Stop the Madness: Reflections on Online Mercury Retrograde Hysteria #FearNotTheRetrograde

Mercury went Retrograde today (April 9, 2017) and if you are like me, you are once again seeing a lot of articles posted online about the alleged negative effects of this transit.   Usually, these articles are posted with a lot of warnings like “Beware!” or “Look out!  Danger Ahead!”  These articles appear like clockwork, three to four times a year, whenever Mercury begins its apparent backward motion in the sky.  Over the past decade, I have seen the fear over Mercury Retrograde transits escalate, so much so that it has started to become blown all out of proportion. And it seems like some astrologers milk this for all its worth in order to make sensational headlines on their articles so that they can get more clicks. All this does is frighten people and cause confusion over what Mercury Retrograde really means.
planet-39110_1280They say a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.  I think this is especially the case for Mercury Retrograde.  The public at large who appreciates astrology has come to know that Mercury Retrograde has the potential to be a frustrating time.  However, I see people taking this to crazy extremes, blaming all kinds of things on the Retrograde period that have nothing to do with the Retrograde or even Mercury for that matter.
Mercury, as an astrological planet, rules many things.  Some of these things include communications (reading, writing, speaking) education, commerce, siblings, cousins, neighbors, local travel, and communications equipment (phones, TVs, computers).  Yes, Mercury retrograde can be a time of irritations or even temporary setbacks in these areas, especially in communications and local travel. And Mercury Retrograde can signify a time when signing contracts must be done with delicate care and attention.  But–and here is the important part–only if transiting Mercury triggers problematic planets that already exist in your own personal birth chart.  So whether you have a positive, negative or neutral experience during a Mercury Retrograde transit depends on your personal chart.  Therefore, a Mercury Retrograde transit is NOT an automatic sentence of doom.  Furthermore, if you were born with Mercury Retrograde in your birth chart, chances are you will likely be a happy camper and have a pretty great time when Mercury goes Retrograde by transit! Better than usual!  So don’t buy into all the Retrograde hysteria.

Mercury Retrograde Hysteria

I have seen people who do not really understand astrology use Mercury Retrograde as a receptacle for all their fears, depression and traumas, blaming the Retrograde period for everything bad in their life.  I have also seen non-astrologers blame Mercury Retrograde for things like violence and death when Mercury does not rule violence and death.  And I have even seen people blaming Mercury Retrograde for important historical catastrophes (such as the rise of Nazi Germany) when Mercury had nothing to do with these events.
Stop.  The.  Madness.
Just stop.
 In astrological theory, Mercury just does not have this kind of power.  Other planets do, but not Mercury.

The Symbolic Meaning of Retrograde

Astrologers will tell you that many planets go retrograde every year for months at a time, not just Mercury, and that none of these retrogrades should be feared.  The retrograde motion of a planet marks a period of time that is an opportunity to go back and re-do something associated with that planet. So it is helpful to think: “RE” during a re-trograde period, as in re-do, re-turn, re-address, re-organize, re-nnovate, re-pair or re-build.  This can apply to objects, projects and even relationship issues that began earlier in the year. In the ongoing energy cycle of ebb and flow that makes up Mother Earth, retrograde motion is a time for ebbing. This is a good thing!  It is a necessary thing, too, to make sure we are truly absorbing our experiences in life.  The retrograde period is also like a second chance–we get to go over an issue again and fix things we missed the first time.
However, if you insist that it be a time to ignore this, preferring instead to charge full speed aheatlantic-ocean-1563926_1920ad and to force things to go forward in a linear fashion, then you are not in tune with the cycle of life that is going on around you at this time.  Life and nature are not linear.  They are made of cycles.  Ebb and flow.  Forwards and back, like the tide of an ocean.  And we don’t call the ebb of an ocean tide “bad” and fear it every time it happens, do we?  No.  So then why fear the “energetic ebb” of a planet?

So What Should I do During a Mercury Retrograde?

The best way to approach a Mercury Retrograde is to try to remember to chill a little more. Use the time to catch up on old paperwork, have a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, clarify a miscommunication, or fix or “re-place” an appliance or electronic device that was on its last legs.  You can also simply use the time to pause, go within and “re-flect” on issues or projects that you are in the middle of.  Use the time to measure and assess and then plan what you will do when Mercury goes direct again and what you will do when you charge forward again.  If things seem to be going terribly wrong for you during Mercury Retrograde, perhaps it is because you have gotten a little out of sync with the energy around you, and maybe it is time to slow down a little to re-assess.  Mercury retrograde breakdowns (of objects or communications) can be a sign that these were weak or problematic areas that needed attention to begin with.  Use this period to bring some care and attention to the situation.

Try Not to Create A Negative Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Astrologers who earn their bread and butter making forecasts understand that they need to be careful of creating self-fulfilling prophecies.  Clients who do not understand how astrology works are sometimes vulnerable to suggestion, especially if they are currently depressed or engulfed in hardship and especially if the astrological forecast is negative.  Clients who already expect the worst to happen seem to have a knack for interpreting any life experience as further proof that “the stars are against them.”   So, fearing that a negative experience will happen during a Mercury Retrograde period is a good way of creating exactly that — a negative experience.  And that is something we could all do without.   So the next time you see a Mercury Retrograde coming up, try to remember that it is not an inherently negative time.  In fact, it can be a highly positive time where you make strides in completing unfinished business or you solidify a project or relationship by going back and re-examining what’s at stake in a more thorough fashion.  So remember: #FearNotTheRetrograde.  And tell your friends not to fear it, either.

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