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Thoughts on Mercury retrograde

So, let’s talk about Mercury retrograde. What is Mercury retrograde, you ask? Astronomically speaking, it is the three or four times a year when the planet Mercury appears to move backwards through the heavens. This is an illusion, of course, caused by the elliptical orbit of Mercury around the sun, which from our earth viewpoint makes it appear, at times, that the planet has reversed direction. What interests me about Mercury retrograde is not the physics. What interests me is the astrological effect on our daily lives of this apparent backwards motion. Scientists and your average skeptic will tell you that astrology is nonsense, that physical bodies in space cannot exert influence over people or events. My attitude about subjects outside of mainstream thought, especially if anecdotal evidence is compelling, is to check them out for myself and make my own judgment. I begin with a skeptical approach and look for reasonable personal proof to determine the validity of a claim. Notice I did not say scientific proof. Personal verification is all I seek in determining if something is real or not to me. In the case of Mercury retrograde, I believe the evidence supports what astrology claims. Astrologers have been studying the apparent effects of celestial bodies on human events for thousands of years. They noted recurring patterns and their seeming influence. With Mercury, named for the Roman god, astrologers associated the planet’s influences with life areas linked to that mythical deity. These included, among other things, communication, commerce, and transportation. During Mercury retrograde periods, which last approximately three weeks, astrologers noticed that mix-ups and delays often occurred in these areas. Ongoing projects or those initiated within this three-week span frequently needed revising, redoing, or revisiting in some way. Notice the prefix re. Mercury retrograde periods seem designed to focus your attention on activities associated with that prefix. Here are a few examples: re-evaluate, rethink, reflect, reexamine, repeat. During retrograde periods, I often find myself rereading books I've previously read. As a writer, I find these times ideal for editing or revising written material. Often there is renewed interest in projects that have been collecting dust. At least once during every Mercury retrograde period, someone's mail gets mixed with mine, requiring the mailman to redeliver the items to the correct address. Communication errors are commonplace, which might lead to rescheduling a missed appointment, or force me to call someone a second time about something important because they gave me wrong information initially. People counter this admittedly unscientific evidence by saying that misunderstandings, errors, and delays happen all the time, not just under Mercury retrograde. I agree, to an extent. What I have found, though, is that these mix-ups, miscommunications, errors, and delays seem much more noticeable and frequent under Mercury retrograde, enough to get any observant person’s attention. Astrologers advise clients to be careful during these periods. Double and triple check what you write for errors. Delay signing contracts or purchasing items, especially those involving communications technology or transportation. Be prepared for delays when taking important trips, or for breakdowns in your mode of transport. My experiences with Mercury’s backward motion, through observation over many years, tend to verify these concerns as valid. Check out the effects for yourself. Mercury's next retrograde period begins Oct 21, 2013, and lasts three weeks. In 2014, Mercury goes retrograde in February, June, and October.

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