Bad day? Blame Mercury – or check your horoscope more thoroughly in future

Why not try out the idea that the planets exert an influence on us?

Share

Are you having a difficult time at the moment? Are you experiencing problems in your relationship? Have you recently suffered breakdowns in communication with friends and colleagues? And what about mechanical or technological failures? Have you noticed that they've been rather too frequent of late? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, I may be able to explain why.

The other day, I was telling a friend that, in certain respects, my life was out of wack at the moment. The reason, she said, was clear. Mercury is in retrograde. Now, when I hear something like that, a very loud siren goes off in my head. Crackpot alert! When someone tries to explain behavioural change through an alignment of the stars, it's time to change the subject.

As a journalist, I'm trained to be sceptical of the official version of events, so I'm hardly likely to be credulous when it comes to inter-planetary affairs. At which point, it would be churlish not to share with you my favourite (possibly apochryphal) story about astrology and newspapers. A famous ex-editor of the Sun called the paper's house astrologer into his office to dismiss her. “I'm sacking you,” he said, with brutal finality. She was utterly crestfallen. “I...I...I don't know what to say,” she replied, “I didn't see this coming at all.” “And that's the problem!” said the editor triumphantly.

It is not recorded whether this exchange took place when Mercury wais in retrograde, but – according to those who believe, and there are many more of them around than you might think – this type of dysfunctional exchange is par for the course at this point in the stellar calendar. Mercury is in retrograde between October 21 and November 10, so today we are  right in the middle of the danger period. Typically – and let's buy the idea that the planets exert an influence on us – this is a time when all sorts of personal issues, large and small, go haywire.

Astrology is based on the theory that all the planets have their own particular influence on us, and Mercury rules our minds, our memories, our intelligence. When it's in retrograde (i.e. when it starts turning in an apparent backward motion) it holds its power back, and this is thought to affect many areas of life. There are some business leaders who won't get on a plane in this period, believing that mechanical efficiency is another aspect governed by Mercury, and that breakdowns are more likely to occur at this time. For the rest of us, it's more likely to be that the missed appointments, or the things that get lost, or the haircut we hate, or that text sent (or received) that was misjudged, or the computer that keeps crashing.

Of course, these are the sort of things that happen to all of us even when Mercury isn't in retrograde, and it's perfectly reasonable to regard this whole matter as a barrel load of hokum. But I'm not so sure we can dismiss it that easily. So far today, I've mislaid my wallet and been flashed by a speed camera. Like the Sun's ex-astrologer, I should have seen it coming.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator - Cisco Partner - £110 p/d

£110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator (SC Cleared), Cisco Go...

Recruitment Consultants - IT - Trainee / Experienced

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40-50K first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Primary teachers needed for supply in Huntingdon

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers need...

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: genius of Apple, fools and commercial enterprises, and the Queen

John Rentoul
Tory whips were anxiously ringing round the “usual suspects” following Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip  

i Editor's Letter: Douglas Carswell's defection

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone