Monthly Archives: April 2011

Mercury Retrograde

Last week my yoga teacher made a great point of informing we hapless practitioners that Mercury was in retrograde. I knew this to mean that things would go wacky in the realm of travel, communications, machines . Honestly in modern times is there more? I have been observing the out of alignment up close and personal for the last eight days.

The very wise Elizabeth of Shri Yoga ( ) tried to sell this retrograde period as a time to be patient with ourselves and others as things will go wrong. So the antidote is to be present and patient, this is really the only possible way to make it through until the planets realign. I often believe Elizabeth when I am with her, but my firm croyance melts away the further I move from her grass roots studio and her glow.

So as I watch my own spin and  plot my planets private route through the heavens I have been watching others. And while observing them I catalog why this is a perfect example of the crazy called Mercury in Retrograde.

Yesterday a man  shoulder bumped me vigorously. I said  Excuse me.  A silly woman thing to do, apologize when you didn’t do it. Then I saw it. I thought he was drunk. I slammed into you on purpose he said. Ok now I knew he was drunk. So I listed in my head: drunk, vicious and crazy.  This morning,  there was the man on Hudson Street coming toward me on a skate board. I made another list old, he was my age, so old for a skate board. The list was: old, going the wrong direction on a major street at rush hour, skate board and on a cell phone. Then there was the woman at lunch, her list was. On the sidewalk, on a bike, on the phone. . . really, wait there was a dog in the basket.

Then the eye doctor charged me for three pairs of glasses , when there was  only one. How many eyes do I have? My mediation conference call was placed at the wrong time and they mixed up everyones names. A cab driver tried to run me over and then swore at me. All in a days work as we wait for the world to return to what passes for harmony.

Ok enough about my observational leanings. Here is some web science about our moment of tilt.

At 20:50 UT (Universal Time) Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, Mercury the wise communicator—and universal trickster—turns retrograde at 24°19′ Aries in the sign of the Ram, sending communications, travel, appointments, mail and the www into a general snarlup! The retro period begins some days before the actual turning point (as Mercury slows) and lasts for three weeks or so, until April 23, 2011, when the Winged Messenger reaches his direct station. At this time he halts and begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac.

Everything finally straightens out on May 11th, as he passes the point where he first turned retrograde. Mercury normally turns retrograde three times a year, but last year he turned tail four times, which is unusual, and his shadow phase was still active in early January 2011. The effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens (see box for Retrograde Periods in 2011).

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. According to modern science, this traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth with relation to other planets in our solar system. It’s a bit like travelling on the road watching another car beside you: when the other car slows down, or you speed up, it looks as though the other car is moving backwards. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way due to this cosmic shadow-play. Click here for some neat graphics and more on the science of retrograde planetary motion.

Go slowly, forgive yourself and others and remember to make funny lists of what went wrong.