Mercury Retrograde Brings 3 Weeks of Tech Meltdowns

Maressa Brown

iphone crashedForget April Fools'! The real trickster right now is Mercury. Starting yesterday at 4:48 p.m. EST, the first Mercury retrograde period of 2011 began. That means that the planet -- which in astrology rules communication, transportation/travel, information, and technology -- turns backwards for three weeks to mess with all of those areas of our lives. (This time, it will finally go direct, or start moving forward, on April 23.)  

For me, it's one of the most infuriating times, and it happens three to four times a year! You'll see the effect in your own daily life when you're stuck in awful traffic for absolutely no reason at all, your iPhone won't send your email, the program you use for work keeps crashing over and over again. You get the idea.

A couple illustrations of Mercury retrograde madness ... the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore occurred during retrograde, and we all know how smoothly that went down, with recounts and voting machine blunders galore. 

Or what about Titanic sinking? Total meltdown of communication and technology contributed to this tragic historical event, from missed warnings of icebergs to the nearby Californian turning off its receiver to the contradictory newspaper headlines after the ship had gone down.

It's also important to note that this time Mercury is retrograde in Aries, which is associated with the God of War, and often represents aggression and self-absorption. This could mean more road rage and confusion surrounding war on a global scale (Libya, anyone?).

Awesome, right? I know. Astrologers always like to say that Mercury retrograde isn't ALL bad and is actually something we all need (a time for reflection as opposed to progress). With that in mind, I'm really wishing I could just crawl in bed and hibernate for the next three weeks! But -- of course, that's not possible, so here are three quick tips for surviving this (or any) retrograde ... 

Don't start anything new. This means signing contracts, starting a new job, getting married! Now, okay, there are exceptions. Mercury retrograde can often "bring back" something from the past. So if you're about to sign a lease on an apartment you looked at back in the fall and couldn't decide on it or whatever and now it's go-time, that makes sense.

Same for a job. Also, don't be surprised if you start hearing from potential employers who you thought had no interest in your application you submitted EONS ago! Retro can dig up some weird stuff you thought was water under the bridge. And if that translates to a job, of course, you're gonna want to go for it. Just be sure to examine the details in contracts extra carefully and double-check that forms and emails have gone through.

Don't make any big new purchases, especially technology-related ones. I know you might be itching for that iPad 2, but believe me, you'll be back at the Genius Bar with some kind of unexplained glitch before you know it. The last Mercury retrograde phase was at the beginning of December, and I was hell-bent on taking advantage of a deal on a MacBook Pro. Lo and behold, battery problems have cropped up, and I need to take advantage of that Apple Care! So, if you can't help yourself and you just have to go for it, that's pretty good advice -- make sure you also buy a very good INSURANCE POLICY.

Try to be patient. This one's the hardest for me, because I'm always on the go. I want my emails to send instantaneously, I want my work to have been done yesterday, I don't like dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic, etc. But we don't have much of a choice during retrograde phases. At some point, we're going to have to deal with delays or technology snarl-ups.

The best solution is to just try to take a deep breath and laugh it off. I tried this last retrograde, and it worked a lot better than fighting the delays at every turn. It's also a great time to just check in with yourself, try to focus on yourself as opposed to others so much. Yeah! Be a little bit of an egomaniac. Treat yourself to yoga, meditation, quiet time, etc. And if your boyfriend, husband, or other important people in your life can't seem to understand what you've said or misunderstand what you say or experience FaceTime/Skype/text messaging malfunctions, try not to freak out on them, and just try again. I know, it sounds like every day, right?

But for all you skeptics, I know you're probably not even reading anymore, but if you are, at least you now have a heads-up. And that's worth its weight in defective smartphones!

Have you felt the effects of Mercury retrograde yet? Do you have any horror stories from retrogrades past?

Image via Threat to Democracy/Flickr

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