If you lived a particularly fortunate life, people might say you were "born under a lucky star." A less fortunate existence, on the other hand, might be attributed to a person being "born under a bad sign." But what does it mean to be born under Mercury retrograde? Given what you know of the designated celestial phases when Mercury appears to travel backwards (communications break down, everything tech-related goes bonkers, plans get cancelled, etc.), you're likely assuming that a Mercury retrograde birthday isn't the best of omens. (Don't worry, it's not what you think.) But how do you tell if you were born during a Mercury retrograde, anyway?
First of all, it's important to note that there's no need to freak out over Mercury retrograde, period: Whether it's happening now or it was happening when you were born or it might be happening at the same time as some future important event, experts like international astrologer and life coach Linda Joyce say there's no need to panic. As Joyce told Bustle, "Mercury retrograde is like anything else in life: We must know how to use it wisely and understand why it exists. Then, suddenly, it's not negative, it's helpful."
Of course it's understandable if finding out that you made your debut on the planet during such an astrologically fraught time feels like finding out an evil fairy showed up at your birth to make sure you would prick your finger on a spinning wheel someday. But as astrologer Maressa Brown explained in a recent social media post "in defense of Mercury retrograde," this news could mean that you have an extra advantage during retrogrades:
"If you happen to have natal Mercury retrograde — aka you were born during a Mercury retrograde, which is the case for approx. 25 percent of the population — Mercury retrogrades may very well be especially productive, creatively rewarding transits for you," she wrote. "I've found this to be the case time and again — for myself and other Merc retro babies."
So instead of a Mercury retrograde birthday acting as a lifelong curse, maybe it's more like a vaccination: A little shot of retrograde at birth strengthens your resistance against the miscommunications and computer malfunctions. And since we happen to be in a Mercury retrograde right now, it's the perfect time to find out if you fall into this category (assuming you don't already know).
Thankfully, as Brown mentioned in her above post, identifying yourself as a Mercury retrograde baby is as easy as plugging some stuff you already know into a free online calculator. In fact, you don't even have to plug anything into the table Brown posted at Astropro.com; you just scroll down the list, find the dates in your birth year, and see if any of them are within three weeks of your birth date (retrogrades generally last only about three weeks).
If you're looking for more details about your personal astrological timestamp and have a few minutes free, another free option is the birth chart calculator at Astrolabe: Just fill in your info (it helps to know what time you were born) and calculate! Once your report is generated, look for Mercury. If there's an Rx beside the symbol, then you were born during Mercury in retrograde. Cafe Astrology also has a free natal chart calculator (and if you don't know the exact time of your birth, you can substitute noon for an adequate approximation).
Another benefit to going with a more in-depth birth chart is that you'll also be able to see which sign the Mercury retrograde of your birth occurred under, and the particulars of how you'll be affected are dictated by that sign. (Because if you've gone this far, might as well go all the way!)