Astrology Does Not Work

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Rather, the control group is a collection of patients receiving a placebo. The placebo effect is the mechanism at work with astrology. Many people believe in astrology. When they read their horoscope and follow its advice, they feel better. But it is the belief itself and not the astrology that is making them feel better. Astrology only seems to work in bad studies. Not all studies are made equal, and if you look hard enough through the literature, you’ll come across some studies that seem to at least suggest. The IC is the space in which we retreat to do our behind-the-scenes restorative work, and that's why we're less inclined to show it off to the world. It's our cuddly little cosmic safety zone. In astrology, we always believe the following rule is true: “As above, so too below.” By that we mean there is a fractal relationship between the orbits in the heavens and human activity down here on Earth. This idea pervades all of astrology and is a very good concept to keep in mind. Areas of Life Mercury Rules.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th

The 12 Houses of astrology are arranged on a circle-shaped chart, or wheel. Do not confuse the wheel of Houses with the zodiac wheel. They are 2 different wheels. The zodiac wheel is based on the sun's apparent yearly rotation about our Earth (along the ecliptic), while the wheel of Houses is based on our Earth's 24-hour rotation about its own axis. The 2 wheels join together at points derived by calculations involving your exact birth time and astronomical birth coordinates. Then, the planets are described in 2 ways: as being in a zodiac sign, and also as being in a House. For example, two people may both have a Libra Sun sign, but one may have the Libran Sun in his 12th House, while the other may have his Libran Sun in his 1st house. This could make for two very different types of people. (Another reason why the popular daily Sun Sign Horoscopes are a bunch of silliness: they are written assuming everyone has their Sun in the 1st House. There is no warrant or accuracy in that).

The 12 Houses of astrology are symbolic of the all the departments that make up human life. The planets and zodiac signs will manifest themselves most strongly in the sphere of life represented by the House in which they fall on your chart (and also in the House which they rule; more on House Rulerships later). Remember, the houses are not 'energies' like the elements or planets, nor do they color the expression of energies like the zodiac signs do. The houses are WHERE these energies are most likely to manifest. The houses are the fields of experience, not the experience themselves.

Notice how the order of the Houses follows the developmental path of a human's life, from the original impulse of individual being (1st house), to learning what is 'mine' and how to use what one owns (2nd house), to learning how to communicate within the limitations set by our environment (3rd house), etc. The following description of the Houses are short and topical, directed at beginners.

The most important houses are the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses. These are called the 'angular houses' because their cusps coincide with the 4 special angles: ascendant, I.C., descendant, and M.C. Planets in the angular houses will influence you the most.

The first House is the House of self. This includes self-awareness, the physical body, personality, appearance, personal views on life, self-identity, self-image, early environment, and beginnings; how we initiate, how we're impulsive. Any planets in this house will greatly influence your personality and how others perceive you.

The second House refers to your own money and possessions, what you value, your hidden talents, sense of self-worth, self-esteem (how you value yourself, instead of describing your personality as in the 1st House). Possessions include anything a person owns (except the house/home which is ruled by the 4th House): cars, furniture, clothing, moveable property, investments and securities, etc. The 2nd house specifies how you gain and spend your own money (as opposed to other's money in the 8th house), your attitude towards wealth and material possessions, and your potential for accumulating it/them.

The third House is that of communication, which by extension includes one's immediate environment: siblings, neighbors, short journeys, and all forms of transportation. The 3rd house also includes the intellect, the lower mind (details and small bits of information as opposed to the higher mind in 9th house), thinking patterns, and early education (before college). Communication includes messages, deliveries, gossip, phone calls, visits, reading and writing.

The fourth House refers to the home and everything associated with it (both the childhood home & the current home): family, land, personal foundations (inner emotional security), your roots. Astrologers are divided over whether this house is associated with one's mother or father. What is clear is that a person's upbringing is associated with this House.

On a deeper level, the 4th house is the base of consciousness or the center of our concrete existence. See how the cusp of the 4th house is the I.C., the lowest point on the chart, representative of things below the surface of Earth. Due to that, the 4th house was believed to rule the conditions at the end of life, and graves. As the root or base of your real self, the 4th house rules where you go when you 'die' but also where you came from. For those who believe in reincarnation, the 4th house would give clues to your karmic lesson for this lifetime. It shows what karmic baggage you brought with you into this life. Even if you don't believe in reincarnation, you're likely to be surprised by what you find in your 4th house for it may move your soul.

Any planets in the 4th house affect your home life, your emotions, your subconscious, and possibly your relationship with your parents.

