The most chaotic week ever? It could be because of Mercury retrograde

I never really believed in astrology. I’m the type of person who has to see something to believe it’s real. I’m also an Aries, and I just don’t agree with my assignments for most of those “What ____ you are based on your sign” quizzes and posts.

But after feeling extremely stressed out so early in the semester, it sounds much more appealing to look to the stars to explain what’s happening in my life.

For astrologers, you probably know that we have just exited a period of Mercury retrograde. Mercury retrograde occurs three times a year when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards through the sky due to Mercury’s different orbital speed and length compared to Earth’s.

The most recent Mercury retrograde — and the last of 2022 — started on Sept. 9 and just ended on Saturday, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. In fact, several other planets are retrograde as well, meaning six planets were retrograde at once until last weekend.

Mercury retrograde is synonymous with being thrown into chaos and for me my life misfortunes happened to coincide with when retrograde started. Besides feeling extremely overworked, I’ve had more fights with friends and can’t get enough of my anxiety. I had to cut back on extracurricular activities to make sure I didn’t burn out prematurely.

[The fall season has a certain kind of magic, but why?]

While this can certainly be attributed to a few other things like poor time management and just getting used to the rhythm of school, it’s also comforting to think that my life will pick up soon as Mercury is back on track.

I always thought Mercury retrograde meant that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, but that’s not always the case.

Maia Foley, a percussion major at the University of Maryland, considers herself a spiritual person and has delved into the world of astrology. According to her understanding, retrograde chaos isn’t necessarily bad, and the effects vary from person to person based on their astrological sign.

“Retrograde is kind of … a general chaos and losing control, but often that seems to skew in a bad way,” she said.

Foley’s chaos has taken the form of trying to balance multiple obligations. The day this retrograde kicked in, she said she went on a first date with a person she currently still sees. As a member of three different music ensembles, adding that relationship messed up her schedule. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t happy.

There have also been funnier moments during retrograde — at a volleyball game, a ball prodded Foley’s watch and shattered her dial. But shortly after, she won a free popcorn.

“It’s just little, funny, chaotic things that you wouldn’t expect,” Foley said. “Depending on your sign, it could be worse for you… I’m living my life. It’s chaotic, but my life isn’t exploding right now.”

For Mariam Shah, a freshman of English, the retrograde chaos has manifested itself as piles of exams and big assignments and struggles to navigate campus. At the start of the semester, Shah got lost on her way to a classroom building and on her way to one of the campus dining rooms, walked around for at least 30 minutes trying to find her destination and got conflicting answers from other passing students.

Shah said she finds astrology fascinating, even though she doesn’t follow it.

“I saw [Mercury retrograde] on an Instagram post a while ago,” Shah said. “Every time I see posts like that on Instagram, I’m going through a rough patch in my life, and so are everyone else, so I just think, ‘That’s why. That explains it.'”

Kelly Neagglys, a sophomore in arts and sciences, is an avid astrology follower. Growing up, her stepfather was “very big on zodiac signs”, and in recent years she has become more of a believer.

Neagglys said her experience in Mercury retrograde was filled with ups and downs. On the first day of retrograde, she said she went to a party and her ex messaged her out of nowhere asking to hang out, and they haven’t spoken to each other since. Neagglys also made more impulsive decisions, including getting a cat.

“By the end of [retrograde]”I had conflicts with friends and even with myself,” she said. “I just have more clarity about what I want to do… Now I definitely feel more stable as it comes to an end, and realize, ‘Okay, these are things I can just cut out of my life because they’re not necessary.’ ”

[Mighty Sound of Maryland and Maryland Steelpan Collective unite for Oct. 1 halftime show]

Now that the last retrograde of 2022 has ended, I hope that every part of my life will settle down and that I can take a breather from constantly juggling obligations and emotional turmoil.

Shah is more than ready to end retrograde, and it turns out her exams will soon be leveling off.

“I hope when these planets come out of retrograde, I’ll take a break,” she said.

But for Foley, the end of retrograde brought more than just relief. Foley’s aunt died just before the semester started, and the service was postponed until the day this Mercury retrograde ends. Foley planned to go home for a few days, attend the service, and reset her system before returning to College Park.

“The casual timing of the retrograde and the kind of framing it all, I feel like having that moment will give me a little more closure,” Foley said. “I will go through the rest of the semester, the rest of the year, with an open mind, with a more optimistic and less chaotic outlook.”

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