I am what most people would consider skeptical. Of everything. Star signs and astrology have definitely been some of the things of which I'm most skeptical. It wasn't until I married a man whose family was super serious about star charts that I even understood any of it. They mapped my children's birth to tell their futures. Would a retrograde Mercury be mappable? Apparently, yes, so what does it mean to give birth while Mercury is in retrograde?
According to traditional Western astrology, giving birth during retrograde isn't an especially auspicious event given the fact that it happens so regularly. In fact, a full 25 percent of the population was born while Mercury was in retrograde, so it's a bit like saying "Oh, you were born in Winter? What does that mean?" Your birthday is likely to be cold, and someone is going to try to combine your birthday and Christmas present, which is totally lame. According to the same Western astrology, it may or may not impact your communication skills, making you a careful, cautious communicator. What does it mean for the woman who goes into labor while Mercury is in retrograde? Obviously, you can tell everyone it was especially awesome because you did it while Mercury was in retrograde, and doesn't that just figure?
What's happening when Mercury goes into retrograde? Contrary to popular belief, the planet closest to the sun doesn't just pack its bags and start walking backwards past our planet like some creeper trying to get a closer look. Nope, according to NASA, "Retrograde motion is an apparent change in the movement of the planet through the sky. It is not real in that the planet does not physically start moving backwards in its orbit. It just appears to do so because of the relative positions of the planet and Earth and how they are moving around the Sun."
As it turns out (heliocentric pun intended), according to my star chart, yours truly was born while Mercury was in retrograde. Somewhere in Texas, my mother is quietly nodding her head while reading this, chanting softly "That explains so much." Because according to astrologer Dixie Rose of Gravesend, Brooklyn, kids born during retrograde tend to be gregarious — the jokers. "They're a little loud," she tells Romper. "A little more enthusiastic than other children." She obviously never saw me in gym class. "They can be thought of as a little," and she took a dramatic pause, "much."
If I had a dollar for how often I was told I was a little too much, I'd have enough to buy several pairs of Doc Martens and a Lamborghini. My daughter was also born during retrograde, and while she's a church mouse at school and with strangers, she is the center of attention at home.
While Mercury in retrograde is always chattered about as some huge cosmic middle finger to your plans, this is largely because of the long standing belief that solar flares and magnetic storms, that already happen in cycles, do so because Mercury is in retrograde, thanks, in part, to an article in The Baltimore Sun in the early '70s. This was all fueled by the superstition that when the planets appear to go in the reverse direction, it has some cosmic force on the planet. But, worry not. You're no more likely to go into labor, or to have a child as wild as me (you should be so lucky, I'm awesome), while Mercury is in retrograde than during any other part of the astrological year.
That doesn't mean you can't blame burning the pizza or buying the wrong shampoo on a retrograde planet though, because you can and should.
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