The fifth House refers to children, creativity, and the pursuit of pleasure. This includes personal interests, love affairs, sports, hobbies, speculation, risk-taking, teaching, drama, creative self-expression, love given, gambling. The 5th house is all about you being yourself and enjoying it.

Romance, dating, love affairs, and sexual relationships are ruled by this 5th house, yet marriage is assigned to the 7th. Why? Because, until very recently, marriage was not entered into for pleasure, for love, nor for personal fulfillment. Marriage was hardly even entered into by choice, but rather for the purpose of raising kids to preserve the values of a particular culture or religion. And these marriages were most often arranged according to class and financial status, a partnership befitting the 7th house.

Nowadays, it's common to marry for love. To avoid confusion, remember: affairs of the heart are in the 5th house, but cooperative partnerships are in the domain of the 7th house.

The sixth House refers to daily work, service, diet, health and physical sickness, physical ability to work, employees. This includes volunteer labor, civil service work, caretaking, and mundane daily tasks. The 6th house really involves the quality of your work, the quality of the jobs you perform, as opposed to an actual career (career is represented by the 10th house). Daily mundane tasks include personal hygiene and our method of responding to everyday crises.

The seventh House is sometimes referred to as the House of marriage, but it encompasses all one-to-one relationships: marriage, business partnerships, contracts, cooperative relationships, and also divorce, separation, quarrels, open enemies, and law suits.

The difference between the love affairs of the 5th House and love relationships of the 7th is that the 7th House refers to more permanently binding relationships, whereas the 5th House refers to affairs that may be temporary. When the 5th House affair progresses into a serious relationship, we can say that the relationship has 'moved into the 7th House.'

7th house relationships are about cooperation and sharing, and they generally serve some functional purpose in the larger social community (i.e. a marriage). This is different from a 5th house love affair, whose only qualification is 'butterflies in the stomach.'

The 7th house includes the way you relate to those closest to you. Planets in this house will influence your manner of relating. They also give clues to issues that arise in your relationships.

Simply put, the 8th house is the polar opposite of the 2nd house. Whereas the 2nd rules your own individual possessions, the 8th house rules what a relationship owns (joint finances).

The 8th House is one of the most misunderstood Houses. This is probably because the things represented by the 8th House seem to have nothing in common with each other, or they seem to be negative. This House governs death, regeneration, taxes, inheritances, wills & legacies, sex (the actual act of sex), latent occult ability, joint resources, your partner’s money and possessions, spouse's money, bankruptcy, losses, personal sacrifices, alimony, clairvoyance.

On a positive note, this House is about transformation and healing. But transformation and healing require some type of death, loss, or injury first. This House rules those processes and things by which we transform and become more powerful. Yes, this includes the act of sex.

The ninth House refers to philosophy, religion, law, learning, higher education (as opposed to early education by the 3rd House), ethics, morals, long journeys, travel, foreign countries and interests, spiritual urges, dreams, visions, higher mind, ideas, understanding and wisdom, books, publishing, ceremonies, and rituals. This is the House of big thoughts and big ideas.

9th house 'understanding' is more complex than 3rd house 'knowledge'. The act of 'knowing' belongs to the 3rd house because it implies simply the direct contact of a person with something in his environment. Understanding involves the synthesis of known data.

While the 3rd house refers to an individual's need to understand his close and personal environment, the 9th house is an area in which one seeks to discover the significance of larger fields of social existence which one may not experience directly but which his mind may explore through the use of analogy, generalization and abstraction. The 3rd and 9th houses symbolize the 2 polarities of the human mind, the concrete and the abstract.

In summary, the 9th house includes experiences that we encounter when we search for the meaning of things. Whatever expands your field of activity or the scope of your mind – long journeys, contact with other cultures, great dreams, and even experiences with fortunetellers.

The tenth House is the House of status, honor, community power, prestige, reputation, and professional career. In our society, this includes financial success, but only as it relates to community power and prestige. It's not about gaining 'material stuff' as it is in the 2nd house. The 10th house wants success for the sake of honor and social status.

This house includes social foundations (as opposed to personal home foundations in the 4th), recognition, personal achievements, social responsibilities, sense of duty, authority figures, politicians. This House encompasses the most public areas of one's life, and the career that you grow into, as opposed to daily work and odd jobs ruled by the 6th House.

As with the 4th House, astrologers are divided over whether the 10th House rules one's mother or father. Those that say the 4th House rules the mother, say the 10th House rules the father, and vice versa. What is clear is that the 4th House rules the nurturing, home-body parent, while the 10th House rules the public, success-focused parent (the parent who 'wears the pants').

As with the other angular houses, any planets in this house are very important. Planets in the 10th house, the sign on the cusp of the 10th house, and its ruling planet will greatly influence your career and your general reputation in public.

