Mercury retrograde is actually the ‘lesbian apocalypse’

A lot can be learned about me from my most recent Google searches—the names of three crushes in various configurations, the three different horoscopes I read each week, “Hayley Kiyoko Hawaiian shirt” and “Eclipse Season 2018.”

I’ve been obsessing over women and astrology in equal measures since my pre-teens and, for me, birth charts and full moons are as much a part of being a lesbian as public transport and Cate Blanchett thirst tweets.

One of the first things I want to know about a girl is her Sun, Moon and Rising signs, and the number of times I’ve cowered over my iCal, trying to co-ordinate a first date with the new moon, is quite frankly embarrassing.

Like many lesbian witches, my love of astrology comes weighted with a particular dread. A core-chilling fear and mournful anticipation of a periodical night sky crisis you may have heard of before.

Last time this happened, I found myself stranded on the streets of Edinburgh, the tearful victim of an accommodation scam with a broken suitcase and the poster for my ex’s “one woman neo-political circus show” creeping into my sightline.

Sound familiar? That’s right. It was the Mercury retrograde. And this was only week one.

Three or four times a year, Mercury’s orbit passes planet Earth.

As it circles round, it appears to spin backwards and this is what’s known as Mercury retrograde or, as some Twitter queers have phrased it… “The Lesbian Apocalypse.”

In astrology, Mercury governs communication, travel and technology. For the three weeks that Mercury is in retrograde—plus a shadow period either side—we can expect to encounter problems and disruptions in all these areas, along with some sweet (or not so sweet) visitations from the past.

So why is this astrological event so apocalyptic for lesbians in particular? I have many thoughts on this, all of which rely on the assumption that astrology is definitely real and can be proven by science.

Three or four times a year, Mercury’s orbit passes planet Earth (Pexels)


Firstly, astrological transits affect lesbians more than any other group of people because we have a natural inclination towards stars and feelings.

Ostracised by patriarchal monotheisms on two counts—being a woman and being queer—millennial lesbians are flocking to esoteric practices such as witchcraft, tarot and astrology.

And, of course, when you have a detailed knowledge of the so-called Lesbian Apocalypse, you are much more likely to notice its effects.

Unenlightened individuals may be unaware that the Mercury retrograde is even happening and so brush off the ensuing chaos as just part of life, but lesbians know that even the tiniest of misunderstandings, mistakes or personality flaws can, for the three weeks that Mercury is in retrograde, be blamed entirely on the planet.

Secondly, the Mercury retrograde is likely to prove more difficult for lesbians because the areas of life this transit disrupts tend to be problematic for us in general.

Breakdowns in communication are commonplace at this time, which is a nightmare when it comes to that excruciating task we all find so impossible—actually talking to your crush.

During the Mercury retrograde, lesbians everywhere can be found mournfully glancing across the room at their beloved, unable to communicate beyond the liking of tweets and selfies.

If we do manage to break the ice, we may find ourselves blurting out all manner of embarrassing mid-date thoughts such as (to use some recent examples from my own mouth) “You remind me of a buttery crumpet” or (I’m honestly not making this up) “Do you believe in fairies?”

Experiencing Mercury retrograde may be akin to a core-chilling fear and mournful anticipation of a periodical night sky crisis.

The retrograde also affects travel and, therefore, the traditional lesbian pastime of long distance relationships.

Met a girl at Pride? The vegan brownies you made her are unlikely to make it through the delayed plane/train/bus journey halfway across the country to see her again.

Travelling to Berlin to celebrate your three-month anniversary? Your German fiancée may have to wait.

Perhaps most debilitating of all for lesbians is Mercury’s habit of bringing back people from the past.

As we all know, the lesbian population of the world is estimated at just over 100 people (please note, these figures may not be entirely accurate) and those of us who haven’t dated almost definitely share an ex.

The Mercury Retrograde is prime time for bumping into past loves and, as we all populate the same three basements, the likelihood of this happening if you’re a lesbian increases tenfold.

Cue dramatic nightclub exits, unfathomably complex love dodecahedrons and three weeks of listening exclusively to Robyn.

So what can be done to prevent such drama during the triannual “Lesbian Apocalypse?”

The planet Mercury (black dot upper left) shown transiting in front of the sun (Maxim Malinovsky/AFP/Getty)

Literally nothing, unless you are willing to relocate to a cave.

My advice for this period is to carry on as normal and, when you find yourself accidentally liking your crush’s boss’ holiday pics from 2014, blame it on the Mercury retrograde.

Jessica Burgess can be found tweeting @jburgess_