“Elevators keep crashing. Is Mercury in retrograde or what?”
“Elevators can be capricious. Sometimes it just seems like they’re out to get you….”
If you’ve spent any length of time around astrologers, you’ve likely learned that astrologers love to blame things going wrong on “Mercury Retrograde.” But what exactly is Mercury Retrograde, what can you do about it, and most importantly, how can you derive maximum profit from it?
WHAT IS MERCURY RETROGRADE?
All the planets in the Solar System travel around the Sun in nice regular round orbits. They never actually stop and back up or decide to go the other way. But from our perspective on Earth, sometimes it looks like they do.
Imagine you’re driving down the middle of a circular multi-lane highway, perpetually orbiting a central point. Your car is Earth. The other cars on this same highway are all traveling in different lanes and at different speeds . Although those cars don’t ever stop or back up (and neither does yours), sometimes you will pass one and (from your perspective) that car will appear to slow down and go backwards past you. From our perspective on Earth, looking up at the other planets, they sometimes appear to slow down and turn backwards for a while, then they slow down again, go forward, and pick up speed. That is what we call “retrograde motion.”
WHY IS MERCURY RETROGRADE SUCH A BIG DEAL?
Mercury rules things like communications, short trips, and commerce. When Mercury is retrograde, those things have a higher-than-average tendency to go haywire. Phone calls get dropped more, agreements made during that time are more likely to backfire, and line-ups at airport security and Customer Service desks tend to be more annoying. Since Mercury rules all these important things, and it goes retrograde three or four times a year, it tends to get a lot of attention.
WHAT CAN I DO TO STOP THIS?
Not a thing. Astrologers spend a lot of time talking about how astrology isn’t “fatalistic,” and they have a point… but go ahead, show me how all your positive affirmations and “creating your own reality” business can actually, literally move a planet in its orbit. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
SO ARE ALL MY PHONE CALLS, E-MAILS, CONTRACTS, BUSINESS DEALS AND SHORT TRIPS DOOMED?
Not at all. Those things can sometimes go wobbly even when Mercury isn’t retrograde. Just remember that Mercury retrograde won’t really louse anything up big-time unless there are other transits happening for you that indicate it was going to happen anyway.
YOU SAID I COULD PROFIT FROM MERCURY RETROGRADE. HOW?
Mercury Retrograde is an excellent time for introspection. Don’t dash off an angry e-mail to your ex… think about why your ex is making you angry in the first place, and how you can deal with that anger in a more constructive way. Contemplate the potential pitfalls of that contract before you sign it. Check your tires and fuel before you drive across town. Arrive at Airport Security early, and ask yourself if you really need to pack that novelty cigarette lighter shaped like a semiautomatic pistol. Think carefully, and plan ahead!
I THOUGHT YOU MEANT “PROFIT” AS IN “MAKE MONEY”…?
Probably not. After all, Mercury Retrograde is a rough time for trade and commerce. Ask any astrologer who’s tried to make a fortune from writing about “Mercury Retrograde,” for example. Also, according to “Elements Of Style,” that’s a poor use of a question mark you just made there. You should also proofread things more clearly during a Mercury Retrograde.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?
Plenty, but there’s no time to discuss it now. I have to make a phone call about a business agreement with my angry ex, who wants me to import novelty ashtrays that look like hand grenades, and I need to get it done before Mercury goes retrograde… otherwise, it might turn out to be a bad idea.