Lost iPhone chargers, missed calls, double-booked meetings—all of these annoyances are typical of Mercury retrograde, which started its latest pot-stirring cycle, May 10, and will last until June 2. And while we might be able to just hide under our weighted blankets until it passes, there are a few things we can do to get through it. First, it’s important to understand exactly what the cosmic shift means for astro-bent peeps and Carl Sagan stans alike (I die for both; fight me).
“Let's get this out of the way first: Mercury is never ‘in’ retrograde,” explains VICE’s astrologer, Annabel Gatt. “This mistake comes up a lot—take, for instance, this bumbling video about Mercury retrograde starring Taylor Swift.” What’s really happening is that Mercury, the planet of communication, appears to be traveling backwards across the sky, and it’s precisely that optical illusion that astrologers say can throw us out of whack; it’s the cosmic equivalent to waking up in the middle of the night and feeling like you’ve gone to bed upside down. Fun stuff.
Luckily, Mercury retrograde only happens three to four times a year (if you’re ever in doubt, Is Mercury In Retrograde? will provide you with a simple “yes” or “no” answer). This spring’s retrograde period happens to fall during the season of Taurus, which is a great opportunity to tap into the earth sign’s grounding energy like a mechanical-bull-riding boss. And you know what? You can totally dom this retrograde period. Use the inversion of order to see things in a new light, or as a reminder to smash that order button on a new USB-C charger. Mercury retrograde has long felt like the Boogeyman of astrology, when it’s really just a reminder to pump the breaks, and usher in a little more self care to our routines.
Whether you just dabble in astrology, or you’ve memorized every member of Steely Dan’s birth chart, here are some simple preparations and tools that might be able to help you get through Mercury retrograde, from gemstone baths to tech hacks and more.
We’ve created a whole cheat sheet about which must-have items on Amazon are actually worth it, from affordable massage guns to tech accessories that will make your life easier. This set of not one, but two portable chargers by Miady is one of the most popular on the mega-retailer with over 63,000 reviews and a 4.6-star average rating. “Both colors look sleek,” writes one reviewer, “and I can charge my phone up to [three] times from [a] dead or critical battery.” Given that Mercury retrograde is a time of technological kerfuffle, having a pair of these bad boys (put one in your briefcase; another in your Dior saddle bag) will keep you juiced and ready to stay out on the town from 9 a.m. to the witching hour.
Proof that an alarm clock can be relaxing
Nothing keeps us woo-woo lords awake at night like Mercury retrograde. This period will have us tossing, turning, and wondering, Did we send that time-sensitive email? How would life have been different if we were elected student body secretary in fifth grade? Nightmare fuel. Shut that train down by laying the foundation for a better sleep routine with the help of Loftie, the world’s smartest alarm clock. We’ve broken down exactly what makes the hybrid alarm/noise machine/ASMR-storytelling device so special in this review—but suffice to say that falling asleep and waking up with Loftie is like having your own Hayao Miyazaki-level soundscape every morning. After months of use, I can genuinely say that I’m never going back to ye old iPhone alarm; I prefer to rise with the gentle singing bowl orchestra of Loftie and feel as if I’m being gently lulled to consciousness by a troop of mountain-dwelling monks.
A near-sentient vibrator
Stressful times call for serious de-stressing measures, and masturbating is one of Mama Nature’s coolest tricks for relaxing. We’ve curated a veritable index of every kind of sex toy, ever, from rabbit vibrators to Wartenberg pinwheels, but even among some of the flashiest and most sophisticated of toys, the Satisfyer Pro II stands in a league of its own. It has over 51,000 impassioned reviews on Amazon, with users praising the vibrator’s ability to recreate the sensation of receiving head bangin’ oral sex as it sends pulsating, pleasurable waves onto the clitoris with its suction component. “You set this bad boy into position and it stays,” writes one reviewer. “You can watch your porn, eat a snack, browse Netflix, knit a sweater, whatever you want [...] By the time you hit [the] number three [vibration level], your soul will separate from your body like some Doctor Strange move.” A true ride-or-die sex toy that really knows what it’s doing—even during retrograde periods, when we don’t.
