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Article ID: 4545
Age Group: Adult
Posted: January 21st. 2002
Mercury Has Left the Building
The oven broke. Three out of the eight light bulbs in our apartment burned out in the same afternoon. (Okay, one of those was cat related.) Our dot.net isp dumped all of its DSL customers (including us) without notice. The new credit cards- the ones that we had to order because our dot.net isp dumped us without notice- got lost in the mail. Christian evangelists who won't take 'no thanks' for an answer spammed half of the Pagan web. And then, Fritz's computer fainted. Who knew that electronics could actually pitch a fit of the vapors?
I am sure you'll understand then if during this upcoming week I don't want to give my heart to Jesus, enlarge various parts on my body, refill the toner and ink cartridges, open a bank account with millions of dollars for anyone from Sierra Leone, invest in a 'hot' guaranteed-to-go-up stock or learn how to beat the casinos at their own game. I have other priorities.
I simply want an oven that works, a computer line that is fast and stable, e-mail messages that do not contain the words 'burn in hell', a government without any '-gates' in it, and my snail mail delivered to me on time and without powdery substances. But I can take a hint: This may not be the right time to ask.
For three weeks, four times a year, our dear little solar system sharing planet Mercury goes retrograde. And this past Friday welcomed in that time of the year once again. Hold your applause. Because if the days leading up to this periodic trifecta of havoc is any indication, I'll be taking Bette Davis' advice and fastening my seatbelt because "it's gonna be a bumpy, bumpy ride!"
Mercury retrogrades come and go. Each one is different and each one affects different people in different ways. So your own mileage in terror may vary. This one, according to Terri McCartney over at Astrology Resources, is bludgeoning its way through my tenth house. The tenth house rules "public life and standing in the community, vocation, profession, career, reputation, business, achievements, parents, people with power & authority." Looks like I'll be writing on eggshells for the next three weeks...
As a planet (not including the Sun or Moon) crosses the sky, it periodically appears to be spinning backwards. It is not actually spinning backwards; it just looks that way to we Earthlings from our vantage point. But there does seem to be an impact on how the energy of each particular planet affects us when this orbital back-stroking occurs. When any planet appears to do a reverse spin, it is said to be in 'retrograde' and when it returns to normal spin, it is said to go 'direct'. The point at which the movement changes from one direction to another is called a 'station'. Here the planet seems to be standing still. A station point from which a planet is poised to go retrograde is generally considered by astrologists as not to be the best time to begin anything using that planet's energy. Apparently just minding one's own business is no big safety net either.
Mercury retrograde can result in lost letters, garbled communications, and various sorts of technical difficulties, misspellings and misunderstandings. Since a retrograde planet's regular energies are 'reversed', delayed fruition or delayed timing can result. Rituals that usually work with the planet's energy may not manifest until that planet again goes direct. Mercury and Venus are called the "personal" planets-they are the ones closest to us- and their effects tend to be more noticeable to us since both communication and affections can affect us in a very 'personal' ways indeed! The little darlings also turn retrograde more often as their orbits are shorter than those of the outer planets. Lucky us!
It's not all bad news however. Retrogrades can be useful. The period just before a planet goes direct-the station- is a very powerful time to do any ritual involving that planet's energy. When the planet does go direct again, the energy will then get a 'kick start' which can propel your magic(k) forward in quite exciting ways. Little Mercury will go direct again on February 8th, 2002 at 12:28pm (EST). You can start making your plans for that now. You may have to rewrite those plans a few times, but at least that will keep you out of the chat rooms where you will have to explain to everyone what you really meant to say many more times than that.
Kate, a Strega friend of ours, had one of those old Mercury head dimes made into a pendant that she would then wear during each Mercury retrograde. Other Witches of our acquaintance wrap an orange ribbon around their left ankles to help dilute some of the effects. Orange ribbons can also be tied to the mirror in your car, on the bottom of your computer chair and around your palm pilot and phone. I don't know if any of this stuff really works, but it is a good way to use up some of those leftover Samhain decorations.
Maintaining a sense of humor helps a lot, too. If you can do it. I particularly like The Weekly Horoscope over at Humor.com. Warning: If you are kidding yourself about possessing a 'wonderful sense of humor', don't go there. If you are in doubt about whether or not you actually do possess a wonderful sense of humor, you can ask your friends. Of course, if you ask your friends about your wonderful sense of humor during Mercury retrograde, these people will probably then no longer be your friends. So just restrict the asking of the humor question to those friends who you really don't like all that much anyway.
The oven did get fixed and so we can have cookies again. The computer lines are little slow, but at least they are working. Our ex-dot.net isp guy swears that a check for the advance payment will be in the mail. At least one of the new credit cards showed up yesterday. Fritz's computer turned out to be fine. After an hour of purring like a kitten for the tech guy at the mall, we surmise that it just wanted to take a trip to the Apple store in order to see the new iMac. I have an extra package of light bulbs in the closet. I only had to rewrite this column five times. I haven't yet strangled anyone with an orange ribbon. The pot is still making coffee. Most of my friends and some of my relatives are still talking to me. And so with only nineteen more days to go, I'm feeling pretty darn optimistic.
But I am definitely not going to ask anyone what he or she thinks about my 'wonderful sense of humor'.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, January 21st., 2002
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