The spotlight this month is on the planet Mercury, the planet associated with the infamous 'Mercury Retrograde.' You may have heard of it. Approximately three times a year, Mercury appears to go backward for about 3 weeks. That means, astrologically speaking, it travels backward through the degrees of the sign it's inhabiting.

Mercury does not really go backward in its motion. None of the planets do. Astrology is not astronomy and it isn't a representation of physical reality. It's a representation of how things seem to appear from our vantage point as little humans on Earth, observing the sky.

At any rate, seeing the speedy little messenger planet Mercury appearing to go backwards in the sky must have alarmed someone at some point - because Mecury retrograde has become associated in astrological lore with a wide variety of mildly alarming things. Missed appointments, email outages, misdelivered messages, appliance problems, bank errors, lost documents, computer failures, purchase of items that don't work or aren't what you want, unfavorable contracts, miscommunications, and traffic accidents are just a few of the things many astrologers warn about during Mercury retrograde. In other words, astrologers predict that during a Mercury retrograde, the daily affairs of humans will get all screwed up.

They should stop doing that. In spite of the way the myth of Mercury retrograde has become enshrined as a real phenomenon, in reality it is a myth. I've been observing Mercury retrograde periods for over two decades and I can tell you that email viruses don't propagate any more virulently, planes don't crash or miss their schedules any more often than usual, the business of life does not stop around the globe or even go any more haywire than usual, satisfactory electronic items are happily purchased by consumers around the world, contracts signed during this period are not more likely to be unfavorable and miscommunications happen no more than usual.

It's a crock. The minor business of human life gets screwed up all the time - but it doesn't get screwed up more often than usual during a Mercury retrograde. The only warning advice associated with Mercury retrograde that I personally endorse is the admonition to drive carefully. I endorse this because you should always drive carefully.

In fact, if you were to take the symbolism of Mercury retrograde literally, it would simply mean that during these periods Mercury was conscientiously going back over whatever it had worked on in the previous three weeks, revising perhaps, and fine-tuning. If anything should get screwed up theoretically - it would be the stuff done in the 3 weeks prior to the Mercury retrograde. This does happen sometimes—but believe me, it’s not that terrible.
There is no benefit to imagining that Mercury retrograde has any particular power or desire to do anything negative whatsoever. And there's a potential disadvantage in paying too much attention to this kind of superstitious bull. Because the only people I am personally aware of who are negatively affected by Mercury retrograde are the ones who believe in it! The rest of my friends sail through life unaffected by this so-called phenomenon, successfully completing long journeys, undergoing major surgeries, buying houses, using their computers and communicating on personal and business matters without any unusual glitches. Their bank accounts remain unscathed by errors, their relationships trouble free.

One person I know of who claims to be severely affected by each Mercury retrograde has a life that looks like a permanent retrograde anyway. I'm not entirely sure how she can tell the difference. (Her natal chart actually has Mercury retrograde and she may have convinced herself that this is how her life is supposed to be.) And so it goes.

If you routinely miscommunicate, mess up your travel plans, miss your appointments, lose your mail and accidentally delete important email messages, it's a fair bet that you will continue to do these things during a Mercury retrograde. Your problem isn't Mercury retrograde - it's that, for whatever reason, you haven't been able to organize your life to a comfortable level!

You're not alone. Relatively few of us in the modern world reach the level of organizational comfort we would really like - we're just too inundated. And that's the topic of this month's opportunity. Whether Mercury retrograde has any effect whatsoever, it can still function as a very handy excuse to remind ourselves to get organized. Three times a year (you can mark them on your calendar), Mercury retrograde serves as a little reminder that sometimes it's good to go back through that pile of accumulated paperwork, messages, email folders, business cards, reading material, and goodness knows what else it is that is lying in stacks around our homes and desks. Almost all of us want to get to this stuff and clear it out or organize it - and very few of us have any idea exactly when we're going to get around to it.

Mark the Mercury retrograde periods on your calendar right now and tell yourself that's when you'll get around to it. Couldn't hurt. Might help.

If clearing out your paperwork is just too unappealing under any circumstances, you can also tell yourself things like - that's when I'll get around to updating my website, redoing my business cards, revising my mission statement, or revising whatever thing it is you keep telling yourself you're going to revise but you never really have the time or energy to do it. Mercury likes to do things quickly, so don't go envisioning a major overhaul of your life and systems. Minor tweaks - like putting your tax receipts in their right file folders. Nothing big.

Deep in its speedy little heart - Mercury loves to feel organized. So do most of the rest of us, even if only briefly. Three times a year - during Mercury retrograde, you have a perfect excuse to indulge your inner organizer. Why not enjoy?

Author's Bio: 

Victoria Bazeley is a consulting astrologer and author of horoscopes. To get more information, schedule a consultation, or read your monthly horoscope, visit the Practical Astrology website.