Mercury Retrograde: What to Do When Your Ex Rēturns
From regression to rē-birth…
That astrological time has returned, when Mercury, the planet of communication, intellect, technology, et al., appears to move backward in the sky; this time from May 10 to June 2. After rē-thinking all the negative associations with the planetary phase, there is one last bit to dig into a little deeper. For three weeks, we will not only collectively deal with miscommunications, electronic malfunctions, and travel plans gone awry; Mercury’s skyward retreat is also famous for bringing back exes. Get ready.
Tarot reader and psychic medium Sarah Potter explains that this is because retrogrades call the past into the present focus, and with it, our romantic baggage. “Mercury retrograde is bringing the past forward, and back to us, including past relationships,” Potter says. “I find that it’s usually when something is unfinished that it comes back. So a past fling with unfinished business might reach out because they’ve been thinking about you, or miss you.”
Romantic Lessons from Mercury Retrograde
Fond feelings or not, many people feel strongly about leaving the past in the past when it comes to relationships. After all, hearing from an ex can bring back old feelings of heartbreak that took months, or even years, to put to rest. So can this ever be a good thing? “Honestly, I think yes,” Potter says. She points out that regardless of the outcome, there is always learning to be found — whether the other person has grown and changed, or not.
“This is an opportunity to create closure, and to look at our patterns, the choices we’ve made, and for opportunities to grow and learn. It’s a lesson for both of you,” she points out. She adds that she uses the term ‘closure’ to essentially mean burying the hatchet; once you energetically neutralize whatever was lingering, it clears the air to rē-connect healthily — or sometimes rē-affirms that walking away was indeed in your highest good.
It is often said that our relationships are the arena where we put our learning into action. Even the most in-depth soul-searching and inner-work can be no match for a highly triggering person — and this is ok because mistakes are how we learn. But this is exactly why the lessons associated with Mercury retrograde, having to do with introspective rē-flection, and the rē-evaluation of those things that the regular pace of life might brush to the wayside, are so important to conscious living. The point is that growth is not linear, and sometimes a bit of the past rē-turns to help you uplevel.
Your Ex Comes Back… Now What?
When a former flame returns, it can be downright confusing — how apt for this astrological phase where nothing seems straightforward. “Mercury retrograde can be an energy to start again, or you could be learning that it’s in the past for a reason,” Potter continues. She notes that there is never a perfect time to start (or rē-start) anything, but calls the phase an important time to go slowly — especially if you choose to rē-start a past connection. “I always feel like the best way to handle Mercury retrograde is to slow down, release any sort of pressure you’re putting on yourself to act quickly or make a move,” she says. So when your ex comes around, try to hold back from reacting impulsively; instead, try your hardest to sit in your feelings and to act only once you have returned to your baseline.
In the meantime, self-reflect, journal, and do the inner-work; look within and really process what you are experiencing. “Take inventory, take notice. Just because someone doesn’t call you back doesn’t mean you have to dive in. You don’t have to go right back from where you left off,” she points out — which can be hard, especially if feelings are still flaring. “In reality, we all have to move forward. But what is more important, and what retrogrades remind us of, is that it is important to give ourselves the time and space to think and carefully consider the possibilities, and to not move forward in haste or a rush.”
From rē-gression to rē-birth
Potter is all about leveraging the energy of Mercury retrograde for personal growth. “If we don’t look where we’ve been, and take inventory on those lessons, then how can we put them into practice?” she asks. When you take the time to do inner work and move beyond limiting beliefs about the past, actual growth takes place. “It’s an opportunity to look over your patterns, check in with your choices, and to hear people,” she says. “Again, Mercury is the planet of communication — it’s an opportunity to check-in and see where you’re both at.”
All the downtime spent in rē-flection is the perfect opportunity for self-care — and she has tips to help ease lessons you are uncovering. “If you have a tarot deck, bring out the Ace of Swords for truth and clarity — always a good thing during this time of confusion and misinformation,” she says. “If you have an altar, put it there, or place it under your pillow. Make sure to put it somewhere you’ll see it, like on your mirror when you apply your makeup.”
Another way to unwind? By soaking in the tub, which can be particularly useful for shedding the energetic residue of highly emotional times. “I am always a fan of a bath ritual,” she says. “To me, it’s an ally in the lesson of slowing down and taking good care of yourself.” For an extra boost of self-love, she recommends bringing some rose quartz crystal.
Potter is also a fan of lighting candles and recommends the color yellow for this particular phase. “Light a yellow candle for illumination, clarity through the fog,” she says. “Plus, yellow is the color of Mercury. So it will help you tap into that energy.” She highly recommends tapping into the energies in astrology in order to make sense of what is occurring, particularly because everyone’s natal chart means transits influence them differently. Becoming aware of these nuances can also help you prepare for potential mishaps — or in the case of Mercury retrograde, to be careful not to text the wrong person, or to anticipate having to reschedule an appointment once or twice (or thrice).
On that note, here are some picks to ease your way through this Mercury retrograde — or the rē-turn of your ex.
There is no better deck to use for Potter’s tarot ritual than the one she co-created with Cosmopolitan.
Each batch was meticulously made with the intention to help buffer you from the trials and tribulations of the astrological phase. This magical mist will be your new best friend, awakening your subtle awareness and helping you navigate what lies ahead.
This candle can best serve you when lit three days before the official start of the phase, buffering you from its full effect. It was crafted with the intention to bring clarity and help you problem-solve, featuring Mercury’s very own hue of yellow.
Every bundle of meticulously- and ethically-sourced gemstones was selected to bring you clarity and to provide protection from the difficulties attributed to Mercury’s retrograde. The handy pouch they come in allows you to keep them protected and close-at-hand.
You’ll appreciate the calming effects of some CBD whether coping with the delays and upsets that come with the phase, or the emotional effects of a run-in with your ex.
Made from upcycled leather, this astrally-emblazoned notebook is the perfect one for processing your thoughts in this phase.
The perfect way to detoxify — with pink Himalayan soaking salt — while caring for your tender heart with rose oil and herbs.