The eleventh House is the House of community, large groups, and friends. It refers to memberships, hopes, goals, ambitions, wishes, social groups, associations, humanitarian interests. It also refers to self-realization, liberty, legislation and regulation.

This is probably the most misunderstood house of all. The twelfth House refers to the subconscious, the hidden self that exists apart from our physical everyday reality. This includes the unconscious mind, subconscious memory, subconscious habit patterns from the past, mental illness, karmic debts, self-deception, escapism, spiritual realization, limitations, frustration, and ultimately our self-undoing.

Why Astrology Doesn't Work

On a physical, material level, the 12th house includes things that take us away from everyday life: institutions (such as hospitals, prisons, government offices), places of confinement, secrets, secret relationships, hidden enemies, and self-sacrifice for others. It also refers to sorrow, tribulations, widowhood, grief, funerals, exile, seclusion, bribery, subversion, murder, suicide, kidnapping, and endings.

For those who believe, the 12th house is also considered to refer to the collective unconscious of all humanity.

'Natural' Houses of the Planets & Signs

Each planet and zodiac sign is naturally associated with a House, the House that most corresponds to its archetype. The planet, then, is said to be the 'Natural Ruler' of that House, or more often, it's said to be 'at home' in that House. The House/planet associations were adjusted with the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The following table lists the current House rulers, along with the traditional rulers. The traditional rulers are still considered to be co-rulers of that House (along with the new planet that rules the House). (Note: in your own birth chart, the rulers of your houses are determined by the signs that fall on the cusps of your houses. However, the natural rulers, listed here, give a subtle influence).

HouseKeywordsZodiac SignNatural RulerTraditional Ruler
1stself, life, body Aries Mars
2ndpossessions, money, material circumstances, livelihood Taurus Venus
3rdlocal movement, short journeys, communication, school, siblings Gemini Mercury
4thhome, family, roots, parent Cancer Moon
5thcreativity, children, romance, entertainment Leo Sun
6thhealth, service, work, routine Virgo Mercury
7thpartners, marriage, open enemies Libra Venus
8thsex, death, inheritances, other’s money, loss Scorpio Pluto Mars
9th travel, higher education, religion, spirituality, law Sagittarius Jupiter
10thcareer, social position, dominant parent Capricorn Saturn
11thfriendships, associations, aspirations Aquarius Uranus Saturn
12thhidden matters, the unconscious, clandestine relationships, secret enemies, seclusion PiscesNeptune Jupiter

Take Note: The qualities of the zodiac signs are not exactly the same as those of the Houses which they are associated with. There are subtle differences between the qualities of the signs and Houses. More on the zodiac signs later; but first, learn about the star players, the Planets. See Lesson 5-The Planets.

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Mercury Retrograde and What it Means for You

By Susan Miller April 19th, 2016
You may have heard friends say, “Oh, no – Mercury is about to retrograde again!” If you don’t know astrology, you may have wondered what they were talking about. Of all planetary aspects, this one seems to garner the most attention from readers, and it certainly generates the most mail.

The reason for their interest is clear – this phenomenon is one of the few that affects everyone in a fairly uniform way, and its effects are always obvious. Once you begin to pay attention to how events in your life change during these phases, you will soon see how important it is to take note of them.

Keeping track of Mercury retrograde periods can allow you to increase your productivity and avoid at least some of the frustration they can bring about. Let’s look closely at Mercury retrograde and what it means to you.

Mercury Retrograde Periods from 2016 to 2030

2016

January 5 – January 25, 2016 in Aquarius, ends in earth-sign Capricorn
April 28 – May 22, 2016 in earth-sign Taurus
August 30 – September 22, 2016 in earth-sign Virgo
Dec 19 2016 – Jan 8, 2017 in earth-sign Capricorn, ends in fire-sign Sagittarius

2017

Dec 19, 2016 to Jan 8, 2017 earth-sign Capricorn, to fire-sign Sagittarius
April 9 – May 3, 2017 earth-sign Taurus, to fire-sign Aries
August 12 – Sept 5, 2017 in earth-sign Virgo, ends in fire-sign Leo
December 3 – December 22, 2017 in fire-sign Sagittarius

2018

March 22 – April 15, 2018 in fire-sign Aries
July 26 – August 18, 2018 in fire-sign Leo water-sign Scorpio
November 16 – December 6 in fire sign Sagittarius, ends water sign Scorpio

2019

March 5 – 28, 2019 in water-sign Pisces
July 7 – 31, 2019 starts in fire-sign Leo, ends in water-sign Cancer
October 31 – November 20, 2019 in water-sign Scorpio