This camera hack makes us look way hotter on Zoom
“Clip this thing on to your webcam, and you'll suddenly realize that you were being fed the fugliest version of yourself—and it didn't have to be that way,” writes Hilary Pollack in her VICE review of Xenvo's Pro Lens Kit, which can be attached to everything from your computer to your smartphone and make us look (and feel) more put-together during this hectic cosmic time. “Get thee a clip-on, wide-angle lens meant for amateur photography, and bring it to thy computer,” she explains. “The super wide angle actually makes you look farther away from your computer, which makes many of those bumps/shadows/threats of a double chin magically disappear.” We’ll take two.
Take a step back from technology
As important as it is to make sure you have all the technological support possible during Mercury retrograde, you can also see this astral period as a reminder to step away from your screen and enjoy the wholesome hobbies from pre-internet times, such as painting white picket fences and doing puzzles. As much as we’d like to conquer this 500-piece gradient puzzle by Bryce Wilner, we’re going to be a little gentler (and realistic) with ourselves at this time, and allow ourselves to hover over a humble, beautiful beer or burger puzzle instead.
Take a gemstone bubble bath
Natureofthings feels like it was created by ascetic, discerning witches who only wear Rick Owens and probably baptized the Olsen twins. Every product by the modern wellness house is rooted in the brand’s unique approach to herbal alchemy, and its Restorative Floral Bath is one of its most unforgettable creations. The first notes we picked up were a subtle blend of vetiver, jasmine, and plumeria; then, we began to feel the revitalizing effects of the green tea, mineral-charged seawater, and capiscum pepper—a buttery, relaxing, tingling feeling. But the cherry on top was the inclusion of malachite and quartz extracts, which some folks believe to have energy-clearing properties. We never thought we’d say this, but it’s the Bentley of esoteric bubble baths.
Release the tension in your head
While you’re in the bath, why not take a few extra steps to help release some tension from your noggin during this time of cosmic strife? We’re not doctors (we just got our fake diploma from clown school), but there’s something soo soothing about a classic scalp massager; it’s like having the claw of a gentle griffin exfoliate your woes away, no questions asked. We’re big fans of the masajeador by the Latinx-owned brand Ceremonia, because its points are firm enough that we can feel them through our thick-ass hair, but gentle enough to be used on a sensitive scalp.
The HEETA scalp massager is another great option, and a best-selling item on Amazon that has customers leaving such blush-worthy notes such as, “Holy heckin heck fire this thing is incredible!” And with over 114,000 reviews (bananas, even for Amazon), you know that 4.6-star average rating isn’t lying.
“This sh*t made me mello AF”
We’ve talked a lot about prioritizing peaceful energy during Mercury retrograde, but this could also be an exciting time to dive into your subconscious by way of lucid dreaming. Everyone is different, of course, but this Herbal Dream Tea by the Brooklyn apothecary Anima Mundi has a reputation amongst our circle of friends as a wild nighty-night ride, because it includes ingredients such as ashwagandha, skullcap, blue lotus, and more—all of which have historically been considered aids for lucid dreaming. “This sh*t made me mello AF,” writes one reviewer of the product on Amazon. “Also gave me crazy dreams. I dig it.”
Get your own personal astrologer
It’s 2022, dude. Personal astrologers aren’t just for celebrities, monarchs, and Ronald Reagan anymore. In fact, the emotional Cancer writing this has one such personal astrologer named Johann, courtesy of the Hint astrology app, which will connect you with your very own astrologer to guide you through your relationships, work troubles, financial concerns, and whatever else you’d like to talk about in relation to your cosmic blueprint.
Learn more about the Hint app here.
See you on the other side of Mercury retrograde.
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