Mercury in retrograde

5th November 2019. Reading Time: 8 minutes General. 1854 page views. 0 comments.

Every few months I see posts on social media about mercury being in retrograde and that is why we are all acting emotional and crazy. To be honest, I didn't even really understand what it was all about, so I thought I would look into its history and meaning. What is mercury being in retrograde all about?

There are always two kinds of posts I can rely on seeing within the paranormal community. The first is every time there is a full moon people get excited as they believe that maybe it can have an effect on paranormal activity as well as sending us all a bit 'looney'. If you want to learn more about the concept behind this (including the word looney', check out my article: Does the lunar cycle influence paranormal activity?. The second post I can always rely on references to Mercury being in retrograde. People claim during this time we are unstable and emotional.  It is essentially like a full moon on steroids! Before joining the paranormal community, I very honestly didn't even know the phrase 'Mercury in retrograde' nor the concept and reasoning behind it. We seem to be in another Mercury in retrograde cycle so I thought now was a better time than any to educate myself on what it is all about and of course, ask the question, does it really make us all a bit crazy?

What is mercury in retrograde?

Before we start looking at the spiritual connection here, first we have to understand what is actually means. Mercury itself is the closest planet to the sun. It travels back and forth to either side of the Sun every 88 days and orbits the sun 4 times in one Earth year (as a year in Mercury is obviously 88 days). This means that 3 times a year, it is closest to Earth in what astrologists call "inferior conjunction". Earth tends to orbit the Sun at a faster rate than the outer planets and sometimes overtakes them. When this happens, it appears like the planet is moving backwards known as "apparent retrograde motion". While it may appear that Mercury is going backwards, it actually isn't, it is an optical illusion. From Earth to us it looks like it going backwards but it is moving forward at its normal rate. Think of when you overtake a car and you are going 10km faster than that car. When you look in your rearview mirror it appears as if it is going backwards. This is essentially what is happening when Mercury goes into 'retrograde'.

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Some quick searches online tell me these are the current/upcoming cycles for 2022

In 2022, Mercury will be in apparent retrograde motion during the following ranges of dates: 

  • January 13 to February 3 
  • May 10 to June 2
  • September 9 to October 1
  • December 28 to January 18 (2023)

Please note that dates reflect Eastern Time U.S., not Universal Time.


What are the spiritualist beliefs of Mercury in Retrograde?

The spiritual belief in this is something that is traced back to Astrology. Astrology is a study of the relationship between planets and their position. It is thought that the position certain planets are in can affect a person's mood, relationships and environment based on when they were born. Think of star signs and horoscopes. Mercury in Retrograde is something that you will see mentioned a lot in your horoscopes. The concept of Mercury in retrograde affecting people was written back as far as the mid-18th century (as far as we can trace anyway). Farmers would initially use this information to help them know when to plant their crops.

During the Victorian era when spiritualism was at its height, interest in astrology increased as well. It makes a lot of sense because people were participating in seances and often engaging in sessions with psychics to help give them messages so of course, Astrology fits right into this niche. In the 1970s, astrology made its way into the media and appearing in magazines and newspapers as weekly features.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Does Mercury in retrograde affect things?

From a scientific viewpoint, there is no reason for this to affect equipment or even us as people. Mercury has no gravitational pull when it comes to Earth and it isn't actually moving backwards, it just looks like it is so there is no scientific reason for it to affect equipment or even us. One of the reasons people tie in the moon cycle and the way it affects us as humans is related to the gravitation pull that it has on water. As humans, we are made up of a lot of water so people speculate this is why the moon can affect our moods. This is not the case with Mercury in retrograde as it does not affect the gravitational pull to Earth.

A lot of people report equipment malfunction, delayed flights, systems going down etc, however again there is no reason to believe this is due to Mercury being in retrograde. They are things that would have likely happened regardless of the cycle. It is thought that because Mercury was named after Roman's Messenger of the Gods and is linked to communication in Astrology that this is why people believe it will affect communications and equipment.

Mercury in retrograde is basically something spawned from Astrology. If you are a person that believes in the stars, synchronicity and the like, it is common to also believe in Mercury in Retrograde.

“Astrology, like the collective unconscious with which psychology is concerned, consists of symbolic configurations: The “planets” are the gods, symbols of the powers of the unconscious.”

-Carl G. Jung-

Like a lot of things spiritual and paranormal even, science cannot explain a lot of it. Is Mercury in retrograde one of those categories? Are we just psychologically looking to 'place the blame' if we are experiencing heightened emotions or is there something to it?

Carl Jung was famous for his 'synchronicity' teachings which believe that two random events which seem disconnected are in some way connected for a reason by an invisible thread of sorts. He believed that astrology was an 'intuitive method' and that certain psychological states or certain events correlated with planetary movement.

Our modern science begins with astronomy. Instead of saying that man was led by psychological motives, they formerly said he was led by his stars. … The puzzling thing is that there is really a curious coincidence between astrological and psychological facts, so that one can isolate time from the characteristics of an individual, and also, one can deduce characteristics from a certain time. Therefore we have to conclude that what we call psychological motives are in a way identical with star positions. Since we cannot demonstrate this, we must form a peculiar hypothesis. This hypothesis says that the dynamics of our psyche is not just identical with the position of the stars, nor has it to do with vibrations – that is an illegitimate hypothesis. It is better to assume that i is a phenomenon of time. … The stars are simply used by man to serve as indicators of time… –

-Carl G. Jung-

For myself anyway, I don't believe it affects us and in fact, I didn't even know about it until recently. I am also not a spiritual person, I don't read my horoscopes but in some ways, I do believe a bit in synchronicity and that things happen for a reason. I also believe though that we are in control of our own destiny and the buck stops and starts with us. I personally think it comes down to how you view the world and what you believe. I am also not a psychic or overly sensitive person when it comes to the paranormal so is it something that affects those with abilities more? If they have more of a connection with the universe in some ways it makes sense to me anyway that they would be more sensitive to this kind of thing. The world is full of vibrations and energies that we can not measure and therefore do not fully understand.

I would say that social media is responsible for a lot more people talking about Mercury being in retrograde. People that don't commonly follow astrology or read horoscopes would be seeing things on Facebook and like me not really know a lot about it, just that it could offer an explanation into why we have been feeling off. We at times all seek guidance, comfort and wisdom. In a lot of ways, we are all waiting for theories that challenge our natural laws because we believe that there is something more out there and a reason to just be here. It is a part of how we function as humans and why a lot of us are out there searching for answers. Maybe there are things we are just not meant to know or understand. Everything in between is speculation.

Life is hard and maybe it was never meant to be easy. Whether that is just the cold hard reality of if it is some sort of spiritual lesson we need to learn is all down to a person's perception and what you believe. Regardless if Mercury being in retrograde really does affect our emotions or mental state or not, it is important that we address the situation at hand. Mercury in retrograde supposedly encourages a time of deep inner reflection and contemplation. It is a time that allows us to access our thoughts and feelings that are buried deep in our subconsciousness. It can be a difficult thing to look at ourselves. What is important though regardless of what you believe and if Mercury in retrograde even makes a difference or not is to make sure you look after yourself and one another. This is something we should be doing every single day, not just 3 times a year.

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