2020

February 18 – March 9, 2020 in water-sign Pisces, ends in air-sign Aquarius
June 17 – July 12, 2020 in water-sign Cancer
October 13 – November 3, 2020 in water-sign Scorpio, ends in air-sign Libra

Why Astrology Fails

2021

January 30 – February 20 in air-sign Aquarius
May 29 – June 22 in air-sign Gemini
September 27 – October 18 in air-sign Libra

2022

January 14 – February 3 starts in air sign Aquarius, ends in earth-sign Capricorn
May 10 – June 2 starts in air sign Gemini, ends in earth-sign Taurus
September 9 – October 2 starts in air-sign Libra, ends in earth-sign Virgo December 29 – January 18 in earth-sign Capricorn
Not

2023

See above, Dec 29, 2022 – Jan 18, 2023- goes direct in earth sign Capricorn
April 21 – May 14 in earth sign Taurus
August 23 – September 15 in earth sign Virgo
December 13, 2023 – January 1, 2024 in fire-sign Sagittarius

2024

See above, January 1, 2024 goes direct in fire-sign Sagittarius
April 1- April 25 in fire-sign Aries
August 4 – August 28 in earth-sign and ends in fire-sign Leo
November 25 – December 15 in fire-sign Sagittarius

2025

March 14 – April 7 starts in fire-sign Aries, ends in water-sign Pisces
July 17 – August 11 in fire-sign Leo
November 9 – November 29 starts in fire-sign Sagittarius, ends in water-sign Scorpio

2026

Astrology Doesn't Work

February 25 – March 20 in water-sign Pisces
June 29 – July 23 in water-sign Cancer
October 24 – November 13 in water-sign Scorpio

2027

February 9 – March 3 starts in water-sign Pisces, ends in air-sign Aquarius
June 10 – July 4 starts in water-sign Cancer, ends in air-sign Gemini
October 7 – October 28 starts in water-sign Scorpio, ends in air-sign Libra

2028

January 24 – February 14 in air-sign Aquarius
May 21 – June 13 in air-sign Gemini
September 19 – October 11 in air-sign Libra

2029

January 7 – January 27 starts in air-sign Aquarius, ends in earth-sign Capricorn
May 1 – May 25 in earth-sign Taurus
September 2 – September 24 starts in air-sign Libra, ends in earth-sign Virgo
December 21 – January 10, 2030 in earth-sign Capricorn

2030

See above, December 21, 2029 – January 10, 2030 in earth-sign Capricorn
April 12 – May 6 starts in earth-sign Taurus, ends in fire-sign Aries
August 15 – September 8 in earth-sign Virgo
December 5 – December 25 starts in earth-sign Capricorn, ends in fire-sign Sagittarius

Does Mercury Really Move Backward?

Mercury doesn’t actually move backward. If you do a bit of stargazing, you will see that Mercury appears to move backward, just as the ancient astrologers perceived thousands of years ago. After a while – in Mercury’s case, a three-and-a-half-week period – the planet will reverse itself and move “forward” again.

Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period. If you were in a car and another car passed you, you could tell it was going faster than you. But if it slowed down and you then passed it, it would appear that that car was actually going backward. Then when the other car speeds up and passes you again, it kicks up all of the dust in the road. As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives.

In astrology, we always believe the following rule is true: “As above, so too below.” By that we mean there is a fractal relationship between the orbits in the heavens and human activity down here on Earth. This idea pervades all of astrology and is a very good concept to keep in mind.

Areas of Life Mercury Rules

Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth.

Included under this planet’s domain are all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping, and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control.

Why does this happen? When a planet retrogrades, astrologically it is in a resting or sleeping state. Therefore, while Mercury naps, the activities that it governs don’t have the benefit of a well-functioning, wide-awake planet to supervise them. Expect a certain degree of pandemonium to ensue!

What You Should – and Should Not – Do During a Mercury Retrograde Phase

Don’t make any important moves when Mercury is retrograde. Nothing will be settled successfully for the future during these periods anyway – you will find it nearly impossible to nail down a plan. During a retrograde period, it is hard to get decisions from others. Even if a decision is made, it will be subject to change, either just after Mercury turns to direct motion or much later.

Mercury retrograde periods would not be good times to do anything involving communications, such as launch a magazine, website, or an advertising or publicity campaign.

These phases are also considered poor times to launch any new endeavors, even if they are not related to the communications industries.

Similarly, a retrograde period is not a good time to sign any contracts or even to shake hands on any new agreements. Do not close on a house during this time nor sign a lease. Verbal agreements are considered the same as written ones. The environment will be quite fluid and changeable, no matter what you are told or what you think.

