Oh no, Mercury retrograde is just around the corner. This celestial disruption happens 3 times a year; although in 2016 and 2017 we will be experiencing this phenomena 4 times. The heavens have decided that we need to go back to the drawing board, one more time, for the cheap seats in the back.
Mercury rules all things that make our modern world so enjoyable such as; computers, technology, commerce, speech, memory, thinking, the written word, communication of any kind, agreements, contracts, deeds, travel, mechanical moving parts etc.
During these frustrating, jaw-clenching 3 weeks we experience delays, slow-downs and obstacles we did not anticipate that are put on our path. Is this such a bad thing? What could possibly be the purpose of this cosmically-inflicted joke?
Since Mercury plays such a pivotal role in the expression of our personality, it can never distance itself too far away from the ruler supreme, the Sun. Mercury is its servant. All inner planets are. Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees from the Sun, either ahead or behind. Mercury is always in your Sun sign or in one or two signs ahead or behind. When Mercury does get ahead of its master, the Sun, it is yanked back to the Sun’s side.
Now here is the thing, Mercury isn’t actually moving backwards or yanked back. It is an optical illusion. The ancient astronomers coined the movement “retrograde” because that is what it looked like from the Earth’s perspective. Before Galileo Galilei came up with a heliocentric model of our universe, the general consensus was that all planets revolved around the Earth. As more powerful telescopes were invented the idea of a geocentric universal model was refuted.
The retrograde theory is more to do with Mercury having a highly elliptical orbit. The speed of its orbit changes when it is closest to the Earth. When Mercury is furthest from the Sun, it’s at the slowest point in its orbit, and this gives the Earth a chance to “catch up. ” This catching up is what gives Mercury the optical illusion of going backwards. The diagram on this page illustrates this.
It is also at this point when Mercury is closest to our planet that we experience Mercury madness or sh#$%t hits the fan. Its havoc is most felt around the days when Mercury changes direction; at the beginning of the retrograde period or at the end. The best explanation I have heard about this phenomena comes from investigative journalist turned astrologer Eric Francis,
“Mercury is not made of mercury. It has a huge core with a very high density, leading astronomers to believe that it’s made mostly of iron. In fact Mercury is believed to have the highest iron content of any planet in the Solar System.
This is all another way of saying Mercury retrograde means a huge magnet passes between the Earth and the Sun, making its closest pass to our planet at the same time. This may explain why devices act weird, but I think that it also helps explain why the mind gets wonky, such as the tendency to lose things, or to perceive problems as being worse than they are — the nervous system runs on electricity. The mind is a device that is, at least on the physical plane, rooted in electricity and magnetism.”
This makes perfect sense when you think about it. It goes without say that planet Earth or Gaia is also one giant, enormous magnet. We all know what happens when two magnets come together.
Precautionary steps to take before and during Mercury retrograde
Life can get a little nutty around Mercury retrograde. Preventative measures are always recommended. Remember Mercury retrograde’s job is to test the weak links in the chain. You don’t want to be caught unprepared. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your valuables during the retrograde period;
- Back up all files on your computer. Do a virus check and general maintenance on your computer before the Mercury retrograde period begins. Make sure everything is in tip top condition.
- Double-check your warranties on all electrical appliances. Make sure they’re up-to-date.
- Do not go near your computer with that cup of “Joe.” I did that once, and of course, I spilled the coffee on my keyboard and fried my laptop. This mishap cost me $1000 in repairs at the Apple Store. I have not drank coffee while on my computer, since. Mercury retrograde is wonderful at teaching us much needed lessons.
- Do not buy big ticket items or electronics such as cars, houses, computers, phones or flat-screen TVs. Anything with mechanical moving parts is at risk of being the lemon off the assembly line.
