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Slow Global Warming


by Gary Brand - written March 19, 2004,
published in the April 2004 edition of Echo* newspaper
ercury and Earth have different orbital speeds so Mercury appears, from our perspective, to stop and then move backwards at times.  Retrograde is the term for this apparent backward movement.  Mercury retrogrades three times a year and lasts an average of 22 days but the effective period lasts 7-8 weeks because it includes the times before, during and after its retrograde when Mercury appears to move slower than its average speed.  The speed of the planets was important to master astrologers throughout history - Claudius Ptolemy, Guido Bonatti, Johannes Schoener, Tycho Brahe, and Johannes Kepler, to name but a few.  So when Mercury, the fastest-moving planet, appears to poke along at a snail's pace before, during and after it retrogrades, the effect is worse than when a normally slow moving planet like Saturn slows or even appears to stop (called a station).  When Mercury is moving very slowly and about to station (or stop from our perspective) the effect is at a maximum and at its worst.  The following graph depicts the zigzag pattern that Mercury made in the sky before, during and after this retrograde (it moved from left to right).  However, the retrograde pattern does not always look like this.

The following events can happen at any time but they are more likely to occur when Mercury is retrograde or moving at less than its average speed.  Other times when the same or similar effects are likely to occur are when Mercury is strongly aspected by certain other planets.  However, such other times do not last as long as periods when Mercury is moving less than its average speed before, during and after it retrogrades.  Mercury is retrograde April 6-30 and we will feel the effects March 25 - May 24.  The worst times during this period are the week prior to and including April 6 and the week prior to and including April 30.  Note that the effects of a slow Mercury linger through most of May.  The following examples are from my clients' and my experiences over the last two decades.

A rare Mercury passage or what astronomers call a transit
in front of the Sun on May 7, 2003, taken in ultraviolet light
by NASA's TRACE spacecraft. Mercury appears as a small black dot during a rare passage (what astronomers call a "transit") in front of the Sun on May 7, 2003, taken in ultraviolet light by NASA's TRACE spacecraft.  In traditional astrology when Mercury is so closely aligned with the Sun, we call it "in cazimi," which means in the heart of the Sun.  Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
A slow or retrograde Mercury affects our thinking and our ability to communicate.  Misunderstandings and misconceptions occur more frequently.  We are more absent-minded and forgetful so avoid misplacing your keys or locking them in the house or the car.  Misreading or misinterpreting instructions are common.  Giving or receiving unclear/incorrect directions or instructions and being given incorrect information and not knowing it is incorrect frequently occur.  Telephones are more likely to be out-of-order or have problems such as static, strange noises or poor connections.  The potential for misdialing phone numbers or receiving wrong number calls is greater and we receive more phone calls than usual, including solicitations.  We experience greater difficulty connecting with others.  Mail can be delayed, mis-delivered or lost (a letter mailed from the West coast took 16 days to arrive on the East coast) but, on the other hand, lost or delayed letters are often delivered.  Don't forget to sign your letters and checks and be sure to put postage on bills and letters.  When writing or typing, especially addresses and phone numbers, avoid leaving a number out or transposing letters in a word or digits in a number.  We are more likely to mispronounce words, say the wrong word or juxtapose words in a sentence.  Forgetting, missing or changing appointments is more common.  Avoid signing contracts, but if you cannot wait, be sure that you read it completely, that you understand the terms, and that you can live with them later.

A slow moving or retrograde Mercury effects transportation too.  More accidents occur because it affects the judgment and coordination of humans and animals so watch out for animals in or on the side of the road.  There is also more debris in the road (e.g. rocks, glass, bags of trash, debris, branches).  Traffic lights are more likely to malfunction.  Traffic delays are common (i.e. police or construction block an often used street) more road construction is scheduled and road construction causes longer delays.  Other drivers annoy us more by driving too slow, too fast, by tailgating us or by pulling out in front of us.  When traveling by plane, itineraries often change unexpectedly, airport radar can fail, and delayed flights are common.  Don't be surprised if your luggage arrives at your destination two days after you do.

The impact that a slow or retrograde Mercury has on cars is something most of us notice.  Car problems that existed prior to Mercury retrograde period usually worsen.  Cars are more likely to not start, stall or quit running.  Sometimes engines race or continue running after the ignition is turned off.  Electrical problems (e.g. dead battery, the alternator quits, alarms or warning lights go on when they shouldn't, or headlights flicker or burn out) are more common because Mercury also rules electricity.  Be sure to check your oil and other fluid levels, repair slow leaking tires, and turn off the headlights, overhead lights, etc. when leaving your car.  Avoid buying a car (new or used), unless you don't mind owning a lemon!

Because Mercury is associated with mechanical and electrical devices, they are more likely to shock you, quit or make noises.  Unplug your TV, computer, and other expensive equipment during lightning storms unless they are on a good quality surge protector.  Computers are more apt to crash or develop problems.  If your car, appliance or computer needs repair, it may take longer or you may have to take it back after the repair.  If you buy a car, a major appliance, computer or computer peripheral, it will later require more maintenance.

Here is some good news.  When Mercury slows or is retrograde, it is a message to pay more attention to details and slow down!  Catch up on correspondence and call or e-mail someone on your mind.  Look for things you have previously misplaced.  Finish writing or editing something you have already started.  Review, rewrite, resubmit applications or publications.  Correct mistakes and clear up misunderstandings with others.

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

© copyright 2004-2013 Gary Brand.  All Rights Reserved.