Mercury in Retrograde: The Controversy Explained

A few weeks ago, my day felt significantly weird—my friends were acting strange, my belly button ring fell out, my coffee order was completely different from what I had actually ordered, I broke my finger after slamming it in a door… needless to say, it was rough. Later that day, I joked that the reason the day was so odd was because Mercury was in retrograde. Out of curiosity, I googled when this phenomenon would actually occur. To my surprise, Mercury being in retrograde started exactly on that day! Though I may sound crazy,  everything has felt out of whack since then. I’ve (sort of) jokingly blamed all my problems on Mercury, but is there any truth to this age-old controversy?

If you’re unaware of what it means for Mercury to be in retrograde, it basically constitutes the time period in which Mercury's orbit slows down and creates the optical illusion of it orbiting backwards. Many astrologers say that during the time in which Mercury is in retrograde (three or four times a year), one may experience a number of miscommunications among friends and relationships and disagreements and issues in regard to scheduling. The theory has existed since the mid-18th century and has consistently developed over time. Astrologers argue that because Mercury rules communication and expression, the planet’s shift in movement may cause a multitude of complications for those on Earth.   Stars in the night sky Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash During the time in which Mercury is in retrograde, it is often said that one should pay close attention to finances, avoid making significant agreements (especially in contract form), let go of previous grudges and rekindle old friendships or relationships. Additionally, many astrologers recommend leaving for travel earlier than usual and rereading through emails and messages to avoid miscommunication. 

    Though astrologers throughout the ages insist that Mercury has some power over our lives, scientists argue that this phenomenon is a hoax due to a lack of scientific evidence. According to Live Science, all planets may experience apparent retrograde motion, however, Mercury’s orbit may just be more obvious due to its close proximity to the sun. Nevertheless, most scientists generally believe that astrology is ultimately useless in determining one’s future or the quality of one’s present life. 

In 2020, Mercury will be in retrograde next from June 17 until July 12 and once more from October 13 until November 3. While the phenomenon may be untrue according to scientists, it’s still reassuring (and kind of fun) to blame your problems on the planets!