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What Is Mercury Retrograde?

A Guide to This Holiday's Mercury Retrograde

Three times a year, Mercury, the planet of communication, drives in reverse down the Milky Way, but this year it's packed in a bonus fourth lap. From Dec. 10 to Dec. 30, it will retreat backward for one last last hurrah, and astrologists' charts are spinning.

If you're like me, this means very little, but friends have blamed Mercury retrograde for my lost keys enough that I'd like to consider it, if only to stop blaming myself. Thanks to Pluto's downgrade to a Disney character, Mercury is the smallest, but fastest, in the galaxy. While all planets go retro at some point, fast-moving Mercury gets ahead of itself often and must slow down. It doesn't even actually move backward; it just slows to the point that all other planets move faster, creating the illusion it's going backward.

That's a technicality for us earthlings, though, as astrologists insist this little planet spells big trouble. Mercury is the planet of communication, so its retrograde's shenanigans are usually mixed messages, muddled communication, and misplaced items, but its full effect lies in the whole astrological picture. And astrologists say this coming retrograde is packed with an extra evil punch that's ready to wreak havoc on the holidays.

The chaos before the storm kicks in is on Black Friday and continues until after New Year's. Astrologists predict shopping nightmares (bad deals, understocked stores) and traveling woes (bad weather, mechanical errors, and possible terrorist threats) along with misplaced packages, dissolving marriages, disappearing jobs, and maybe the start of a new war or two.

My prediction? You'll probably lose your boarding pass and have to reprint it at the airport.

Source: Flickr User Remko van Dokkum

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