Mercury, the trickster planet that rules Gemini and Virgo, turned retrograde on Saturday, October 4, in Scorpio and has traveled back into Libra, where it will turn direct on October 25. This planet turns retrograde three times a year and is supposedly a time for review, revision, and reconsideration. For writers, it’s a wonderful time to revise, rewrite, re-plot. For daily life, it can be frustrating.
Mercury rules travel and communication – including electronic transfers, the purchase of electronics of any kind- contracts, both verbal and written. The general advice is that it isn’t wise to schedule travel during a retro, to buy expensive electronics, to sign contracts, to make irrevocable decisions about relationships.
So, here’s how our retrograde has panned out. In one electronic snafu, $1800 was mistakenly transferred to a credit card we don’t even use. In another electronic bank withdrawal, we were charged for $500 we didn’t withdraw and had to file a dispute over an ATM withdrawal. In this case, I learned that when you go to a bank and punch in an amount that goes over your daily withdrawal amount – $500 for our account – and then cancel the withdrawal, the money goes into a “bank receptacle.” Your account is charged for the withdrawal – until the bank “balances” their books.
The $1800 eventually found its way back to our account, as did the $500, but only after hours spent on the phone and at the bank.
During the retrograde, we took a five-day trip to the Florida keys, to stay at my agent’s home on Sugarloaf Key. Here’s the view:
He had told me to pick up the key from his neighbor. Given the snafus earlier in the week, I was concerned that the neighbor might not be home and that if he wasn’t, I didn’t even have a cell number for him. My bad. I should have gotten a number. I voiced my concern at one point during the drive to Sugarloaf and Megan sort of rolled her eyes. “Mom, the fact that you believe in these retro snafus may be why they happen.”
Okay, I accept that. I accept that our beliefs create our reality. But I also know how astrology works. Just as our beliefs can’t influence the tides during a full moon, I don’t think our beliefs alone can negate the influence of a Mercury retrograde. We can mitigate the effects, but one way or another, we are forced to slow down, reconsider, revise, review.
So we arrive on Sugarloaf. I run next door to ask Joe the neighbor for the key to the house. Joe isn’t home. I hear a small dog barking inside. I knock and knock. No Joe. No phone number. I walk back to Al’s place and inform Rob and Megan that Joe isn’t home. We unload the car and settle in on the porch. It’s late afternoon, 95 and humid. We wait. We break open the cooler, snacks. I call Al’s assistant, ask if he has a number for Joe. He doesn’t. Al is on his way back from France and his assistant has no way to contact him.
We walk down to the water, dip our feet into the coolness. Megan hears a car pull in next door, so I run over there again. A young man stands at the top of the stairs. “Are you Joe?” I ask.
“Nope. I’m Andy.”
Great. I introduce myself, explain the situation, ask Andy if he has Joe’s phone number. He does, but I can tell he is hesitant about giving it to me. He’s one of Joe’s tenants and has dropped by to leave off his rent check. I explain some more. He gives me the number and I call Joe and reach voice mail. Within minutes, Joe calls me back. I explain who I am.
“Oh, wow, Al called me and I totally forgot. I meant to put the keys under the mat. Are you at the house?”
“I’m in Key West. I’ll be there in about forty minutes.”
Near dark, Joe arrives. We finally get into the house after a two-hour wait.
Fast forward. We reserve a boat for Sunday and are supposed to split the price with 3 of Megan’s friends. But Saturday evening, two of the friends back out. We learn there is a $200 cancellation fee for a boat that will cost us $250 plus gas to rent. Sunday morning, we – the MacGregors and Miguel – decide to go ahead with the rental, for a smaller boat, which is less expensive.
Fantastic. We’re off into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, four of us in 17-foot long boat. Unbelievable weather, incredible views, even an island visit where we can walk ashore. Here’s a shot as we’re approaching:
After we left the island, we went in search of Looe Key, a great snorkeling spot over the coral reefs. En route, somewhere in the shallows, there’s a sickening screech, the engine dies, and the boat refuses to start.
I call the guy who rented us the boat, reach voice mail. Miguel and Rob keep trying to restart the engine. It finally catches. We snorkel through a coral reef that is stunning, then head for Looe Key, where the coral reefs and snorkeling are supposed to be even better.
But a mile from Looe Key, the water is suddenly infested with Portuguese Man of War. These beautiful, alien-looking creatures have toxic stings that paralyze their prey – fish and plankton. For humans, the painful sting isn’t fatal. But I suspect if you’re attacked and stung by dozens of these suckers simultaneously – and that’s how thick they were in the water – it might be a different story. Was it mating season? A migration? We didn’t know and sped back to the island where we could walk ashore.
Man of War- under Megan’s feet, those strange blobs in the water, a luminous pink:
We get lost on our return to the channel where we are supposed to meet the boat’s owner. With the phone GPS on now, Megan guides us to the right channel, the right canal, and we make it in with five minutes to spare before we have to pay a hefty overtime rate. Relief. Then the boat is pulled out of the water and oh guess what? One of the engine’s propeller blades is bent and cracked and it will cost $400 to repair.
So, our final tally for a boat excursion that was fantastic? About $700. But, all things considered, we didn’t pay for lodging. I figure it’s the total cost of the vacation in paradise. Megan, embracing it:
Rob, embracing it:
Megan and Miguel, enjoying it:
Megan’s dog, Nika, navigating:
During this same period:
I landed an astrology project and wrote the editor about signing a contract under a Mercury retro. Yes, I know, it sounds nuts. But in the past, any contract I have signed under a retro has turned out to be a major hassle. To my surprise, the editor said he would release the advance money and I could sign after the retro, if Al was okay with it. He was.
Five attempts were made to hack one of our email accounts, but the attempts were, fortunately, blocked.
I lost my watch – and found it.
Rob lost a pair of glasses and didn’t find them.
Despite all this, we had a fantastic time!
Go figure. Ha-ha, Trickster.