Mercury retrograde is an illusion of the communication planet moving backwards, which makes it even more relevant to creative people, since we deal in perceptions and illusions. Can the planets really affect us, or is it an illusion? And does it matter?
I’m writing this during a Mercury retrograde cycle, and this is an article I began the last time Mercury was retrograde. Completing something in one retrograde period that you began in another is actually quite common and beneficial according to some astrologers. Whether or not you believe in astrology, symbolism often plays a big part in creativity. Mercury symbolises creative expression in many forms: communication, the arts, writing, our use of technology. Retrograde is a period where Mercury gives the illusion of first standing still and then moving backwards in its orbit. Astrologers warn that communication may not work as well during this time, mail goes astray, computers fail, and it’s a bad time to travel, sign contracts, or start something new. It’s no wonder that Mercury retrograde scares many people.
To my mind, the only three aspects of Mercury retrograde that affect creativity are starting new projects, postal problems, and technology failure (things like computer failure if you store your writing, or images of your artwork or photography on a computer, and camera failure, if you’re a photographer).
In the case of technology, take extra steps to back up your precious work or make duplicates. Photographers would be wise to use two or more cameras if the subject or event being shot is irreplaceable.
Postal problems – delayed or lost mail – are out of your hands, but ensure you keep copies of everything you send. If it’s vital that your manuscript reaches a certain place by a certain time (for a contest, for example), try to mail it before a retrograde cycle, or register your mail.
In terms of starting new projects, I see Mercury retrograde as being a positive influence. Look at the symbolic backwards journey as a challenge to address projects you’ve started but not completed. It’s a rest period from beginning more new works, contracts, and communiqués. New projects that simply have to be started now, may very well have a “cooling off” period and you may find that the next retrograde cycle is the time to finish these, and add the extra insight or changes that the wait has generated.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been hard at work getting started on dozens of new ideas that have come to me. It was with a sense of relief that I approached this retrograde cycle with the decision to take Mercury’s challenge of starting nothing new for the next three weeks. I’ve got enough half-started projects to keep me going until the end of the year, so when I realised I wouldn’t run out of things to do, and also began to hope I might finally be able to complete some of these back-burner projects, I became quite excited about the whole concept. So far it’s been restful rather than stressful. If I get a new idea I simply note it down and return to the project I’m working on.
There’s nothing sinister about a retrograde cycle. We need this time of retrospection, otherwise we’d continually start new things and not get around to completing some of them. Take Mercury’s challenge this month, and finish a project you’ve put aside.
For more information chat with your own personal online astrologer
Or if you'd like to understand more about how your personality influences your creativity, try
Creativity and Personality Type : Tools for Understanding and Inspiring the Many Voices of Creativity by Marci Segal