We had a new roof put on our house during a Mercury retrograde. I’d hoped the process would start before the trickster planet went nutty. But with the damage around here inflicted by Hurricane Irma last September, roofers were backed up and you take a number and get in line.
Our number came up less than a week after Mercury turned retrograde in Leo. Astrologers generally advise not to undertake stuff like this when this planet is retro. But over the years, we’ve ended up doing the other stuff you aren’t supposed to do under a retro – signing contracts, selling a house, making travel plans, buying a car, a computer. The results have been annoying, time-consuming, weird enough to make you scream. At times, though, the results have been strangely enlightening, comical, and have brought back old friends.
Astrology is a kind of divination system and, according to Carl Jung, divination falls in the domain of synchronicity. Every divination system operates on the same premise. In the moment when you ask your question and toss the I Ching coins, draw the tarot cards, erect a transit chart – or take your first breath as you come into the world – a moment in time is frozen. A pattern intrinsic to that moment is created. If you understand the language of that divination system, then you’re able to interpret the pattern. But like with any divination system, the correct interpretation depends on how well versed the interpreter is in the particular language and whether it holds meaning for you.
On November 7, 2000, Mercury had been retrograde since mid-October – first in Scorpio, then it slipped back into Libra and at 9:20 p.m. on that night, it turned direct in that sign. When Mercury stations – which means it’s about to turn retrograde or direct – the potential for miscommunication is strong. But for that date, the station caused bedlam because it was election day in the U.S.
Astrologers were predicting chaos and, sure enough, at 7:49 p.m., NBC decided they had enough data from exit polls in Florida and Tom Brokaw called the state for Al Gore. With Florida’s 25 electoral votes, it meant he had won the election.
However, shortly after 10 p.m. – less than an hour after Mercury had turned direct – Brokaw backtracked and said that George W. Bush had won the state and the election. We all know what ensued after that – the endless dispute over the chads on Palm Beach County’s ballot and the eventual decision by the Supreme Court that Bush was the 43rd president of the U.S.
That’s how Mercury retro can work on a global scale. On a personal scale, the stakes can also be high, the experiences just as weird. Some years ago or so during a Mercury retro, a vitriolic battle ensued on our blog between a skeptic of the James Randi ilk and some people who had experienced encounters with aliens and UFOs. That exchange ended with us filing a report with the FBI.
Other Mercury retro stories – you get laid off, travel snafus, your book is rejected, a neighbor calls the cops on your dog – are also common.We’re happy to report, though, that other than a few delays with the roof, things went smoothly. So did the repairs on the inside of our house.
The next retro is in November. Fortunately, it doesn’t start until after the mid-term elections – November 17 to December 6.