Let me start by saying that I know next to nothing about astrology. And by next to nothing, I mean as close to nothing as a person can get. In fact, the only thing I know about astrology is a little bit about the phenomenon known as Mercury retrograde.
Like many people in the Boston area, I first learned about the dreaded Mercury retrograde from the late, great Darrell Martinie, who was dubbed the “Cosmic Muffin” by another iconic Boston radio personality, Charles Laquidara.
As a teenager, getting dressed for high school each morning, I’d tune into WBCN, and would always enjoy Mr. Martinie’s astrological “weather reports.” They were much more interesting and complex than the typical astrology stuff you’d see in the newspaper, because Martinie wouldn’t just focus on the twelve sun signs. Instead, he’d talk about the movements of the sun, the moon, the starts, the various planets, and all other kinds of other celestial stuff. Then he’d give some concrete advice about getting through the day in the best way possible.
He was funny too, and kind, and that’s why I liked listening to him so much. But when it came to following his advice? Well, normally I wouldn’t, because I was a kid, and what kid listens to advice? Besides, the Cosmic Muffin believed that people’s lives are shaped—almost predestined—by the position of various heavenly bodies at the moment of their birth. Whereas I’m a pretty strong proponent of free will. Therefore, I don’t put too much stock in astrology.
But then there were those days when the Cosmic Muffin would talk about Mercury retrograde, and I’d pay much more attention. Because Mercury retrograde felt—and still feels—very real to me. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a crazy thing that happens about three times a year, when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards. And, since Mercury is apparently the planet that rules all communication: talking, listening, learning, writing, editing, buying, selling, and all kinds of other stuff (travel is somehow grouped in there too), people are advised not to do anything important in those areas during periods when Mercury is retrograde.
Yikes. That’s kind of tricky, especially if you’re a writer. For example, Mercury is retrograde right now, and here I am writing. Not that this is a particularly important blog post, but I’d hate to accidentally offend anyone with it. And yet, that’s the sort of thing that tends to happen when Mercury is retrograde. Oh, and by the way, it began to be retrograde on May 19, and won’t “reverse” until June 11.
Double yikes. Or, to take a more positive approach, maybe it’s a good thing I found this out today, because at least now there’s some explanation as to why so many screwed up things have been happening lately.
I can’t even begin to list them all, but let me tell you, it’s been a rough few weeks. I’ve messed up on everything from communicating with my husband, scheduling meetings and nights out with friends, and talking to my kids. I’ve also managed to say a record number of generally dumb things. As I type this, I’m anxiously hoping I didn’t recently upset or offend at least two—maybe even three or four—people I really care about with my big mouth. Because I didn’t mean to! But sometimes things come out the wrong way, and over the past few weeks, I’ve been on a roll. Not to mention that I’ve read some things online—Facebook posts, comments on blogs, stuff on Twitter—that I’m pretty sure people wish they could take back. But we all know how that works.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that I sent a new novel manuscript to my editor last week. Was it ready? I honestly don’t know. It’s something I’ve been working on for a few years, but have made major changes over the past six months. Then, in mid-May (completely oblivious to the movement of old Mercury) I made a big push to get the thing editor-ready. But when it was finished, I felt a confusion I’ve never felt before with a manuscript. Usually, when I send something to an editor, I believe it’s ready (of course, the editor may disagree). But this one? No idea. Time will tell, and I can only hope my dear editor won’t waste much time with the thing if it needs to be taken back down to the studs. And if that’s the case, will I be able to blame Mercury? Well, probably not, as it’s been in the works for several years now. But at least I can blame my feelings of confusion over it. Right?
Anyway, if you’ve recently fouled something up or said something you now regret, give yourself a break. You can always apologize, and perhaps it wasn’t completely your fault. Because if astrologers like Darrell Martinie are correct, there’s something much bigger and more powerful than you interfering with communication at the moment. And be extra careful until June 11, when that darn planet starts going forward again. (In truth, Mercury is always moving forward, but because its orbit is so much shorter than Earth’s, it appears to be going backwards every once in a while, and that’s when it causes so much trouble.)
And if you think there’s something to all of this, here’s a little more helpful info: Mercury will go retrograde again from September 17th through October 9th. You can find future retrograde dates on our friend Google.
OK, so breathe. It’s almost over for now. And what better way to end this post than with the immortal tagline of the beloved Cosmic Muffin who passed away much too young in 2006: It’s a wise person who rules the stars. It’s a fool who’s ruled by them. Over and out.
PS: Although I wish I could’ve found a better video of the Cosmic Muffin, he was pretty much retired by the time YouTube really got going. Still, it’s nice to hear his voice.
Loved your take on Mercury Retrograde, and please don’t worry about your manuscript. It’s happy reading time for your wily editor! I’m sure. But I suggest speaking to your editor after Mercury Retrograde passes—haha!
Thanks, Justin, and good advice regarding that editor 🙂
I first learned about Mercury retrograde two years ago. I do NOT like Mercury retrograde. It’s a real thing. I’ve paid attention. And it’s not just me…I’ve seen other people who don’t buy into astrology but even they are wondering what’s been wrong the last three weeks. Thank goodness it’s almost over!!!!
Totally agree, Jessica! The last three weeks have got to be proof, right? As you say, thank goodness there are only a couple more days. Thanks so much for your comment.
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I thought I commented before on this blog post but I guess I didn’t! It must be that Mercury Retrograde thing in action! Doesn’t matter which way Mercury is going, I never feel like it’s the right time to release a manuscript!
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That Mercury is a pain in the butt, Jan! It messes with everything. Yeah, I hate hitting that send button with manuscripts. But I want to tell you that I’m almost finished with Flipka, and it’s a wonderful story. You released that one at the right time!
Mary, loved your tale of the Cosmic Muffin. While living in Santa Fe for so many years, I became entrenched in the world of astrology, although my heart just never fully embraced it. I remember all the fuss about Mercury retrograde, but, have almost forgotten it. Perhaps it explains my chaotic past couple of weeks!
Hi Jayni and thanks for reading! I’ve never been able to really embrace astrology either, but Mercury retrograde seems like something different altogether. I hope things get less chaotic for you soon!
Funny post, back in the BT days. Have you seen the Netflix documentary on Walter Mercado? It is called, “Mucho, Mucho Amor”. I used to watch him back in the day when I lived and worked in Central America. I didn’t know his story then, but I could tell there was something extraordinary going on. He is the person who made astrology and tarot universally popular. Thanks. Duke