Ever hear talk about Mercury retrograde? That astrological phenomenon that seems to wreak havoc on all things involving communication and movement, such as travel, electronics and he-said, she-said mumbo jumbo? It turns out another Mercury retrograde is upon us right now.
As for me, I’ve noticed this phenomenon somehow seems to defy science. Without fail, during a Mercury retrograde, I will be forced to sit at the Genius bar for hours, my flight will be delayed, someone will misunderstand something I did or said and so on, making the planet a really easy scapegoat when things go awry.
So, what is Mercury retrograde, exactly?
Tali Edut, one half (along with her twin Ophira) of the AstroTwins — popular astrologers with a website that counts approximately 10 million page views per month — explains that Mercury retrograde happens when Mercury zips around the Sun at a faster speed than the Earth, passing us in orbit 3-4 times per year, making it seem like its moving backward from Earth’s vantage point.
“According to astrological lore, all areas of life that are associated with Mercury go ‘backwards’ during a retrograde,” says Edut. “Mercury is the messenger planet, so it rules communication, mobile devices, transportation, email, snail mail, and all things data. Networks go down mysteriously and messages get stuck in the either. Minor grievances can escalate into major blowups if we don't choose our words wisely,” Edut says, adding it’s also prime time for old friends (and exes!) to suddenly appear out of the blue.
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A Mercury retrograde during busy travel period is inopportune, so double-and-triple check your travel plans, and be prepared to go with the flow. Explains Edut, “Flights get delayed and there are long lines at the airport. Packages get lost in the mail and information can get into the wrong hands.” Also, the potential for misunderstandings are rife.
What science says about Mercury retrograde
Science does not endorse astrology in the least, let alone Mercury retrograde. “There is absolutely no evidence, or reason to expect from science, that Mercury or any other planet has any effect whatsoever on life on Earth,” says Michael Shera, curator and director of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. “Astrology has no more scientific basis than alchemy or belief in the existence of unicorns. Any theory that claims to be scientific must explain a set of observations, and must make predictions that can be tested, and shown to be true or false. There is no published study in existence which shows that (for example) Leos are more likely to be brave or strong (or any human quality,) than, say, Capricorns. Whether or not Mercury was in conjunction with the Moon, or in Gemini, or in retrograde motion, or whatever, has zero effect on your fate, health and personality. No study ever been published in any peer-reviewed journal showing otherwise, or that any other aspect of astrology is correct.”