Why is the world going wild at every Mercury retrograde?
Mercury in itself is tension. Mercury is nervous, and represents our capacity to think and communicate. When Mercury turns retrograde (meaning it looks like its movement is gone backwards in the sky, look here for an intro on retrogrades), it has for effect to make everyone slow down, repeat, re-think, re-communicate. Mercury also has a pre shadow and post shadow phase, which represents times during which it isn't technically retrograde yet its effects are very much alive.
When Mercury turns retrograde, the world is lost and confused. You lose your keys, you lose your documents, you miscommunicate, miss appointments. What is going on? How to stop the bleeding?
Well as I said, Mercury wants you to slow down, repeat, rethink, and if not prepared, when Mercury turns retrograde, it might take you a while to actually slow down. You're trying to keep everything going at the same speed, and here you are, all over the place and with a trail of errors and misplaced objects and words.
The secret to survive Mercury retrograde is very simple: Slow, the f*ck, down. Stop trying to ignore Mercury as if you had the power to change the planets. Listen to what it says, slow down, if you normally complete a task in an hour, plan double! If you're normally a super fast multi-tasker, Mercury wants you to slow down in order to catch all the details and mistakes that you usually miss on. If you can embrace it, take your time, give up on doing everything at once, you'll actually feel that you're providing better work and communication.
As soon as you do what Mercury wants you to do, you'll find that all the negative effects associated with Mercury start to dissipate.
Now what if you have Mercury retrograde in your chart? Well lucky you, the world is slowing down and finally coming at your pace! Therefore you can feel like the world is finally communicating better with you, people are probably more patient and there is less miscommunication.
Should you delay decisions during Mercury retrograde? Yes and no.
If you have to buy something or sign something that can be reasonably delayed without too many consequences, sure, delay it. I have bought a car and a computer during Mercury retrograde and right after Mercury turned direct, still in the post shadow phase, and these were very regrettable choices. If you have to buy, start, sign something that can't be delayed, don't over stress it. Just keep your eyes open, double check everything, and trust that if it is necessary, no one ever died from Mercury retrograde.
Pre and post shadow
Before and after Mercury turns retrograde, for a duration of about 2 weeks before and after, Mercury will be pre and post shadow. It represents a period of slow fading in the retrograde and out of the retrograde. The pre shadow is just a slow sinking in the retrograde period, and the post shadow is the most rewarding period of the retrograde, the time during which your brain is putting things back into place, integrating the lessons learned during the retrograde.