Mercury retrograde is back again, but it is nothing that you can’t handle. Mercury retrogrades are infamous for being times of chaos, although Mercury has a much bigger message to convey during these times. Mercury retrogrades don’t occur to mess everything up, they come in to give clarity on the things that haven’t been working and overall areas of life that can be reviewed, reassessed, or reimagined. Yes, you should still double-check your transportation, technology, contracts, and anything fine detailed more thoroughly this time, but you also do not need to panic, as Mercury retrograde brings the energy of slowing down more than anything.
We are currently moving into the third out of the four Mercury retrogrades happening this year, and this Mercury retrograde transit will be moving through the signs of Libra and Virgo. Mercury entered its pre-shadow phase on August 22, a time when you start to get glimpses of what you are about to embark on with Mercury, and also times when you tend to make more mistakes, detours, or go through the experiences that you will be reviewing once Mercury officially goes Retrograde.
Once Mercury goes retrograde in Libra on September 9, anything that is keeping you away from your peace is being highlighted. Focusing on finding your balance within partnerships, and being in your truth is key right now. On September 23, Mercury retrograde enters Virgo, and Mercury overall enjoys being in Virgo and is exalted here. This energy is more about release, healing, taking what you’ve learned over the past few weeks, and grounding yourself in preparation for the new that is to come once Mercury goes direct on October 2.
The most important lesson that all Mercury retrogrades bring is about inspiring you to see something you may have missed before. The best way to move through a Mercury retrograde is to have a sense of humor, flow with change, and know that this too shall pass. The more you can focus on the growth that is occurring, the better. Ask for grace from the planets, and believe in your ability to renew.
Read below to see what Mercury retrogrades transit from September 9 to October 2 has in store for you.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Aries
Mercury moving retrograde into your opposite sign, Libra, brings attention to your relationships in life, Aries. You could be experiencing more miscommunications within your partnerships during this transit, and it’s about remaining open-minded to all perspectives that are being heard. Strong relationships will only grow closer during this time, and relationships that should be looked at more closely are now changing dynamics. Love wants to show you something during this Mercury retrograde, and it’s all about remaining open to the possibilities, rather than giving too much attention to doubts.
There could be some renegotiations happening within business matters as well during this time as the 7th house, where Mercury is transiting, also rules your business partnerships. Overall, it’s about balancing your needs with those of others and taking responsibility for anything you are putting out there. The end of this Mercury transit is all about your health and taking things day by day as your daily tasks and to-do lists change.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Taurus
Taurus, Mercury retrograde is bringing energy into your day-to-day world, and it’s important to have the patience right now as you see your plans through and attend to your daily tasks. Remember that a change of plans is often a blessing in disguise, and to work with the energy flowing through your world rather than being impatient with it. Misunderstandings at work or regarding health matters can become more pressing during this time, and going over the details is more important right now.
You are going through a review of your health, daily routines, and lifestyle during this transit and overcoming any perceived challenges here. This Mercury retrograde is here to get rid of any unhealthy daily patterns or activities and to create a new beneficial, daily routine for yourself. Once Mercury retrograde moves into a fellow earth sign, Virgo, on the 23rd, this transit will run more smoothly for you and you will be getting more opportunities to engage in the things that make you the happiest.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Gemini
Your ruling planet Mercury is making another one of its retrograde transits of the year, but luckily, Mercury already moved through your sign early this year in May, and you are less in the direct field of action right now. For you, this Mercury retrograde is beginning your house of romance, happiness, and creativity and is a time of reviewing where the joy is in your life/or lack thereof, and asking yourself if you’ve been prioritizing this enough for yourself.
Any limitations you have been feeling creatively and within the heart come up at this time, and you are doing some releasing right now to make more room for the good to enter your life. By the end of this transit the key is to get some more downtime, rest, meditate, and do your grounding rituals, Gemini. Thinking about your emotional stability and security in life is important as you emotionally renew, gain new ground, and find your balance.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Cancer
This Mercury retrograde is hitting home for you, Cancer. With Mercury retrograde moving through your house of family, roots, history, inner foundation, and home life, you are needing to bring more attention to this area of your life right now. This Mercury retrograde is a good time to get back to the basics. You are taking a look at your foundations right now, where you are feeling that support in life, and where you want to continue to grow your roots. Your emotional well-being is the priority, and your safe spaces are where to be to get through this time.
