Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Mercury, Labors of the Mind, and Other Things

Yeah... burn in hell, Mercury. 
By now, you've probably noticed that I really do try to take a casual, "don't sweat it" approach to difficult astrological concepts like Mercury retrograde. This last period really made it hard though! The past three weeks or so turned out to be pretty much the most difficult Merc retro period I've had in a long, long time... possibly ever.

Seriously, even though I was as prepared as possible and took all the precautions I could, so many things just didn't go my way -- especially in regards to work. About a million things got in the way of my getting paid on time for work done, my getting projects finalized as quickly as I'd like, and a bunch of other things. People who actually contacted me about work in the first place dragged their heels like I couldn't believe about making their down payments and whatnot. People I contacted about projects I was interested in took their sweet time getting back to me when they got back to me at all.Then I had so many internet, website, and technology snafus this week that I was beginning to think I must have gremlins in the house or something!

Additionally, there was the total brain fog I've been laboring under myself. I haven't been feeling as alert or inventive as usual. It seemed to take me forever to polish up ideas and I've been having tons of trouble concentrating. Writing I've done lately has needed to be double and triple-checked for stupid errors and awkward turns of phrase when I usually can churn out pretty polished content on the first try. I suppose it didn't help that it was retro in Virgo at least part of the time, which really does tend to shine a spotlight on work-related things and scheduling conflicts for me.

Either way, I'm just glad it's over with as of yesterday. It was almost scary how quickly people got back on the ball, too. Both Seth and I got an influx of e-mail and information we'd been waiting on from clients and various business contacts for days (or in some cases, weeks). I also feel better mentally, so I've decided to take advantage of that and make this a productive weekend for the most part. Merc retro or not, I feel like I've gotten virtually nothing done that I wanted. I hate that feeling.


Pagan Prompts also had the following topic posted in honor of the back-to-school season. Since it sort of reminds me of the whole brain cloud thing that usually accompanies Mercury retrograde for so many people, I thought I'd throw my response to this in here as well. It seems like a nice way to kick off a switch in gears that I really hope will lead to a far more productive period for me... especially writing-wise. I hate the frustration that comes along with feeling behind or like you haven't been productive enough for your personal tastes. 

It's the end of summer, and families everywhere are gearing up for the new school year. But that doesn't have to apply only to kids in school or young adults going to college... After all, life is about learning something new every day. 

What have you been learning lately? Perhaps a topic of interest has taken over your focus lately, and you've been immersed in its research. Or maybe someone sparked a question in your mind, and you've been searching (both within and with-out) to find the answer. What knowledge are you seeking, and how close are you to reaching it's zenith? 


Ever since I was a kid, I was the sort of person who's always been really quiet and cerebral. A lot of people I knew were constantly poking fun at the fact I seemed to permanently have my nose glued into a book. I'm still very much that way as an adult. People just don't really mock me for it the same way they used to when I was younger. 

Typically, I choose more philosophical studies when I want to learn something new. I've always enjoyed studying religion, and mythology, and social culture. Anything to do with art or language is pretty much a given. However, lately I've been taking a more practical approach to what I'm learning and the skills I'm honing, which is definitely a new thing for me. 

I feel like I've been in a big rut professionally lately, as well as in general when it comes to my writing. I've been actively working on learning how to be a better, more dynamic writer and a better businessperson as a result. I've also been learning a lot, I think. However, I am very far from reaching what the prompt describes as the "zenith". I don't really have any mentors or teachers to turn to for advice. (I tend to be the one stuck being cast as other people's mentor or "go-to person" despite not really being an expert on anything!) 

That said, I feel like I'm kind of feeling around in the dark hoping to get it right one of these days. I'm hopeful though. It may take me a while to get where I'm going, but I always arrive in one piece at the end! I do sometimes wish I knew even a few people who have already been there and can give me some pointers based on personal experience though.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mercury Retrograde: Facts and Fallacies

Thankfully we don't have too much further to go until Mercury is no longer retrograde, as he's direct again come the 26th, but still. I've definitely been able to tell that that's been the case for most of the month. I've for sure been experiencing a lot of the usual snafus -- frustrations regarding the internet, technology, and other techie stuff.

Scheduling concerns have also been a big issue this time around. I feel that even more than usual, I've been having to spell things out twice for people before I'm absolutely sure we're on the same page, especially in regards to any sort of project to which money is attached. No matter how clear I am, it seems like the other person still manages to miss half of what I'm trying to communicate. Those who know me also know how much I love being misunderstood and having to repeat myself, so... yeah.

