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A "Louder" Planet

Planets vary in their distance to Earth as they travel their elliptical paths around the Sun. A planet always retrogrades when its path brings it nearest to Earth. Many astrologers believe that when a specific planet is so close to Earth it is "louder" than when it is further away. One might reckon that a retrograde planet is actually more powerful than when it is moving in its normal direct motion. So why did the ancient astrologers consider a retrograde planet to be such a negative?

To fully understand the Mercury retrograde phenomenon, we need to look at Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) in children. ADD is associated with hyperactivity. How is ADD treated? Children are given Ritalin, an amphetamine-related stimulant. On the surface, Ritalin seems like it would just make the hyperactive kids even more hyper, but they reach a point of over-stimulation, and then they shut down.

Mercury retrograde works the same way. It is not a bad time. Itís only difficult if you are not prepared to handle the increased load of data. Itís like we have invisible bridges and wires connecting each of us to all the places we typically go each day and to all the people with whom we communicate.

As Mercury gets closer and closer to Earth, the bridges and wires have to deal with increased traffic. When the traffic gets too intense, there is a traffic jam, a wire frays, or a bridge collapses. Hence the negative judgment about Mercury retrogrades.

The Other Side of the Coin

When communication bridges break down, there is a message trying to get through. The message is about the integrity of our bridges. Unfortunately, the time to fortify our communication structures is not during a Mercurial communication storm. We should be doing that in the relative lull between Mercuryís retrograde periods.

If we have been doing our communication work, then Mercury retrogrades can be quite productive as the data flows increase. The build up of phone calls, emails, places to go and people to see can cause us to reconsider plans previously made, rewrite documents that we thought were completed and re-do things that we thought were done. If we approach the tasks with the understanding that the universe is giving us a chance to get it right, then our attitude can remain positive, instead of dwelling on what went wrong.


Rick Levine is Co-founder of He has been involved in the technology sector for 30 years. As a Founding Trustee of Kepler College, he is interested in the education of astrologers. As a frequent lecturer at astrology conferences, he teaches about the important relationships between science, astrology and our spiritual traditions. He writes the Daily Horoscope Column for, which is published on,,,, and more. He co-authors (with Jeff Jawer)

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Other StarIQ articles by Rick Levine:

  • Opa Retreat - Marco Island, Florida -- April 22-25, 2004   2/7/2004
  • Winter Solstice Poem   12/19/2003
  • The Gift of the Magi   12/24/2001
  • Astrological Christmas Carols   12/20/2001
  • Solstice 2001   12/17/2001
  • Recent Saturn-Pluto Cycles   11/10/2001
  • The New Global Perspective   10/20/2001
  • Ben Affleck Turns 29   8/20/2001
  • Attack on Kepler College: A Modern Inquisition   5/18/2001
  • A Christmas Poem   12/24/2000
  • The Mercury Retrograde Story   11/8/1999
  • ProSig October 1999   10/20/1999
  • Solar Eclipse August 1999   9/1/1999

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