What Exactly Is "Mercury In Retrograde?"
If you know some basics of astrology or even know someone who loves to read their horoscope every day or so, you probably have heard of the phrase, "Mercury In Retrograde" before - but what exactly does it mean?
You do not have to be an avid fan of astrology or even know anything about astrology to know what "Mercury In Retrograde" means. It is a phrase that often gets thrown a lot within our society - one of which as acclimated into the millennial language just as fast or as quickly as "LOL" or "LMAO" have. The association of the phrase as become one that often followed by an unfortunate event or disturbance - which is mostly true, but for someone who may say, "Mercury must be in retrograde," when they fail a test or they forget their wallet at home. "Mercury In Retrograde" is actually something much deeper, that astrologers alike are still trying to full understand.
The Basic "Need To Know's"
In understanding the basics of what "Mercury In Retrograde" means, it is best to get some basic knowledge of what exactly "retrograde" simply means. For starters, the term "retrograde" comes from the Latin word retrogradus, which literally means to “backward step.” As the name suggests, retrograde is when a planet appears to go backward in its orbit, as viewed from Earth. Astronomers refer to this as “apparent retrograde motion,” because it is an optical illusion and Mercury is truly not moving backwards. However, the idea of "backwards movement" is exactly what one may experience in their own mental health or well-being - a sense that it is hard to stay productive, keep to schedule, or even maintain relationships.
"Mercury In Retrograde" happens during these dates (based on the Eastern Time Zone) :
- February 16 – March 9
- June 18 – July 12
- October 13 – November 13
As you can see, we are actually in the middle of retrograde now - so why exactly should we be prepared or even dread it?
How Does Mercury Affect Our Lives?
Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun. Due to this, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. The best way that often describes this pattern is pretending that you are in a car. If another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Finally, when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it actually creates a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” so to speak - and this turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades is exactly what we feel while on Earth.
In astrology, we always believe the following rule is true: “As above, so too below.” By that we mean there is a constant relationship between the orbits and that of human activity on Earth. This is extremely important to remember during these times.
As mentioned before in our "Beginner's Guide To Astrology," Mercury is a planet that rules over all types of communication: including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control - often causing numerous delays, loss, and hardship.
What Should You Do? - Or Maybe, Shouldn't Do?
There are a few things to consider during this time. For starters, don’t make any important moves when Mercury is retrograde. Nothing will be settled successfully for the future during these periods, meaning so, that you will find it nearly impossible to actually make plans happen. Even more so, during a retrograde period, it is hard to get decisions from others. Even if a decision is made, it will be subject to change, either just after Mercury turns to direct motion or much later.
Mercury retrograde periods would also not be good to do anything involving communications - whether it would be launching a magazine, website, or an advertising or publicity campaign. These phases are also considered poor times to launch any new endeavors, even if they are not related to the communications industries. Similarly, a retrograde period is not a good time to sign any contracts or even to shake hands on any new agreements. Verbal agreements are considered the same as written ones. The environment will be quite fluid and changeable, no matter what you are told or what you think.
Don’t assume everything goes wrong during Mercury retrograde – sometimes things work in your favor. People reconsider their stance when Mercury is retrograde, and in some cases, conditions turn out to be more favorable to you than they might have been before. As you can see, Mercury retrograde is not all bad – you can count on it!
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