Many fear a period in the astrological forecast known as Mercury Retrograde: a time notorious for failing technology, emotional turbulence and things in general going haywire. Scientifically, Mercury Retrograde is when the planet itself looks like it’s going backwards in the sky. Astrologically, it’s a three-week period of miscommunication and technological breakdowns. Realistically, you can use it as an excuse for anything.
During the last Mercury Retrograde, a family was frightened to find me hiding in their storm cellar, but I assured them it was only until Mercury Retrograde ended. Very few know this, but this awry period is to blame for many of history’s greatest misfortunes: The War of 1812, The War of Trenton, The Dust Bowl, ’90s fashion, The Great JCPenney Ruckus of 2007 and Dust Bowl fashion (cringe). But if approached with the right attitude, you can find more benefits than not. So stop hiding in the tub with a mattress over your head—get out there and make Mercury Retrograde your bitch.
First, be sure to blame Mercury Retrograde on anything bad that happens during these three weeks—blame it on showing up for work with a salsa stain on your uniform, blame it on not handing in your final paper on time, blame it on spraying “NOSFERATU WAS HERE” in black on your ex’s lawn. Remember, this is a valid excuse for anything.
Mercury Retrograde is also a time for self-reflection—a time when you’re hyperaware of your emotions and what you really want. Now is the time to unleash those hidden desires you may not have been aware of until now. Shout, “Who Cares?” in the middle of a middle school’s spring choir concert because Mercury Retrograde says you can. Ash your cigarette in a co-worker’s Lean Cuisine; dip your hair in blood and whip your head back and forth at GAP Kids because there’s a tiny planet whose trajectory in the sky is visually misleading for three weeks. This is your time to feel the ultimate fantasy.
It’s also important to recognize opportunities for personal growth that may come from the everyday situations you often overlook. Embrace the cathartic moment you experience while cleaning out your fridge; embrace your upset stomach after desperately risk-eating expired cream cheese. Trust there’s a lesson to be learned after finding yourself in a situation that warrants using the verb “vanquish” in a sentence.
Be warned and prepared—save all digital work and save it often. Don’t immediately react when angered; don’t forget to feed your kids. (Using Mercury Retrograde as a defense does not hold up well in court) Re-read all contracts before you sign them—you may also be prone to making more spontaneous decisions. Think twice before saying, “yes”—before agreeing to drive your friend to the airport at 8 am. The key to using Mercury Retrograde to your advantage is to be cognizant of the situations around you.
Remember, now is not the time to dwell on the things that may turn against you. It’s the time to embrace the changes that may occur and use them in a positive way. Fear the unexpected no more—channel that fear into character-building energy, and remember: think twice before dating someone named “Declyn.”