Mercury is just days away from its turnabout and some of us are already feeling the effects of the planet entering its retrograde phase. This celestial phenomenon has been observed for many thousands of years but for some, it’s more than just planetary movement.
The smallest and swiftest planet in our little solar system, named after the Roman god of communication and the keeper of boundaries, is has officially gone rogue — erm, retrograde as of July 7.
Retrograde means “to go backward.” And in the olden days when people believed the Earth was the centre of the Universe, we also thought Mercury (and the other observable planets because they all retrograde) literally flipped a u-turn 3 or 4 times per year.
Luckily, we’ve made some grande discoveries in the last several hundred years that have shed a little more light on what really goes on when this little planet makes its retrograde journey. What is seemingly inexplicable is actually just a trick of the eye. You see, it’s all about perspective.
All the planets revolve around the sun in the same direction, but at different speeds and orbits. Standing on this third rock from the sun (anyone else remember that hilarious show?), we observe the other planets go about their business as they make their way around our little star while simultaneously moving about our path. Mercury takes just 88 days to go around the sun, as compared to our 365. As we slowly travel on our planet, Mercury quickly crosses our field of vision. And as the Earth strolls along its orbit, Mercury suddenly looks like it’s retracing its path!
The reality is, Mercury just travels around its much tighter loop breaking away from Earth’s orbit to finish its course making it seem like it changed direction from where we stand.
Here’s a fun little YouTube video with great visuals by Vox that explains things a bit further:
Now we know the reason behind the funky dance Mercury does across our skies, but the mysticism behind Mercury in retrograde persists. Ominous, right?
For astrologists, there is a perfectly logical reason life seems to run amok a bit when Mercury retrogrades. According to www.astrologyzone.com when any of our planets retrograde, it goes into a resting state. Ever hear the saying, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play?” Basically, Mercury is taking a nap when in retrograde and everything it governs does its own thing.
As the ruler of all communication, to include listening, speaking, understanding, learning, reading, coding, contracts and negotiating — literally anything having to do with communication — things just seem to go a little awry when all of our communication channels are acting up while Mercury sleeps.
There is a foundational belief in astrology:
As above, so below; as below, so above.
Basically, what’s happening in our stars is sure to reflect in our daily lives here on earth. But just because Mercury is taking a much needed break doesn’t mean you have to put the brakes on your life.
What it does mean, according to astrologists, is that it’s a great time to slow down and reflect, to look past the noise of the confusion during planetary retrograde to ensure you make smart, thought-out decisions, and to communicate clearly when the world around you seems to be doing just the opposite.
Mercury’s in retrograde July 7 - August 1. But in our opinion, what better time to slow down and cool things off than in the heat of summer?