“The cosmos is a vast living body, of which we are still parts. The sun is a great heart whose tremors run through our smallest veins. The moon is a great nerve center from which we quiver forever. Who knows the power that Saturn has over us, or Venus? But it is a vital power, rippling exquisitely through us all the time.” ~D.H. Lawrence

I am not a studied astrologer, but I am a strong Scorpio. I do believe that our relationship to the universe matters and we feel the shifts between the planets even if we can’t name it as such. My husband is a hobby astronomer. He knows a lot of facts about the planets and can aim a telescope with his bare eye on a planet. Above our bed we have a mobile of the solar system which spins and every now and again all the planets line up. I believe it means something. He just laughs.

Believe it or not, we have just begun another cycle of Mercury in retrograde, which typically happens three times per year (although this year is four). Astronomically, it is when the planet Mercury slows down and appears to stop or even move backwards as it moves behind the sun. It is an optical illusion like speeding by a slow moving train. Astrologically the impact of these periods is said to be a time of inward motion, a time to catch up with ourselves. Often, Mercury in retrograde brings something from the past forward again for a second look, or uncovers something you didn’t or couldn’t see.

For me, these periods of retrograde are a mixed blessing. Things happen to slow me down. Computers break down, emails and phone numbers are lost, and the words I say don’t come out how I mean them. My determination and clarity is replaced by questioning myself and my motives. My relationships are more taxing and less rewarding. All of these and more are often associated with a Mercury retrograde period. It is an enforced planetary time out, where stuff that may have needed our attention and got glossed over, now demands it.

Believers will tell you to avoid making any firm plans or signing contracts. While it is a good time to get clear with details, premature closure or an urgency to move forward often will not always bring the best outcome. Learning to wait, to see things from the side you may not have been eager to look from before are the gifts. It is a chance to go over old ground again and claim what you missed the first time. This can be painful and rewarding simultaneously, especially in our relationships.

If astrology gives us any insight, it is through the patterns that happen from living in a universe that has order. At least this is what attracts me to the study of astrology, the belief that there is a divine order to life and that not everything is as random as it seems. Still I haven’t ever been a big fan of the retrogrades. This latest retrograde will be with us until May 11th– plenty of time to go back to the drawing board and make sure this is the path I choose.