“Epic Breakdown” in Iowa? It must be Mercury Retrograde time!

What happens when the Iowa Caucuses are held two weeks before Mercury stations retrograde*? The risk of system failures rises precipitously. Like the one that happened last night, in what news outlets like the Washington Post are describing as a “technical snag” that resulted in a social media “cesspool of toxic Iowa conspiracy theories.”

Tech madness coupled with rumors, hearsay, and scandal? Classic Mercury Retrograde!

“Mercury retrograde” has become a catchphrase many of us have heard. Astrologers know it well. And we know that its effects — often encompassing snafus in communications, transportation, tech, and planning — can manifest in large ways and small in individual lives. And in some instances more than others (the retrograde occurs about three times per year).

People have become afraid of this period. But Mercury retrograde, as frustrating as it can be, is also a time to step back. Reflect. Go over things left undone in the past few months and finish them. Adjust plans. And spend some time contemplating any deeper issues that may have arisen.

As it turns out, sometimes astrological configurations play out at the macro level, too. And here we are: like clockwork, with the retrograde shadow period beginning, a massive failure of an electoral system that’s marked the beginning of the U.S. election cycle since 1972.

Sure, it’s a mess. But as is often the case with this retrograde period, this particular mess is a good thing. It points to the need for the U.S. to overhaul many of its election systems, to update its procedures for the increased security needs of this era, and to take a close look at whether or not Iowa’s “first in the nation” status should continue, given the country’s demographic changes.

All this is to say: Mercury retrograde is coming, and it’ll be okay. If it happens to affect your life this time around, know that you can use it to improve systems, increase awareness, look at things you may have taken for granted. Take a pause, and a breath.

And try not to sign any contracts. Just saying.

*Planets in our solar system “retrograde” — slow to a halt, then appear to reverse course for a while — from our point of view. In the case of Mercury, the retrograde period occurs about three times a year, and each period lasts around three to four weeks. Not counting the retrograde “shadow” of two weeks prior and afterward.