It’s that time again! Retrograde planets are fun, aren’t they? Just as Venus returns to its direct motion on November 16th, Mercury goes retrograde the same day at 13° Sagittarius and ends on December 6th at 27° Scorpio. Mercury, and its retrograde motion, have garnered notoriety in popular culture due to the wave of Internet memes and popular Twitter feeds referencing its disastrous effects on travel and communication. Most people fear the combination of words: Mercury and retrograde. But what does it all mean? Why has it gained such a bad reputation, and is it really all that bad?
There are a few things to note about astrological planets. The planets in astrology are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (yes, Pluto is still considered a planet in astrology despite its freaky orbit and astronomical status as a dwarf planet). Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto all appear to have retrograde motion from our vantage point here on Earth during certain phases because of their orbits around the Sun.
Mercury orbits the Sun once every 88 Earth days. So, Mercury can potentially go retrograde 3-4 times a year! Unless you are carefully planning your calendar around this planet’s 88-day year, you might not even know a retrograde is in effect.
What is really happening is that, during its trajectory, Mercury appears to change from moving forward and direct to moving backward because we are viewing the completion of Mercury’s revolution around the Sun from the Earth.
Despite the fact that Mercury isn’t actually moving backward, the effect of the planet’s seemingly backward orbit can be felt on Earth. Astrologers believe things that happen in the heavens have a direct impact on us here on Earth. Ask any astrologer and they will tell you: “As above, so below.”
So, what does this mean for you?
Mercury, in astrological terms and akin to its Roman namesake, rules short trips, travelers, communication, commerce, contracts, mental endeavors and even siblings.
When in retrograde, all of these things are affected. Common problems include flight delays, traffic jams, mechanical breakdowns and technical difficulties and general miscommunication.
A lot of astrologers will advise that you not sign any contracts or make any big decisions during this time. But if we were to stop our lives for every Mercury retrograde, it seems as though nothing would ever be accomplished!
The solution can be found in the prefix of the word re-trograde itself. Re-evaluate. Re-view. Re-asses. Re-calculate. Re-visit.
The rest of the world will not stop because of Mercury’s retrograde motion, but this three-and-a-half weeks can bring a lot of confusion. Double and even triple-checking your thoughts, words and contracts can bring you closer to observing and knowing yourself better than you may have thought possible.
Try to embrace this inconvenience as an opportunity — and remember: “This too shall pass.” Well, at least until the next Mercury retrograde. Many Blessings ~ Estrella