The Weekly Tiger: What even is Retrograde?

Personally, I don’t really know what it means when people say that Mercury is in retrograde. Does it actually affect us? Is it something I can blame my acne on? Is this just another bulls**t marketing ploy to get us white girls to buy retrograde survival kits and memorabilia? (Cue me buying a “Mercury in Retrograde World Tour” graphic tee from Target a few days ago). 

All of our solar system’s planets move from East to West around the Sun. When Mercury turns to move from West to East instead, it’s said to be moving in retrograde. Mercury naturally rotates the Sun slower than Earth, so when they move in opposite directions, it gives the illusion that Mercury is moving backwards, or in retrograde. 

In the world of astrology, the planet Mercury is said to govern technology, time and learning. When Mercury is in retrograde, it’s said to affect just those things here on Earth. The poor planet gets blamed for missed flights, miscommunication, bad business deals, broken phones and even car problems (unfortunately not acne). But, of course, there’s no actual scientific evidence to back up these claims. 

Because of the retrogrades root in the world of astrology, it’s also said that if you were born during a retrograde it might have the opposite effect and you might see more clearly, be more productive and make some power moves in your professional life. The retrograde effects on earth are rooted in the “science” of astrology. I was already skeptic of the effects to begin with, but after reading about its correlation with astrology, I rolled my eyes so far back that they nearly fell out of my head. 

Part of my suspicion totally comes from the fact that I’m a Scorpio, the sign with arguably the worst reputation of them all. Scorpio’s are said to be manipulative, power-hungry, aggressive and passionate. None of which I feel I identify with. 

A lot of die hard astrology fans claim that your sun sign (or the sign that’s correlated with your birthday) might not accurately describe you on its own. There’s a lot more to your birth chart than just your sun sign and each part plays a different role in the complexity that is personality. After your sun sign is your moon sign, or the sign that rules your emotions, moods and feelings. Your moon sign is the sign that you probably think of yourself as because it’s said to reflect your personality when you’re alone or deeply comfortable. For example, my moon sign is Virgo. 

A moon sign in Virgo means that my emotional self is analytical and responsible but also tends to be a bundle of nerves and finds safety and security in things and people I know and am familiar with. I’ll always be skeptical of something with little to no scientific evidence, but a Virgo moon sign sounds an awful lot like me. 

Lastly there’s your rising or ascending sign. The rising sign is the sign that you present to others. It’s the “mask” that you wear to face people you might not know or who you want people to think you are. My rising sign is Cancer. This means that I come across to others as intuitive, warm and gentle while also sometimes seeming more overly emotional or sensitive to criticism. 

I can’t help but notice how much my rising and moon sign relate to my personality. Am I being tricked into thinking it’s accurate because it’s personal to me? Or is actually just nonsense like I originally thought? 

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