Merc retrograde

Cruising with Mercury Retrograde

by C.M. Hafeman ©2004

Noting what happens when Mercury goes retrograde can be an easy way to test how planetary energy interacts-or entangles- with the phenomena of mundane life. Each retrograde period lasts about three and a half weeks, and there are usually three Merc retrograde periods in the course of one year. "Retrograde" means the planet in question appears to stop and reverse its direction of travel as seen from Earth. The backwards motion is apparent; it occurs because of planet Mercury's speed in orbit relative to that of the Earth. Even though retrograde motion is an optical illusion, it has a quite noticeable effect on affairs happening Earthside. How could this be so? Maybe all of existence is an optical illusion anyway, a sort of matter-energy hologram staged within a web of space-time, with gravity functioning as the "glue" that holds the construct together. Therefore, observation from the perspective of one illusion can result in interaction with the effects of another illusion.

So, what form does Mercury retrograde action take on Earth? Mercury rules transportation and communication, so delays, equipment breakdowns, careless mistakes and communicative misunderstandings multiply. Some folks are inspired to turn within, communing more with the inner self, while others kick into nervous, hyperdrive chatter to cover the conversation gaps. It's generally not a good time to sign contracts, get married, take tests, start a war, make major purchases or undergo surgery, unless the transaction is understood to be part of an ongoing series of changes or revisions. At the least, a major undertaking finalized during a Merc retro period will be subject to obstacles, revisions and delays before benefit is accrued.

On the other hand, Merc retro might be a good time to sell a lemon of a car or commit a crime; there seems to be less chance of not getting caught or if going to trial, convicted. Under the retro sky evidence is somehow more apt to be muddled or lost and people are simply paying less attention; take for example, when Nichole Simpson was eliminated.1 and 2 Some astrologers counsel against it, but I think Merc retro is a great time to take a vacation. I would, however, avoid making travel arrangements during the three days Merc is stationing to go into or come out of retrograde motion. The potential for delays, canceling of flights, losing of baggage and taking detours through Des Moines is greatly increased at those times.

Merc retro is also a good time to go over, revise and finish old business, make repairs, do research, take classes or start a love affair. If, however, you are already engaged in a love affair chances are good for getting caught. Scandalous business that was buried before can become exposed to the harsh light of day, courtesy of Merc retro. It can be a very creative time, but expect the expression of the final product to change after the retro period is over. The tone and theme of the retro period is colored by the sign in which it occurs; in Aries, Merc retro can display as a decrease in daring, initiative, self-motivation or competition, while in Scorpio it encourages silent brooding, subversive intrigue and in-depth planning of revenge. Just imagine, Geminis and Virgos are ruled by Mercury, so they can enjoy enhanced bouts of mental lolly-gagging and sketchy attention to detail three times a year.

The Merc retro phenomena can also be categorized by the elements, that is to say the elemental designation associated with each sign of the zodiac. We do joust with the same elemental emphasis for an averagee of three retrogrades in a row; the beginning or end of a sequence may start in a new elemental signature but spend most of its time in the prior one. The retrograde in Fire signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius is characterized by a withdrawal of charm and an increase in verbal faux pas, perhaps a promotion of mishaps with timing and deployment in action. As Fire is also associated with inspiration, revelation, imagination and passion, at the retrograde there can be lapses into shallow patter alternating with deep contemplation over burning concerns. During the fire sequence bold new creative endeavors are down to a dull roar, however there is an increase in romantic fickleness or a revisit to old flames.

The retrograde in the Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn signals slowdowns or changes in agenda relative to material affairs. Projects and contracts are not completed or are sent back to the lab for revision, plants may even grow slower. There is less of an inclination to share information or much of anything else. The retrograde in the Air signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius does seem to be the most debilitating at least for this modern world, as it fiddles with all matters mental, communicational or as linked to commerce. The potential for misunderstanding and muddling of the facts is vast, and changes of the mind can derail many an expectation. The retrograde in the Water signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces is also quite annoying as general moodiness, withholding of affections, disinterest in sex and wallowing in emotional mires is highly favored, as is the general ability to hide nefarious deeds and do some backstabbing.

If we really want to go crazy with this thing, some astrologers assign equal importance to the three weeks or so before Mercury goes retrograde, calling it the "shadow" period. During this time, Mercury is traveling over the same degree area to which it will backtrack during retrograde motion. Purists would have us extend the rules of Merc retro conduct to cover this contingency, which adds up to 21 or so weeks of Merc retro per year, or about four months and a week. If working this proposition in with other planets that go retro over the course of a year, one might not ever be able to come out of hibernation to actually do something, just joking.

However rest assured, if commitment to a major transaction cannot be put off due to modern deadline demands, then trust in the universe and take the leap. This rule applies particularly to financial transactions such as stock market trading and real estate sales and purchases. For example, a certain individual purchased a property and had to attend a closing date scheduled during Merc retro; he did a little fix-up to the property and put it on the market at a fortuitous time, and was able to sell the property at a value far above what it was listed for. Per the retro influence, the new owner turned out to be a shyster who later pocketed the extra loan money provided by the bank at the original sale and then allowed the parcel to be foreclosed back to the lender.

A very practical positive example of Merc retro in action: A man generated a quit-claim deed from a software program he purchased. The first time he generated the claim sheet he decided to do it on two regular-sized sheets of paper. After having the deed signed, notarized and witnessed he sent it to the title company for filing. They contacted him back, saying he would be charged double, unless he used one sheet of legal-sized paper. He went out and bought a ream of legal-sized paper, cranked out a new form, got it signed, notarized and witnessed, then re-submitted it again. And, this quit-claim was one of two series of quit-claims needed to settle ownership rights of property. Everything was done twice during the Retrograde period, besides the guy being a Gemini (II). He had to do the quit claim forms one more time again when Mercury went direct, due to more careless mistakes. If Mercury had been direct all along, well, he probably would have gotten someone else to do it for him in the first place.

1"Nichole Brown Simpson," born May 19, 1959 Frankfort am Main, 2:00 am, https://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Simpson,_Nicole_Brown

2 Death of Nichole Simpson, approx. 00:15 am Monday June 13, 1994, Brentwood, California.

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