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Advantage E-Zine - October 1, 2001

Today Mercury retrogrades. This is a regular phenomenon that occurs about
three times a year for roughly 21 days. Since we know the planets orbit the
Sun in a relatively regular motion and do not actually slow down, stop and
go backward, many people do not understand what this is. It is actually an
optical illusion, but for some mysterious reason, it does actually affect
mass consciousness.

The way this illusion happens has to do with the differences in speed of our
Earth compared to Mercury and the curvature of their orbits. I like to use
the analogy of two trains on parallel tracks going in the same direction but
one going faster than the other. The faster train, coming from behind,
catches up with the slower one, both for a time seem to stand still when
viewed from the other, and then the slower one appears to go backward from
the vantage point of the faster train.

Well, you say, Mercury is the faster planet, not Earth. However, when the
Earth and Mercury get to certain points in their orbits, always when Mercury
is approaching a conjunction with the Sun (but not every conjunction between
them is when Mercury is retrograde), because of the curvature of their
orbits, the reverse appears to be true. Hence, Mercury appears to stop and
then go backward from the vantage point of Earth, although in reality, it is
doing nothing of the sort. Incidentally, a conjunction of Mercury to the Sun
when direct is called a "superior" conjunction, but when retrograde, is
called "inferior".

The degree in which the retrograde occurs is important. In this case it is
at 29 Libra. If a chart has a planet or angle on or aspecting this degree,
it becomes personal. It will affect that chart in the area ruled or teneted
by Mercury and the other planet. In the case of its aspecting an angle, it
is even more potent.

Mercury retrograde periods would be best used as reflective periods. It
seems as though the universe inclines us this way since one of the
characteristics of this period is that things seem to go awry and have to be
done again. It certainly teaches caution and patience.

One of the most famous events during one of these retrograde periods is the
sinking of the Titanic. Most mishaps had to do with Mercury-ruled things.
The binoculars for the lookouts were missing, decisions (Mercury) the White
Star Line made about the number of lifeboats to carry were unfortunate, "The
California", the closest ship to them, which was even in sight, stopped
communications for the night and didn't get the SOS, and the red flares used
to signal distress were not on board. So, when they used the white ones,
"The California" thought it was for celebrating. All these are typical of
Mercury retrograde fiascos.

Therefore, for the next three weeks, be more careful, slow down and pay
attention to what you're doing and do not start a business!
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