Blog Post

How Astrologers Sell Us the Stars

For the third time this year, the planet Mercury has gone into retrograde and once again, the internet astrologers are trying to outdo one another with dire warnings about how this cosmological event can wreak havoc on planet Earth. Too bad it’s nothing but hype to sell natal charts and good luck charms.

For those who never heard of it, Mercury goes into retrograde roughly four times a year for a three-week period. Retrograde means that the planet appears to shift direction and move backward, an event that astronomers confirm really does happen; however, the planet doesn’t actually change its direction. It only appears to do so from Earth’s vantage point. In other words, it’s an optical illusion.

But that doesn’t stop astrologers from cashing in on this celestial heyday by convincing us that every computer crash, marital spat, missed flight, and bad-hair-day is because that pesky planet appears to be moving backward again. And because Mercury is named after the Roman god of commerce, astrologers assert that this phenomenon will have an impact on everything from communications to commerce to luck and travel. They advise their clients to refrain from starting anything new during this time, such as a business or relationship, to watch out for overspending, get rid of clutter, revise your diet, protect your cellphone, and so many other precautions you should probably spend these last few days of the retrograde hiding in a closet.

Astrologer Yasmin Boland told Daily Mail that the current event, which lasts until October 2, is especially bad because it’s occurring during the Zodiac sign of Virgo which makes it a “double whammy” that will have a much more intense effect on us than the average Mercury retrograde.

“As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of ‘wind’ in its wake,” Miller said. “The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives. In astrology, we always believe the following rule is true: ‘As above, so too below.’ By that we mean there is a fractal relationship between the orbits and human activity down here on Earth’.”

The problem with Miller’s explanation is with its basic premise – that the movement of the planets affect us here on earth. Not so, say astronomers. Planets have no affect on our lives whatsoever.

"The idea that the gravity from these very distant bodies affects our lives in some way just doesn't work in the framework of physics," said Jean-Luc Margot, planetary astronomer and professor at UCLA told Livescience.

David J. Helfand, Professor of Astronomy and Columbia University Chair, agrees. "In fact, the gravitational force of Mercury on an Earth-bound you is less than the force of your dog on you when you pat him or her on the head," he explained to Indy100. "But apparently, some people prefer 2000-year-old views of the world in which the planets govern their lives – no need to take any personal responsibility then, is there?"

Someone needs to make sure social media gets the memo because it’s alive with frantic tweets from people who claim Mercury in retrograde is ruining their lives. One person claimed  she broke her Macbook screen and then broke her backup monitor, forcing her to buy another monitor. On top of all that, she also thought she lost her wedding ring. Another claimed that the babies in daycare where she works haven’t stopped losing their minds since Mercury went into retrograde. Someone else tweeted about feeling "weird and angry more than ever.”

And it’s all Mercury’s fault!

But don’t despair. There’s a talisman for that. According to this article in the Daily Mail, there are a variety of products available that are designed to offset the Mercury retrograde. For example, you can buy a Hamsa hand good luck charm bracelet for just $12. If you’re being impacted by the negative energy of others, a Mineral Intention Box containing powerful stones like Amethyst and Black Onyx will “absorb internal negativity and shield you against the dark energy of others” and only set you back $29. A Zodiac Disc Necklace personalized to your star sign is a steal at $110 and can protect you from harm when worn close to the heart.

As silly as it all sounds, astrology has been making a comeback since the desperate days of the pandemic and has grown into a $2.2 billion industry in the U.S. This is in spite of the fact that it is based on a Babylonian occult art that doesn't have a shred of credible science to back up any of its claims. How can it be that such a highly educated society dismisses belief in a personal God Who has made His existence known in a myriad of ways for thousands of years and instead embraces an utterly baseless superstition like astrology to guide their lives?

Yes, weird things do happen when Mercury goes into retrograde – and the weirdest of all is how many otherwise intelligent people still believe in astrology.

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