What is a Retrograde anyway?

All of this talk about Mercury being in retrograde got me thinking.... what the heck does retrograde even mean?  The definition of the word is easy... it just means that from our perspective the planet in question appears to be moving backwards in it's orbit.  It is also a noun used to mean an unsavory character but that is probably not the right context when talking about perceived planetary motion.  Probably.

Planets move across the sky from East to West normally.  During a retrograde that motion appears to reverse and we see the planet moving from West to East instead.  But don't worry, the planet's orbit doesn't actually change direction.  What we are seeing is just an optical illusion created by the fact that Earth and, in this case, Mercury, are moving at different speeds. 

Like when you are on the highway and passing a train that is moving more slowly than you are.  The train is getting farther away and appears to be moving backwards but in reality it is just not moving as fast as you are.  Mercury is just fine and is doing what it has always done but Earth is making better time.

So now that we know what is actually happening and why we call it a retrograde, what does it all mean to the Terrestrial beings on planet Earth (you and me)? 

Astrology tells us that Mercury reigns over communication, travel, and learning.  We are therefore cautioned to take extra care with our electronics (maybe leave the phone in it's case for a few weeks and don't set your coffee next to your laptop).  Likewise, it might be a good idea to put off any life altering decisions for a for a few weeks.  Don't sign any business deals, perhaps postpone the wedding, and for the love of all that's holy stop messing with your hair!  If you still want to change your style come August then jump right in but let's not make any hasty decisions as of right now.


The great news is that no matter how wonky things seem to have gotten there is an end in sight.  This event will last from July 7 to July 31 in 2019.  After that, we'll need to find something else to take the blame for our misfortune and questionable judgement.


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