Sometimes you have a bad day. And sometimes you have a bad day 30 days in a row. If you have had a rough past couple of weeks, I have good news for you — you can blame it on the planets.
More specifically, the reason things might be a little off lately is because Mercury is in retrograde and has been since Oct. 31.
Astronomy 101 scholars can tell us that retrograde is when, from the earth’s perspective, a planet appears to be orbiting in reverse. All planets in our solar system appear to reverse their orbit every now and then. Mercury, due to the nature of its orbit and proximity to the sun, goes retrograde most frequently, about two or three times a year for approximately 22 days. Mars appears to orbit backward once every 26 months, while Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, and Uranus go retrograde once a year. Venus goes retrograde about once every 18 months and Jupiter every nine months.
Because of the frequency in which Mercury goes retrograde and the time it stays in that state, we spend about a quarter of the year in this astrological state.
In astrology, planets rule certain aspects of our lives. According to René Aceves, astrologer and tarot card reader at Gargoyles Statuary, Mercury rules mundane activities such as communication, reasoning, electronics, and transportation.
When Mercury retrogrades, this causes potential issues specific to these areas. You may experience miscommunications, especially those that happen electronically like text and email. You may find yourself missing the bus, even with the help of OneBusAway.
“This retrograde they started tolling in the tunnel downtown, which sets up a real clusterf***,” Aceves said.
In astrology, each sign is ruled by a planet. In this case, Mercury rules the signs Virgo and Gemini. Another component of astrology other than planetary signs are houses. Houses are the 12 sections that the zodiac wheel is divided into, each is ruled by a sign, and they all symbolize different aspects of life. Your own houses can easily be found online.
You may also find that Mercury going retrograde especially affects you if your moon is in Virgo or Gemini as one’s moon deals with emotion and comfort, among other things.
Though Mercury retrograde has earned the role of an astrological catch-all for whenever things go awry, it’s not all bad.
When Mercury is in retrograde, it is a good time to make like the planet and go back. Go back and connect with those you have lost touch with.
Mercury retrograde can also bring back lost items. For example, many years ago when Aceves’s car was stolen, he found it again the next time Mercury’s orbit reversed — which is especially impressive because Mercury rules transportation.
This particular retrograde happens to take place entirely during Scorpio season, which, in astrology, is a season with a focus on intrigue and digging up dirt.
Aceves cites the impeachment trials as a manifestation of this astrological combination.
For as much of a bad rep as Mercury in retrograde gets, it is not the worst thing that can happen to you astrologically.
Being a Capricorn or a Cancer born near the tenth of the month during your respective season is far more unlucky than experiencing Mercury in retrograde.
Thankfully, retrograde is almost over and we will return to Mercury direct Nov. 20. According to Aceves, it takes a few days for things to adjust and return to normal. This is known as the shadow period and it will last until Dec. 7. So if you’re in the market for a new phone, give it some time for everything to start spinning in the right direction.
Keep in mind that whether or not you believe in astrology, the movement of the stars are what you make of it. If you focus on the technological malfunctions and miscommunications that are thought to accompany retrograde, you will likely see a lot of that in your life. If you try to take advantage of the retrograde and reconnect with those you’ve lost contact with, you might not find yourself lamenting about the planets on social media. And of course, if you think it means nothing at all, you probably won’t be too bothered by the illusion of Mercury moving backward across the sky.
Reach writer Hannah Krieg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Hannah_krieg
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