Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mercury Retrograde and the Writer

Call me crazy (my mother almost did, last night on the phone), but I have noticed a distinct change in my behavior during times of Mercury retrograde. Put simply, this is when the planet mercury "reverses" and appears to go "backwards". Mercury rules communication and travel, and tends to go retrograde three times a year.

In the past, I have usually found out that my bad mood coincided with Mercury retrograde after the fact (this month was no exception). But with a week left of reversed and backwards Mercury, I started wondering what it would be like if I consciously embrace this astrological imbalance.

At first, when I realized I was in the midst of Mercury retrograde, I used that knowledge as permission to be lazy. Oops, I can't work on my book, it's Mercury Retrograde. Oh, I shouldn't start any new projects, it's Mercury retrograde. Booking our summer vacation? Not until Mercury goes direct, thank you very much.

But somewhere between the crutch and the grumpiness, I found a quiet place of peace.

I have been able to take my journaling deeper and more seriously this week, mainly because I gave myself permission to write fiction only if I really want to (usually, I slog through my daily word count no matter what. This causes lots of fun later when I revise.) Instead, I have been meeting my word count mostly with self reflection.

In the personal quiet that comes out of Mercury retrograde, I've also turned my reading more toward a spiritual focus. Suddenly, all those books that have sat unnoticed on the coffee table have become my dear friends. I usually HATE reading nonfiction, but right now, that's all I seem to want to read. And not just any nonfiction: spiritual memoir and research books are on the top of the stack. It's been really nice: one more example of the unlooked for calm that this Mercury retrograde has brought.

This has given me a new perspective. Instead of hitting the next Mercury retrograde aggressively (it starts on July 14 and goes until August 7), I will plan ahead and use that time for retreat and reflection. I can use this time as a break from my usual pace, focusing on soul work and personal writing. I love crafting worlds of fantasy, but sometimes, it's exhausting dwelling so fully on the page. Mercury retrograde will now be a time for me to set my characters aside to simmer while I explore myself.

The best thing about this astrological occurrence? It will pass. And when it does, I will reenter the world at my usual frantic pace. But for now, I will read and write thoughtfully, relishing the silence and the space to move "backward".

How do you find moments of silence? Do you consciously choose to have "me time", or does the universe seem to force it on you unwillingly?

I am trying to be more willing, but it's hard for me to slow down. What do you do to feed your spirit?


  1. I take days off each month. I decide randomly when I'll have a "day off." I do whatever I want on that day ... no dissertating, no writing, no grading, no job searching. I watch anime, I go to the park, I go shopping, I play video games. OH - and I eat whatever I want, too :p

    1. Bridget, I think I need to take a page from your book! I forget to schedule "days off", so I end up going until I crash. Your version sounds much better (especially about the food!)