Do you ever have unexplained problems with your cell phone or text messages? Relationships going awry or a contract falling through? What if you could blame those problems on the planets? CBS 19's Amanda Roberson explains Mercury retrograde and the controversy between the astronomy and the astrology.
Mercury retrograde happens about three times a year, each lasting about three weeks. It's a time when Earth passes Mercury and optical illusion makes Mercury appear to move backwards. Some astrologers say when these two planets pass, people need to take extra caution.
Let's get out of this world for a couple of minutes, but not to a galaxy far, far away. This is our solar system. These are our planets, and at Hudnall Planetarium in Tyler you can see the planets retrograde. Mercury slows down, appears to stop, and move backwards. It's an optical illusion, since there is forward movement, like speeding by a slow-moving train. As it recedes, it appears to go backward.
"It isn't any what I call 'woo woo stuff', for a better word! It's rooted in science and the astrologers can explain it," said spiritualist and hypnotherapist Charlette Mann.
Mann studies the solar systems and explained not every planet's energy is the same. She believes during retrograde Earth and Mercury's repelling energies affect every living thing. "It affects individual people different because it has to do with the electromagnetic energy that is around us and all living things."
And she said that tension between energies should cause people to take extra caution during the retrograde. "The way you would want to use it individually would be to not sign, buy or sell property, sign contracts in those times because all of the energy is disrupted."
But it's not just business and contracts that are affected. Astrologers said relationships can get rocky and technology like cell phones and TVs can glitch more too.
"Any of the energy that is within the heavens absolutely can affect it," Mann added.
"Not the planets necessarily," explained Juan Lopez, a mobile specialist for Best Buy. "Sometimes it's the phone itself, the network that they're on, and any common landmark will actually cause disruption in the service."
Lopez said technology glitches are just as likely any time of the year. "Those are all legitimate excuses within the cell phone world and other technology as well. For example when your TV goes out due to weather, that wasn't caused my mother planet's alignment or anything like that."
Tyler Junior College Director for Center of Earth and Space Science Education, Tom Hooten, couldn't agree more. "Astrology is the superstition, astronomy is the science. The astrologers, when they make claims, are honestly just making things up. Where as astronomy allows us to go to the moon, it allows us to predict the positions of the planets with great accuracy that astrologers never could."
Retrograde has happened since the beginning of our solar system and Hooten said people shouldn't confuse the science with the superstition. "The claims are ambiguous. They give you nothing to test, but any time there has been a claim that has been tested it's failed miserably."
"Some people don't believe in it, fine, but others follow it because it falls in the parameters of astrology and there is scientific information that backs up that it does disrupt us," Mann added.
Whether you follow the stars or the science, everyone agrees Earth will pass Mercury again three more times this year.
The first retrograde period for 2013 begins in 10 days. Mann said whether you believe in astrology or not, test it for yourself. She said if you practice extra harmony some days and have less patience, more agitation other days you'll see the planets energy will affect your day.
For more information on Mercury retrograde, click here.