With the rise of astrology in our everyday lives, blaming your shortcomings on things like zodiac signs and astrological events has become too common.
No, you don’t ghost people because you’re a Scorpio rising– you likely just need therapy. But lately, young people especially have developed a rising interest in astrology and tarot reading.
Even if you are someone who doesn’t particularly believe in astrology, there are a few terms you’re definitely familiar with – and perhaps the most common one that floats around the internet: ‘mercury retrograde’. Often when a flight gets delayed, or you get caught in the rain – when the day just isn’t going as you hoped, people might joke that it’s because ‘mercury is in retrograde’.
In fact, we’re actually in a mercury retrograde right now, which started on April 21st and will end on May 14th.
Blaming pure bad luck on Mercury retrograde is so commonplace now, but beyond the funny Twitter memes and TikTok astrologists, does anyone actually understand what it means?
Technically, what happens during a retrograde is that Mercury starts moving slower than Earth, creating an optical illusion as if the planet is moving backwards from our view. In this case, we’re talking specifically about Mercury but any planet can go through a retrograde. In mythology, Mercury (the god) was a messenger and the god of translators and interpreters. Since Mercury is the planet of communication, astrologers believe that during this period of time, technology and communication could be disrupted, causing unexpected chaos in our daily schedule.
Basically, when Mercury retrogrades, it reverses the normal flow of energy. We might lose ideas and thoughts within our minds. You might find yourself sitting in inexplicably heavier traffic than usual or lock yourself out by forgetting your keys, missing texts or emails, and troubleshooting glitchy apps. You might even get zombied by an unpleasant ex. Most importantly, you can expect a lot of miscommunication.
This happens quite a few times throughout the year, and not at fixed intervals. In 2022, Mercury went through four retrogrades – and we will see 2 more in 2023 (excluding the current one).
But it isn’t all bad luck. Apparently, this period is also an ideal time to reflect on your life’s decisions. It offers time to relax, take a step back and perhaps revise some of your decisions for the best. Astrologers suggest taking this time to restart an old hobby that might inspire a creative new approach unlike before. The key thing to follow is ‘patience’, as many suggest – and it should honestly be something that we should do regardless of the retrograde.
Although mercury retrograde is absolutely a real scientific phenomenon, it’s difficult to determine whether it had anything to do with the fight you had with your mom this morning. There’s no scientific evidence backing the concepts of astrology, so more likely, mercury in retrograde doesn’t really change anything but rather it’s a sort of placebo effect at work – and we only believe that things have changed.
As with other concepts of astrology, a lot of people tend to believe it because it provides comfort, especially in times of uncertainty. Humanity is always looking to make sense of things, and when things feel out of control, blaming it on a Roman god seems like the easier option. And if we practice it in a healthy way, spirituality can guide us to discover some great things about ourselves.
So I don’t see a reason for mercury retrograde to terrify us. Good and bad things will happen to us regardless. Think of this time as an opportunity to gain a deeper level of consciousness and a better understanding of ourselves, others and situations.