For the astrology newbies, I'll do the best to explain as best I understand it. Astrologers say that the planet Mercury is retrograde after it reaches a pinnacle and then appears to be going backward in the sky. It's an illusion to the eye; however, the results, astrologers say, are far from an illusion. Things related to communication and transportation, they say, go wonky when Mercury is retrograde. Because writers deal with communication, perhaps we should pay attention.
When I first heard of the concept twenty years ago, I laughed. What a silly notion! My education began when a friend chastised me for installing a new sound system in my car during Mercury retrograde. She said I would have a double whammy, considering that Mercury retrograde affects both communication (radio/stereo) and transportation (car). I shrugged and said I didn't believe in that silly stuff. The next thing I knew, one of my brand-new speakers blew, and before I could have the speaker repaired, the radio stopped working altogether. Humbled, I waited until Mercury went direct, returned to the audio shop, had an all-new system installed, and it's still working today, twenty years later, in a car that is twenty-three years old.
After the car radio incident, I paid more attention to Mercury retrogrades. Have you ever mailed a letter that never arrived? Failed to receive an e-mail someone said he sent you? Worse, have you ever shipped off a query letter, proposal, or manuscript and never heard from the recipient? These sorts of things happen during Mercury retrograde. To be sure, they also happen at other times of the year, but the one thing I follow to the letter is that I never submit work during Mercury retrograde. I believe it is more likely to get lost or rejected during that period.
Mercury goes retrograde several times a year, and writers especially would do well to be aware that our writing could be affected. It's a great time to produce, to write from the heart, but not a good time to communicate information to someone else. We must be more meticulous about communication during that time.
Here's what The Old Farmer's Almanac (and who can argue with that authority, I ask with a smile) says on the subject:
"Sometimes planets appear to be traveling backward through the zodiac; this is an illusion. We can this illusion retrograde motion.
"Mercury's retrograde periods can cause our plans to go awry; however, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary."
If you'd like to be more aware of Mercury retrograde and see how (and if) it affects your communications and transportation, Mercury will be retrograde during the following dates:
February 23 - March 17
June 26 - July 20
October 21 - November 10
For more information, see http://www.almanac.com/content/mercury-retrograde.
By the way, I did not heed my own warning and recently queried an agent during Mercury retrograde. So far I have received only an automated message saying she received the query, and if I don't hear from her in the next two weeks, she's not interested. We'll see what happens.
Once you become familiar with Mercury retrograde, or if you are already familiar with it, send me an e-mail relating your retrograde experiences related to writing.