Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Mercury Retrograde

By Dianefergurson
Mercury RetrogradeMercury retrograde is upon us once again. I originally wrote this piece for the Mind Body Spirit Odyssey, and we usually republish the article several times a year to educate people about the meaning of this astrological transit.  Mercury retrograde is in the sign of Aries this time.  It begins today (March 30, 2011) and runs until April 23rd.  Daily life during a retrograde period can present us with an interesting set of dance moves, even on a good day.  This time we find ourselves in a new war, a catastrophe in Japan, and heading towards a looming tax deadline.  Not exactly a stellar set of circumstances to work with, but just hang in there.  Remain positive, reflect and try to flow with the bumpy upcoming changes.
                                                         ~ diane fergurson
 There are numerous astrological aspects which transit our chart every day, every year.  Mercury going retrograde however, is one that has always caused my antenna to rise a little higher and forced me to pay a bit closer attention to the situations going on around me.
I grew up with a mother who was a student of astrology.  Every time this transit would approach she would begin her lengthy mantra warning me against signing important documents, beginning any new projects or jobs, engaging in any transactions, and of course....making travel plans.  Although she is in her mid 80's now, I have already received a letter AND a phone call this week reminding me about the transit.  It's something she has obviously learned, through experience, to take seriously.
Perusing through my astrology books to prepare for this blog post, I came across a good description of Mercury Retrograde by James R. Lewis in his book The Astrology Encyclopedia.  Here are some excerpts:
"Retrograde refers to the apparent backward motion of a planet in its orbit.  Because all planets in the solar system are moving in orbits of different sizes at different rates of speed, there will be periods in the orbit of the Earth when each of the other planets seems to reverse direction for a period of time.  The effect can be compared with that of a jet as it passes a slower-moving airplane that is flying in the same direction at a lower altitude:  As the pass is made, the slower craft appears - particularly when viewed against the backdrop of the Earth - to be moving in the opposite direction.  Similarly, retrograde planets appear to move in reverse direction when viewed against the backdrop of the fixed stars."
Lewis continues:  "Astrologers tend to pay particularly close attention to the retrograde periods of Mercury, ruler of the Mind, communications, travel and related matters.  The period of Mercury's retrogradation may be considered fortunate for introverted activities like reflection and meditation but it is considered unfortunate for traveling and making important decisions (e.g. signing contracts).  Travel is sometimes delayed while Mercury is retrograde, and decisions made during such periods are often reversed after Mercury goes direct."
Upcoming Dates for 2011:
March 30 to April 23
August 2 to August 26
November 24 to December 13
About the image...  This illustration is originally from De Sphaera, an illuminated Astrology manuscript from the Italian Renaissance.
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