Mercury has turned retrograde and suddenly our favorite astrological sacrificial lamb is offered up before us.
But not so fast.
The nature of Mercury retrograde - in fact every retrograding planet - is a bit more complex than often discussed.
In Vedic astrology, for instance, a retrograde planet is considered to be 'strong.
' The word 'strong' is ambiguous, but let's consider astronomically what is happening and we will soon also understand what type of strength a retrograde planet has.
When a planet is retrograde it is closer to the Earth than at any other time during its orbit.
It is exactly the closest when its celestial longitude is either exactly the same as the Sun (for Mercury and Venus, planets inside the Earth's orbit) or exactly opposite the Sun (for planets outside of the Earth's orbit).
To understand the visual phenomena of a retrograde planet, you need only imagine you are traveling down the highway at 70 miles an hour and you pass a car that is going 60 miles an hour.
From your perspective, in the faster-moving car, the slower-moving car appears to be moving backward.
This is exactly what happens with a retrograde planet.
It is not actually moving backward, but based on its current orbital position around the Sun, it appears to be moving backward from our orbital position on the Earth.
See the diagram below about Mercury and Venus retrograde and combustion cycles.
As you observe this diagram, you will see that Mercury and Venus are retrograde when they are in between the Earth and Sun, closest to the Earth.
Outer planets would be retrograde when the Earth is between them and the Sun.
With Mercury and Venus retrograde, they are the faster-moving car.
With the outer planets, we are in the faster-moving car.
But in both instances, the planets are closer to the Earth when retrograde.
So, okay, we understand the astronomy, but how does that affect us astrologically and what are the energies being disbursed in our life? There is no doubt that a retrograde planet will tend to act unpredictably.
Why? Because our life on Earth - through the matrix of the mind and body and its relationship to time (astrology) - is moving forward.
The retrograde planet appears to be moving backward.
Thus, externally in the world, the retrograde planet's energy becomes a source of confusion.
We begin to hesitate externally with that thing.
With Mercury, for instance, we become unsure of what to say, we doubt our communication abilities.
We become aware of things that seem unfair.
We may mix-up the important details necessary to move forward.
None of this sounds very good, does it? So why am I saying it's strong?