Right on Cue, Mercury Starts Acting Out

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Right on cue, Mercury entered his pre-retrograde shadow period and immediately started wreaking havoc.

Between 6 and 7 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, just as Mercury hit the degree where his retrograde will end, a message appeared in my WordPress dashboard that there was an update for a plugin. These are fairly routine. Whenever they pop up, I select the automatic update option, which never takes more than a few seconds. This particular one was for Amazon widgets short code. I haven’t a clue what that means or what it does, but I went ahead with the update.

If you tried to access the RealAstrologers website from that moment right up until midnight, all you got was some funny looking code with error messages on a white screen. I’d swear Mercury himself wrote it; either that, or he was channeling through the programmer who authored it. I’d also swear I heard the mischievous laughter.

Fortunately, my web host does a complete backup once a day, so they were able to restore everything up to the point of the last save. It took a few hours, but at least I didn’t lose any content. Until the process was complete, I was totally shut out of the control panel and couldn’t even post a message saying we were temporarily down.

I was telling a friend about it this evening, and he said his Internet browser froze up right around 6 p.m. He had to reboot his computer. Did anyone else experience glitches yesterday with their computers, e-mail, or electronics?

If incidents like this are happening when Mercury is barely into his shadow period, what’s going to happen when he officially turns retrograde on March 30? Let’s consider ourselves forewarned and start now to take all of the necessary steps to ensure a safe and happy Mercury retrograde. Above all, get your backup plan in place!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

7 thoughts on “Right on Cue, Mercury Starts Acting Out

  1. Charles

    Hmm.. I think we discussed before that I think computer basic functions are not ruled by Mercury, but by Earth (turning abstract data into stored patterns in silicon chips and hard disk platters coated with iron). But this is a classic example of the part that IS ruled by Mercury: telecommunications. So, not to belittle your difficulties, but let me reframe that problem a little bit, splitting out Mercury and Earth..

    You were communicating with your blog software, doing supervisory and administrative functions, there was a recommended update to the software sent to you. You commanded the remote computer to perform the install and then were unable to communicate with your remote blog host, it didn’t respond to your commands, and sent back incomprehensible error messages. There were two remote copies of your software and writing, one broken and one perfectly good. A total backup existed but the live version was not functioning, even the supervisory mode did not respond when you tried to talk to it.
    So you contacted tech support, it took some time but they were able to fully restore the backup copy of your blog from yesterday, and reconnect it to the internet. You didn’t make any changes since the backup, so no work was lost, phew.

    Now that is subtly different. I wouldn’t be so nitpicky except that sometimes it is useful to have a different mental model of our computers, to separate the internet/communicative functions from the computing/symbol manipulation and storage functions. This helps us take a more effective approach to our computing tasks.

    So let me rephrase that incident again. Trickster Mercury says “boo!” and Mr. Blog freezes up and stops talking. But Earth says, “do-over!” Just turn the Earth back one rotation to when Mr. Blog was OK. Do-over, good thing you didn’t do any work yesterday that you have to do over. LOLMercury, what a joker, you thought that was going to be a disaster, didn’t you?

    So I always tell people, don’t worry so much about your computer hardware blowing up during a Mercury retrograde. Take more care of telecommunications though. Make sure your internet connection is working well, prepare alternate communication channels if email or file transmissions encounter difficulty.


  2. Pat Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Charles. No need to apologize for “belittling” my difficulty. In the end, it wasn’t a big deal. The reason I posted at all was to alert everyone that Mercury entering shadow showed up on the radar screen, and that’s a sign we need to start being mindful now and not wait until the end of the month to take all the necessary precautions.

    As for your analysis taking Earth into consideration, that’s very interesting. Western tropical astrology has never used Earth as a planet — because, obviously, we can’t see it from here! Some astrologers advocate accounting for it somehow, and some even say it should be the ruler of Taurus, which in some ways makes sense. But for the moment, the Earth has no rulership and is not considered a planet in Western tropical astrology. Therefore, it cannot rule any particular activity.

    Nonetheless, as I see it, the Earth by definition is considered in every planetary transit, as our system of tracking their movements through the signs is totally earth-centric. Retrogrades are a perfect example — planets obviously don’t reverse their orbits. It’s an optical illusion caused by the relative orbits of the earth and the planet going retrograde. So, when we talk about events that correspond to retrograde Mercury or Mercury going into his pre-retrograde shadow, we’re automatically talking about the relationship between Mercury and the Earth.

    I also agree with you that we don’t need to worry too much about our computers blowing up during Mercury retrograde. However, I have experienced many incidents of problems with electronics during Mercury retrogrades — in other words, hardware problems. Others have, too. One of my favorite examples is Jeff Kishner dropping his iPod in a fish tank during Mercury retrograde in Pisces. There’s not much we can do in advance to avoid that sort of thing, but we can at least mitigate the damage by not buying expensive electronics during retrogrades and by being extra careful — unplugging them while not in use, not eating or drinking next to them, and so forth. We could argue that it’s never a good idea to do those things, but it just seems that if an accident is waiting to happen, all it needs to give it the final nudge is a bad Mercury transit.


    1. Charles

      Mercury Rx iPod under Pisces fish tank. LOL that is hilarious.

      Perhaps I should have said this is a matter of elements instead of planets, Earth as an element rather than Mercury representing Air. Those intangible ideas and pieces of data are like Air, while recording them in concrete form on silicon and metal devices is an Earth function.
      Another person gave the same geocentric astrology objection that you did, asking me where I’d represent that Earth function in a chart. Saturn, I guess? Data storage and symbol manipulation seems to be a function of judgement and putting structure into material form. Sounds like Saturn to me.


  3. Pat Post author

    Isn’t data storage just a matter of 0s and 1s? On/off? And it has to happen very fast — not an attribute of Saturn.


    1. Charles

      The data is stored as 1s and 0s, but they are meaningless without a rigid structure to define the data. The structure says whether those bits are a number or a letter, for example. That sounds Saturn-like to me, but I won’t stretch the metaphor to the breaking point.


  4. Marjolijn

    Interesting discussion!

    I don’t mean to be daft or anything, but erm… indeed the intagible pieces of data are like Air, and recording them in concrete form is Earth (not THE Earth, as so far I’m with Pat on this one. I’m sure Earth energies play a huge role, but we can’t take “us” away from the experience. Like with observation, the observant is automatically part of the experience.)

    Anyhoo, data being neatly organised and put away in concrete form…that’s Virgo!

    And with that, we’re back to Mercury.

    Btw Pat, I love your blog! I’ve been following it for a couple of weeks now, so you’re not “writing into a black hole” or however you put it somewhere. :)

    ps: My preview button isn’t working…go figure, lol


  5. Pat Post author

    Saturn, as Lord of Time, is involved in all manifestation that we call “physical,” and that by definition involves structure, be it mineral, plant, or animal. However, that does not mean that Saturn rules everything in the physical universe. Rulerships generally are determined by function. Computers are used for information, communications and business, which are activities ruled by Mercury.

    It’s no coincidence that Virgos (or people with strong Virgo in their charts) are the accountants, programmers, and engineers of the zodiac.

    Speaking of which, the preview button has been broken ever since I redesigned the site. I wrote to the designer of the template, and he responded with a bunch of programming jibberish completely unintelligible to a non-programmer like me. It’s on my (very long) list of things to do.


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