Mercury retrograde has a reputation that precedes itself. It's widely known as a time when things seem to get royally screwed up. Not only is it rather infamous for causing technical malfunctions and communication SNAFUs, Mercury retrograde might also cause headaches and other physical strains, depending on how you deal with and process the energy associated with this astrological event. But don't freak out — believe me, you can handle this.
Besides, Mercury retrograde doesn't officially start until Tuesday, March 5. Although, to be fair, we've been in the retrograde's shadow period since Feb. 19, so if you've started to feel like life has gotten weirdly messy lately (you know, more-so than usual), at least now you might know why.
As for headaches specifically, according to astrologer Molly Cardinal, the effects of Mercury retrograde could be physical, depending on the person, particularly if you're someone who's already prone to tension headaches. Ultimately, Cardinal tells Elite Daily over email, it all has to do with the fact that this retrograde period might be especially straining and confusing on an emotional level. "Given that this upcoming retrograde cycle is happening in the sign of Pisces, as well as the way Mercury will be touching other planets in the sky, I believe this represents a spiritual awakening and challenge for all of us," she explains.
Depending on a person's physiology, says Cardinal, and how they process a situation when it gets particularly stressful or overwhelming, they might be prone to some physical aches and pains during Mercury retrograde. The astrologer tells me she happens to get tension headaches fairly regularly herself, so she says it'll be something she'll look out for between now and March 28, when the retrograde period ends.
So why is this retrograde going to be particularly rough? Well, here's the thing: Mercury rules over Virgo, Cardinal explains, but for this retrograde, it's in the sign of Pisces, and these two signs are total opposites. Cardinal says that such a meeting of opposites brings together conscious and unconscious energy, and according to the astrologer, this means that Mercury retrograde is going to be a time that asks you to check in with where you're at on a spiritual level.
If that sounds like a lot, yeah, it kind of is. And yes, since it's a lot, it can potentially cause some physical stress and tension. "Since the nature of this retrograde is about development and growth, this can absolutely give someone a headache," Cardinal tells me.
The astrologer also points out that, when it comes to the physical impact that this Mercury retrograde period might have on you, it depends on where Pisces is in your birth chart. In case you need a quick refresher on what a birth chart is, Cardinal explains that it's basically a snapshot of where the planets were the moment you were born. Where the planets were in the sky at the time of your birth can correlate to different areas of your life. "For example, the first house of your natal chart is the house that is associated with the head," Cardinal explains. "On a physical level, that is just the basic energy that you run through life with. So, if you have Pisces somewhere like this in your chart where it might cause a little extra planetary tension, you might feel the retrograde even more."
If you're worried about enduring some brutal headaches during Mercury retrograde, Cardinal says it's a good idea to make self-care a priority. "I think it is going to be a period where people need to spend some time with themselves," she tells Elite Daily. "I recommend putting a significant self-care process into place."
More specifically, Cardinal suggests starting or sticking to any sort of journaling practice (pen and paper, on your phone or laptop, whatever works for you), and opening your mind to drain out your thoughts so you can make sense of all the emotions that might be coming up during this time. Any kind of mindfulness practice will also be helpful, she adds.
"Just setting some kind of intention with yourself for this time will help," says Cardinal.