Ready, Set, Retrograde

note: With another Mercury retrograde upon us, and me feeling all extra super-duper woo, as is common for me during this time, I got a bee in my bonnet to go look up the first blog post I ever wrote about my first experience with retrograde energies. I originally wrote this in 2008 (scary) and while those of my regular readers (all two of you) will note how drastically my spirituality has changed since then, I still feel it is a fun and worthy post. “Mercurial deities,” indeed. As if we don’t know who that is. Also, I have to admit, now that I’ve gotten older and crustier in my path, I might not have been so gracious had this happened more recently.

sign-for-psychicsWith the Mercury retrograde beginning today, my original idea for this post was to explore whether or not we should give a great deal of credence to planetary correspondences and behaviors when working magic, After all, shouldn’t we check with our own souls first and add planetary affinity later, if it happens to match up? But then, I as sat down to write, I remembered my first pointed experience with the Mercury retrograde and spell working. I took the hint and, realizing it is probably not such a good idea to tempt the planetary deities by talking about how their correspondences aren’t that important, I decided instead to honor them by sharing that first retrograde experience of which I was reminded.

One of the first spells I ever cast was that I earn an extra $250 to help with expenses. No, let me correct that: Although it was on the tip of my tongue to specify that I wanted to earn the extra money from my writing, I did not say that. Instead, I left it open ended, stipulating only that I receive the money in a way that was not harmful to anyone.

Unknowingly, I had cast this spell on the first full day of the Mercury retrograde.

The next day, I flipped open my beloved little mac, (her name is Zsa Zsa, but that’s a whole other story), and found that no matter what I did, she would not boot up. The sleek little silhouetted apple that normally comes up when I turn her on was replaced by a blinking question mark and an ominous clicking. There was nothing I could do, so advised the sage techie on the other end of my desperate phone call, but take her in and have her barely two-month-old hard drive completely replaced. And to his question of whether or not I had my information backed up I replied, “Of course not. These things don’t ever happen to people who are prepared for them!”

So I dragged my ailing Zsa Zsa to the local Mac geek store and stood thunder-struck by the quoted costs of scrubbing my necessary data from a defunct hard drive. All the way home my head was reeling with numbers—how could I possibly fit something like that into my budget? And still mentally raiding my bank accounts I walked into my house to find that my off-her-rocker housemate had moved out—which was expected—but that she had taken my bed with her—which was definitely not expected.

That night, alone in the house and curled up in a ball on the floor where my bed used to be, I called back home for some ready sympathy and lamented my no good rotten day, how it was all the stupid retrograde’s fault, how I was going to have to pay for a hard drive scrub and a new bed when I barely had enough to meet the bills as it was. and how I should probably just go eat worms. Then my mother, who I had never asked for nor had she ever offered financial assistance before, said, “Well, how about I send you a little help. I don’t know, say $250?”

I just about fell out of my tree—fortunately I didn’t have far to fall, seeing as how I was on the floor. It was one of the most vivid, humorous, and pointed lessons about spell-casting and the effects of retrogrades I have ever learned. The retrograde hadn’t worked against me, really. I got exactly what I asked for plus a winking little lesson about leaving spells too open-ended. I wasn’t angry. In fact, I felt quite loved because frankly, as open-ended as I had left the spell, it could have been much worse. But instead of my world crashing down around me, I was blessed, albeit in a comedy of errors sort of way, with the opportunity to get a new, much more comfortable bed, the new habit of consistently backing up my work, learning my mom is eager and ready to help me when I need it, and, most importantly, strengthening my skill and focus as a witch.

In everything I have read about Mercury retrogrades, it is almost implied that it is a scary, evil time, instead of a time of simple fun and backward blessing. Rather than steering clear of casting at all during this time, perhaps we should take the opportunity to get to know our Mercurial deities better and to ask them to assist us in understanding how the back-wheeling, gently chaotic nature of this time may best be used in our work.


About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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