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The Mercury Retrograde Phenomenon: Believe It or Not

Updated: Sep 9

Mercury is closest to the sun
The planets orbiting the Sun

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun


What is Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury retrograde is a term that frequently makes its rounds in astrological conversations and pop culture references. While some dismiss it as a superstition, others attribute disruptions in their lives to this cosmic event. In this blog post, we'll explore what happens when Mercury goes retrograde, separating fact from fiction, and delving into the science behind this celestial phenomenon. We will also cover who Mercury is in Mythology to give us a well-rounded perspective.

This is a subject that I never wanted to give much thought to or put any belief in. For one, I am not a superstition person, but I recently experienced all kinds of communication issues, as well as my cell phone malfunctioning, and decided to look it up to see if Mercury was in retrograde. Sure enough, Mercury is indeed retrograde. To add more fuel to the fire, as I typed words in an email today, everything I typed disappeared, and the entire email was erased, including my signature. These events have forced me to take a deeper look at this phenomenon to try to understand it.

Optical Illusion

Mercury retrograde is a perceived backward motion of the planet Mercury as it orbits the Sun. In reality, this is an optical illusion caused by the varying speeds of Earth and Mercury in their respective orbits. About three to four times a year, Mercury appears to slow down, stop, and move backward for a few weeks before resuming its normal, direct motion. All planets go into a retrograde phase.

Roman god Mercury
The Messenger God Mercury

The Mythology of Mercury

In Mythology, Mercury is the Roman God of communication, commerce, travel, eloquence, and trickery. He plays a vital role in the Roman pantheon and is one of the twelve Olympian gods. When it comes to Greek gods, he is equated with Hermes. Mercury is primarily known as the messenger of the gods. He is responsible for delivering messages, decrees, and commands between the gods and mortals. His speed and agility make him the ideal divine messenger. Mercury was considered the god of eloquence and persuasive speech. This aspect of his persona made him influential in matters of oratory, writing, and communication, so let's give him a break, Mercury as a Mythological God is not necessarily a bad guy.

Effects on Communication

One of the most well-known associations with Mercury Retrograde is communication chaos. It's often said that during this period, communication tends to break down, leading to misunderstandings, miscommunications, and electronic glitches. While there's no scientific evidence to support these claims, some people do experience an uptick in communication challenges during Mercury retrograde periods. The rational mind may say this is due to heightened awareness or a self-fulfilling prophecy but what happens when you are not aware that Mercury is in retrograde, like myself, and start having miscommunications and malfunctioning electronics? These things happen, but usually not all at once.

Technology and Travel Woes

Another common belief is that technology and travel are particularly vulnerable during Mercury retrograde. People often report issues with their electronic devices, such as phones, computers, and appliances, as well as transportation delays and mishaps. I understand these occurrences can happen at any time and are not exclusive to Mercury retrograde periods but this is where I will state that one of the attendees at this past weekend retreat had her flight delayed and had to spend the night in a hotel. Is this just a coincidence or is there something more to it? I do not know for certain, but I will say that as I write this blog post, we have been in retrograde for 18 days.

Maybe there is nothing to it, but I am starting to believe based on my experiences and other's stories that there might be something to it. In fact, after my conversation with someone yesterday who mentioned that her cell phone was malfunctioning, without knowing about my cell phone issue, told me she had never heard of this phenomenon. I am now of the belief that we do not have to acknowledge it or have an awareness to be affected by it.

Astrological Significance

In astrology, Mercury is associated with communication, travel, and intellect. When Mercury goes retrograde, astrologers believe that these areas of life may be influenced in specific ways. For example, they suggest that it's a time for reflection, revisiting past issues, and reevaluating plans. Astrology enthusiasts might consult their birth charts to gain insights into how Mercury retrograde could affect them personally.

At this point, I would like to avoid traveling or doing important events altogether during this time but I am wise enough to know this is not humanly possible. My best advice is that we should take a proactive stance, be aware of it, and plan accordingly. If we are traveling, perhaps we can expect delays or be aware that miscommunication is more likely to happen during this time and tread gently. I have heard that some people avoid signing important contracts during this time. When we cannot delay signing contracts, we can pay extra attention to the fine print, ask more questions, and make sure our communication is as clear as possible. And if our mind goes blank when someone asks us a question, we can blame it on Mercury unless Mercury is not in retrograde, then we might have to accept that we did too many drugs in our younger years, or the head injury did a number on us, or chalk it up with humility that humans are not perfect and we make mistakes.

Science & Skeptics

The scientific explanation for Mercury retrograde is quite simple. It's an optical illusion caused by the differing orbital speeds of Earth and Mercury. As Earth overtakes Mercury in its orbit around the Sun, it appears as if Mercury briefly moves backward in the sky before continuing its regular orbit. This phenomenon occurs with all the planets in our solar system to some extent but is most noticeable with Mercury due to its proximity to the Sun.

Many skeptics dismiss the concept of Mercury retrograde as pseudoscience and superstition. Skeptics point out that if Mercury retrograde were a scientifically proven phenomenon, we would observe consistent and measurable effects, which we do not. To be skeptical about something is a healthy response until proven otherwise. Science may not be able to explain it but at the same time, when we have issues in communication, delays in travel and our electronics go haywire all at the same time, and when other people we know are having the same issues, perhaps there is reason to believe that something is real about this phenomenon.

Whether you choose to embrace its astrological significance or view it through a skeptical lens, one thing is certain: Mercury retrograde adds a touch of cosmic intrigue to our lives, reminding us there are mysteries in the universe that cannot be measured.


If you have read this far, I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new.

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