Mercury is in retrograde. So what?
Singapore astrologer May Sim explains what’s going on up there and whether this planetary period is as ominous as we think
Text: May Sim
Don’t buy a laptop during Mercury retrograde. Don’t buy a car during Mercury retrograde. Don’t buy phones during Mercury retrograde. And while you’re at it, don’t go signing contracts during Mercury retrograde, either.
These are just some of the superstitious warnings that make the rounds on social media when the planet Mercury goes into retrograde motion, around three times every year. Indeed, this major astrological event was being written about in astrology circles as far back as the mid-18th century. The event was noted in British agricultural almanacs of the time, which farmers would read to sync their planting schedules to the patterns of the stars.
Seeing as it’s happening again on 14 October, and lasting unto 4 November 2020, we thought you might like to know just how legit these beliefs are, and what you can do to get through this spiritually significant and powerful period.
What actually is Mercury retrograde?
In a nutshell, as planets orbit the Sun in the solar system, there are specific planet positions that create an illusion that Mercury is moving backwards relative to Earth’s motion. This seemingly backward motion is termed ‘retrograde’. The effect of a retrograde tends to slow things down, sometimes even resulting in situations ‘going in the opposite direction’.
Despite all planets from Mercury all the way to Pluto (which, FYI, is most definitely a planet astrologically) are capable of going retrograde, interestingly it is Mercury retrograde that always seems to get itself in the limelight, bringing the most attention, and generally being a bit of a show-off.
Since the planet Mercury governs matters concerning communication, connections and paperwork, the backwards-and-forwards motion of the planet has some people associating this period as being bad for purchases involving communication and connectivity equipment such as phones and cars. Many people even go as far as to avoid signing important contracts.
While adopting this strategy can be a better-safe-than-sorry tactic, ideal for the nervy and apprehensive among us, there are practical issues to consider: each time Mercury goes into retrograde, it does so for three weeks.
What this means is that if we adhered to this avoidance strategy, given that Mercury goes retrograde at least three times a year, for nine out of 52 weeks we have to steer clear of the likes of technical buys, not to mention blocking important business transactions. If you’re in dire need of a laptop, waiting three weeks to pass in order to buy one is probably not the best situation.
Something that most of us aren’t aware of, is that a retrograde also has ‘shadow’ periods that occur directly before and after the actual retrograde. These essentially extend the effect of Mercury retrograde to about eight weeks rather than three weeks.
Shadow periods cause slow decisions due to a general feeling of uncertainty for up to one month before the retrograde begins. In the case of the current one, the shadow period already kicked in on 23 September 2020. While the official retrograde ends on 4 November 2020, the shadow period will extend its effects until up to 20 November 2020.
How does retrograde affect us personally?
While Mercury retrogrades happen frequently, I believe most — but not all — of these incidents will affect you directly. When applied to your personal astrology chart, the period will influence specific areas of your life, be it a career decision, or a delay in an application to a government body. The planetary shift may even be felt in a difficult conversation you want to have with a specific person in your life.
Since the retrograde motion curtails thinking and decision-making, one major positive result of the period is that when issues occur, we tend to consider more factors and do more research. We may also be more present to potential outcomes of our decisions, and yes, notice more problems.
When the shadow period first hits, your attention is likely to be drawn to an area of life in which a decision needs to be made, or a conversation or connection that must be established. Typically, as the actual retrograde period looms, the decision gets delayed. This is mainly because you want to think through a situation or just let an idea ‘sit’. Once the retrograde passes and Mercury goes direct, chances are you’ll have stronger confidence to proceed with a decision.
Despite its terrible reputation, in my years of practice I have seen very positive uses of Mercury retrograde: difficult business proposals push through; couples work out marital issues; individuals abandon ideas that they didn’t think through properly.
During this month’s Mercury retrograde, I urge you to allow yourself to slow down and be present to where you feel mentally stuck.
It’s likely that your instincts are telling you not to be impulsive, and that there are factors you haven’t fully thought through. My advice would be to explore alternative options. Just talking it through with somebody else will help clarify your mind.
Above all, don’t beat yourself up. Some things are important enough for you to devote time to allow the answer to come to you. And as a happily-married professional astrologer who signed her marriage contract during a Mercury retrograde, I can vouch that it is possible to ignore the stars every now and then without the world crashing down on you.
About the Author
May Sim is a professional astrologer with 16 years’ experience. She is the founder of Selfstrology Academy based in Singapore and a subject matter expert on psychological astrology.
For the original article, see: https://www.thesoothe.co/connect/astrology/mercury-in-retrograde-so-what