**Disclaimer: I’m neither an astrophysicist nor an astrologist, both of which will become immediately clear upon further reading.**
I first learned about Apparent retrograde motion in my college Astronomy course. It was called “Astro 1” as in an introductory course, as in ostensibly a “layup” but it was definitely not. The professor pulled a bait and switch and tried to disguise high level Calculus and Astrophysics with seemingly accessible and fun demonstrations (I have a vague memory of a member of the football team holding a wheel on a bar parallel to the floor which spun in circles in turn spinning him around on a swivel chair - I don’t remember what this was supposed to demonstrate, but I remember the football player was hot). I came to my senses one day after the add/drop period had long passed and realized I needed to pull the ripcord for fear of failing a class for the first time in my life. However, before the experience was polluted by many long emails begging an unrelenting professor to allow me to withdraw and subsequently digging deep into my Strasberg sense memory training to produce believable tears during his office hours, I remember enjoying a lesson on “parallax” and retrograde motion. In other words, the relative placement of planets and stars as seen in our sky as we orbit the Sun. The Clark’s Notes version - named as such to make clear I may be completely misremembering the lesson I only half understood in the first place - is that as Mercury progresses in its solar orbit, there are four one month periods in which it appears to retrace its path in our sky. That’s the Science bit and provided I’ve accurately represented it, it’s completely indisputable. The effects of Mercury in retrograde, however, you’re welcome to research and disbelieve.
I choose to entertain the ideas set forth in Astrology because why not? I try to retain a healthy amount of speculation but it’s also just nice to have something to point to when shit goes wrong and it always seems to. For better or for worse, though, like all seasons Mercury’s apparent retrograde motion does end and it can’t be the answer for everything. Here are a few things I learned and experienced this retrograde season, hopefully yours was less trying than mine.
1. DO NOT come for me because I am not here for it.
This is probably just a general rule of thumb but this retrograde season I found myself incapable of dealing with other people’s bullshit. I work very hard to keep my energy space clean and pure of pollutants and when the toxic energy started to creep in I wasted no time purging it from my stream and burning the motherfuckin house down. I am a patient person, and my tolerance level is generally surprisingly high but I lost all of my fucks the second Mercury entered its shadow period and I had no interest in even beginning to look for them. And the microagressions from white people to which I’ve become accustomed and learned to ignore after many years of being “a black face in a white place” were particularly irksome and I refused to live with their toxicity. This was all because…
A month of little to no sleep mixed with my Piscean moodiness characteristic of every retrograde season made for a groggy and emotional few weeks. I can always tell when Mercury is about to enter retrograde because I am stricken with inexplicable insomnia. All of a sudden I find myself incapable of getting comfortable, and tossing and turning well into the early hours of the morning. Sometimes this is paired with bursts of creative energy but this season it was just compounded by my standard levels of stress and anxiety. This exhaustion made even the most simple tasks seem daunting and dealing with idiots completely impossible.
3. Protect your magic.
A life lesson I found stenciled on the sidewalk of Melrose Avenue (and subsequently on every white girl’s instagram feed) that felt particularly poignant during this time of great vulnerability. When everything is going wrong - your technology is malfunctioning, you’re incapable of sleeping, and people and the universe are trying your patience - it can help to remember all the things that have gone right and that once Mercury turns direct things will once again be OK.
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