“Wait – Mercury’s in Retrograde AGAIN?”

Jillian Preston, Contributor

“Wait, Mercury’s in retrograde AGAIN?”
When I scroll through my social media, I often see the phrase “Mercury in retrograde.” Until now, I never knew what it meant. I have a limited knowledge on astrology and never cared too much about actually understanding this phenomenon. But recently, as the phrase once again made its way into my feed, my curiosity took over.
It’s actually scientifically impossible for Mercury to be retrograding. “Retrograde” refers to the apparent motion of a planet moving backwards in orbit – the planet itself is not actually going backwards. Due to the drastic difference in size of the orbits of Mercury and Earth, it appears as if Mercury is moving backwards in its orbit. This is far more common than one would think, occurring about every two months.
Tracking Mercury in retrograde goes back to the mid-18th Century, when farmers would use it to monitor their crops. The astrological perspective didn’t come about until the Victorian Era in the midst of the Spiritualist movement. In the late 19th Century, newspapers and magazines began to publish articles on what they thought Mercury being in retrograde meant. The phenomenon was often connected to rainfall. Some theorized that it brought “evil omens.” Theories on Mercury’s retrograde have continued to grow through today, and the event has become significant in the astrological community.
In order to understand how today’s astrologists analyze Mercury in retrograde, it is important to know some important astrological principles. Each planet that can be seen from Earth (and the Sun and Moon) has a specific area or trait that they rule over. The inner planets, which have shorter orbits, rule over day-to-day activities, while the outer plants, with longer revolutions, control longer periods of time. For example, Venus controls love and attraction, and Saturn controls fears and discipline. Mercury rules over the mind, reason, and communication. So how is this affected when Mercury is in retrograde?In the astrological sense, when a planet is in retrograde, their powers are very strong and overpower everything else. This can be good or bad, depending on whether it brings positive or negative energy. Because Mercury controls communication, both good and bad things will come during its retrograde. For example, during Mercury’s retrograde, you may reconnect with an old friend. On the other hand, you may accidentally hit “reply all” to some email chains, or “butt-dial” people you have no interest in talking to. Since astrologists also believe that Mercury exerts control on the minds, they think Mercury’s retrograde could affect one’s mental state. Throughout Mercury’s retrograde, people might become more confused or overwhelmed than usual. Despite the potential benefits associated with Mercury’s retrograde, these undesirable things highlight the negative connotation of Mercury in retrograde.
“Mercury in retrograde” is frequently on social media sites because the phenomenon has become a humorous scapegoat for inconvenient things happening in people’s live. Mercury’s retrograde is jokingly said to be the cause of things like flight delays or computer glitches. Although Mercury’s retrograde has been scientifically proven to have no effect on Earth, it’s still fun to believe in its “influence” which provides a temporary escape from normal, everyday life.