However, that's Mercury retrograde for you! This happens three times a year unless you get a really lucky year like 2011. Then you get to deal with this nonsense four times instead. Don't you feel special! Even so, Mercury retrograde really doesn't have to be the end of the world even if most people who know anything about this aspect seem to feel like life needs to grind to a screeching halt. Granted we'll be over the hump soon, but I find it's always a good idea to go over a few things in regards to this aspect, especially since astrologers get asked about it a ton.

"Mercury retrograde" is not code for "everything you do will end in tears".

Many people mistakenly think of Mercury retrograde periods as periods during which their luck is... like... going to be extraordinarily bad or something. This isn't really the case at all. Mercury doesn't have anything to do with luck. It's the planet that governs commerce, communication, and travel. Mercury retrograde periods are simply periods where the sharpness and efficiency we normally associate with this planet aren't really present to help us. Our thinking is foggier, so we're more likely to space out when it comes to appointments, misplace or lose our cell phones, and make mistakes when balancing our checkbooks.

However, I find that the really important thing to remember is that so are other people. I find that my biggest challenge when Mercury is in retrograde isn't staying on top of myself, because that's easily done by taking a little extra care. (Really, I could stand to be doing that anyway.) It's making sure someone else doesn't screw things up for me because of their own enhanced ability to make mistakes. See? Nothing to do with luck. Everything to do with humanity's bottomless capacity for stupid.

Therefore don't stop living your life simple because Mercury is in retrograde.

Is a Mercury retrograde period the best time to take a new job or sign a contract? Well, no and we just talked about why. If you have the privilege of being able to wait to travel or start new projects until afterward, feel free. I'd probably do the same if I had the luxury. However, it's important to use your common sense as well. If you're unemployed and you finally find work or the business opportunity of a lifetime falls right into your lap, don't turn it away just because Mercury is in retrograde. I've heard of people doing this and that's just plain stupid.

Do be sure to go over the terms of your employment with a fine-toothed comb to make sure you don't miss anything important though. Have the suit you want to wear dry-cleaned early just in case there's a mix-up at the cleaners. Leave early for job interviews to side-step the possibility of traffic. Little precautions like that make all the difference in the world... and really, they're precautions most of us should be taking anyway.

Mercury retrograde is a great time to reflect, revisit, and revamp.

Like all astrological aspects, Mercury retrograde does have its list of activities and concerns for which it's perfect. It's a great period during which to tie up loose ends and reestablish communications with a friend or loved one with whom you haven't talked in a long time. Other people's experiences may be different, but I personally find that the natural pace of life tends to slow down for me during these periods, so it's when I tend to do best playing catch-up in regards to lots of things... especially Mercury-ruled activities.

For instance, Mercury rules people who work with their minds and those who communicate for a living (pretty much the dictionary definition of me). Writers, educators, salespeople, and consultants are all covered. I am all of those things in one capacity or another and have been for the better part of my life. I find that this period is great for going back over old projects and editing, which I never seem to have time and energy for when life is busier. I tend to make the rounds as far as my blogs and websites go, fine-tuning things and posting updates where needed. If I can, I might even work ahead a little bit to give myself a bit of a cushion to fall back on when things pick up pace again.


Actually, speaking of revisiting and whatnot, most of the opportunities I wound up with on my plate this month in regards to my work involved going back and reaping further benefits from work already done -- perfect examples of good things that a Merc retro stint can throw your way. I had an unusual amount of interest shown in some of my previously done artwork, for instance. I may even have an opportunity to have some of my creative writing published in the near future which is something I've been meaning to make more time for for years. I definitely believe that the natural energy associated with Mercury retrograde helped those things come about and I also believe that others would do well to keep their eyes open for similar things in regards to their own lives.

Also, I've had more down time this month than I normally get. On one hand, that's not really what I wanted, because I'm happiest when I'm making plenty of money and not having to worry about tightening my belt more than I'd like. However, in retrospect, I think I needed the down time and the opportunity to recoup and backtrack right now more than I needed the extra money. I'm not good at just putting my worries to bed, so it's often good for me to be forced in this way. Now I feel refreshed and better equipped to power ahead with twice the force. 

I'm only human after all. I tend to forget that... or just plain old lament it. Periods like this do help me to maintain more of a balance. If you haven't been already, this would be an excellent time for you to maximize this current Mercury retrograde period yourself.