With the return of the mysticism and astrology paradigm in pop culture, you'll hear all sorts of things about planets being in "retrograde"—the infamous Mercury retrograde in particular. This is especially useful when we want someone or something to blame for their reckless behavior, or plain old bad luck. Turns out this isn't all hocus-pocus, nor is there always a witch's hex behind one's week-long streak of bad hair days or love life faux pas. It isn't always us, we swear.
Sometimes, the planets rotate backward.
When we say a planet is in retrograde, it means that, from our visual vantage point of the earth, it appears to be spinning backward. In actuality, the earth will sometimes travel much faster than the planets on the same trajectory, causing the illusion of those other planets moving in the opposite direction. When this happens, the planet that is being passed by will appear to halt altogether and then move backward; this is when that planet is in retrograde. During this period, the change of position and alignment is probably what causes us sensitive beings to feel the effects of a retrograde cycle for a couple days or weeks.
Though the actual retrograde is an illusion, we certainly experience the effects here on earth. In the same way lunar events can throw things temporarily off balance, these retrograde phases often cause subtle catastrophe in even the most solid routines, periodically prompting us to reevaluate our life choices.
This week, we find ourselves in the midst of not one, but three retrogrades. Three. And, surprise, none of them are in Mercury (but if you found yourself between a rock and a hard place with miscommunications back in March, that was totally why).