Mercury Retrograde in World History
Mercury Retrograde is known to astrologers as a time to expect communication chaos. This is because Mercury is the planet that rules communication and when retrograde, the fleet-footed messenger God is hot-footing it in reverse motion and gives the illusion of moving backwards through the heavens.
In other words, during Mercury Retrograde, the God of communication is not functioning effectively and this important astrological event takes place three times a year for three weeks at a time.
Any good astrologer will suggest you avoid buying a new car, a new laptop or updating technological equipment whilst Mercury is retrograde. It’s equally important to ensure your data is backed up and you double-check all your communications. Anything that involves correspondence, transport, the mind, the spoken word and technology can fall foul of Mercury’s trickster abilities.
This has become such a common notion that people who know little about astrology often understand the Mercury Retrograde phenomenon. It’s become a popular term in popular music and culture, for example, Katy Perry’s song It Takes Two which appears on her fourth album Prism (2013) begins “Is Mercury in Retrograde?”
In 2008, the solo artist Jesse Malin and the band Bloc Party went one step further. Jesse Malin named his album Mercury Retrograde and Bloc Party wrote a song entitled Mercury and their lyrics show a clear understanding of the nature of Mercury retrograde:
“Mercury, mercu-mercury’s in
Mercury’s in retrograde
This is not the time, the time to start a new love
This is not the time, the time to sign a lease”
Mercury Retrograde plays out in the world as well and astrologers often hold their heads in their hands when they see that major events are planned to begin when the God of cunning, Mercury, is retrograde and therefore up to his tricks.
You invariably find that anything major you agree to or sign during a Mercury Retrograde period is not set in ink. New information often comes to light once Mercury turns direct and you then discover that the goalposts have moved significantly. The best advice is to wait and see what transpires once Mercury’s back up to speed rather than make any key decisions whilst Mercury’s on go slow.
Here are some examples of how Mercury Retrograde has coincided with hold ups, mischief, and general communication breakdown in world events.
The 2012 London Olympics began on July 27th whilst Mercury was retrograde and the run up to the event was peppered with chaotic announcements and things going wrong. Specifically Mercury Retrograde showed through the many empty seats in the main stadium, the ticketing ballot, which was declared a joke as many people came away empty-handed, and fake tickets being sold.
There was the controversial Olympic traffic lane in London (often empty with gridlocked traffic stuck in the remaining two lanes) and even the wrong flag that was raised during an Olympic medal ceremony. The South Korean flag instead of the North Korean flag – oops!
Two years later, the Sochi Winter Olympics opened in Russia only a few hours after Mercury turned retrograde on February 7 2014. In the run up to the games, there were numerous reports about the athletes facilities and accommodation being unfinished and the condition of the toilets and the drinking water looked scary. There were also calls to boycott the games due to Russia’s controversial ‘anti-gay’ propaganda leading up to the Opening Ceremony.
In the ladies’ figure skating event there was a media outcry when the 17 year old Russian skater, Adelina Sotnikova won gold ahead of the out-and-out favourite, Kim Yuna, from South Korea dubbed ‘the Queen’. During a Mercury Retrograde period, nothing can be taken for granted.
On November 7 2000, Mercury was retrograde and poised to turn direct but this didn’t stop a major recount dispute in the United States political elections which meant that the outcome was not known for more than a month after ballotting.
Everything hinged on the result in Florida, a swing state, but it was so close between George W. Bush and Al Gore that a recount was called for. After several recounts proved inconclusive, the decision had to be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a classic Mercury Retrograde miscommunication, both President Elects were announced as the winner separately by different media in different parts of the USA. George W. Bush was eventually officially declared President.
A similar event took place on May 6 2010 at the General Election in Great Britain. Again Mercury was retrograde and the voting was so close that it resulted in a hung parliament. It took another six days and for Mercury to turn direct in the heavens before the coalition government was finally formed between David Cameron and the Conservatives and Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. When Mercury’s retrograde, nothing’s final.
One more political mishap occurred on January 20 2009 when the inaugural ceremony took place to swear in Barack Obama as President of the United States. During another Mercury Retrograde phase the first oath contained some mistakes as ‘a memo had failed to reach Obama’s staff’ before the ceremony. This is a classic Mercury Retrograde mishap and because of the mistakes that were made, it was decided that the oath should be repeated the following day.
There are many examples of extreme weather conditions when Mercury is retrograde. This has a knock-on effect for all forms of transport ruled by Mercury, the God of trade. Roads are flooded or hidden under snow, airports are closed and some natural disasters create even worse conditions putting a stop to everything. Hundreds and thousands of people who commute, are on holiday, want to visit loved ones or are simply going about their everyday business are halted in their tracks.
A classic example took place in April 2010 due to the ash from the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull. Eruptions began on April 14 2010 just a few days before Mercury turned retrograde on April 18 2010. 20 countries had to close their airspace to commercial planes affecting almost 10 million travellers and localised disruption continued into May whilst Mercury remained on go slow.
More recently and closer to home, Mercury turned retrograde on February 6 2014 in the water sign Pisces and the flooding in the UK was immense. It was officially the wettest winter on record and the power of the sea and overflowing of the rivers caused devastation in much of the country with 1000's of people having to leave their homes.
Mercury Retrograde in the sign of Pisces, ruled by Neptune, God of the Sea, turned many parts of the UK into one huge lake and the boundaries between land and sea dissolved. There were rivers where there should have been roads and railway lines and many footpaths disappeared altogether.
The Money Markets
Keep a tight hold of your money whilst Mercury is retrograde. Mercury’s name is related to the Latin word merx which means merchandise, trade and commerce and is therefore linked to the stock ‘market’.
The topsy-turvy phenomenon of Mercury Retrograde often coincides with unpredictable financial markets. Likewise, anything that’s decided during a Mercury Retrograde phase might not last and the shares you thought were a good bet could tumble dramatically once Mercury turns direct.