Why Seattle entrepreneurs are incorporating Mercury retrograde into their businesses
Over the years I have heard countless people mention some snafu in their life or that they were having a bad day, and then chuckle and matter-of-factly say, “What can you do? Mercury is in retrograde.” I never understood what that meant, but I figured it had to do with astrology, and as someone who scores low on the “woo” scale, I never bothered to find out.
But in February, after two people delayed plans and projects with me because of Mercury retrograde, my curiosity got the best of me.
“It’s the appearance, from our vantage point on Earth, that a planet appears to be going backwards, in the opposite direction,” said Seattle astrologist, Stephanie Gailing. “Now, of course, planets including Mercury do not turn around.”
It was an ancient optical illusion, but even after science proved that planets don’t spin backward, followers of astrology continue to believe that a powerful shift is occurring. Gailing says there are three Mercury retrogrades every year, each lasting about three weeks, and during those periods things relating to communication and technology often go awry.
“Things that people avoid during Mercury retrograde would be signing an important contract, big serious communications that might be binding,” Gailing said. “People like to not buy phones and computers. It’s not a great time to launch something new if you can avoid it.”
But Gailing says life goes on, contracts must be signed, and Mercury retrograde shouldn’t just be a period of avoidance. She says its a time to reflect, edit, move slowly, and carve out time to be quiet and reflective.
“Mercury retrograde is a really amazing time for reediting, reviewing, reassessing,” said Gailing. “If you think about the fact that the planet appears to be retraversing the path that it just moved through, that’s what we should do. We should go back over things that we have recently done in the realm of Mercury, in the realm of communication. Ooh, I had that sort of funky conversation with my brother, let me go back over that.”
Gailing consults with many business leaders, including Chavi Hohm, co-owner of Seattle’s Team Diva real estate.
“We include astrology in our business,” said Hohm. “We have a practice for ourselves and our team which is: the more you know about yourself, the better you’re able to show up and be successful.”
Hohm says there was a Mercury retrograde in late 2019 that gave strong warning that 2020 would be a rocky year.
“I was like, this is an opportunity for us to prepare for what I know is going to be a massive pivot,” said Hohm. “I didn’t know what that pivot was going to look like, but I needed to use the opportunity with Mercury in retrograde to re-review personal relationships, re-review our shared finances so we could prepare for a big transit in January 2020.”
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson did a segment about Mercury retrograde on his show, Star Talk.
“Astrology predates the methods and tools of science,” he said. “So all of the astrological vocabulary and assertions trace to a time when Earth was the center of the known universe. People believed that these stars were put there for our benefit. The foundations of astrology have no justification in a scientifically literate modern world. But people still cling to it. It’s a way to offload accountability for random things that are happening in your life.”
Jessica Butts disagrees. Butts is a Kenmore-based psychotherapist turned entrepreneurial coach.
“If the moon can affect our oceans, then a planet can absolutely affect my itty-bitty existence,” she said.
For the past decade, Butts has used Mercury retrograde as a time to slow down and reflect.
“I was feeling all of this wonky energy,” said Butts. “I would have dreams about exes and people from my past, I was lethargic, I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I didn’t have my normal ambitious energy. So I started doing some research and I came across Mercury retrograde. This woman, her name is Teal Swan, she is one cuckoo chick and I love everything about it. She says it is Mercury pulling us back. It is pulling us back to old patterns.”
Butts doesn’t care what an astrophysicist has to say about Mercury retrograde.
“I feel it, so I know it’s not bull,” said Butts. “On the Myers-Briggs scale you’re a thinker and I’m a feeler, so you’re looking for logic and practicality in things. I am such a strong feeler that if my body tells me something is real, I don’t need a book, I don’t need to talk about it. I believe it to be true.”
Hohm also has no time for the haters.
“I kind of don’t care what other people think about how I do business because I have the checking account to prove that I do it the right way,” laughs Hohm. “I don’t really talk about to other people. I haven’t been like, oh, by the way, I’m launching a business and the sun and Jupiter are going to be in relationship with each other. It’s a complicated thing to explain to someone else.”
The next Mercury retrograde will begin on May 29.
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