I am in South Africa at the moment and am fortunate to have internet access in my hotel room, so thought I would blog my experiences to do with travelling during this retrograde period. As I mentioned in a previous post, Robert Wilkinson is generally positive about travelling during a Mercury retrograde.

In his book, A New Look at Mercury Retrograde, he reasons that ‘[m]aybe a journey removes us from our usual routine, and we natually remove loosen up a bit regarding schedules and expectations because of the highly mobile environment in which we find ourselves’ (17). In other words, we are already primed for potential changes to our routines. There can be unexpected surprises and not all of them unpleasant.

The purpose of this trip was for a conference. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I gave a paper on a topic not normally in my area of study, and yet, it is also not a new topic, but one that I had always had an interest in at one point or another, but somehow never made it my main area of research. About half an hour before I was due to present, I realised that the PC in the room allocated to me could not play DVDs. I was prepared to talk my way through it when someone offered her laptop. Great, we plugged it in… and the sound wouldn’t play. The ironic thing is silence was the point of the film clip I was planning to show. So I had to explain that while the sound didn’t work, my point was to show that sound wasn’t needed in the first place! In a sense, things worked out, through a roundabout route. This effect is often overlooked in accounts of Merc retrogrades, which emphasise hassle and delay.

I also ran into an acquaintance I met several years ago but never had a chance to speak to properly. Funny we would both end up at the same conference at the same time. This chance meeting allowed me to review some old relationships in the past, and how toxic they had been without my realising it at the time. The reason I never even spoke to this person years ago was because he was so badly bad-mouthed by a friend I was hanging out with at the time, and I just took her word for it. Being in post-apartheid South Africa and experiencing its new openness brings me even closer to the realisation of the importance of seeing people as they are, not as refractions through someone else’s perception.

Retrograde self-reflection is truly illuminating. At this rate, I might even begin to look forward to future retrogrades.

Robert Wilkinson. A New Look at Mercury Retrograde. Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1997.