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Glossary of words that build worlds: Mercury Retrograde

By Danié Gómez-Ortigoza

February 7, 2021

When you look at a braid from an horizontal perspective, you’ll realize it consists of mountains and valleys.

But then again, it’s just a matter of perspective: turn the braid around and you’ll see the valleys transform into mountains.

Those valleys are the equivalent of those moments in which, going through adversity, or simply questioning our choices,

we build the strength to climb those mountains.

Mercury Retrograde built worlds back in 2018 when many people around me started referring to it from a professional stand point, saying that nothing should be signed during Mercury Retrograde.

In simple terms Mercury Retrograde is a moment in time, when lot can go wrong, and you should just flow with life or lose your zen fighting it. In time, and especially after 2020, I chose to understand it as a moment of contemplation and slowing down. When we are going through Mercury-retrograde I dedicate space in my day to think about what am I putting my energy into, and why. Am I over-extending my work hours, and sacrificing my spiritual growth and the time I spend nurturing my relationship with friends and family?

Finding balance is the key for a fulfilling life, and I don’t make statements like this lightly. I’ve been through this often: even if you achieve what you always dreamed of, it will never be enough, unless you are living a balanced life. That’s the reason why so many celebrities dissipate after short-lived careers that make us think they have everything they need in life to be happy.


So what is retrograde really about? Mercury is the planet of communication, and it appears to travel backwards across the sky three times a year through what is called retrograde motion. In astronomical terms this goes back to the fact that planets in our solar system orbit around the sun at different distances and speeds. Given that we are also orbiting the sun, we can see the other planets following the wrong paths, and when Mercury is in retrograde it means that from where we are it seems as if the planet has switched directions, and is moving in reverse across the sky. It usually takes close to four weeks for Mercury Retrograde to pass. There are plenty of missing pieces in my ancestral puzzle to fully understand the significance of this, and what it means in a deeper level.

We know a lot about the Babylonian perspective, as they are known to be the founders of astrology, which is still considered to be a pseudo-science. Isn’t it funny how we love using ‘pseudo’ to describe all of those things that are too magic to be considered facts? But I’m missing the perspective of my direct ancestors from Mesoamerica. Even though we have the Txolkin calendar and the Borgia Codex, most of our knowledge was destroyed by the Spaniards.

My grandmother was a Mayan-descent mestiza, who still spoke Mayan, and dedicated hours of her time to study astrology from both perspectives. She passed away a couple of years ago, when I was still unaware of the relevance of that part of her. There‘s so much I wish I could have asked her instead of trying to avoid speaking to her because of how bitter she had become with age. It’s easy to forget all the things family transmits from generation to generation when you are a teenager, and no one opens your eyes to it when you don’t see it. If you have the privilege of having your grandparents around, consider this a sign, and reach out to them with different conversation starters than the ones that spark friction. Find the invisible thread that connects your spirits.

I wish I had realized when she was still here, the importance of our ancestors, and how the themes that sparked interest on her own journey would eventually braid themselves subtly into my own path.

And the journey continues.

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