A wave of unease washes over me as I wake up much later than usual, eyes flickering, adjusting to my mildly lit surroundings. There's a different taste in my mouth, not even a taste, a sensation, as if everything is a little off kilter. Dragging myself up I shuffle my Ugg clad feet into the kitchen to fill up the kettle. My trusty Brita filter is empty. Ugh I think to myself as I awkwardly wedge it under the kitchen tap, another two minutes before I can fill my body with the warm comfort of coffee. Two minutes too long. Later that day I get an email from the property agent enquiring about a "check up" on the flat. They want to organise it for next week. I hate these sorts of things, it's never pleasant but never awful. I was supposed to go out for a walk this afternoon but it's been raining and I can't seem to find my umbrella. I decide instead to venture across London to the Tate Modern with public transport keeping me mostly dry. Rainy weather is museum and gallery weather. Shrugging on my only coat with a hood and checking my phone for the next bus I wait at the top of the stairs. The bus is supposedly five minutes away and the stop is just under the flat so I wait in the safety of my home, protected from the unruly weather.* BZZZZZ * Ugh what could that be? I rush to the phone in the kitchen.
"Delivery for Flat 4, they're not in, I'll put it in the foyer"
"Yes, no problem"
Putting down the phone I press the button to open the building door. Phone in my other hand I look down at the map. SHIT. Bus is 3 minutes early. I rush down the stairs and out the door to witness my beloved bus freely gliding away from me, off into the murky rain, wheels forming a wake either side from the puddles in the street.
At the end of October, Mercury will be in retrograde once again, for the third and final time in 2019. From the 31st of October lasting until the 20th of November we will be provided with an onslaught of memes and a new excuse for why we shouldn't buy any new technology, sign any contracts or take any forms of transport.
But what actually is mercury, what is retrograde and what does it mean for me?
The planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, each on a different axis and at different speeds. For most of the year, relative to the Earth, Mercury travels in the same direction, however, a couple of times a year Mercury begins to travel backwards. Of course in reality it doesn't just change direction but because of the position of the planets on their orbits it appears that Mercury is moving in the opposite direction to Earth. This is what physically defines "Mercury in retrograde", it's this opposing movement.
Astrologers believe that Mercury being in retrograde influences life on Earth in very specific ways, largely dependent on history and what Earth-based aspects of life is associated with this significant planet.
Mercury is essentially in charge of a couple of major elements that modern day society requires: communication, travel and learning. These broad topics can be broken down into more niche areas of life such as school life, short distance transport, journalism, post and email but in reality we can blame Mercury for anything related to those three major topics. This means that Mercury can get the stick for everything from your laptop freezing to miscommunication in relationships to problems with your car. Of course there's no science to back this all up but a lack of evidence never stopped us humans from blaming the innocent anyway.
Mercury's involvement with human life is said to go even deeper in that it has close connection with distinct anatomy, specifically the nervous system, the brain, the respiratory system, the thyroid system and the sense organ. They really like to cover their basis don't they? So if you're feeling a bit off in your body, maybe it's because Mercury appears have switched gears and is reversing across our midnight sky.
It seems that a lot can go wrong during this galactic shift, but I'd be inclined to suggest that any troubles during this period is due to randomness or purely correlation rather than causation. I think that this astrological change encourages us to be more mindful of what's going on in our life and maybe exercise a little more patience and empathy. Surely that's not a bad thing? Take these twenty days to slow down a little, maybe practice the art of risk mitigation (aka leave a little extra time to get to your meeting or lecture), and try listen to your body more closely.