Some proactive steps to take when Mercury goes retrograde

By From page B4 | February 23, 2014

Gotten in any great arguments lately? Sent a scathing email? Unfriended people on Facebook like flicking off fleas?

Or maybe your computer crashed, or your cell phone got glitchy, or a little computer gizmo in your car just went belly up and will cost $500 to replace?

Blame Mercury.

Well, some of us do. Meanwhile, others groan.

“Mercury Retrograde,” (of which we’re in the midst from Feb. 5 through 28) has drifted into mainstream awareness. While once secluded in the realms of astrologers and mystics, and those who follow them, the secret’s out. Mercury Retrograde has arrived, complete with Facebook memes rivaling Grumpy Cat, Willy Wonka and Miley Cyrus’s cow tongue.

Your average person who’s aware of Mercury Retrograde simply knows that a couple times during the year, the path of the planet Mercury (which governs communication and messages) appears to be moving in reverse. It’s an optical illusion, of course, because planets can’t really reverse their course (as far as we know). Your average person who buys into Mercury Retrograde is also aware that relationships and technologically controlled items become irritable and unpredictable during that time.

We may be most inclined to literally “hit any key (or person) to continue” during Mercury Retrograde or finally give that one annoying person what they so desperately had coming, and lo and behold, we hit “send” on that blistering email and rather than solving the problem, it explodes into something exponentially worse. Like … that stinky email gets forwarded to all your friends and family or, better yet, inspires a “(Your name here) is a Colossal Jerk” page on Facebook. And immediately gets 5,000 “likes.”

A couple weeks go by, Mercury gets back on a normal course, things calm down, and you look at the social carnage around you and wonder how things escalated so wildly out of control, or you’re staring at the credit card bill for the new iPad you had to buy after the old one gave up the microchip ghost. Oh, and by the way — the old one is now mysteriously working perfectly. And you wonder why. What’s going on here! Now you have your answer.

“Mercury!!!” you holler, shaking your fist and glaring at the mischievous heavens.

Well, maybe you don’t. You may be shaking your head in disdain and sadness at the silly fluffyheads who believe in such nonsense. At the other extreme, you may be one who frowns and raises an eyebrow in annoyance, and grumbles about nitwits blathering on about something entirely more complicated than the actions of one planet in a universe of billions. And then there’s the bulk of us, strewn somewhere between the opposite ends of the “I Believe in Mercury Retrograde” spectrum.

Me, personally, I have noticed a pattern. Life does get more testy during Mercury Retrograde. I had an interesting exchange with a non-believer recently, who declared Mercury Retrograde to be pure hooey, and that all the things blamed on it are things that happen every day. At best, people who believe in Mercury Retrograde simply notice it more during that time. All true, of course. Arguments, break-ups and computer glitches are part of everyday life. However, they seem to occur more easily during Mercury Retrograde, as if the wheels have been greased for problems to come crashing into your life.

I liken Mercury Retrograde to PMS. True, women can be cranky, weepy and chocoholic at any time of the month. But during PMS, our resistance to those indulgences is weak. Stuff slips through the protective barrier of rationality. Just keep your mouth shut, hand us the chocolate and back away slowly, and all will be well. So it is with Mercury Retrograde. Stuff that is likely to happen is more likely to happen. You must know how to deflect it.

As a Gemini, which is ruled by Mercury, I’m particularly susceptible to its antics. I’ve had some truly stellar interpersonal blow-ups during Mercury Retrograde. Nothing left but scorched earth. But, not nearly as charred as what’s left after a Jupiter Retrograde, which is much bigger, longer and much meaner. (Just for fun, Jupiter’s also retrograde right now, until the beginning of March. Good times!)

So, did I fall victim to Mercury Retrograde once again? Nope. Things have been pretty copacetic, actually. Why? Because I knew it was coming, and I’ve learned (the hard way) to be proactive and prepare myself. Someone irritates me? I don’t need to bite their fingers off. OK, maybe one fingertip. But I don’t need to chomp down all 10. I might even just choose to walk away and live to snap another day.

People having drama? Not buying into it during Mercury Retrograde. You people over there — enjoy your little tempest in a teapot. Knock yourselves out. I’m not participating.

Computers going all wonky? Relax. Whatever it is, it can be fixed or replaced. Any problem that can be solved with money is not really that big of a problem.

The proactive strategy, then, for surviving Mercury Retrograde is: Pick your battles carefully, avoid drama, and keep things in perspective. An excellent tip is to wait 24 hours before you hit “send” on that email. Better yet, send it to yourself and read it the next morning. You may be glad you only sent it to yourself, and hit “delete” instead.

I realize that some will ridicule me for buying into the fluff, and others will admonish me for discussing things I don’t entirely understand. However, a lot more of you will nod and say, “Yes, I’ve noticed this too.” And, they’ll follow my proactive strategy next time Mercury gets pokey.

But here’s the real gem to pluck from this whole conversation, regardless of where you fall on the “I believe in Mercury Retrograde” spectrum: What if we followed those proactive steps every day? “Pick your battles carefully, avoid drama and keep things in perspective.” Imagine how much smoother our lives would be, regardless of what Mercury’s up to.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at [email protected]; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

Debra DeAngelo

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