Advice, Lifestyle

Can Mercury give us a break?

If I’ve noticed one thing in the past couple of weeks, it’s that almost everyone I’ve come into contact with has been having a harder time than usual. Maybe it’s just the people around me, but it seems like a lot of us have been struggling with negative energy. There may be different explanations for this — the weather is getting colder and schoolwork is building up after a long summer break. But there’s one possible explanation that stands out to me.

Mercury is in retrograde.

A false color view of Mercury from the color base map to enhance the differences in the planet’s rock produced during the MESSENGER’s main mission. Frances shares her thoughts on the concept that Mercury being in retrograde correlates to people’s bad days and rough patches. COURTESY OF NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER VIA FLICKR

I have a vivid memory of being in my sophomore year of high school — I had been having a terrible two weeks. Everything was going wrong. I had been fighting with my mom, with my friends and my boyfriend. I felt like I was walking through a grey, cloudy version of my life. Something didn’t feel right. It was as if life itself was simply off.

I was in my elective science class “Earth, Solar System in the Universe,” and as I was taking a seat at my desk, my dad texted me. He was aware of the hard time I was enduring, and his text said: “I read today that astrologers said yesterday was the worst day of the year for many people. Mercury was in retrograde (whatever that means).” 

Before that text, I had never heard of Mercury being in retrograde. I didn’t even know what retrograde meant, but as I was sitting in my solar system class, I figured it might be a good time to ask. 

My teacher was an eccentric astrophysicist — science ran through his blood. So when I asked him what Mercury being in retrograde meant — and if it had any relation to my bad days — I wouldn’t say that he was necessarily pleased. His response was something like: “We haven’t gotten to the part of our curriculum where we learn about planets and their retrograde motion. Retrograde has nothing to do with your bad days, that’s made up and you should never believe anything you read on the internet.”

So for a while, I didn’t think anything of my dad’s text.

Then, a couple of months later, I was in another funk. And again, I found out Mercury was in fact in retrograde, so I started to do some research.

Planetary retrograde physically means that a planet is moving backward from our point of view on Earth. It is an illusion that comes from Earth’s orbit taking over Mercury’s, but it makes it look like the planet is moving in a squiggly form throughout the sky. 

For some reason, many people tend to find that their slumps in life often line up with Mercury’s retrograde path, but why is this? Some astrological traditions say that it may be because we relate to the planet — when it is seemingly traveling back in time, maybe we subconsciously move back to a less stable version of ourselves that we have grown from until we retreat back. Maybe the planet is determining the steps we take in life. After all, Mercury in astrology is the planet of communication. When it’s in its retrograde motion, it might make sense that it would throw off the balance of communication on Earth.

For this cycle, Mercury has been in retrograde from Sept. 27 to Oct. 18. Now I’m in my sophomore year of college, and that same cloudy haze I felt four years ago is back and seemingly affecting many around me. I can’t help but think that the reason for this is Mercury itself. My friends have been losing their school work, my mom tripped and broke her leg, my roommates have been missing their appointments and it’s been extremely difficult to sleep. All of these are small examples, but they could add up to something bigger going on.

Of course, this could all be a bout of bad luck, but I think there’s something larger messing with our energy.

So, where do we go from here? By the time you’re reading this, Mercury will almost be leaving its retrograde orbit, and hopefully, life will resume back to normal. But Mercury often retreats back — three times a year —  and it is therefore important that we are all prepared when it comes to dealing with this bothersome occurrence. 

Here is my advice. Go for walks, meditate, burn some sage to cleanse negativity, exercise, talk to people about the weird energy in the air and keep your head up. Remember that even if a planet is trying to bring negativity into your life, you can and will get through it.

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