Get ready for some fun times, thanks to planet Mercury
by Debra DeAngelo
Oh, you can feel it heating up already. Summer, yes. But Mercury Retrograde too.
Now, I’m not an astrologer, but I have friends who are, and they swear by the stars. Me, I’m willing to consider that there’s something to it, that things fall into natural place without interference.
It’s like walking on a sideways slope. If you don’t resist gravity pulling you sideways, you’ll head downhill. Once you’re aware of that pull, you can resist it, compensate for it, and continue straight forward. That’s my take on astrology — gravitational pull you can adapt to, compensate for and otherwise interfere with, as long as you’re aware of it.
The fact that there’s no scientific evidence to validate astrology or that I don’t really understand it doesn’t bother me much. If I only believed in things I understand, I’d never get on an airplane again, because I don’t give a rip about the laws of aerodynamics, my own brain tells me that a ton of tube-shaped metal is too heavy to go up in the air and stay there. Yet, I board the plane anyway. Not without a fistful Xanax, mind you.
On some random talk show recently, there was an acclaimed scientist (whose name and field of study I can’t recall) explaining dark energy in the universe. This is what I do remember: the heavenly bodies are connected on an energetic, magnetic level that humans don’t (yet) understand.
History shows that there have been a great many things humans didn’t understand that turned out to exist: the roundness of the planet, viruses and bacteria, the DNA chain, and the list could go on forever. From how fire works to the microbiological function of the mitochondria in a liver cell, there’s been an awful lot that humans weren’t capable of understanding but were real nonetheless. So, before we get too pleased with ourselves and wave off astrology as hooey, we should temper our self-assurance with the evidence of our historical shortcomings.
The scientist on TV explained that energy between planets, for now, seems undetectable, just as we move through a body of air all the time, but are usually unaware of it. But lack of awareness isn’t the same as non-existent. Are you aware of your pancreas right now? There you go. So, said the scientist, the entire universe is connected energetically like we are all connected inside one body of air.
OK, I’ll go with this. It’s a reasonable explanation for the shenanigans that occur during Mercury Retrograde. Yes, back to that allegedly airy-fairy astrology.
What is Mercury Retrograde, you ask? It happens periodically throughout the year, lasting for a couple weeks, where Mercury’s orbit around the sun appears to move backwards, much like hubcaps can seem to spin backwards at high speed. As the planet that rules communication, when Mercury hits “reverse,” it upsets communication, whether it’s conversation, email, computers or telephones. Arguments flare up for no good reason, computers crash, misunderstandings escalate, typos are rampant, and contracts signed during this time often turn out disastrous. True, these things happen all the time, but during Mercury Retrograde, they seem more frequent and more severe.
I’ve noticed the pattern over and over, and being a Gemini, ruled by Mercury, I get a double whammy. My communications get scrambled exponentially during retrogrades. My most glorious communication catastrophes have happened during Mercury Retrograde, whether it’s a family feud or a column that went ballistic or a complete hard drive crash.
Experience forces me to be aware when Mercury Retrograde is approaching, and once we’re in the thick of it, to think twice before I say something jagged or fire off a smoldering email. But it’s not easy. I feel that irresistible gravitational pull, and my self-control bar isn’t set that high to begin with. I can go into verbal smackdown with anyone who has it comin’ on any random day. During Mercury Retrograde, however, it requires extra discipline to not “go there.”
Trouble is, discipline ain’t my best feature. My inner Genghis Kahn is easily tweaked during Mercury Retrograde: “I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”
You know “That Column” of mine that just twisted your nipples and compelled you to fire off an irate letter to the editor, most likely containing the words “rant” and “ilk”? (Compulsory words for hate mail, by the way. There must be a manual out there somewhere… Hate Male for Dummies.) You can thank my inner Genghis for those, and probably Mercury Retrograde too. And, by the way? You had it comin’.
So. The sideways downhill slope lies ahead. Mercury Retrograde begins on Aug. 2, and ends on Aug. 26. We’re already in the buildup. You can feel it, much like the heat and density of an August morning portends a real scorcher coming on.
Think back over the last week. Have you gotten in more petty squabbles and confrontations than usual? People inordinately cranky? Losing your patience easily? Uh huh. Now, be aware of unusually troubled communication and computer-related snags from Aug. 2-26. See if you can detect that subtle force that pulls your communication sideways and into the weeds. If you’re aware of it, you can compensate. Overpower it. Stay on course. As for computer crashes, lost files, and the like? Sorry. You’re screwed. No amount of awareness will prevent those. Just cry a little and then move on.
So, get ready for some wonky times ahead. But it’ll at least be entertaining. The day we hit our debt ceiling? Tuesday, August 2.