Some misunderstandings with family or close loved ones are more likely with Mercury retrograde, and this is overall a good time to do some inner child healing or to reflect on where in your life you can do some healing, emotional rejuvenating, or where you want to rebuild. Towards the end of this transit you are going to be communicating your needs and ideas, and connecting with those who show up for you.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Leo
Leo, this Mercury retrograde is starting in your 3rd house, and some extra precaution is necessary when it comes to travel, transportation, and your communication channels. This Mercury retrograde is influencing you in the sense that it’s about overcoming previous communication challenges, and seeing what has been blocking you from feeling heard. You are seeing where in your life things run smoothly, and where the same hiccups keep coming into play, inspiring you to see where some changes need to be made.
You could feel like your natural flow in the day is a little more challenging than usual during this time, and you are reworking your daily systems and prioritizing what is really worth your energy right now. During the end of this transit, Mercury retro moves into your financial zone and this is a good time to declutter your purse or wallet, pay off any bills or debts, and do a review of your long-term goals.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Virgo
Mercury retrogrades in general are already a little more intense for you than most, Virgo, considering Mercury is your ruling planet and whatever it is doing in the sky, you are going to feel it the most. However, this particular retrograde is important for you as it will be in your sign during the last leg of its transit. The beginning of this Mercury retrograde transit is all about going over your goals and plans and making sure they still align with who you are today and that they are sustainable for the time to come.
Your financial world is being highlighted for most of this transit, and it’s key to back yourself up right now. Mercury retrograde moves into your sign from September 23 until October 2, and you are spending some time reflecting on the personal changes you have gone through over the last year both mentally and physically. It’s about honoring this growth and development you have been going through and seeing yourself in a new, more favorable, and accepting light.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Libra
Mercury retrograde is traveling through your sign for the first three weeks of its journey, and you are getting real with what’s been happening in your life recently. There is a sense of closure and preparation that you are moving into now, and it’s all about self-reflection during this time. A few different aspects of your life will be impacted during this Mercury retrograde since it’s occurring in your 1st house of self. Still, it’s overall about being consistent with this personal growth you are moving through, and about getting your ducks in a row.
Plans change but remember you are the one writing this story and you can reframe and redirect yourself as needed. This Mercury retrograde is about breaking down any self-imposed barriers, and communicating more of yourself and what you need and are looking for in life. You will be leaving this retrograde with a feeling of overall greater self-confidence, Libra.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Scorpio
Scorpio, you are moving into a time of closure, healing, and revelation. This Mercury retrograde for you is all about closing one chapter and understanding the lessons that have come from them. The key to this transit for you is about letting go and flowing with change instead of fighting it. Know that what is falling from your life at this time will come back to you if it’s meant to, or will be replaced with something better.
It’s about being inspired by the transformations occurring now, and not getting too caught up in the head about them. Feel things through right now, and do some daily grounding rituals as the past may be coming up for you more than usual right now. Know that what is being brought up for you now is happening so you can release, replenish, and renew. Get some time away during this time, and allow yourself the space to process, heal, and focus on your intentions.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Sagittarius
This Mercury retrograde transit is beginning in your house of friendship and community, before moving into your 10th house of career. You are finding the balance between your personal life and professional life during this Mercury retro transit, and understanding who you are in both of these worlds. This Mercury retrograde is allowing you to go over some of your goals and dreams in life, and to see if they still apply to where you want to be now.
You are getting a clearer view of where you are headed in life and it’s up to you to decide if you want to keep going on a certain path or if you want to change course. There could be some miscommunication within friendships and your social networks right now, as you are thinking about who your people are, and where you are feeling supported within your friendships and community, and things are switching up for you here. Past goals, future goals, and your progress of them all come up for review for you during this time, Sagittarius.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Capricorn
Your professional world, achievements, and career life are being highlighted during this Mercury retrograde transit, Capricorn. Remember to go over your work thoroughly, and to be flexible with others in your working/social sphere. This Mercury retrograde is overall here to tie up any loose ends and get things organized professionally before moving projects forward again. How you are feeling about your goals, achievements, and where you are in regards to career matters take focus during this time and it’s about being okay with cheering yourself on for a while.
The support will come, but there is something to understand at this time about showing up for yourself regardless of who is standing behind you. With the energy of this Mercury retrograde, you could be experiencing some misunderstandings with the authority figures, clients, or peers in your working environment, however, this energy will change in the last week of its transit starting on the 23rd when you get to explore your horizons a little bit more.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Aquarius
Aquarius, this Mercury retrograde will be occurring in your 9th house of adventure, and you are having to slow some things down when it comes to travel plans and the opportunities that are coming towards you. The 9th house rules adventure, travel, education, the higher mind, and spirituality; and with Mercury retrograding here, there is a sense of needing some more downtime to reflect and understand what your inner world has been showing you.
