrong”

Before you decide if Astrology is valid, educate yourself. How can you form an opinion from ignorance? Astrology stems from the seasons, not the position of the constellations. It is based on thousands of years of observations.


I definitely notice things in my life breaking down during Mercury Retrograde. Last year my dryer went out. I didn't want to wait 3 weeks till Mercury Rx was over to buy a new one. I made my purchase of a brand new dryer and within 1 week I had a repairman out to fix the switch. And this year before Merc Rx hit the best had to be replaced. Now this year on the very day Mercury went retrograde my AC went out. I am against my better judgment getting a new system put in today, as to not wait until after August 19th! I'm hoping for the best!!!

How can it get any worse?

I have been feeling MR effects since last Thursday. How can it be not even started yet! Ugh! I can't take 3 more weeks of this. The discussions have gotten such to great lengths I had to be silent with intent. I don't think my throat or patience can take much more! Is there hope of getting through this????

Re: Making hay when Mercury goes retrograde...

Back in the mid-90's, a renowned astrologer refused to believe I had closed closed a million dollar real estate transaction several years earlier while Mercury was retrograde, even after being offered copies of the closing statements. Don't get me wrong, I always follow the universal suggestions during Mercury retrograde to "remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts" and to "review projects and plans at these times." But there is no such thing as telling a client we can't close their commercial real estate transaction until Mercury goes out of retrograde.

As such, all work done during Mercury retrograde is double-checked, and to deal with the predictable "out of left field" unexpected developments, I always try to build in extra time into every aspect of both my daily routine and any pending contracts.

That said, past experience has proven that regardless of how well I follow those "universal suggestions," invariably, stuff happens. As such, I pay extra special attention to my dream takeaways, any intuitive flashes I get during meditation, especially intuitive flashes during waking hours.

In the immortal beginning of my favorite Rudyard Kipling poem, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs," then there is no reason that anyone who's paying extra special attention to their daily life and their work, Mercury retrograde "stuff" can't be transformed into an "auspicious time." At minimum, whether you're in the service business or not, doing the extra work while Mercury is retrograde means you should be able to help others in your circle of influence who let themselves get turned upside by "out of left field unexpected developments."

Hay Maker

Congratulations on being an adult! I loved hearing your ownership of the fact that, 'Yeah, stuff might not be as smooth, but it's my job to plan for that and act appropriately, not blaming the universe, and owning my screw ups if I make them.' Thank you. Quite refreshing!

Retrograde and chaos

I have researched my own personal experiences within the last 4 years, basically getting time frames for when guano hit the fan in a big way. I realized that in 2017, my personal life went up in flames during each RG. And then, I looked at 2018 RG and sure enough, all hell breaks loose during the entire cycle of RG. Seriously, astrology for me, is a bit of a fortune. I can call it before it happens. Further, depending on the sign of RG, I can call the outcome. I use tarot for anyone but myself, I can never see things pertaining to me. But I can flip cards and tell anyone else EXACTLY what's going on present past and future. I am a true Cancer. Have been called a high priestess. If more people would read up on RG and astrology, a better balance could be attained.


So true! I too will pull the tarot for others, but not for myself. I am religiously mindful of MR, especially when it comes to vehicle mayhem, planning a short road trip toward the end of MR but having second thoughts.


OYE!!!!.........I always dread this time, because it's inevitable that "crap will hit the fan" in one way or another. I have felt some (negative) affects from it in the past week, because supposedly, it affects stuff a week before, some still a week after. OYE!!!! Don't we all have enough to deal with just DAILY. Do we have to go thought THIS crap too? GEEZ

Wanted to ask IF you do also tarot readings for others? According to your post, sounds like you do. You sound so positive about what you can do for others in a reading, but not yourself. That's akin to the shoemaker not being able to make shoes for himself, but does wonders for his customers. <VBG> IF so, I'd like to know IF you would do one for me, the cost, even more so, how do you feel about doing it with Mercury practically here?

OK, get back to me AT YOUR LEISURE.

Thanks, and have a good day.

Silvia Brooks

high priestess

ye u sound like a true Cancer

Flat tire

Is it just an incident that I have a flat tire 3x in just less than two weeks in the same tire and having a deflating air bed that I sleep in almost every night?


This can definitely be a difficult time for people who have personal business that hasn't been properly worked through. Some people can coast through, while others have a really hard time. I have noticed that if I've been avoiding dealing with something, or if my life balance and routine aren't quite right, during mercury retrograde is when my chickens come home to roost :P

Having said that, even when all is well, energy still feels very low, so the only thing one can practically be productive in is relaxation and reflection :) having a good balance and routine helps to get through the day-to-day commitments during this time.

Mercury Retrograde

When I was younger I followed astrology closely. I learned about Mercury's retrograde peroids and the adverse effects of certain activities. There are things I avoid during these times. Major purchases being high on the list.

Retrograde has ended but still having misunderstandings

I understand the retograde finished on the 5th but I have been seeing a lot of misunderstandings the last 3 days. Any idea why?

spillover effects

Mercury retrograde has spillover effects, which covers 4 days to 2 weeks in decreasing intensity afterwards.