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Is Mercury Retrograde Really So Bad? A Vedic Astrologer on Seizing Opportunity & Staying Positive

It all started with a book, and an unassuming one at that. Dog eared, missing its cover and filled with numbers, there was little obvious appeal to a 12-year-old girl. But it was that book — filled with symbols and planetary degrees — that would lead Alexia Neonakis to astrology, which she still practices today. Lexie, a NYU alum who lives in upstate New York with her family, is a NAMA-certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. She creates Vedic charts in the Indian tradition to give people personal, practical advice on how to manage changes in their own energy and the world around them. On a typical day, she herself balances work and motherhood, doing her readings while her children are at school. Focusing on Jyotish, the “science of light,” Lexie’s passion is finding positivity for her clients in both exciting and challenging moments. Here, we sat down with Lexie to get the celebrated reader’s tips on beautifully navigating Mercury in retrograde.

So, what exactly does ‘Mercury retrograde’ mean?

We’re currently in the middle of that infamous Mercury retrograde. It’s a time when the Earth passes Mercury as both orbit around the Sun, making Mercury look briefly like it’s moving in the opposite direction of its usual path. It’s also a time when everything from people to technology allegedly go haywire.

But according to Lexie, there’s no need to panic. “I know everybody freaks out when Mercury goes retrograde, sometimes for good reason, but I think of it as a moment to stop and pause and reflect and take two steps back. Double check: is the path I’m on an appropriate path to be on? And sometimes we will make shifts and changes — and that’s appropriate! Often times, too, retrograde brings up people, things, ideas, events from the past. And the way I look at it is: it’s just an opportunity to say thank you and move on, or get right with whatever might be off still. With Mercury retrograde upon us, this is a great time to do things like purging and cleansing — and going through your stuff and donating! It’s a great time to donate to people, especially with this retrograde, because it’s sitting with Jupiter, which is connected to children. If there are parents who have a lot of things they don’t need any more for their kids, this is a good time to go through those bags and donate them.”

People are super busy, and often anxious, right now. Any quick things you recommend to stay positive or get out of a bad day?

Sit and breathe

“Sometimes we just need to pause. Mercury retrograde is giving us an opportunity, reminding us, that sometimes what we need to do is just sit down, put our feet on the floor, put our hands on our belly and just close our eyes and breathe into the belly. Just let it fill up, and let it drop down.” You don’t need to lie down to do this (though that’s great for kids, according to Lexie). You can do this sitting up in your car — eyes open of course — or at your desk. “It might take a few minutes to let the junk you just dealt with, the uncomfortable interaction or whatever it was, to be cleared away,” she says.

When life gets hectic, go simple

“This is from an Ayurvedic perspective, and helpful with the chaos of the holidays. Life is about digestion — not just digesting what’s on your plate, but digesting what’s in your life, so when life gets hectic outside of your food, you make your food simple. So, think 1-bowl meals, think creamy vegetable soups — things that are grounding. No salads, no cold stuff, no ice. Keep it really simple, keep it warm, like hot water with lemon. These kinds of things are going to keep you nourished, and keep your digestive system from having to work too hard.”

Oil up!

Yes, you read that right. Lexie recommends applying oil before a shower, then sealing in that moisture with Shea Butter once you’re out. “This is a very Ayurvedic thing that we do all the time, and it helps create this level of support that’s immense. The word for oil in Sanskrit is Sneha, and Sneha also means love, so the idea of oil and love having the same word, and putting that on your body, it’s really about coating yourself in a layer of love, and sort of protection as you go into your day. I’ve had so many clients say that this alone is life changing.”

What can each of us keep in mind to stay positive during retrograde?


“Embrace your individuality, Aries, while continuing to appreciate others.”


“Rise above and uphold your ideals around love, Taurus.”


“Keep your connections simple, Gemini, always flowing from the heart.”


“Self-care is paramount and deeply supportive, Cancer.”


“Allow time for dreaming, Leo. Action then easily follows.”


“Create space for your intuition, Virgo, as it informs all choices.”


“Real joy is rooted in growth, Libra.”


“Shower others with positivity. This is your strength now, Scorpio.”


“Stay steady, Archer. Consistency in your efforts is key.”


“Lift up and turn your lens towards the horizon, Capricorn.”


“Nothing is more healing than taking action, Aquarius.”


“See through the veil, Pisces; that’s where the truth resides.”

Learn more about Alexia Neonakis and Vedic astrology.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.