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10 Tips for Using Mercury Retrograde

December 6, 2010

My return to writing coincided with an increasing awareness/interest in Astrology.  Some of the most fun pieces I’ve written for Write Anything have merged both these areas of interest.

The biggest writing/life lesssons have come via Mercury Retrograde. Kim Falconer, Australan fantasy writer and astrologer has this to say about Mercury Rx in her New Moon Newsletter this month:

“Astrologically, it is a time when we get to see just how ‘in alignment’ we are with various aspects of our lives. If we are racing over the top of our ‘reality’ without expressing essential core values, the universe (that’s you!) slams on the skids. If there are things you’ve been tolerating, avoiding or disconnecting from in an unconscious way, they will be there, ready and waiting when the dust settles… See any wrench in the works as a messenger and listen up!”

I have found over time the more you work with the energy the less likely it is to come back and bite you.   The retrograde period begins on the 10th and runs through to the 30th December, 2010.

This post first appeared on May 19th, 2009.


I won’t go into astrological depth as to what Mercury Rx is other than to say Mercury represents, among other things, communication, information and travel and retrograde is about things going backwards! Every day life can go a little hey wire when Mercury is retrograding.

The tenants of Mercury Rx are:

  • Don’t sign any contracts
  • Don’t buy big items – especially electrical appliances, phone a computers.
  • Don’t make significant moves or huge life altering decisions
  • Don’t begin a marriage, a business or writing a book
  • Don’t gossip and mind what you do say
  • Plan for delays in travel, communication and the forthcoming of information.

Mystic Medusa in her wonderful book Astroscape 2009 says Mercury Rx is great for:

  • Finding lost objects
  • Polishing off creative projects which been lingering
  • Revising
  • Blissful introspection
  • Random synchronicity which reconnects you with important elements/people from you past.
  • Bunking off and relaxing
  • Reading trashy novels or re-reading favourite books from your past.

My absolute favourite part of Mercury Rx is the music played in shopping centres/malls and the supermarket. I have often joked with my friend Danae Sinclair these retails giants send their ambience director into my past to select the music for the three week periods of Mercury Rx. Not surprisingly, it is a great time to buy retro music. I always find the best ‘old’ music during Mercury Rx including purchasing back in January the ultimate collection of 80’s music which is the bane of my partner’s existence!

What does any of this have to do with writing though? Mercury is the patron God of writers (if you care to think like that) so there is a profound energy shift about to occur for us. Here are my ten tips for making the most of Mercury Rx as writers.

  • Take time to enjoy an old style of writing or a genre you no longer write in.
  • Use favourite songs from your past as idea prompts. Pick our favourites. Play them one at a time. Spend five minutes after each song finishes scribbling/typing a stream of consciousness inspired by the song.
  • Go through your archives and re-read some old stories/writing – this includes the really old, dusty crates and boxes in your garage, basement or cupboard under the stairs. If you’re truly game – go back and re-read old journals, diaries or letters.
  • Post an old short story to your blog to celebrate your journey as a writer. Nothing says “this is how far I’ve come” like old work. Or repost a favourite short story from your blog archive which your newer readers may not have read before.
  • Contact old writing colleagues or friends – even if it is just to say hello and what’s going on in your life now? Or contact a mentor from your past to say thank-you and let them know how you are going.
  • Revise or edit at least one first draft, current or old, before Mercury Rx finishes on the 31 May.
  • Search out pieces in your “unfinished folder” or wherever else you keep them and finish at least one of them before Mercury Rx finishes.
  • Review your book/notepad of ideas and see if any ideas now jump out at you. (I still maintain there are no bad ideas, just great ideas at the wrong time!) Is now the time to try test drive a new plot or idea?
  • Befriend a new character who has been hanging around trying to get your attention.
  • Write a list of your favourite books and add at least two of them to your reading list for the rest of the year.

While Mercury Rx can be a pain in the butt if you’re stuck on the tube on the way to or from work, you’ve had roadside assistance out to you twice in a week because your car won’t start, your computer goes AWOL and takes everything on your hard drive with it, your website disappears and your webhost tells you they have no record of you as a customer, you turn up for a meeting no one told you had been rescheduled for an hour earlier, you lose your phone and all your contact numbers, correspondence you’re waiting on doesn’t arrive, your inbox is bogged down in an influx of spam, people continually misunderstand the messages you send on your phone, tweet or post on Facebook and the fridge you buy tomorrow goes *fizzle pop* in a month’s time … take heart. And a big deep breath!

As writers, it can be truly brilliant period for rediscovering or reconnecting with aspects of our old writer-self or life, and as Anne Whitaker writes, it is a great time to have a rest.

Other great articles on the topic:

Mercury – the writer’s patron symbol

The new moon is right now. Set your month’s goals or cast your wwishes and watch them manifest! This is the last new moon for the 2010 year!

Jodi Cleghorn is hoping Dale gets his computer sorted out quickly. Good luck to Dale also as he embarks on his writing adventures for Chinese Whisperings. You can hang out with Dale on his website Rough Draft until he’s be back to warm his chair next week.
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