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Travel Troubles? Blame Mercury Retrograde!

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My husband had a host of travel troubles last week.

“Damn Mercury retrograde!” he cussed on the phone to me while he waited to hear when his delayed flight might be allowed to take-off. (This after troubles just getting to the airport, then fearing his flight might be canceled, but eventually just having to suffer take-off being delayed twice.)

“What the heck is Mercury retrograde and what does it have to do with me?” those of you not into astrology might be wondering.

Excellent question. If you’re going to be doing any traveling in the next couple of weeks, it could have a lot to do with you.

Rather than explain it all in my own words, I’m going to pull a quote from Astrology on the Web! (Hey, when they’ve written it so perfectly, why try to reinvent the wheel?)

At 04:46 UT (Universal Time), on Monday, September 7th, 2009, Mercury the cosmic trickster turns retrograde at 6°13′ Libra, in the sign of the Scales, sending communications, travel, appointments, mail and the www into a general snarlup! The retro period begins some days before the actual turning point (as Mercury slows) and lasts for three weeks or so, until Sep. 29, when the Winged Messenger reaches his direct station. At this time he halts and begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac.

Everything finally straightens out on October 18, as he passes the point where he first turned retrograde.

“Turning points? Direct motion? Say what?”

If you’re not astrology-savvy, it sounds complicated (even hokey to some), but basically every planet –except for the Sun and the Moon– appear to move backward, or “turn retrograde,” at some point every year. Some planets, like Mercury, do it more than one time a year. But the planets really aren’t moving backwards. Again, rather than muddle it up with my own lingo, Astrology on the Web! sums it up best:

According to modern science, this traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth with relation to other planets in our solar system. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way due to this cosmic shadow-play.

The effects on us when planets go retrograde differ, but personally I think Mercury retrograde always causes the most headaches. It’s not that huge, monumentally bad things happen. It’s just that nothing ever quite goes as planned, and often it causes schedules and plans to be revised.

Basically, you need to exercise a lot of patience during this time and expect the unexpected. Like travel hiccups, including travel delays, cancellations, websites crashing when you’re trying to print pre-boarding passes or check-in ahead of time, taxis getting lost en route to your destination, et cetera.

It’s also an excellent time to double-check travel plans, verify reservations, and make sure you have things like confirmation numbers on hand. Oh, and always leave yourself extra time during this period. You’ll likely need it!

I’m not sure what effect Mercury retrograde has on ghosts and paranormal activity, but if you’re planning Haunt Jaunts of any nature during this time all I can suggest is, “Beware and be prepared.” You just never know what might happen during Mercury retrograde!


Normally we’re only subjected to three Mercury retrograde periods a year. Again, credit goes to Astrology on the Web! for educating me that this year we’ll have four.

We’re in the third one currently. We’ll end the year and start the New Year with the last one (December 26, 2009-January 15, 2010).

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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