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In Retrospect, It Was Retrograde

This past Sunday, I came into the office. It was just going to be for a few minutes because all I was going to do was move files from one cabinet to another as part of a clean-up project.

So here I was early Sunday afternoon, in to do a little organizing. But it soon transformed into a major purging project…because why just “transfer” old stuff when it’s really no longer needed? A few productive hours later, I wondered: what just happened?

Then, it occurred to me: the planet Mercury is in Retrograde! Yep, we are smack in the middle of it as it started on May 18 and runs through June 11. Those of you who know me have heard me discuss this interesting phenomenon over the years. From making me feel indecisive, to changing course several times, to encouraging me to purge and let go of the old so the new can come in, I have found that I am deeply affected by these periods of time.

So, what is it actually and how does it apply to our lives? A good definition comes from The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

“Sometimes the other planets appear to be traveling backward through the zodiac; this is an illusion. We call this illusion retrograde motion. Three times a year, it appears as if Mercury is going backwards for about three weeks. This time is traditionally associated with confusions, delay, and frustration. Perhaps Mercury’s retrograde periods causes plans to go awry. Or maybe, it’s an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary. The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such. So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing new contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.”

Many associate this phenomenon with technology breaking down. Computers freeze up, calls get dropped, cars die. But as stated above, much of Mercury Retrograde’s greater impact is on transportation and communication – both of which involve getting people and things from one place to another. If you think about it, signing new contracts are about communication and agreement. (By the way, I’ve heard it’s okay to finalize a contract during this time if communications were started prior to retrograde.) And technology is about transporting communication easily and fast, right? And then there’s the literal version of transportation problems – e.g., the tragic train derailment in Philadelphia, which occurred on May 13th, during Mercury Retrograde’s “shadow period.”

But what about reflecting on the past? In a recent Huffington Post piece, the author says that a Mercury Retrograde period is a time to say goodbye:

“Retrograde is like being in a parking spot, and having to shift into reverse in order to drive away from where I came from, to drive on to where I need to go. Does it feel like I’m going backwards for a moment? Yes. I have to, so I can leave the past behind and go forward in life.”

That’s what I did on Sunday with my unplanned purge. My heart and mind inherently knew that I needed to clear out a lot of outdated stuff in order to make room for new and exciting things to come in. The same goes for many families out there who are facing big decisions. They have loved ones living with memory loss, and they are trying to decide the best next step, the best care decision, the best choice for their parent or spouse.

My advice? Review, do research, but sleep on it for a week, if at all possible. Mercury goes direct on June 12!

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