It’s not that the people you are dealing with are necessarily duplicitous. It’s just that nobody can fully predict what conditions will be like later. If you start a new job, it won’t necessarily be the position you thought it was when you accepted it. If you are a manager, you will have difficulty choosing the right candidate for the job, so, if you can, hold off hiring anyone. If you buy a house, problems could crop up later that were completely unanticipated.

Do Not Have Plastic Surgery or Other Elective Surgery When Mercury, Venus, and Mars Are Retrograde

Of course, if you have an emergency, you must have surgery. At other times in life, we do have a choice about when to schedule an operation or procedure. In those cases, such as having plastic surgery, it is best to avoid Mercury retrograde periods. These are periods where mistakes are more prone to happen than at other times, or when judgment is off. Your surgeon is under the same conditions as you, so I would suggest waiting.

I would also strongly suggest that you avoid plastic surgery when Venus retrogrades, because Venus rules beauty, and the whole purpose of the surgery is to improve your looks.

Mars rules the whole area of surgery, so you would ideally want Mars to be in the best possible form, too. It is said not to have an operation on the part of the body that the sign Mars is moving through rules. For example, if Mars happens to be in Capricorn, it would not be the best time for a knee operation because Capricorn rules the knees. It is said that Mars will increase pain and swelling. A full moon at the time of the surgery will increase bleeding. We do the best we can.

Again, let me reiterate, if you have an emergency, don’t worry about any of these rules – have your surgery. I had to have very serious surgery, triggered by a new moon solar eclipse, on the wrong part of the body (because Mars was in the sign ruling the part of the body that was being affected by the surgery). Admittedly, it was a tough surgery, but it was highly successful. If you need surgery, have it!

Mars Will Retrograde

April 17, 2016 to June 29, 2016 in fire-sign Sagittarius
June 26 to Aug 27, 2018 in air-sign Aqua. ends earth-sign Capricorn
September 9 to November 13, 2020 in fire-sign Aries

October 30, 2022 to January 12, 2023 in air-sign Gemini
December 6, 2024 to Feb 23, 2025 in air-sign Leo ends in water-sign Cancer

Venus Will Retrograde

March 4 to April 15, 2017 in fire-sign Aries, ends in water-sign Pisces
October 5 to November 16, 2018 in water-sign Scorpio, ends in air-sign Libra
May 13 to June 25, 2020 in air-sign Gemini

December 19, 2021 to January 29, 2022 in earth-sign Capricorn
July 22, 2023 to September 23, 2023 in fire-sign Leo
March 1, 2025 to April 12, 2025 in fire-sign Aries, ends in water-sign Pisces

What Other Specific Things Should You Watch Out For?

Since Mercury rules the mail and the conveyance of information, be extra careful when sending important documents. If you send faxes, be sure to call the people at the other end to let them know your documents are waiting for them. Otherwise, they may never see it. If you work in an office and have to photocopy an important document, be sure to retrieve the original. Be equally careful about whom you send email to – you don’t want to send a private email to the wrong person or have a sensitive email forwarded to others.

Your client may suddenly change direction on a project you have been working on and give you new instructions, which may require you to discard some of the work you did. Miscommunications abound, so during these periods keep summarizing what you think the other person has just told you. Go the extra mile – you will be glad you did!

Mercury retrograde periods are notorious for causing computers to crash and for machines, appliances, and other electronic devices to show signs of wear, requiring urgent repair. Backup your computer in advance of any Mercury retrograde period. If you had planned to install new software on your personal computer (or, if you work in IT, on your network), wait until the retrograde period is over to do so. Weird things happen during these periods. For example, you may suddenly discover that you were sold a defective hard drive, even though it may never have given you problems in the past, at least not until you created that vital document and your whole system went down.

Mercury also rules trade and commerce, so don’t buy or sell anything expensive during its retrograde phases. Often you will find that the item you want is out of stock. If you do buy something expensive, such as a car, computer, or jewelry, for example, you may regret your purchase later. If you are buying or selling a house, expect problems, errors, delays, and setbacks to arise. The only times you can buy something expensive during a retrograde period are if you are returning something you already bought.

Computers, high tech items, appliances, automobiles, and other machines and electronics are highly susceptible to Mercury in a retrograde period. Mercury rules moving parts, so that can be one reason. Yet, other things happen. You buy an air conditioner and 30 days later discover it has gone on sale for much less than what you paid. Or you by an expensive smartphone during a retrograde only to drop it (and crack its screen) or lose it soon afterward. It really does pay to wait to buy electronics.

In years past, Mercury always seemed to retrograde during the holiday shopping season. For example, in 2011, Mercury was retrograde from “Black Friday” (where retailers go into the black because everyone loves to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25) until the end of the day on December 13.

