Communication Breakdown! Mercury Retrograde and Facebook's Outage

March 14, 2019

Social media influencers, Gen Z selfie-takers, cat video commenters, and more felt the worldwide wrath of Mercury retrograding in Pisces yesterday as both Facebook and all of its apps—including Instagram—went down for 11+ hours in the company’s largest outage in more than a decade. Communication issues and delays are to be expected during this transit, but when Mercury retrograde lands in dazed-and-often-confused Pisces, an extra layer of chaos should be considered.

In mythology, Mercury was the messenger of the gods, ruling day-to-day expression and communication, and doing so with discerning speed and agility. In astrology, the planet also rules our daily habits, communication, and ways of thinking. There are a few aspects in yesterday’s stars that set us up for this epic social network crash—the mother of all first world problems.

What’s in the stars for you this year?

Lost in Translation

As Mercury is retrograde in Pisces, a water sign, we’re forced to ponder the nature of this outage. Did a Facebook intern spill his Philz coffee or homebrewed kombucha on the company’s main server, perhaps? Pisces are often stereotyped as disorganized with their heads in the clouds, as well as hyper-emotional. When all those traits combined, it’s easy to see how a communication breakdown of this magnitude could occur.


There was a whole lot of celestial tension in the sky yesterday: the sun in Pisces squared Jupiter is Sagittarius; Mercury in Pisces squared Jupiter in Sagittarius; and the moon in Gemini squared Neptune in Pisces. When any planet touches Jupiter, Pisces’ natural ruler and the planet of abundance, it’s akin to speaking through a megaphone—everything is amplified. When planets meet in a tense aspect, like a square, that amplified message can arrive full of drama. Gemini traditionally rules our third house of communication (writing and editing included) with Sagittarius ruling our ninth house of philosophy and publishing—a more global perspective on staying in touch. As the moon in Gemini opposed Jupiter in Sagittarius today, it’s easy to see how the prelude to this tense aspect may have taken the form of the outage.

Back to Earth

Today, the sun in Pisces is conjunct Mercury in Pisces. This aspect is of note because it occurs when Mercury retrograde is technically closest to Earth. A tight connection like this between our ego-driven sun and Mercury retrograde ushers in the potential to bring down even the biggest social media juggernauts. This conjunction in particular calls for a re-evaluation of one’s fundamental energies. It also brings with it a heap of mental energy, but with Mercury back-spinning, it’s hard to sort through the fog and communication disruptions are bound to plague the day’s energy.

So, while we are free to be thankful that yesterday’s technological meltdown is behind us, let us take today to pause before we post—and maybe even rethink our dependency on the platforms.

Art by Ameya