Some strange technological things have been afoot the last few days, so I looked online yesterday to see if the planet Mercury was in retrograde. (This is something I do pretty regularly when I see a rash of technology failures, even though I’m a skeptic at heart.) It is. Mercury is in retrograde until July 1, apparently. Technology can be glitchy at any time of year. And I’m not someone who really subscribes to astrological explanations for things that happen in my life. But I work with tech all day, and have an array of gadgets at home. So perhaps when I’m aware that Mercury is in retrograde I notice glitches more. I have friends and customers who swear that the phenomenon of Mercury retrograde wreaks havoc on their lives. And when I’m sitting at my desk, watching the little blue circle spin on a webpage, loading, loading, loading, I sometimes wonder if they might be right. In the last few days I’ve witnessed an inordinate number of technology fails, from Facebook crashing on my phone to Gmail icons disappearing on PCs. But as I said, I’m skeptical. I decided to investigate further.
I realized as I began writing this post that I had never really researched the astronomy component of Mercury retrograde. I had heard the term, and the lore surrounding it, but didn’t know what the heck was actually happening in the sky. As it turns out, it’s the illusion that Mercury is traveling backwards, because of the way it’s aligned with Earth at certain times of the year. For a simple explanation, check out this NASA page for kids. Interesting, right?
Once I had that information under my belt, I thought I’d dig around for some scholarly type articles about the supposed effects of this astrological event on businesses, airlines and the like. No luck. There are loads of links to astrology sites, but even rooting around in the library’s databases didn’t get me any really legit, or even quantifiable information. So I guess if people in the business world, or people who work with tech, really do believe that Mercury retrograde messes things up, they’re not fessing up to it publicly.
I did find some other related fun things though. In 2011, the New York Times tried to find some proof of Mercury retrograde having a verifiable impact on things. No such luck. It’s a good read though. Especially if you’re a nonbeliever.
Whatever your thoughts on the subject, you’ll most likely run into articles and tidbits about the event in your daily life. I came across some fun ones in my "research," like this Vogue piece on how to prepare for Mercury retrograde (by buying chic analog things). And this Funny or Die video. And this blogger’s post (and poetry) that emerged from his confusion about why (Freddie) Mercury would be in retrograde.
Want to check to see if Mercury is in retrograde? Try this link: http://www.ismercuryinretrograde.com/
If you can’t connect to any of these links, try again on July 2.
Possible double whammy for Friday the 13th: Mercury in retrograde and solar flares - http://news.sky.com/story/1280838/solar-flare-could-hit-earth-on-friday…
19 June 2014 -- the domicile Mercury conjunct Sun (Synoptical Chart)
I mostly stayed away from tech on the 13th, which worked out quite nicely! How did everyone else fare the flares? ;)