Plans change, paths detour, and you are searching for a new way forward during this time. Through the experiences you’ve encountered so far this year, a new perspective has been born and you are looking at your beliefs, truths, and personal values more right now. You are being guided to redefine what you align with today and how important it is to have faith in yourself and your life. The end of this Mercury retrograde journey for you is about a review of the commitments in your life and finding your balance between giving and receiving here.
What Mercury Retrograde Means for Pisces
This Mercury retrograde is influencing your love life and is shaking things up to make sure the foundations you are building for yourself here can last the tests of time, Pisces. The first few weeks of this Mercury retrograde are a time of looking at where you have been feeling the empowerment in your life, and also where you may be giving away your power. Mercury will be highlighting for you what you need within your close partnerships, commitments, and within your financial world as well; and if you’ve been receiving that or not.
There are some shake-ups occurring within your relationships right now, but know that Mercury retrogrades are more about providing clarity, rather than anything else. In the last week or so of this transit, Mercury will enter Virgo, your opposite sign, and will be in your house of love. Remember to allow yourself as much grace and unconditional love as you do so for others during this time, Pisces.
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Tayler Barakat is a Mystic who has studied Astrology for over a decade. She does intuitive astrology and tarot readings for people all over the world, and her work focuses on healing and empowering individuals. Follow her on Instagram @taylerbarakat_ and check out her website www.listentothevirgo.com.
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The Unhealthy 'Unconscious Contracts' We Make With Our Parents (And How To Break Them)
I’m a quotes kind of girl. Unapologetically so. I think I like them so much because they’re a way of packing in a lot of wisdom and insight without giving an entire speech (or writing an entire article). And if there’s one quote that I know I use at least three times a week, it’s “Adulthood is surviving childhood.”
It’s not a good thing either because, basically, what the quote is saying is a lot of us experience so much trauma as children that many of our adult years are actually spent trying to figure out how to survive it all. In fact, I recently read a Guardian article entitled, “Survivors of childhood trauma often grow up believing they are unworthy,” which had a line in it that summarizes a lot of why I do what I do for a living: “Jane now understands that she was conditioned as a child to see toxic relationships as almost normal.” I’m here to reprogram a lot of counterproductive stuff that a lot of us don’t realize we are doing…as best as I possibly can.
And yes, believe it or not, a part of the reason why we get into then tolerate then endure the oftentimes pure suffering of unhealthy relationships with other people — personal and professional, romantic, platonic and familial — is due to something known as unconscious contracts. Boy, when I first learned about unconscious contracts and what they entail, it was like I had a new way of helping to free up so many people from their hamster wheels of dysfunction with other individuals.
Okay, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. If you already feel drawn to or even triggered by the intro of this article alone, please set aside some time tonight or this weekend to dive into what it means to sign an unconscious contract, how it typically ends up working against you, and what you can do to change it ASAP.
What Is an Unconscious Contract?
I like giving credit where credit's due, and when it comes to the entire concept of unconscious contracts, one of my instructors taught it to me. She said she learned it from a neuroscience educator by the name of Sarah Peyton.
The gist of an "unconscious contract" is it's an agreement that you made, oftentimes in order to get through living with your toxic parent (or parents), that ended up being an unhealthy habit or approach to dealing with other people as you grow and develop into adulthood (you can watch an intro video about it here that is pretty damn enlightening if I do say so myself).
According to Sarah and her findings, a lot of our full dependence on our parents (especially our mother since she's usually the primary caregiver), as far as communication goes, happens around four months of age and, without us even noticing it, we find ourselves figuring out what needs to be done in order to get along with them — even if it's ultimately to our detriment.
An article that dives deeper into all of this is "When Relationships Fall Apart: Conscious and Unconscious Agreements in Relationship." The authors speak on the fact that a conscious contract is an agreement where both parties know the commitment that they are getting into, while an unconscious contract is usually unspoken, although what transpires is one person decides to suppress their thoughts, feelings, and needs in order to make another person happy (or it at least makes getting along with them easier to do).
Now I'll already tell you that if you read this and thought, "Isn't that just compromising?" you just revealed that you are someone who definitely needs to continue on with this piece because, no, suppression is not compromise; suppression is you denying a part of who you are in order to keep the peace — or avoid abuse — and there is nothing compromising about that. It is destructive and definitely the kind of "unconscious contract" that you need to break…immediately if you can.
Before I break down how to do that, let's go a bit deeper into all of this.