If you are driving any significant distance during a period where Mercury is retrograde, bring extra maps (or make sure your GPS is up to date), make sure you have enough gas, and verify that you have the correct address and clear driving instructions. If your car is making strange sounds, have it inspected before you leave; you don’t want a problem to emerge when you are on the road. If you are flying, check with your airline to make sure your flight is going to take off on time. Have your luggage well marked so that it won’t get lost or sent to the wrong airport, and bring your iPod and a good book to the airport, as there could be lots of delays.

Some people do not travel when Mercury is retrograde, and perhaps that might be wise if your trip is business-oriented. However, if you are returning to see a former client you’ve worked with in the past, traveling during the retrograde is fine. Sales people know that business is always most likely from former clients. If you are in sales, earmark all your former clients for special attention during these phases.

You can take a trip for pleasure during these periods. Actually, this could be a perfect time to go, for you get away from it all, and everyone back at the office will “feel” the retrograde – they will miss your quick problem-solving ability and advice while you are away! During a retrograde phase, you might want to travel to a place from your childhood that you loved but haven’t seen in a long time. It could be lots of fun because going back to places you knew is favored.

Forgetfulness can be a problem during these phases. You are more likely to leave your airline ticket or passport on your desk rather than put it in your pocket; leave your cell phone, sunglasses, or gloves in the back seat of a cab; or lock yourself out of your car or house. I always advise that you tape your business card on the back of your computer or smartphone case, and slip your card into your case holding your eyeglasses in case one of these treasures is lost.

I also suggest that if you buy a gift card for someone, you photocopy the card’s serial number so that if you or your recipient loses the card, you can get it replaced quickly by the retailer. (Of course, keep your receipt stapled to the photocopy. Some retailers can give you a gift receipt with the serial number on the receipt, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of having the card photocopied. Even so, keep a copy in your records too, for your recipient may lose everything!) Tell your recipient that you are taking precautions, in case they do lose your gift and are too shy to tell you that they did! Often there is a comedy of errors surrounding Mercury retrograde!

While we are on the topic of photocopying important documents, photocopy your passport and give your family members a copy, too. If you ever should lose your passport, you will have a copy to show the passport office, and it will make things much easier for you! Do that today, while you are thinking of it!

Romance tends to go haywire, too, during Mercury retrograde periods. Couples tend to create miscommunications that in turn can cause a domino effect of errors. Try not to jump to conclusions, and keep striving for clarity. Your sweetheart or spouse could also have a sudden change of mind. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend says, “I want to break up,” he or she could say later, “No, let’s not! I didn’t really mean it!” That’s because people aren’t always thinking straight during these phases. Mercury retrograde is notorious for creating confusion.

Keep in mind that Mercury retrogrades in three different signs of the zodiac during the year. If it retrogrades in your sign, delays and frustrations will become even more pronounced than usual. In this case, try to be even more vigilant and double-check proposals, ideas, creative efforts, and other plans to root out flaws or incorrect assumptions. Always go the extra mile to find errors during a retrograde. These periods demand a slow and deliberate approach.

A Handy Truth About Mercury Retrograde: Things Are In Flux, But You Don’t Know They Are – Yet

When Mercury retrogrades, think of it as an instant signal that the wind is changing direction. Something is in flux up on the road ahead, but the problem is, everything looks the same and unchanging. What makes these periods so difficult is that you cannot see yet that they are about to change, often radically.

Let’s say you take a new position while Mercury is retrograde. After you start, the company starts extreme cost-cutting procedures, and you suddenly discover you will lose some of the people who report to you. On top of that, your title changes – not in a way you like. In this typical example, you had no idea these procedures were being planned, and had you known, you would have never taken the job. Things like this happen all the time when Mercury is out of phase. Do not take a job when Mercury is retrograde, and don’t start one during a retrograde, either.

A Key to the Solution to Any Mercury Retrograde Problem Lies in the Element Mercury is Found In: Fire, Earth, Air, or Water

Each year, Mercury will favor one element over another. In 2012, Mercury will retrograde in fire signs, so that tells us we need to apply completely new, visionary, and innovative solutions to the problem that comes up. Fire signs are highly creative and also brave and pioneering – don’t be shy about suggesting a very unusual solution. Fire signs also think on a big, broad scale, so you should think that way when attacking the problem, too.

If Mercury retrogrades in an earth sign, be very practical about finding a solution, and strictly adhere to limits of time or budget. Money often plays a big part of both the problem and the answer when Mercury is retrograde. You would probably do best by not suggesting a blue-sky idea, which would have worked with Mercury in a fire sign.

