Mercury retrograde in astrologers', and not astronomers', terms is when the planet of Mercury appears to reverse its rotation. It was first thought this – now known to be impossible – feat happened when astronomers of old believed that the Earth, as is typical of human arrogance, was the centre of the universe.
Astronomers believed that the planet's rotation would stop and then reverse, but it has since been revealed that, due to its positioning in our solar system – the closest planet to the sun – it just slows down, and has the illusion of going backwards as it zooms passed Earth. It circles the sun a maximum of four times a year, compared to our measly one.
In astrological terms, Mercury is king. According to AstrologyZone.com: "Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth."
So, if you do believe in astrology, it means that when the planet is in retrograde, it is resting, and when Mercury rests and can't oversee the smooth ongoing of all that it is responsible for, carnage will occur... apparently. In fact, one is going on right now and will last from 17 September to 9 October.
However, as previously touched upon, this happens four times a year, and at one of these points your phone may have run out of battery or another coincidental mild inconvenience, but the pandemonium that is predicted is nothing short of make believe. Sorry to break it to you.
Dr. Rami Kaminski, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, told International Business Times's US edition: "I think that like most things it is a matter of context. If it adds something to those who believe in it, then it is a positive thing.
"As conscious beings we have a complex relationship with the time behind us and ahead of us. We rue the past and fear the future. So anything that gives us some reassurance (even a false one) about the future is potentially positive. So the believer him or herself is not a problem. It is those who exploit others who have this belief that are the problem, but that is another issue."