How an Unconscious Contract Affected Your Childhood Development
Last fall, Newsweek published an article entitled "Why Adult Children Are Cutting Off Their Parents More Than Ever." Now for the record, no parent is perfect, and since some people like to throw around words like "toxic" as if they are confetti, let's look into some signs that you definitely had a toxic parent as a child/teenager — and that you may still have one now:
- They didn't respect your privacy/boundaries
- They pressured you to agree with them even when you didn't
- They were harder on you than they were on other children (especially outside of the home)
- They found a way to make everything about them
- They wouldn't let you ask questions for clarity (and/or they lashed out when you did)
- They were controlling
- They didn't shield you from trauma (and they oftentimes caused it)
- They used religion to justify their toxic behavior
- They used you as a makeshift therapist/counselor (told you too much information)
- They were verbally and/or emotionally and/or physically and/or sexually abusive
- They were emotionally unpredictable
- They weren't supportive (or you felt like they were competing with you)
- They kept you walking on eggshells
- They deflected from taking accountability for their mistakes (or poor choices)
- They either used guilt or withheld love in order to get their way
If any of this resonated with you, yes, on some level, you are a survivor of a toxic parent — again, not an imperfect parent; more like someone who put you in a position where you dealt with some level of trauma on a consistent basis. And because it's a parent's job to help you to become a holistically healthy individual, when the opposite happens, it can stifle you on some level.
For instance, I grew up with parents who didn't know how to respect a boundary or take accountability if it hit them square in the face. I don't even have the time to get into how deep it all went. For now, I'll just give one example of how it played out in my adult years — recent ones. One parent was so toxic that they really should be in prison. Because they're not, they had the nerve to email me acting like they were doing me some favor by leaving me alone…like I had told them to do for almost two decades now, that they still had moments when they would disrespect the boundary. And where did they get my contact information? From the other parent. WILD. Not you out here enabling my abuser.
Boundaries are limits, and limits (when they are not used to weaponize or manipulate) are put into place to keep us safe. People who don't respect your boundaries are unsafe individuals.
When I think about how my boundaries were constantly being dishonored as I was growing up affected me all through those years. One way is I didn't know how to set healthy boundaries with other people. As a result, I had some of the most toxic female friendships known to man (no joke). Another result is I had a tendency to be controlling to certain other people too. Control is what was modeled to me (suffocatingly so), all the while being told that it was love, and so… that's what I thought it was.
I had written an "unconscious contract" with my parents that allowed them to railroad my space, my body, and my feelings. My needs were basically the "rent" that I had to pay to live in their home and have my basic material needs met. And so, I thought that's what relationships looked like — that I had to go above and beyond while overlooking what I deserved in order to keep people around, OR I had to control the narrative in some way as a way of expressing my "love" to them. And I lived just like this for many years.
How an Unconscious Contract Affects Your Relationships Now
Before the end of the year is out, I'll be finishing my third book. One of the things that it's going to touch on is just how emotionally abusive one dynamic with a certain guy was. I'll give you an example. One time, I helped him put on an event. I got him the venue for free. I made the programs. I set up the slideshow. I ran the slideshow. He didn't pay me a dime. Because the venue was about an hour away and we left unbelievably late (in separate cars), I asked him if he would stay on the phone with me because I was sleepy. He yelled at me, told me that I needed to find someone else, and hung up. And the next day, what did I do? I texted him to make sure that he was okay. AMAZING. He never apologized, even when I brought it up. Instead, he deflected and justified his behavior. Also AMAZING.
In hindsight, I know this is the fallout from unconscious contracts that I had "signed" with my parents, several of them. Something in me thought that if I just loved that man enough, eventually, he would stop mistreating me. Yet, I know him well enough to know that he has his own unconscious contracts that need to be broken, so while I was over-giving, he was over-hustling. He also was being ungrateful and narcissistic (and narcissism is also oftentimes the result of a traumatic childhood; it's a cryptic way of protecting oneself). Yeah, because I still had some "live contracts" going on, folks were able to get away with all kinds of stuff.
I'll give you another example. I have a girlfriend who keeps picking materialistic and shallow women as friends (check out "7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One"). Her mother was exactly that way. It's wearing her out now because she feels like all she has in common with her circle is shopping and, inconsequentially, debt. Yet, until I introduced the concept of unconscious contracts to her, she didn't realize that all she really had in common with her mom — and the only time her mom ever really spent quality time with her — was when money was involved (including her mom feeling entitled to her money in present time).