If Mercury retrogrades in an air sign, lots of discussion will need to take place, as air signs are highly communicative. Talk to a lot of people and poll their responses. Do a great deal of research, too. Air signs are analytical and modern – you may hear of a solution that is so new, you may not even have known it was possible. Use the answer that seems best for you after going through this process, and make sure you are objective and not emotional in choosing your answer.

If Mercury retrogrades in a water sign, use your intuition. Research can be driven by the way questions are asked, so if your research says to go a certain way, but your intuition tells you to reject the research, follow your gut. Intellect can only get us so far; often our emotional intelligence is more accurate. If Mercury retrogrades in a water sign, it’s an instant signal to start listening to that small voice within.

What If You Can’t Put Off a Decision Until a Later Date?

What if you can’t wait a few weeks? In that case, you may have to proceed anyway. Do so knowing that the conditions around the situation will probably change, so plan to be flexible. For example, if you are looking at a great apartment, you may have to sign the lease or risk losing it. However, before you do, ask lots of questions.

If you are buying a house, hire a top engineer to check it out, or get two engineers’ opinions. Be ready for something to come up. Do all you can to extend the process: Say your lawyer is out of town or in court. Say you will be in Paris during that time!

My own daughter re-signed her lease during the retrograde (she’s Aries, and as a typical Aries, Diana doesn’t like to hear about rules). Four months later, the landlord sold the building, and Diana was forced to move immediately. A year later, my little Aries bought a computer during the retrograde. (“It’s a Mac, what could possibly go wrong?”) Nothing went wrong, except her judgment. She later said she regrets not getting the more expensive model with a much bigger screen. She finally sold her new Mac laptop to a friend, bought a Mac desktop with the big screen she needed, and is happy now.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule:

“Don’t Plan Big Actions During a Retrograde”? Yes!

Indeed, despite what I have just said, there are situations where you can move forward, gingerly, during Mercury retrograde. The main time you can is if you are going back to the past, either to correct something or do more with a person you know and admire.

If your editor gives you an assignment that was put on the back burner a year ago, and it has jumped to life again, proceed!

Here is another example: Let’s say you are out of work and looking for a new job. Your old boss (whom you enjoyed working with on a previous job) invites you to join the company he is at now, as a member of the team. In this case, you will be going back to a former professional relationship that you actually started a long time ago, and this is simply an ongoing situation. In this case, you CAN take the job.

Readers ask, “Well, I started interviewing for a new job before the retrograde, but the offer for the new job was made after Mercury retrograde. Technically, I knew the interviewer for a few weeks before the retrograde, so can’t I take the job?” Actually no. In this case, you have had no real history with this interviewer or company. Sorry, this does not apply. However, if you are desperate and badly need to find a job, take it, but realize it will not be a long-term solution. You may be out looking again soon, possibly because you don’t like anything about that new job. That may be fine with you, for at least you will have income for a short time, which is better than no income at all. Also, it is said to be easier to find a new job after you have one, so in that sense, it may be helpful to take a short-term, stopgap job.

What if you gave a bid on a house you loved and wanted but that was rejected. Can you go back and put in a new bid on that same house during the retrograde, even months later (assuming the house is not yet sold)? Yes. In this case, you have a history with the house, the people who live there, and your broker. This would actually be a good time to “redo” your bid and send it in again. When it comes to exceptions, if you have a history with the person or situation, you can proceed carefully during the Mercury retrograde period.

Astrological combination of delay or denial of child birth If the fifth house, 5th house lord and progenitor Jupiter is afflicted by the inauspicious planet. The fifth house, Bhavesh and Guru must be afflicted by the three Ascendant (Lagna, Chandra Lagna and Guru Lagna). A strong lord of fifth house or putra bhava promises good progeny. A strong karaka Jupiter would promise support to male child. Any malefic influence of 6/8/12 house entering into fifth house or affecting the lord of fifth house from moon or ascendant could lead to problems with Progeny. Placement of lord of fifth in 6/8/12 th house means delay or denial of progeny. Denial of children vedic astrology characteristics. Vedic astrology predictions denies child birth when the lords of your 5th or 11th house is in a barren sign or two barren signs. It is also denied if your ascendant or your first cusp falls in any of these barren signs.

What If You Were Born Under Mercury Retrograde?

It has been said by some astrologers that people who were born under Mercury retrograde are immune from much of the mayhem of this phase, but I do not agree that this is true. (I was born while Mercury was in retrograde, and I always find these periods quite difficult, perhaps because I work in Mercury-ruled publishing!)

You can find out if you were born under these phases by checking your natal horoscope wheel. The planet Mercury’s symbol will have a small “R” under it on the horoscope wheel.