The flip side may be that they may not necessarily be faulty but there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing. You may not be aware of it at the time of purchase. My friend purchased a Volkswagen Golf back in September 2015, smack in the middle of Mercury retrograde. It is a beautiful car and it runs smoothly but a week later it was revealed that Volkswagen Canada did not comply with the emission standards as imposed by the Canadian and U.S. government and all diesel fuelled automobiles were being recalled. As of this date, it is unknown whether or not Volkswagen Canada will remedy the situation and offer their clients a credit package to compensate them for the inconvenience. My guess is the answer will reveal itself during this upcoming Mercury retrograde period.
- Do not sign any contract, if at all possible. Sometimes we cannot pick and choose when a house closes or a job offer is made. We simply don’t have that luxury. In these situations, it is best to get a lawyer to go through the small fine print with a fine tooth comb. In the case of the house, hire the best certified home inspector. Have him or her inspect all the nooks and crannies. Again, there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing or is unknown so ask as many questions as possible. What you thought was being offered might change shortly afterwards.
- Do not get major surgery during this period if at all possible. Again, sometimes we do not have that luxury and must get surgery during Mercury retrograde. I would certainly not advise someone in a life or death situation against it but if it is an elective procedure try to book it once Mercury is back in its regular motion
- I am a hopeless romantic but I would never in a million years get married during a Mercury retrograde or a Venus retrograde phase. A marriage contract is a legal document. Something about the process won’t stick. On the same token, I would not initiate divorce proceedings during a Mercury retrograde period. Remember Mercury retrograde has a talent for impairing our thinking process during its retrograde motion. The proceedings will not be straight forward and they will be dragged out which can put a dent in your bank account. On a similar note, I would caution you about communicating with your sweetheart during this jarring time. Confusions and misunderstandings are more likely during this period. Don’t react hastily and initiate a break up or a irrevocable action that you can’t take back.
- Do not make an appointment for a job interview or a first date during Mercury retrograde. In fact, initiating any new project is not a good idea. Communication won’t flow as easily. Confusion and misunderstanding will be the order of the day.
- Mercury rules travel and short trips. Try to avoid making travel plans. Again, that may not be possible. Expect the unexpected. Cancellations are very common during this time. Build in extra time to travel during this chaotic time.
What a Mercury retrograde period can be used for
It seems like a long, frightening and daunting list of all the things you can’t do during a Mercury retrograde period. A Mercury retrograde period does serve a very important purpose. It forces us to go back and look at the big picture. It forces us to refine what is not working in our lives. It is a course corrector, very much like an eclipse but on a smaller scale. It is more about figuring out the nuts and bolts and niggly things. Use this opportunity wisely. It is a gift. Here are some things a Mercury retrograde is great for;
- Do call people from your past. This could be a great opportunity to pick up the phone and reconnect with that long lost friend or lover. Maybe there was a client who rejected one of your business proposals. They will be happy to hear from you now.
- Do finish old projects. Remember how you wanted to colour coordinate your closet or landscape your half finished garden? Mercury retrograde is the best time to do it. You will find that the universe will help you get rid of the clutter easily and painlessly. It is also the best time to find lost items. Maybe you lost a pair of earrings or keys. They will somehow magically show up.
- Great time for learning the truth. Unfortunately, while Mercury retrograde is still in effect your thought processes will be temporarily obscured by mental fog. The minute that Mercury retrograde does go direct you will find out that those Jimmy Choo shoes you bought at full price just went on sale or the house you just closed on has electrical wiring that is not up to code and needs to be replaced.
- It is also a great time to expose corrupt political figures. With the 2016 primary race around the corner, I am dying to know what skeletons will be unearthed from the musty political closets. That is right Hillary, if you are out there and listening to me. Mercury retrograde is a great time to clean up your email server. As for “The Donald” maybe he can use Mercury retrograde to get his hairpiece refitted. Or maybe Bill Maher finally does prove that Donald Trump is the spawn of an orange-haired orangutan. Anything is possible.
Mercury retrograde dates for 2016 and 2017
January 5th – January 25th, 2016
April 28th – May 22nd, 2016
August 30th – September 22nd, 2016
December 19th 2016 – January 8, 2017
April 9th – May 3rd, 2017
August 12th – September 5th, 2017
December 2nd – 22nd, 2017