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

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific