Don’t Be Afraid of Mercury Retrograde

Warning: This post contains “woo woo.” But before all of you scientific, left-brained types depart, let me just say that regardless of the astrological packaging, the motivation behind this frustrating period of communication breakdown can be useful to all, skeptics and would-be wizards alike.

Okay, a little background first. I come by the paranormal genetically, at least that’s my excuse. (Have you noticed that I blame most of my foibles on my ancestral line?)

After feeling like the family freak for many years with my new age interests, I am informed well into my forties that the grandmother I never knew (from the old country) was extremely “superstitious.”

And, by the way, she read tea leaves. So did my great-grandmother. Seems they were pretty good at it.

Oh REALLY? Thanks for waiting so long to tell me. Left to my own devices with that bit of genealogy, I tried seeing pictures in my tea cup and could only come up with disturbing rorschach impressions of my personal neuroses. Same with the coffee grounds.

And don’t even get me started on palm reading my own hand. Not so good. Either I’m already dead, will have 14 husbands, or I need to use a lot more moisturizer.

After all that, astrology seems like a piece of cake. I make more sense out of natal charts than I can navigating a street map. (Heavens help me.) And my little quirk comes in handy at parties, because even if I can’t remember your name, by golly I can recall your birth sign the way the rest of my family reminisces according to the stats of their favorite sports teams.

So, it goes without saying that I study the transits of the planets while my husband and daughter consult their college basketball lineups for the same reason: a glimpse into the future.

2010’s astrological forecast included a whopping four Mercury retrograde periods. What is a retrograde you ask? This cosmic phenomenon was concocted by ancients who observed planets going backward through the nightly zodiac for periods of time, due to an optical illusion with the earth’s orbital rotation. The planets weren’t really going backward, but hey, try telling that to civilizations who were already freaked out by solar eclipses.

And you say, excuse me — how does this matter to the modern suburbanite? So what if Mercury looks like it’s going backward, big deal.

Ah, but in astrology this little planet controls all types of communication, technology, travel and the way your mind works. (I was born during a Mercury retrograde which may explain why I take the long way when coming to the same conclusion as everyone else.)

When Mercury retrogrades, all of the cool stuff under the messenger’s watchful eye goes haywire. There are computer malfunctions, missed appointments, strep throat and/or laryngitis, worldwide hacking, car breakdowns, best-laid plans gone awry, whiteouts over half the country, metrodome cave-ins, and flight delays.

Alright, so the airline industry is in permanent Mercury retrograde, but it’s WORSE, if that’s possible.

Have I got your attention yet? Any of this strike a chord with those of you waiting on your train/dentist/snowplow/cable guy/mechanic/geek friend/voodoo priestess to rescue you from solitary confinement? Or is it merely coincidence?

Let me see, so far this retrograde my Internet has gone out four times in a week (once including phone service), our car stopped dead in an intersection after just getting a new battery (in futile retrograde preparation), and some friends and I had to abort in the middle of a holiday outing due to more snow accumulation than expected (thank you weather forecasters).

Which leads me FINALLY to the gist of this post. The antidote to all the dropped calls, lost emails, botched up contracts, road slide-offs and website crashes is TO SLOW DOWN. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are forced to abandon our routines as human doings and embrace the joys of lounging. You may sit in bus terminals or the pull-out couch of a neighbor, but this is still an opportunity to be inert and retrospective on the year.

If nothing else, it is a good time to cheat a little at board games by candlelight because the power is out. It is the gift of yourself when you can’t get to the stores to buy electronic gadgets that will be busted by New Year’s Eve anyway. It’s the chance to finally lay to rest an old family grudge because you’re all stuck in the house together without the usual distractions.

Yep, even the winged messenger to the Roman gods has to take a breather sometimes. (Although the florists do try to keep him busy.)

By the way, this particular Mercury retrograde we’re in lasts from December 10th through the 30th. Even if you don’t believe in all the hocus-pocus, you have my permission to use the retrograde bit as a pass when life becomes too much during the next couple of weeks.

Go ahead — hit pause to enjoy the holidays. Take your time.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid of Mercury Retrograde

  1. Tamara, when I first saw the title, I thought you were going to tell me that my old mercury dental fillings were OK afterall. I think you are right about the value of small retrograde motions in life, the value of stepping back before going forward again.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      I wonder if the more mercury fillings one has, the more he or she is affected by Mercury retrograde? Maybe you tend to speak backward? A study should be done. Until then, have a good holiday Mike.

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