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Friday, August 8, 2014

A Vague Nod to Astrology, and How it Affects Writers


Over the years I have had a few friends who studied, swore by, and lived by astrology. Mostly I found their comments to be a waste of my time, and certainly the generic horoscopes in periodicals always made me chuckle at their ability to apply to anyone in any situation.

I am not a superstitious person, and I often go against convention. I believe Friday the thirteenth is my lucky day. I don't think a black cat or broken mirror will do me any harm, unless the cat scratches me or the mirror cuts me.  

The one thing I do pay attention to, though, is the planet Mercury, especially when I find myself in the middle of a muddled conversation or am involved in a frustrating attempt to resolve an issue with a service or a purchase of some kind.  

Astrologers say that when Mercury is retrograde, writers should use the time to be creative, but should not submit a book for consideration. The planet is considered retrograde when it appears to be moving backward in the sky, because of its position while orbiting the sun.  

According to astrology, the planet Mercury rules travel, literature, poetry, and merchants, so during periods of Mercury retrograde, it is better for writers to stay at home and write. It's supposed to be a good creative time, but not a good time to try to sell your literature or sign literary contracts. The claim is that when Mercury is retrograde, which happens a few times each year, communications get screwy, manuscripts could get lost in the mail, sales contracts can fall through, and (pardon the pun) heaven only knows what other things may happen.  

I was not a believer, until I unknowingly bought (sales/merchants) a new sound system (literature/communications) for my car (travel/transportation) during Mercury retrograde many years ago. Holy cow! The thing barely worked from the start, and then blew a speaker within weeks. A friend who was an avid astrologer wagged her finger at me and explained that I should have been aware of Mercury and its ability to affect travel, sales, and communication. I had to have the entire system torn out of my car and replaced with a new system, but I waited until Mercury was direct again.  

Now I pay attention to Mercury, and when it goes retrograde, I don't buy things like cars, computers, radios, or telephones, and I don't send queries or submissions to agents or publishers. Yes, I'm a little superstitious, but why mess with astrology, which has been around for centuries? 

For those of you who know I recently bought my first new car in twenty-four years, I began my search while Mercury was retrograde, but I told the first salesperson that I would not buy a car until after a specific date. He tried his best to get me to explain my reason so he could attempt to overcome my objection, but I refused to reveal my secret. I waited until Mercury was direct, and by then I had test-driven almost a dozen other cars and dealt with half a dozen other salespeople. By the time Mercury went direct, I knew without a doubt which car I wanted. I bought it from the original salesperson, and I have been most pleased with my decision.
 
Check the Internet or just ask Siri on an iPhone if Mercury is retrograde, and if it is, find out when it goes direct. Wait at least a day or two after that, before submitting any proposals or manuscripts to publishers or agents--that is if you have become a believer like me. Meanwhile, hole up and enjoy the creative time when Mercury is retrograde.

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