▶ Watch Video: Can you really blame “Mercury retrograde”?

Do the planets have an actual impact on how we live our daily lives? This is a question that has been asked for thousands of years as people have looked above and beyond for answers to their daily life.  

When things are going wrong, many are inclined to blame a phenomenon known as “Mercury retrograde.” 

This is a period when the planet Mercury enters retrograde motion and appears to move backward in the sky — although it isn’t actually moving backward. Mercury, like Earth, has an elliptical orbit around the sun. But since it’s between Earth and the sun — and moves faster — it appears from our vantage point to change direction as it laps Earth.

It happens several times a year, including the final rotation of this year’s cycle, which begins on Wednesday, Dec. 28. 

Astrology is not considered a science and its essence has been highly contested for more than 200 years. Depending on whom you ask, it may or may not play a role in our lives. 

According to astrologer Rebecca Gordon, the reason there tends to be a negative stigma around “Mercury retrograde” is because the planet Mercury rules an important part of people’s lives: communication. 

“When Mercury is moving forward, in its natural motion, communications go generally easily. Though when Mercury goes out of its natural orbit, say in retrograde, there tend to be all sorts of wires crossed and miscommunications,” Gordon said. 

But astrophysicist Jackie Flaherty strongly disagrees that people on Earth can be affected by the planet Mercury’s movements. 

“It’s millions of miles away from us. So, millions of miles and a very small rock is not going to impact you, your body, and your world. It’s too far. It doesn’t exert a gravitational force on you physically at a level that could do anything to you,” Flaherty said. 

For those who believe that Mercury’s movements are bringing chaos into their lives, Gordon said the key during these turbulent times is to take things one at a time.  

“My advice is that if you take things a little slower during the retrograde, things will be a lot easier,” she said. 

Astrophysicist Flaherty said in the end whatever is happening in people’s lives, the responsibility and outcome usually depend on the individual. 

“I do want people to understand the science. I want them to really get the concepts of it and then at the end of that lesson, if you still wanna walk away and make the decision about what you think is impacting you, okay. But have the science first,” she said.