People born under this phase are said to have philosophical and reflective natures that help them think through complex concepts quite creatively. Never worry about having a baby during one of these retrograde periods – it is always a good time to have a child!

Mercury’s Impending Shadow Period

As Mercury approaches its “switch point” (the day it actually turns retrograde), it will progress along a path that it will later retrace in the sky over the next few weeks. The two- or three-week period prior to Mercury retrograde is called the “impending shadow period.” If you initiate anything important during that shadow period – that is, in the time before Mercury begins to retrograde – you still may encounter problems.

If you have a choice whether to sign papers or initiate an action prior to Mercury retrograde or just after it is finished retrograding, there is no question that I suggest you wait and act afterward. Try to secure a little breathing space (a few days or even better, two weeks) from the date Mercury goes direct, for safety. It doesn’t pay to rush to do things before Mercury retrogrades. Waiting is always the wiser option.

Here is another vital point to keep in mind: Mercury is more powerful on the onset and finish dates of its retrograde. I call them the “bookend” dates of the retrograde, and static and dust seem to fill the air more noticeably than any other time.

The presidential election date of 2000 (when President Bush was declared the winner) was on a day when Mercury was due to turn direct. This is a good example of the problems that can occur just as the planet is turning forward or backward. In that case, it was weeks until the winner of the election was chosen.

This point deserves reiteration: Always allow two days, minimum, after Mercury moves ahead to normal direct speed before you start initiating projects or making big purchases. The more time you can allow after this planet goes direct, the better. If you can wait two weeks, all the better.

Is Mercury Retrograde All Bad? Not at All!

Although these Mercury retrograde periods can be frustrating, they are often useful too, for they allow us to reassess, revisit, readdress, redo, and redesign our plans. Sometimes we rush along in life without fully considering our basic assumptions or actions. Mercury retrograde allows us to stop, look, listen, and redirect our energies more productively. Mercury also helps us find closure to certain situations.

Reconnecting with old pals and relatives is very common during retrograde periods, and that can be one of the most positive and fun sides of this planet’s retrograde orbit. If you hear from an old friend or colleague during Mercury retrograde, I feel there is a potent reason for it. It seems to me that there is something that the two of you are meant to do or plan together.

We can all benefit from taking a closer look at situations with greater depth, which happens when Mercury retrogrades. Mercury retrograde periods are like walking through glue, so they do tend to make us slow down, which at times can be a blessing.

Here are some examples of ways Mercury retrograde can help you:

  • Perhaps you have been working on a project that seems to have gone down the wrong path. When Mercury retrogrades, it could become evident that the project needs to be altered slightly or redirected. Even if you did not get your way originally, if you argue your case persuasively, things might go your way now.
  • You stall on accepting a job offer, and lo and behold, a better one comes your way in the meantime.
  • You refrain from buying a certain big-ticket item, and within a few weeks, the coveted item goes on sale and you will be glad you waited.
  • If a meeting is postponed or cancelled, you have more time to gather additional information that probably will come in quite handy.
  • If you are in sales, go back to old customers and clients. You may do better by asking for more business from people who have always trusted you than by trying to extend your reach into new sales territory. Former customers like being contacted, and under Mercury retrograde, you will have the time to do so.
  • Missing objects are likely to be found. That beautiful bracelet wasn’t lost after all – it was on your bookshelf, behind your favorite book!

What Else Should You Do During Mercury Retrograde Periods?

It would be a great time to reorganize your files or closets. Pack up clothes you haven’t worn in a while and give them to charity. Polish your shoes and decide which ones need repair, and while you are at it, decide which appliances need to be taken in for repair as well. Oddly, as busy as we are, during these phases we always seem to find more time to get things done. When you clean your closets, you will find treasures you thought you lost or had completely forgotten about, always a bonus of going through things you have not seen in a while.

Not

Mercury rules anything that begins with “re”: redo, reassess, repair, repeat, redesign, or revisit. It’s always human nature to want to hear that new opportunities are coming our way, but we really do need to focus on the quality of our work and improve it to the best it can be. Often this is a better use of our time than continually chasing the newest idea. Mercury retrograde allows you to be thorough and to perfect your performance.

Don’t assume everything goes wrong during Mercury retrograde – sometimes things work in your favor. If you are self-employed and turned down an assignment because the price the client was willing to pay was too low, this same client may come back after the retrograde (after he sees many others turning down his offer) – and you get the project after all, at the right price. People reconsider their stance when Mercury is retrograde, and in some cases, conditions turn out to be more favorable to you than they might have been before.

As you can see, Mercury retrograde is not all bad – you can count on it!

Revised March 2016