About three times a year the astrologically-minded brace themselves for Mercury’s retrograde and warn everyone to watch out for its effects. What on earth (or in the universe) does it even entail?

The event, which involves the planet appearing to move backwards in it’s orbit, is considered a bad time to start new projects, enter into contracts, or do anything new that could fall apart later, and it began yesterday and will continue until April 4. The planet Mercury is said to rule everything to do with communication, information, transportation, traffic and timing. So when it changes direction these processes and the moving parts that support them allegedly go awry. Astrologer Virginia Bell explains that:

Mercury retrograde is not negative; it’s just not auspicious for signing contracts, making major purchases, big moves, or launching important projects, especially if it has to do with technology. On the other hand it’s great for completing old business and for buying or selling used objects such as vintage clothes and antiques. A good rule when Mercury is in “slow mo” is to remember the prefix re: review, rewrite, reflect, rethink, revisit. Generally speaking, anything begun during a retrograde period usually contains problems that are revealed later.

I’ve always scoffed at horoscopes (especially since I was once offered a gig to write them) and have considered the movements of the planets events that have no effect on our lives and are absolutely none of our business. But during one particularly rough retrograde period a few years ago, my television broke, my cell phone went on the fritz, and my car started acting up all within the span of a few weeks. Coincidence? Maybe. I’m not ready to believe in the effects of Mercury’s retrograde but just to be on the safe side I’m going to try to stay in the slow lane until April 4.

Do you believe in the effects of Mercury’s retrograde?

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