By S N Rao
Our planetary neighborhood is such a magical place. As we circle the Sun along with all the other planets, each planet periodically appears to stop and then reverse direction in the sky. This is called “retrograde motion.”
Astronomers are concerned with observing the mechanical movements of the planets. Astrologers, however, delve deeper, studying how planetary movements synchronize with human behavior. Mercury, the swiftest of all the planets, retrogrades for approximately three weeks every four months. When it changes its apparent direction it feels like you are riding in a speeding car and the driver just slammed on the brakes. You can't help but notice and react. The repetitive retrograde cycle of Mercury is one of the most obvious of all the cosmic patterns.
For many of us, it’s a leap from our scientific training to acknowledge that planetary movements really affect our lives. It may even be harder to accept that machines, especially computers, are also affected. We all know that Mercury is the planet of communication. All the machines and devices that are used for communication are indirectly controlled by the effect of Mercury. During Mercury retrograde periods, it’s especially important to keep your computer backups current. Think through any software upgrades very carefully, and always keep a path back to the previous version, just in case. Even cars, copiers, telephones and fax machines seem more susceptible to breakdowns and quirky problems during this period.
Astrologically, Mercury represents our minds, our thinking process and all aspects of communication. Traditionally, Mercury retrogrades are not the best of times for communication-related activities. Ancient texts warn us not to sign contracts while the Winged Messenger is running backwards in the heavens.
We are advised that communications of all types may go haywire for the entire Mercury retrograde period. Letters can get lost in the mail, phone calls get missed, conversations are misunderstood, travel can be delayed and things generally fall apart at the seams. You may think that this is the way life is all the time, but once you start to track Mercury “retros,” you will see recurring patterns that demonstrate that this ancient lore may actually be true!
As Mercury is appearing to move backward, it’s almost like a whirlpool of time that reverses direction. Of course, time does not move backward, but we are often reminded of things or people from our past. Watch for those phone calls or emails from someone who has fallen out of your life.
Another telling characteristic of a Mercury retrograde is when an old friend, lover or acquaintance returns suddenly into our lives. Coincidences happen that bring something back into your life, even if it was from only a couple of months ago. Time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t reverse. But, if you ‘re looking for a good time to reconnect with someone or something this could be your chance to try again.
So, watch your communication lines. Pay attention if things seem to be moving too fast. Don’t sign that contract without reading it carefully. Then read it again before signing. Review plans. Revisit completed jobs. Reconsider decisions made. Reorganize your desk or files. Reevaluate your life. You don’t necessarily have to do anything different, just pay attention to how your mind is working and take care of those loose ends that need attention at this time.
Mercury retrograde works the same way. It is not a bad time. It’s only difficult if you are not prepared to handle the increased load of data. It’s like we have invisible bridges and wires connecting each of us to all the places we typically go each day and to all the people with whom we communicate.
As Mercury gets closer and closer to Earth, the bridges and wires have to deal with increased traffic. When the traffic gets too intense, there is a traffic jam, a wire frays, or a bridge collapses. Hence the negative judgment about Mercury retrogrades.
When communication bridges break down, there is a message trying to get through. The message is about the integrity of our bridges. Unfortunately, the time to fortify our communication structures is not during a Mercurial communication storm. We should be doing that in the relative lull between Mercury’s retrograde periods.
If we have been doing our communication work, then Mercury retrogrades can be quite productive as the data flows increase. The build up of phone calls, emails, places to go and people to see can cause us to reconsider plans previously made, rewrite documents that we thought were completed and re-do things that we thought were done. If we approach the tasks with the understanding that the universe is giving us a chance to get it right, then our attitude can remain positive, instead of dwelling on what went wrong.
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