Monday, June 17, 2024

What is Mercury retrograde?

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But things started to change within a few centuries, likely due to a combination of political, cultural, and scientific factors. 

In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that our planetary system centered around the sun, not the Earth. When Galileo started turning telescopes on the heavens in the early 1600s, the heliocentric model caught on—which, “for many people, made astrology a bit less likely,” Campion says. 

There also may have been a political component eroding interest in astrology, he adds. During the tensions around the English Civil Wars in the mid 1600s, astrology became associated with radical puritans who overthrew the monarchy in 1649. Once the monarchy was restored, all things seen as radical were rolled back. 

By 1700, astrological consultation for personal destinies and the use of personal horoscopes “pretty much disappeared from Europe … and was no longer taken seriously by educated people,” Campion says. Astrology endured only in the publication of monthly or annual almanacs. 

A modern phenomenon

Horoscope astrology began to resurface around the 1920s, Campion says, with regular newspaper columns describing predictions for the 12 zodiac signs. But the popularity of the concept of Mercury retrograde has been a more recent trend, particularly in the last five years, says Jennifer Freed, an astrologer with a PhD in psychology. 

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