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Mercury will go Retrograde in Aries on April Fools’ Day

On 1 April, the planet Mercury is expected to go retrograde in the sign of Aries.

The astrological phenomenon will fittingly begin its period of chaos on April Fools’ Day, causing miscommunications as well as disruptions for the next two weeks until 25 April. According to astrologer Chani Nicholas, the effects of this upcoming Mercury in retrograde will largely be felt by those with who rush through their day-to-day tasks or are prone to act first and think later.

“When Mercury appears to move backward in the sky, tech and communication glitches ensue,” Nicolas writes. “Occurring in the intrepid sign of Aries, it’s easier than ever to make mistakes when we rush. These tricks, delays, and snafus all pinpoint the areas of our lives that need a system upgrade.”

The astrologer advises that slowing down and embracing stillness can help counteract the chaos of Mercury going retrograde, particularly in light of retrograde occurring in the sign of Aries. Those born under the sign are often characterised as headstrong, impulsive, bold, and prone to wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

Aries natives will likely feel the effects of retrograde strongly, and so will those who have Aries placements in personal planets - planets that are closest to the sun - including Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

With Mercury going retrograde in Aries, Nicholas notes that the first retrograde of the year will mark a series of retrogrades occurring in zodiac signs ruled predominantly by fire.

”This year is teaching us to take stock before we leap,” Nicholas writes. “To interrogate our fiery impulses. To err on the side of reflection rather than reaction. By bringing more discernment to our life’s passions, creations, and spiritual paths, we’ll have more energy for the undertakings that truly fuel our fire. And the wisdom to release what’s merely a cortisol drain.”

During this transit, another astrological phenomenon will take place, a solar eclipse will be taking place in the sign of Aries as well, creating an astrological double-whammy. The Cosmic Latte’s Daniela Karpenos notes that this solar eclipse will act as a spring cleaning of sorts for your soul, saying that it “clears a path, making room for your manifestations”. She encourages people to spend this time going back to the drawing board and reflecting on any setbacks experienced throughout this time.

The idea that planetary movements can impact our minds and bodies is fairly recent, with independent researcher Joanna Martin having traced it back to the late 20th century as early as the 1970s. Martin - who studied under astrology and cultural astronomy historian Nicholas Campion - said she discovered some of the earliest mentions of Mercury retrograde while conducting research for her 2018 master’s dissertation on Mercury retrograde’s cultural history.

According to Harper’s Bazaar, Martin found that astrologer Edith Custer had printed a newsletter back in 1974, which functioned as a modern-day online forum in which astrologers “wrote in their problems” and complained about the effects of Mercury retrograde.

However, astrologers aren’t wrong that something is happening in the cosmos. Planetary scientist David Rothery explained to the Atlantic that Mercury retrograde is an optical illusion.

Because Mercury orbits closer to the Sun than Earth does, the planet ultimately travels faster - making its trip around the Sun in 88 days, compared to Earth’s 365 days. This causes the planet to overtake “us on the inside track,” leading us earthlings to believe that we’re seeing Mercury moving backward. Eventually, Earth catches up and Mercury appears to go “prograde”.

Later this year, Mercury retrograde is expected to occur in earth sign Virgo this August, and the last one of the year will occur in Sagittarius in November. The astrological phenomenon usually occurs for around three weeks, three to four times a year.