Mercury Retrograde

Is Mercury in Retrograde a Fallacy?

“Nothing is going right for me lately, and on top of it Mercury is in retrograde.” Odds are if you follow the practices of astrology, you have heard of the term “mercury in retrograde”.

Retrograde motion, when observed from Earth, is a planet that appears to be moving in the reverse direction, according to Time magazine.

“If you were positioned far above the plane of the Earth’s orbit (called the ecliptic), and could look down on our solar system from that vantage point, you’d see all the planets going in elliptically shaped orbits around the Sun (i.e., the orbits are like circles that have been squashed a bit). From this perspective, none of the planets go backward in their orbits,” said Kayla C. Lewis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics.

Viewing this movement from the perspective of a planet that is moving itself through space, those other planets can seem like they are moving backward. “Hence, the retrograde motion is illusory; this fact confused ancient astronomers, because they believed the Earth to be stationary and at the center of the universe. The planets are too far away from the Earth for their gravity to affect anything on Earth’s surface appreciably (although the Moon and the Sun cause Earth’s tides, because the Moon is close and the Sun, although far away, is huge),” said Lewis.

Aware that retrograde is an illusion, senior education student Cristina Medlin, believes that Mercury in retrograde is what you make of it. “If you tell yourself you’re going to have a bad couple of weeks, you probably will. If you truly believe in the order of the universe, you know there will be good times and not, regardless of this illusion,” said Medlin.

According to ancient astrology, Mercury is the planet that is said to rule communication. Time magazine cited that those who follow astrology feel that there are frequent misunderstandings and disagreements that can occur with friends, family, and relationships during this “retrograde”.

According to NASA, Mercury is the fastest planet of the solar system, and travels through space at 29 miles per second. Due to this fast rotation, Mercury can appear to be in retrograde around three to four times a year, sometimes at three weeks a time, according to Time magazine.

Cosmopolitan’s weekly horoscopes, explained that Mercury entered retrograde Feb. 16 and will continue through March 29.

So you may be wondering how Mercury in Retrograde can effect everyday lives? According to In Style magazine expect technological glitches, miscommunication with your partner, loosing valuable items, and unordinary traffic patterns. Due to the “retrograde”, delays and setbacks are cited to occur because of the backward motion.

Furthermore, an article by In Style, reported that if you are Gemini or Virgo you are likely to be more effected by retrograde.

Hannah Burke, senior social work student, is a double Gemini (meaning her sun and rising sign of a Gemini, are ruled by mercury). “I don’t feel like anything is ever extremely out of whack, but I do like to take the time during retrograde to be more mindful. Especially when it comes to communication with my loved ones,” said Burke.

If situations seem to be highly tense, or if frequent misunderstandings are occurring, “I try to step back, defuse the situation, and not take things so personal or make rash decisions,” said Burke.

With the upcoming month of March, Mercury will be entering Pisces. According to Cosmopolitan’s astrologer, Jake Register, in Pisces, Mercury is incapable to operate at full capacity. In general Pisces, a water sign, according to Register have a sensitive nature. The retrograde in Pisces will cause you to be more in tune with your emotion, and at times may get the best of you. Depending how you view it, Mercury in Pisces can be a time to educate yourself on your emotions, and work on your communication skills.

Although Mercury in Retrograde is proven to be a pseudoscience, if you decide to practice astrology, it will be a belief system you need to become educated on. If you are unaware on where to start, popular books on the subject include: “The Mercury in Retrograde Book” by Kim Farnell, and Yasmin Boland, and “How to Survive Mercury Retrograde: And Venus and Mars, Too” by Bernie Ashman.

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