Again, adulthood is surviving childhood. So, take a moment and think about the list that I provided as it relates to whether or not you had a toxic parent. Where the points apply, ponder what your adult relationships look like these days. Where are there patterns? Where are there mirror reflections of the relationship that you had with your mother and/or father and/or caregiver? Where do you see the same kind of unhealthiness…even now?
When we're children, we are innocent and a blank slate. We rely on our parents to show us how we are to see ourselves, along with how we are to live out our lives. So yeah, without some serious inner work (and oftentimes therapy), the contracts that we became a part of as children will continue in our adult world — that is, until we break them.
What Can You Do to Break an Unconscious Contact
I already know — this is some pretty heavy stuff (which is why I implied at the beginning that it's not exactly lunchtime reading). Yet you know how the saying goes, knowledge is power, and if you could relate to any of this, how freeing is it to get to some of the roots, to receive confirmation that you're not crazy (sis, you're not) and then be provided with tips on how to get up out of these, what seem like lifelong binding agreements, that are not serving you (and never really were)?
Okay, so now that you know what an unconscious contract is, how you found yourself being a part of one, and how much damage they ended up doing, what can be done to break the contract? Good question.
A PDF that I was given (via Sarah Peyton's site) is what my instructor shared with me. I have edited it a bit so that it can make a bit more sense (if this is your first time hearing about unconscious contracts):
Step 1. Determine what the contract initially was.
“I (your name), ________________ , solemnly swear to you (parent/caregiver),___________________
to (whatever the self-defeating behavior was) ________________________ in order to protect you/honor you/survive, no matter the cost to myself. “
Step 2. Was the vow heard? (In order to feel validated in this exercise, you should get someone you trust to serve as a representative to act as the parent/caregiver you are speaking to.)
“Parent or caregiver, did you hear this vow?”
“Parent or caregiver, do you like this vow?”
Step 3. Can the vow be released? If so, release it.
If yes, the representative says, “I release you from this vow and I revoke this contract.”
(If the vow cannot be released, like your parent lives with you and they are still doing the behavior, you may want to seek therapy to figure out what boundaries need to be set up, especially if your parent tends to go full gaslight or full denial whenever you bring trauma or their past mistakes up.)
Step 4. Create a blessing to break the unconscious contract.
The representative says, “And instead of this vow, I give you my blessing to...(create the blessing)”
In a perfect world, you could talk to your parent about all of this, and no representative would be needed — yet honestly if that were the case and your parent was truly self-aware, apologetic, and willing to make amends, they would probably approach you first about the harm that they caused. That's why a representative can be helpful. They are symbolic, and while you may never get this kind of release from your actual parent, the validation and affirmation that comes from the exercise may be enough for you to fast-track your way to healing and to feel stronger in saying "no," setting limits and requiring that your needs be met from your parents — and to offer up consequences when that is not the case.
This is an exercise that can reduce fear and stagnation so that you can start to get on with how to have healthier relationships with others moving forward.
The Benefits of Ending Unconscious Contracts…and Creating New Ones
A wise man once said, "My word is my bond." That said, to tell you the truth, the only way that breaking an unconscious contract is going to work is if there is integrity behind your words. You need to identify them, vocally acknowledge them, and have your representative acknowledge you/them. You need to receive the blessing, and then, what I recommend is setting up a new contract — this time between you and yourself.
For instance, if your childhood unconscious contract was all about you walking on eggshells, the new contract needs to say something along the lines of, "I will no longer put my own feelings and needs aside whenever I feel bullied or even dismissed. My voice matters, especially when it comes to what directly affects me, so I will speak up when necessary." Whew. Can you see how empowering that is?
It can't be said enough that there is plenty of data out here to support the fact that at the age we are traumatized, oftentimes we remain right there emotionally until we heal — and healing can include breaking our unconscious contracts. Only, in my opinion, it's not enough to break one…you need to then replace it with another; otherwise, you could find yourself slipping back into what's familiar…even if you know it's not what's better/best for you.
This really is something that I could go on for days about because it’s the kind of topic that is so freeing once people are able to apply it in their own world. For now, I’ll just say that contracts are binding agreements. Yet, the good thing about unconscious contracts is you can let yourself off of the hook, knowing that you, as an adult, now have the space to live as you wish. You don’t have to “go along to get along” in the midst of super crazy, super counterproductive, super toxic ways.
You can write new contracts — ones that will strengthen you, validate you, and give you the kind of life that YOU want to live. Not the one that your toxic parent(s) made you think you had to settle for.
So, what unconscious contracts are you going to break today?
What new ones are you going to put into motion?
There’s no time like the present to start fully living YOUR life.
Amen? Hallelujah. For real.
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