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Whew! Mercury moved direct last night (at 8:13 pm PST on February 3, not that I’ve been keeping track 😏), after three weeks backpedaling through the heavens.
Astronomically, all “retrograde” means is that, from Earth, Mercury appears to be moving backwards in its orbit – an anomaly of perspective. Nevertheless, Mercury-in-retrograde has long been associated in the astrological imagination with glitches in travel, communication, commerce, and most recently, technology – a perception that does seem to mirror my experience.
I have, for example, kept a journal for decades, at times running to thousands of words a month; at one point I thought I would investigate this supposed phenomenon by looking up in my journals the dates of past Mercury retrogrades, which run for three weeks or so some three or even four times a year. I was flabbergasted to discover, long before I had ever paid attention to the concept, that there were more glitches and weirdnesses clustered during retrogrades than I was moved to record the entire remainder of each year … hmm.
Doesn’t prove anything, but that correlation did catch my attention.
However, disaster and catastrophe, or even annoyance, are not inevitable, and need not be the norm. Retro Merc traditionally signals a time to slow down, to shift focus; those bumps in the road happen because, in today’s fast-paced society, there is undue pressure to keep forging ahead, making progress, no matter what – but the planetary Trickster is not about making progress and forging ahead.
Ironically, I have discovered that when I’m aware Mercury is moving retrograde, life’s inevitable glitches and setbacks are far less traumatic (at least during retrograde, I’m not so surprised when they occur – and then, I have a cosmic partner to share the blame).
Theoretically, during retrogrades one should take extra care signing contracts, maybe delaying major purchases, expect disruptions when traveling, double-check emails and think twice before clicking send, etc. I’m not fanatical about it (hard to hide in a cave for three weeks), but I like to, at least metaphorically, give the gods their due. If one is buying a car, traveling across country, or getting married, how could it hurt to schedule that before or after a retrograde?
Mercury retrogrades are not necessarily perceived as bad , especially in earlier cultures – but in 21st century Western societies our emphasis is on progress and forward movement; a retrograde slows or even derails that progress in favor of introspection – so it’s a period when I do my best to not be pummeled by deadlines.
But life doesn’t have to stop.
What activities are favored during a retrograde? Oddly enough, many that begin with “re”:
Reflect, renegotiate, refit, repair, research, review, relax, rehabilitate, read, rewrite, retreat, renew, renovate, redress, report, reclaim, recycle, refinance, relate, reschedule, reinvest, rectify, refer, release, recreation, and even reefer, for those so inclined.
Have to admit it doesn’t really matter to me whether there’s a causal relationship or not. Frankly, asking whether or not one “believes” in astrology is akin to asking whether or not one “believes” in poetry. Beyond “belief,” I prefer to embrace the symbolism of astrology as a tool for re-imagining and mythologizing my life.
Now that Mercury is moving direct once more, feel free to resume your previously scheduled programming.
tie-dyed teller of tales
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